For the better part of the past six years, Hull’s Mastiff has been slowly festering in the underbelly of the UK’s underground scene. A handful of demos and 2016’s Wrank set expectations for the band to become mainstays of any grotty pub or club gig you’d care to attend, and Plague (APF Records) continues their trend of spreading as much abject misery as musically possible. Continue reading
Well, bugger me! Holy Roar Records just continue to bring us some of the best underground heavy music around at the moment. I had previously reviewed The Barn from Idylls from the label and the quality is matched and even bettered here on Atrophy which is the début album from Windsor, Ontario’s Minors. The overriding feeling here is a sense of oppression and being pinned to my seat as the band dealt out wave upon wave of hardcore Sludge drenched in feedback, a stylistic choice which was very prevalent throughout. Continue reading
On Saturday we were running a little late to the venue for Housecore Horror Festival III. I made it just in time to catch most of NAILS’ set, most of which Todd Jones was visibly displeased the entire time. While dozens of kids could be spotted wearing their hardcore and metal shirts all around San Antonio, the floor of the theater was lightly peppered with kids there to watch the band. Coupled with the fact that there was little to no moshing, or just overall lack of general mayhem during their caustic performance, it was leaving a bad taste in Jones’ mouth.
Catching only snippets of Poison Idea and Crippled Bastards, we jumped over to see Providence, RI power-violence group Dropdead. Seeing our fellow New Englanders in the south was cool. Dropdead are here with a message, and that message hasn’t changed, nor will it ever; says singer Bob Otis. Otis is also the main lyricist and mouthpiece of the group, and he made a speech about animal cruelty and corporate greed. The group wants you to leave their shows informed, if anything. After getting crushed by Crowbar, then sped back up again by Negative Approach, we close in on the headliners of the night , Corrosion of Conformity, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, and New York’s own Suffocation.
COC, back with Pepper Keenan at the helm, had a setlist full of classic tunes ending with ‘Clean My Wounds’. Jesus then showed up to clean the crowds wounds and sung with Pepper, followed by stage diving off both ends of the stage to “bless” the theater. To the untrained eye, ANB look like four people standing around waiting for something to happen. But as soon at the lights dim and the projector flashes their name, the audible noise of our butt holes tightening with excitement shadowed the opening notes of the set. It was strangely entertaining to see such a large stage completely devoid of a drum kit, yet welcome.
Suffocation began much like that of ANB, a few people standing on stage waiting for the go ahead amidst sound checking. Once the OK was given, the lights go down and the grindcore onslaught began. Shortly before the small tour they embarked on leading to Texas, the Suffo guys asked the fans what songs they wanna hear in an online poll, and boy did they deliver. From classics to more recent jams, few songs were spared. A love song, ‘Entrails of You’, seemingly penned by Ed Gein himself for a long since passed lover was a highlight.
Sunday Funday! Day three of the festival and the wear and tear is starting to show on just about everyone, but spirits remain high. Maybe they were just waiting for the headliners or even just to hang out and shop upstairs at the booths in the convention floor. By the way I got a great haul of shirts, patches, and the god-like Boss HM-2 guitar pedal; the most Swedish of all metal pedals! The fest had great vendors with booths both local and internationally based. Often times it was hard to traverse due to hall size and all the people, but with a little courtesy and sucking in of the gut, the metal head marches on! After being preoccupied with a handful of other tasks and waiting in lines, I got to chit-chat with horror film legend Mr. Bill Mosley for a bit before heading back over to the stage,
Next up was the barrage that is Author & Punisher. Tristan Shone was joined onstage by tour mates Muscle and Marrow for a song, but was mostly accompanied by projections and skewed video segments. They were followed by YOB who were flawless, even with a sick Mike Schiedt. Had he not told me himself that he was ill, I’d have never known.
Shortly after YOB’s set I caught up with Mike to have a chat and we found ourselves at Whataburger a block away. We got to talking about touring, music and the state of metal. We discussed the weekend so far and previous tours they had been on, and our mutual love and admiration for Neurosis. In short Mike was my own personal Yoda for an hour and I couldn’t have been happier. Next I briefly checked out Autopsy and Incantation and while both are awesome and historic in their own right, at this stage of the game I was so tired every thing was blurring together tonally. Old school death metal just wasn’t for me that night. To close out the weekend Dawn Of The Dead was screened with the live film score to accompany the film performed by Goblin. Unfortunately by this time it was getting close to midnight, and the walk to the hotel was getting longer. My hotel bed was actually starting to look comfy.
The long trip was totally worth it, and I’m very honored to have gone and shared this weekend with both the bands, the fans, and fellow metal heads. Thanks to the staff of TheAztec Theater for being both friendly caring, and above all professional. Lastly every one behind the scenes working with Philip Anselmo to put the Housecore Horror Festival III together.
WORDS BY ANDREW FRANCIS
“We did pass up a truck in Utah carrying a load of uranium hexafluoride, which is physical radioactive material. Pretty sure when we passed him he was playing on his phone while driving. So that was inspiring. Other than that, everything else has been normal,” said vocalist Neil McAdams, sharing an interesting story about his band Black Breath’s recent tour supporting Goatwhore this past summer.
Since this tour, the band has dropped their latest album Slaves Beyond Death and have been touring in support of this. While the band is no stranger to touring, they have found themselves sharing stages with a wide variety of bands and ready to take on any challenge. Their next venture will take them on a support slot with Decapitated across the US.
Drummer Jamie Byrum shared his thoughts on their touring history:
“[We are] all over the map. In Europe we feel we’ve played with more metal bands. Over here we’ve played with more bands that come from a DIY background. We’ll play with anybody,” he said.
“We like to keep things within a community of people that we know,” said McAdams.
“We’re not exclusive to playing with metal or hardcore bands. We’d prefer to play with bands with diverse lineups, especially on tour when you have to listen to it every day,” concluded Byrum.
He shared some of their early shows where they were paired up with some unlikely bands.
“I think early on shit was weirder. We’d play at hardcore festivals and we’d play with straight up hardcore bills with youth crew bands or positive clean-cut hardcore bands, and we’re trouble dirtbags getting drunk in the parking lot. We definitely weirded out people at those kinds of shows, but we don’t really do those kinds of shows any more. All of those kids who were creeped out by it are alcoholics now.”
Coming out of the Seattle area, the members cut their teeth musically surrounding themselves around a wide array of bands of all genres. They described their upbringing and how an open minded scene helped bring together their peers to create a unique group of people.
“We grew up in communities where there’s a real diverse music scene. When the whole huge grunge movement died in the mid 90s, we were in high school and there were all of these bands. There were all of these metal bands playing. We grew up with all of these old school thrash metal dudes and they would be playing. We would be hanging out with them. We would go to these hippie jam concerts. Indie got huge so you would see a lot of that shit,” explained McAdams.
“Everyone garage and punk and indie band was playing in basements. Everyone was getting drunk. It’s very DIY,” said Byrum.
“It’s a whole shit mix of stuff. To me it’s never been a huge division between hardcore and punk and metal and all of that shit. You’re all pissed off about god and fuck the police and the state and shit…I don’t know why you can’t all get on the same team,” added McAdams.
The band is signed to Southern Lord, a label better known for its eclectic roster but more for its extensive doom and stoner rock acts. While they are one of the few death metal oriented acts on their roster, Byrum found that it worked to their advantage to push their name out even more and did not feel like an oddity within a roster like theirs.
“There are a lot of bands on there that doesn’t sound like anything [like what’s usually on Southern Lord]. I don’t think it’s that weird. I just like the idea of being on a label run by somebody with a similar background as a friend. We are friends with bands he chooses to sign so that helps,” Byrum said.
In recent times, the Northwest area has become a hotbed for musical acts once again and a string of new bands have been making noise throughout the scene. While many of those bands fall upon the rock side of the heavy music genre, bands like Black Breath have helped to revitalize a scene that has quietly produced some good bands over the years.
Seattle is an area better known for the grunge scene in the late 80s into the early 90s, producing iconic names such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, along with heavier names such as Queensryche and Sanctuary. So how much has changed since that era?
”It’s not very big. There’s a lot of people that are into metal but there aren’t that many good bands. I don’t know if there’s ever been that many good metal bands from Seattle, compared to Los Angeles or San Francisco. There’s Metal Church and The Accused and the classic bands. I guess there are a lot of metal bands,” said drummer Jamie Byrum, about their current Seattle metal scene.
“There’s a good core community of people there who are dedicated to doing it but it’s still a small thing,” said vocalist Neil McAdams.
“There are good metal bands but there’s not a shitload of them. There’s never been a shitload of them,” added Byrum.
Being a band that incorporated healthy parts of metal, hardcore and punk, Black Breath came up playing a wide variety of shows locally, including the Rain Fest, and eventually expanded into touring across the country. Their time spent on the road helped them spread their name and their music to newer fans along the way.
Since their start in 2005, Black Breath have crafted their sound around a variety of extreme sounds such as thrash, black and death metal with punk and hardcore influences rubbing off on them as well.
“When we started out, we were playing hardcore so that’s where I came from. As we got better on our instruments, we started playing more metal,” explained Byrum.
One of the aspects of their sound that often comes up is the comparisons to the early 1990s Swedish death thrash sounds that Black Breath employed into their music through their first couple of albums (2010’s Heavy Breathing and 2012’s Sentenced to Life). While he admits to liking some of those bands over the years, he also says there was more to that than just modeling themselves around that specific sound.
“We’d think anybody who’d like those bands – I mean we like those bands so I don’t think it’s so weird for someone to compare it to it, or it’s not a bad thing. I don’t necessarily think we sound like those bands particularly, but there are some similarities and we’re definitely influenced by them by those bands.”
Another obvious element in Black Breath’s sound is the downtuned guitars that play a big role in shaping the way they create their music. They said that their interests in punk/metal crossover sound played a key role in bringing that into their music, and they continue to build upon that onto their newer songs.
“At first it was more hardcore hard rock. We were heavily influenced by Poison Idea and bands like that. But then, I guess from the get go we were always like how can we be more intense for every writing session, so naturally it rose to that. That’s when we became a crossover band,” said Byrum.
“Just keep pushing the envelope and trying new things. I don’t think it’s that interesting to keep putting out the same record over and over again,” added McAdams.
Leading into the writing and recording of Slaves Beyond Death, they talked about their sound has grown since the first two albums and bringing in new ideas has helped mold their sound.
“The vocals are different. They’re not hardcore vocals. That’s a big one,” said Byrum.
“It’s just a different kind of record so we needed a different kind of approach,” said McAdams.
“There’s way more guitar. The guitar playing is way more rooted in old school heavy metal and hard rock than in death metal, whereas early on it was just fast power chords [versus] now it’s most just riffs all the time. That’s a noticeable difference,” added McAdams.
Lastly while the band name was taken from a Repulsion song and also a reference from JRR Tolkien’s works, they shared a story from their earlier years where they attempted to work in satire into their music. While this was a one time show in the beginning of the band’s history, McAdams clarified that Tolkien’s stories has no influence within Black Breath’s music or lyrics.
“This was a long time ago when we were still doing our hardcore demo stuff that we had put out. We did a show at the bar where I worked at. It’s a real tiny place and I retooled the titles for the songs. I didn’t change the lyrics but when I was introducing the songs I changed them as much as I possibly could to be some sort of Lords of the Rings reference. But that was one time eight years ago. So I would say no. As much as I appreciate Tolkien that’s not a direction I’d want to go.”
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Part two of the Ghost Cult Magazine countdown to our Album of 2015.
And now the end is near, and so we face 2015’s final curtain, and once more the Ghost Cult army got together to vote for their favourites. The results? Over 20 writers pitched and voted on over 220 albums ranging from indie pop to the most horrific savage tentacle laden death metal showing the depth and breadth of the official Ghost Cult Album of the Year for 2015.
The countdown (to extinction) continues…
“Once again every track has its own theme and spirit – the “carnivalesque” sound that has been part of their image since LMI is still present… but in terms of musical excellence and thematic power it matches or even exceeds that classic album. Whether or not you’ve ever engaged with Arcturus before, do so now.”
“Throw (it) on at the end of a long day and just let fuzz consume your mind…The Night Creeper is an album worthy of a place in your doom collection. It’s got all of the darkness and foreboding of regular doom but without putting you (me) to sleep.”
A swirling, enchanting brew of post-rock with touches of blackened metal and psychedelic swirls, as melancholia most vivid is wrapped in progressive motions and dreamy epics and delivered to the sub-conscious in swathes.
“Qliphoth is a snapshot of a ferociously dedicated and hardworking band continuing to carve out their own unique sense of what Grindcore can be. Cloud Rat have offered something both rare and interesting, and have made themselves genuinely the best new Grindcore band in years in the process.”
A cocktail of stoner, progressive and doom metal, unafraid to stretch it’s mighty wings to allow an epic to pound and unfold, and proud to worship at the altar of The Riff.
“If ‘Ethnic Metal’ is a poor fit for Melechesh’s music, Black Metal is almost as inappropriate. The snarled vocals and trebly guitars put it superficially in that style, but the song-writing owes more to classic Thrash and Heavy Metal, filtered through the ever-present Mediterranean voice.”
Album of the Month – November “Puscifer delivers money shot after money shot in the form of aural enjoyment. So, instead of pounding away at your keyboard on social media bitching about the next Tool album, maybe you should hit up YouTube and try out Puscifer.”
“Produced by Kurt Ballou, the album crawls, kicks, stamps, and screams abuse into your face, pulverizing you in a variety of different ways; never dull with the slower parts merely serving to accentuate the chaotic flurries of speed and aggression when they do arrive.”
“Hammer Of The Witches is a competent enough album by a band who know exactly what they’re doing, and fans of their most recent material will find something worth listening to here, but those still waiting for a return to former glories may need to decide whether we’re happy to settle for the next best thing”
“Nightwish, the rulers of symphonic metal have returned and are ready to take over the world with their new album Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Trying to pick out highlights from this album is like trying to pick needles out of a stack of predominantly needles – there is not a strand of hay in sight.”
Polish technical death metallers Decapitated have announced an upcoming headline US tour with Black Breath and Theories as support prior to their run with At The Gates and the Haunted.
Founding guitarist Vogg comments:
“We’re very excited to announce that we will be returning to North America in January and February as a part of the At The Gates tour, along with our first headline dates in over 3 years. As you probably know due to unexpected problems with U.S.C.I.S. we were forced to cancel our tour with Soulfly in October this year. We can’t wait to get back and play for our loyal fans all over North America and we hope to see you there! Nothing will stop us this time!!!”
Vocalist Rasta adds:
“The beginning of 2016 is gonna be awesome. We are coming back to United States and Canada!!!. As we all perfectly know, North America is one of the best place to play hard music. This continent was simply built on a Rock and Roll music, and I feel it every time we play there. Amazing crowds, constant headbanging and of course unforgettable shows. North America are you ready?! We are coming! See you there!”
Blood Mantra Across North America, 2016
Decapitated, Black Breath, Theories
Jan 27: Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
Jan 28: Lefty’s – Des Moines, IA
Jan 29: Skyway Theatre – Minneapolis, MN
Jan 30: Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
Feb 01: Mod Club – Toronto, ON
Feb 02: Le Cercle – Quebec City, QC
Feb 03: Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
Feb 04: Marlin Room at Webster Hall – New York, NY
Feb 05: Voltage – Philadelphia, PA
Feb 06: Café 611 – Frederick, MD
Feb 07: Shaka’s – Virginia Beach, VA
At The Gates, Decapitated, The Haunted, Harms Way
Feb 09: Revolution – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Feb 10: State Theater – St. Petersburg, FL (Decapitated only)
Feb 11: Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Feb 13: Gas Monkey – Dallas, TX
Feb 14: Mohawk – Austin, TX
Feb 16: Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
Feb 17: Marquee – Phoenix, AZ
Feb 18: House Of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
Feb 19: House Of Blues – San Diego, CA
Feb 20: Glasshouse – Pomona, CA
Feb 21: Regency – San Francisco, CA
Feb 23: Whisky – Los Angeles, CA (Decapitated only)
Philip H. Anselmo, metal legend and horror film aficionado puts on his third annual Housecore Horror Festival this weekend, in San Antonio, Texas. Kicking off tomorrow night with a pre-party, the fest runs all weekend at The Aztec Theater and The Korova venues, as well as at the Holiday Inn Riverwak Hotel from November 12th to 15th. Ghost Cult Magazine will be there to capture all the action.
One of the best, and deepest lineups in the history of the fest, this year’s talents with such immense talents as King Diamond, Anselmo’s own Superjoint, Goblin, YOB, Exodus, Suffocation, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Autopsy, Incantation, Corrosion of Conformity (with Pepper Keenan), EyeHateGod, Crowbar, Poison Idea, Nails, Zombi, Black Breath and many more from across all genres of heavy music.
In addition to the concert portion there will a screening of 80 underground and legendary horror films from some of the greats as well as up and coming directors in the genre. Some of the films will come from Phil’s personal collection and he is sure to be on hand to lend a word or ten on the matter. There will be celebrity panels, signings, and vendors galore as well. Special guests include GWAR’s Don Drakulich aka “Sleazy P. Martini” who will host a special screening of Skulhedface and a secret bonus film that GWAR fans won’t want to miss, a onetime screening of cult classic, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things with original cast members Alan Ormsby and Anya Cronin in attendance, a premiere of a never-before-seen short film from Coffin Joe, the world premiere of the controversial, massacre-ridden American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock, a special director’s cut of zombie-Viking-black metal-biker film, Saga, starring Ted Skelljum of black metal icons Darkthrone and a an appearance by iconic bodybuilding champion/actor/ songwriter/
screenwriter/musician, Jon Mikl Thor, who will be screening his new documentary followed by a performance on The Korova stage. Additional special guests include comedian Dave Hill from the Metal Grasshopper films, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 star Bill Moseley, president of Unearthed Films/producer of the American Guidea Pig SeriesStephen Biro, world renowned tattoo artist Paul Booth and more! For a detailed 2015 film screening list visit: http://housecorehorrorfilmfestival.com/films.
Housecore Horror Fest Aztec Theater Day-To-Day Lineup:
Friday, November 13th
Doors at 5:00 pm
Child Bite – 5:30 – 6:00
Warbeast – 6:15 – 6:55
Eyehategod – 7:15 – 8:00
Exodus – 8:20 – 9:05
Superjoint – 9:25 – 10:10
King Diamond – 10:30 – 12:15
Saturday, November 14th
Doors at 1:30 pm
Gasmiasma – 2:00 – 2:30
Nails – 2:45 – 3:20
Poison Idea – 3:35 – 4:15
Cripple Bastards – 4:30 – 5:10
Dropdead – 5:25 – 6:05
Crowbar – 6:25 – 7:10
Negative Approach – 7:30 – 8:15
Corrosion of Conformity – 8:35 – 9:25
Agoraphobic Nosebleed – 9:45 – 10:35
Suffocation – 11:00 – 12:00
Sunday, November 15th
Doors at 1:30 pm
Muscle And Marrow – 2:00 – 2:30
Gristnam – 2:45 – 3:15
Author & Punisher – 3:40 – 4:20
YOB – 4:40 – 5:30
Ghoul – 5:50 – 6:35
Zombi – 7:00 – 7:50
Incantation – 8:10 – 9:00
Autopsy – 9:20 – 10:20
Goblin (Dawn Of The Dead live score) – 10:45 – end
HOUSECORE HORROR FESTIVAL The Korova Day-To-Day Lineup:
Thursday, November 12th – Preparty!
Doors at 6:30 pm
Aggravator – 7:00 – 7:45
Protest – 8:00 – 8:45
The Black Moriah – 9:00 – 9:45
Black Breath – 10:00 – 10:45
Idolatry – 11:00 – 12:00
Friday, November 13thvember 13th
Doors at 12:00 pm
Butcher – 12:30 – 1:00
Bloodfuckers – 1:15 – 1:45
Fat Stupid Ugly People – 2:00 – 2:30
Hellshock – 2:50 – 3:30
Valdur – 12:30 – end
SATURDAY, November 14th
Saturday, November 14th
Doors at 5:30 pm
Krigblast – 6:00 – 6:30
Kill it Again – 6:50 – 7:30
Classhole – 7:50 – 8:30
Ossacrux – 8:50 – 9:30
The Unnaturals – 9:50 – 10:30
Thor – 10:50 – 11:30
Fang – 11:50 – 12:25
Disfigured – 12:40 – end
Sunday, November 15th
Doors at 7:00 pm
Los Revolucionarios – 7:40 – 8:15
Honky – 8:40 – 9:30
Big Okie Doom – 9:50 – 10:30
Mountain Of Wizard – 10:50 – 11:40
Hellknife – 12:00 – end
Placing Metal bands into neat, convenient little pigeon-holes used to be easy. However, with so many sub-divisions, sub-sub-categories and “core” bands out there these days, it’s become a virtually impossible, not to mention pointless and tedious, task.
Do I really want to know that band A is Hardcore Ambient Techno-Speed Viking Doomcore, or that band B are Progressive Christian Grindcore Electro-Folk? No, not really. All I want to know is which broader category they fall under. Because it’s easy and I’m lazy that way.
So, while Washington’s Black Breathare hardly the most eclectic band in the box, they do actually have a sound which makes that relatively simple task appear quite difficult. Although the immediate reaction would be to just lump them onto the Death Metal pile, one quick listen to Slaves Beyond Death (Southern Lord) shows they just have as much in common with Thrash, Doom, Crust, Hardcore, and even Black Metal.
Comparisons are usually an equally effective method of describing a band (“Band A sound like band B with bits of band C and D”), but again, this is made difficult by the volume of acts from whom Black Breath draw their influences. A quick namechecking of three or four bands quickly turns into a full blown list. There are nods and winks to other bands all over Slaves Beyond Death but never once at the expense of their core sound. Nothing sounds crowbarred in or there just for the sake of it. If you hear something familiar, it’s in there only because it fits.
Produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge) at his GodCity studio in Salem, Massachusetts, the album crawls, kicks, stamps, and screams abuse into your face like an enraged footballer. The production is as dirty and fuzzy as the guitar tone, yet also sounds crisp and clear, most notably on two of the albums (many) highlights ‘Seed of Cain’, and instrumental closer ‘Chains of the Afterlife’. ‘Reaping Flesh’ and ‘A Place of Insane Cruelty’ pulverize you in a variety of different ways, and considering the death rattle vocals of singer Neil McAdams, the lyrics are surprisingly easy to understand. Slaves Beyond Death is a slow to mid-paced affair for the most part, but never dull with the slower parts merely serving to accentuate the chaotic flurries of speed and aggression when they do arrive.
On their recent tour with Goatwhore,Black Breath (Southern Lord) guitarist, Eric Wallace had a quick chat with Ghost Cult prior to the Boston, MA show at Brighton Music Hall. With their latest release, Slaves Beyond Death (due out September 25), being announced, Eric expressed what could be expected from the upcoming record.
“Expectations… I don’t think I like that word. I like to approach other people’s stuff as open minded as I can and then be surprised. I realize it sounds like I’m setting the bar low but I mean there’s elements of stuff we’ve done in the past for sure and then there’s also kind of new takes on all of it. To me it’s more expansive in a way. Not like it’s going to be a prog record or anything! Sure the songs are all longer and stuff we haven’t done in the past that we’re trying out on this record and I think turned out pretty rad. I’m excited for it to come out because I think it’s cool and I want to start playing the songs more, live. I hesitate to say too much because I want to hear what others think of it. I mean what are you supposed to say? “It’s the heaviest record we’ve ever done! It’s gunna fucking blow your mind!” I mean it either is or it isn’t. It’s up to the listeners and how they receive it. We made a record that were excited about and I think I can leave it at that.”
Eric also spoke highly of the continued success of recording with Kurt Ballou at Godcity Studios in Salem, MA:
“At this point we’ve spent the better part of 2 months there now over 3 albums. Pretty damn easy to work with him especially where we’ve toured with his band and recorded with him in that space with generally the same setup before. Not much arguing there as we just do it and if it doesn’t sound good how can we make it better. It goes pretty fast which is why we were pretty excited to go back for this record with the amount of work we’ve done, just building on that makes more sense than starting fresh somewhere else. It’s killer. I think it works out great. We did get it mastered with our buddy Brad (Boatwright) in Portland at Audio Siege. He’s been doing a ton of mastering for a lot of different bands, first time we went to him and that sounds awesome as well. It all turned out nice.”
Continuing on the topic of writing, and how it has evolved over Black Breath’s career: “With our EP we just threw what songs we had up there since we didn’t have a contract or anything. Basically let’s get this out there and see if it sticks. So we did that and got hooked up with Southern Lord. With Heavy Breathing we got together with Kurt since no one in the band had done that before and Greg from Southern Lord was really into the idea. Whatever songs we had after that EP through the touring up until the recording process, that turned into the album. The album itself was written well before we even got there really. Nothing specific up to this point really. With Sentenced to Life, I think we as a group consciously decided that we would sort of stream line everything a lot more as in trim the fat, shorten things up, get to the fucking point and then get out. And that was basically what we did with Sentenced. Make it to the point, shorten the songs, and get rid of the unnecessary stuff really. With this new album, since we already did the shortened approach to writing, we pretty much did the opposite approach on this one to expand and make way longer songs. Same style of riffs and song writing we had going, but how do we make this more of an odyssey? There’s a lot of tracks on the new album that has fast stuff and slow stuff but there’s a mix of both in almost every song so I don’t know what you would call that approach necessarily, but plenty of bands have done it.”
On the day after Independence Day in the US, the fireworks were still being launched at the Brighton Music Hall in Alston, MA. Of course, the only explosions seen here were from heavy metal acts, Theories, Black Breath, Ringworm, and Goatwhore. Fans of all sorts came out early on a Sunday night to catch their favorite band on this stacked bill and left happy at the end of the night.
First band of the evening was grindcore outfit, Theories. Having never listened to this band, I moved up to ensure I was in the best spot to see and hear them. Overall I was pretty impressed with what time they had and the selection of songs they were able to perform. Theories will certainly be researched and added into my daily playlist.
Next up were my most anticipated act of the night in Black Breath. Crust, hardcore, and thrash fans all shared the pit for these guys which proved to be one of the highlights of the night. Black Breath set consisted of staples from both albums such as ‘Feast of the Damned’ and ‘Home of the Grave’ off of ‘Sentenced to Life’ as well as ‘Escape from Death’ and ‘Black Sin (Spit on the Cross)’ from Heavy Breathing. The Alston crowd also got two brand new, unreleased songs that will be on Black Breath’s next release due out later this year. If these two tracks are a tale of things to come, then I am looking forward to what lies ahead.
Ringworm hit the stage next which saw the most active pits of the night. Ringworm has been one of those bands that always seemed to play other shows I would go to but could not get to on time to actually catch them. This time around, I was not going to miss out. For the most part I was into what the band had to offer and was glad I finally caught them live.
Finally, Goatwhore was due up to close the night. In the headlining spot, these Louisiana blackened thrashers played songs across their entire discography, which was a pleasant surprise. The early material got big pops from the fans which in turn brought about some fun pits to be a part of. The biggest pops for Goatwhore came from songs ‘FBS’ (Fucked By Satan) off of the latest masterpiece, Constricting Rage of the Merciless (Metal Blade) as well as closer, ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’ from the 2009 release Carving Out the Eyes of God. A fun fact for this Goatwhore tour was that typical bassist, James Harvey was not with the band. However, fill in for the tour on bass is bassist Trans Am from Ancient VVIsdom which was a treat to say the least.
This tour has certainly earned its place towards the top of my list of favorite shows thus far this year. There was truly something for everyone on this night which is hard to come by nowadays with some tour packages being put together.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN