It’s hard to believe it has been a decade since Peter Steele passed away in 2010. His death has left a gaping wound in the soul of the music world that can never be repaired. Peter’s memory lives on in his music and the iconic moments that he created with Type O Negative and Carnivore. We created a detailed memorial post last year, which you can read below. Jam some of Peter’s music today in his honor. Rest in Power Peter! Continue reading
April 14th is a hard day for fans of Type of Negative, as we continue to mourn the loss of legendary frontman Peter Steele who died on this day in 2010. He was only 48 years old. He would have turned 57 this year. Join us as we recall the life and musical legacy of the titan from the 1990s.
As we do every day of the year here at Ghost Cult, we celebrate the life and work of Peter Steele from Type O Negative, who passed away on this date (4/14) in 2010. We remember him especially on the day of his passing, and his birth, January 4th, but really all the time. Carry Peter with you today, and if he affected you personally with his music in Type O or Carnivore, or just in some special way. Share it with others to keep his memory alive. You can see a bunch of retrospective content below. Continue reading
April 14th lives on as a day in infamy in the music world as the anniversary of the passing of one of its absolute legends, Peter Steele. Best known as the frontman behind Type O Negative and Carnivore. Peter, who passed away at age 48 in 2010, would be 55 this year. Continue reading
Formed by members of Sea Bastard, Landskap, Dead Existence and Throne, Grave Lines could be regarded as some form of UK underground supergroup. That pedigree should also give one an idea what to expect from début album Welcome to Nothing (Black Reaper Records), but there are elements of surprise. Continue reading
Devastatingly, the return of the prodigal son heralds the final statement from British Doom legends The Wounded Kings, the band recently having decided to split after twelve years of incredible creation. Visions in Bone (Spinefarm Records) is George Birch’s first album with the band since he returned to the fold two years ago, to the delight of those devotees who shunned the eerie chanteuse qualities of Sharie Neyland. Continue reading
Spawning out a Long Island music scene that introduced a number of cutting edged bands at the time, Vision of Disorder was part of an era that introduced a modernized version of hardcore and heavy metal that helped shape a sound that eventually morphed into what is now known as the metalcore genre.
Raze To The Ground is the band’s latest album (out now via Candlelight Records) and following the release of their 2012 comeback record, The Cursed Remains Cursed, the band channeled their energies into crafting a record that brings out the aggression and heaviness longtime fans have followed over the years.
Bassist Mike Fleischmann explains how this record came together and whether any new methods were input towards creating the songs.
“We did the same thing we always do, which is we lock ourselves in a dungeon like studio and everyone brings in ideas for a song and work on it. Usually the music’s first and then Tim [Williams] comes down and sees what he can do on it. If it sounds good, we keep it. If it’s not going anywhere, we toss it. That’s how it’s been since the beginning. That’s the way we work on songs.”
Pure angst has played a huge role in their sound over the years, and Raze To The Ground is no different than past material. Channeling their inner aggression, the band has stuck to a formula as on past recordings and is felt throughout the album and rarely letting down along the way.
“Right now we all live boring lives. It’s about bringing excitement to our lives and playing music. We’re all similarly taking our frustrations out on our instruments. Tim channels that energy into his lyrics and frustrations pent up stuff. I think that’s our thing. That’s how it comes out. We don’t purposely set out to write any kind of style. It’s just the music that comes out when we all get together.”
With Williams being the lyricist in the group, they chose the album title based on the state of the world and the negativity surrounding it all. Fleischmann explained how all of that factored into how the album came out.
“Tim does all of the album naming and the song naming, and it has to do with the title track, which he felt summed up the inspiration for this album. They took a lot of inspiration from recent news and the turmoil going on, which is still going on unfortunately! The past couple of years you see the news is flooded with civil unrest and rioting. I think he felt that summed up the feel of the record and a lot of the lyrical content.”
Aside from the music, Vision of Disorder did face a lineup change with longtime guitarist Matt Baumbach bowing out of the band. While over the past few years he was missing from some of their live shows, the band decided to move forward to record the album without him.
“This time Matt our longtime guitar player – he doesn’t want to do it anymore. We were making another record and we moved on without him,” he explained about the departure of Baumbach.
“We weren’t really sure whether he was going to be there. He was in and out. When you’ve been in the band this long, you can always come back at any time. After 20 years, if you’re having a bad year then you might as well have a year off. Until we were making the album and he wasn’t there we were like already he’s really not doing it.”
While the band recorded Raze To The Ground as a four piece, they employed Josh DeMarco for live shows. A familiar face within their scene, he became an obvious choice for Vision of Disorder and filled the shoes nicely.
“We didn’t have anyone replace him on the album. Live we’ve been playing with this guy Josh DeMarco who’s in a couple of other bands and he used to play in adayinthelife in the 90s. We toured the US with them and he’s also in a Long Island hardcore band called Mind Over Matter. He’s a very skilled guitar player. We were lucky he was available and he used to help us out sometimes roadie wise. I used to play in a band with him back in high school so I go back 20 plus years with him as well. We’re lucky to have a guy on deck that’s still a good guy that we all get along with and can step right in.”
Prior to the release of the new album, their 1995 EP Still was reissued by Dignified Bastard, and for Fleischmann, he is still surprised how much their fans have loved a recording that marked the early era of the band.
“It’s crazy that people care about a little seven inch that came out in ’95. People still talk to us about it so we knew some people would be happy that it came back. We pretty much have kept a lot of those songs in the set over the years so we know people are familiar with it over the years. It’s still crazy. That’s what we did before we got signed – before anything we did that Still seven inch. That was one of the first things that put us on the map. The first time we played in New York City the shows we played was based around that.”
He shared his memories of that era of Vision of Disorder and what that time period meant to him. Being that the Still EP was their first attempt at recording songs towards an actual recording, hard music fans from that era became hooked over a raw sound that helped shape a generation of hardcore metal.
“We did our first attempt at touring. We bought our first van and it broke down on the road – so many memories from back then. The New York City shows playing at Coney Island High and Wetlands, and playing with bands like Crown of Thornz and 25 Ta Life, and doing a lot of tri-state area shows and VFW Halls and skate parks. We weren’t playing real venues then. They were all makeshift Sunday matinees shows. It was totally different then what we ended up doing just a couple of years later.”
Vision of Disorder was one of the bands who took part on Ozzfest in 1997, in support of their self titled full length album. While this became a high profile exposure for the band at the time, Fleischmann had mixed memories about that experience.
“Unfortunately the first memory that always jumps out is the very first day of the Ozzfest we got kicked off the tour,” he said, with a laugh. “Our manager at the time rented us this RV, which wasn’t ready to go until the morning of the show. At that time in ’97, the side stage bands played twice a day. You could play two 20-minute sets. You’d play once at 11 am and then once at 3 or 4 o’clock would be your set time.”
“So we picked up our RV and raced down to Washington DC, where the tour started. We were the first band to play on the first day and missed it, so Sharon [Osbourne] kicked us off. We did a lot of crying and begging and they let us back on.”
Aside from the rough start, he recalled some other surreal stories about bonding with a variety of musicians he never imagined to be bonding with during a tour. The Ozzfest experience became a life changing moment for the band.
“That tour was crazy. We were hanging out every day with Neurosis, Pantera and Downset. We were all friends with them. Every day was crazy. We were watching Black Sabbath play every night. It was surreal. It was like a heavy metal summer camp.”
“Every day we’re walking through the cafeteria and we would see guys like Pete Steele or Vinnie Paul eating lunch and we’d feel like ‘what are we doing here?’ We were all 20 years old. It was crazy.”
While his stories about Ozzfest sounded positive, he recalled some of the troubles the band encountered at the same time, including communication issues with their record label and management. Despite those flaws, they survived it and lived to share these stories.
“We had problems from the get go with our first album. We really didn’t like how it sounded and we still aren’t happy with how it sounds and how it came out. From the very beginning of the Ozzfest, the day before, we couldn’t have even been there that first morning. They met the day before. They had a whole soundcheck and a whole meet and greet our manager didn’t even tell us about. We went on Ozzfest without a sound man, which was insane. We were already making mistakes.”
“We were on the Ozzfest and Tim is hooking up this microphone directly into the delay pedal and the speakers are feeding back. So we got no help from anyone. Everyone was holding their ears,” he said, with a chuckle.
Over 20 years have passed since the EP was released and the band has come full circle since then. Some of their peers from their era are still going strong and some others have returned after time away from the scene, but Fleischmann was happy where Vision of Disorder stands within the current scene.
“It’s great for a lot of the bands that we played with are still around, like Earth Crisis and Candiria is making another record. [They were] a lot of the bands we cut our teeth with are still around. It’s great.”
“We went to Australia a few years ago. We did the Soundwave Tour and we got to play with Madball and Sick Of It All, and we did side dates with them too. It was like on our off days we were in hotels and in planes with Madball and Sick Of It All.”
As for current live dates, Vision of Disorder try to play out live as much as they can. Due to personal lives and job reasons, they have a brief Southwestern US run in February and an appearance at Hellfest 2016 in Clisson, France scheduled at this time.
“We really don’t play very often. We all work full time and we have family stuff. It’s hard to get away. I would say it’s more of an older crowd. I don’t think there’s too many younger kids. We don’t play with too many bands that would draw them in either. I think we’re playing for our longtime fans. There are definitely some new people in there but I would say these days we are more playing for our fans that have been around for a long time. I think the percentage of people discovering it now is pretty low. I mean of course we’d appreciate it but we don’t really do the things that would take to get discovered by new people like hitting the road. It’s tough for us,” said Flesichmann, about the realities of balancing music and real life.
“We’ll try to do what we can do with that. It’s got to be worthwhile. We try to do weekends and try to do some international stuff. For five guys with different schedules all to get time off of work at the same time for the same amount of time, it’s tough. It’s harder than we thought it would be for it to get things together.”
Lastly, Fleischmann and Williams launched a podcast called Dead Bloated Morrison in 2013, where the two of them attempted to delve into talking about all things music. While they temporarily set aside this during the writing and recording of the new album, Fleischmann said they may try to do new episodes in the near future.
“We’ll probably end up doing it again. When we got serious about writing the record, we did that when we were bored in between. So when we got serious about writing, we had to use a lot of our free time on VOD. The podcast ends up being work. We’ll get together, schedule people for interviews, do some research…we had to figure out our priorities and do the band at the time. We’ll end up doing it again I’m sure. I’m sure when we go away and do some shows on tour we’ll get some good stories to include them.”
After bumping into three-quarters of Undersmile who by their own admission were now “on a band outing”, it was time for tea, and also to enjoy half an hour with our “Pressed out” esteemed UK Editor. As Diego Costa massacred a defender’s facial features (odd that…) on the big screen, the magnificent Old Bar provided wondrous sustenance in the form of a chilli dog, death burger and storming IPAs for just around £15.00.
This was all damaged in time to witness one of the final showings of the majestic Altar of Plagues, a band still vital, still relevant, always adored and fully compelling. The Blackened Industrial outfit caused the first real queue into Eyesore, testament to the appeal of the Irishmen who showed with mind-blowing creativity and a little more action (plus a real drummer) what C.R.O.W.N. could have achieved. It was almost impossible to see through the – yes, you guessed it – ridiculous light display, but the drama that the Boys infused into all by the inflections of their riffs was impossible to ignore. Leaning on the cabs of the mixing desk it’s staggering to see the calm yet assured way mixers Johnny and Harry help to make this all sound so dynamic: indeed, as the impossibly youthful James Kelly issues a subtle “cheers Leeds”, you’re nevertheless almost unsure who to watch next. Especially as there were no flashing lights emanating from the lesser-known duo…the swell of the closing coda was a fitting climax to a blinding set in more ways than one.
The second journalist to take the stage today, Nick Ruskell’s Witchsorrow plied forth their Electric Wizard-esque Doom which, though musically strong and ripping through the packed room, is not augmented by Ruskell’s limited vocal and rather unimaginative stage banter [PQ].
Last year, Icelandic post-rockers Solstafir walked away with all the (non-Bolt Thrower) plaudits, with the second stage unable to contain their emotive, powerful epics, punters locked out and the room filled to bursting. Invited back to sprinkle their magic dust over the main stage, once again Aðalbjörn Tryggvason holds Leeds University effortlessly in the palm of his hands, their beautiful, lapping, and pervasive striking hymns swirling and rapturously received [ST]
Listening to Colin van Eeckhout, however, is like listening to a tormented angel. First harmonising in Benedictine style, then screaming in twisted agony. Barefoot and in shorts, he sprang as the incredible Amenra reduced the hall violently to tears in an instant; Eeckhout facing backwards, bounding and screaming maniacally whilst vast swathes of post-Black Metal crashed about him. There were few flashing lights here: just a black-and-white backdrop flickering between speeding clouds, rippling water and Flanders fields-style explosions. The drama, the mysticism, was as potent as the sparing chords shimmering from the guitars of the frankly alarming Levy Seynaeve: van Eeckhout’s head bowed, the aching wounds apparent in the ensuing screams. Halfway through ‘Nowena 9|10’, he spun and faced us ever so briefly, and the image was complete. Subsequently removing his t-shirt as he knelt toward the drums for the unnerving ‘Boden’, the tension and empathy could be touched. Shattered, spent bodies were somehow stood absorbing every last increase of sound. All bar the knelt, bowed body of the greatest living ball of intensity I’ve ever encountered.
Amenra were beyond moving and I’m unashamed to say that I was violently sobbing as I rocked back and forth with the troubling yet transcendent experience.
Robbie is in his fifties, and took his security role seriously yet with a degree of deadpan which endears him to the punter. “There’s never any bother here. Well, apart from it killing mi legs” he reflected with a cheeky yet droll sarcasm. Directing entry to both the Terrorizer and ‘Mine areas, it was an intense yet obviously enjoyable role for him.
Meanwhile, at ‘Mine, it was hard misfortune that saw arguably the UK’s best Occult Doom band slotted in between two of the best live draws in World metal, and clashing with High On Fire. As a result, the dungeon was half-full for a crushing set from The Wounded Kings. An atmospheric experimentalism married with a pulverising groove, Steve Mills’ solos were a real breath of air whilst George Birch’s oscillating vocal is almost unique, Pete Steele-like; his guitar squealing, his shapes mesmeric, the man has grown into a consummate frontman. It was great to see the two old friends duelling together in what is now a real unit, with closing track ‘The Message’ a whirling mass of pulsating noise.
Primordial at Damnation Festival 2015. Photo Credit: Rich Price
And so to the Greatest Band in the World™. Certainly, surely, the greatest frontman. It’s staggering that there’s room at all to get in to see Primordial, but thank the Heavy Metal Gods that there were a few slivers for a chubby dude to slip in to. “We meet again!” hollers Nemtheanga after a rapturously received ‘Where Greater Men Have Fallen’, and once more a rapt throng is in the palm of his hand – if there was ever any doubt. ‘Babel’s Tower’ saw a worshipping collective almost motionless as they dropped on every word, every dramatic itonation, every plaintive act of defiance, every indelible scream. “Everywhere I look I see old friends” uttered a typically effusive Alan Averill, subsequently leading the audience participation of ‘As Rome Burns’, a powerhouse which grabbed all in roared intonations. The euphoric yet moving ‘Wield Lightning to Split the Sun’ had Averill beckoning and clawing his belly with wrought passion, asking the usual question: “Are You With Us?!”
As ever, as One, we were.
As is always the case, the closing band on the ‘Mine stage was half-attended. As always it was a big miss for the ovine hordes. Tonight 40 Watt Sun were minimalist, light yet crushing, and utterly heartbreaking. This band transcends Doom heaviness, Post musicality, Shoegaze emotion, and Folk personification, to create a chilled yet pained entity which simultaneously relaxed and tweaked every synapse and demanded to be heard and enjoyed. Patrick Walker delicately strummed his guitar, whilst his edgy Folk voice shattered the soul with its poignancy. And still, people didn’t shut the fuck up. The delight is that new songs were being played, the second of which – if Walker’s hushed whisper is to be correctly interpreted – was called ‘Beyond You’. It’s arguable whether such pared-back, Funereal balladry belongs at such an event, but not for the lachrymose souls like myself and what seems like most of the Belgian contingent, one of whom tells me to ‘Ssh’ quite vehemently as I’m instructing a fellow watcher to do the same; go figure… ‘Carry Me Home’ was received like a long lost friend and intoned lovingly and emotionally; there was a growing fear that the early finish was permanent before the trio returned to deliver a hackle-raising ‘Restless’ which, in true ’Queen in Rio’ fashion, was sung emotionally and lustily to Walker for the most poignant, tear-inducing end to a night I’ve ever been a part of [PQ].
The reason for the thinner crowd than deserved for 40 Watt Sun? A triumphant conquering from Swedish legends, and festival headliners, At The Gates; a barnstorming non-stop roil of jagged riffs and powerhouse anthems spilling forth in a slew of genuine metal classics. Liberally sprinkling the set with visits to last years At War With Reality (Century Media) showed the newest addition to their canon more than holds its own in the presence of greatness.
And if you wanted extreme metal greatness, you got it. ‘Death And The Labyrinth’ begat ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ running headlong into ‘Cold’ in a set opening par excellence and par violence, matched only when ‘Under A Serpent Sun’ vomited into ‘Windows’ into a vitriolic ‘Suicide Nation’. Elsewhere ‘Nausea’ brought the sickness, and ‘The Book Of Sand’, amongst others, crushed as ATG delivered their strongest live performance on these sceptre isles since reforming.
As the beers (by now the in-venue piss of Red Stripe) flowed as quickly as the riffs, an encore of ‘Blinded By Fear’ and an unbelievably scything ‘Kingdom “Fucking” Gone’ devastated, before the fuck you of ‘The Night Eternal’ sent the throng home sated in HEAVY metal brilliance. [ST]
Damnation is always one big rush: for fan, organiser, band member, reviewer, and every one of those wonderful unsung heroes that help to run the day. That situation is made worthy by the realisation of the anticipation: all of the friendships forged throughout the day; the fan rubbing shoulders and glasses with the performer; the scribe meeting old friends in the form of fellow scribes, interviewees and Legends. For all of the magical days on a Metal fan’s calendar, there aren’t many to compare with the sheer enjoyment and camaraderie of this first Saturday in November. Amenra didn’t so much steal this one as clutch it to their fractured breasts for all eternity, but there were many more acts making this one so special. This has to be the greatest value-for-money exercise around right now, and the small but heroically dedicated band of organisers has left itself one massive, collective headache to work out how to match this for next year [PQ].
WORDS BY PAUL QUINN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICH PRICE
Half an hour after doors opened to the latest instalment of what is surely one of Europe’s premier indoor Metal festivals, my gig buddies and I witnessed a spotty oik giving lip to a (albeit somewhat intolerant) doorman; meanwhile, one or two of said security bod’s less experienced colleagues were being unnecessarily stringent in barring perfectly acceptable entries to the Leeds university Old Bar. Youth, it would seem, is not always the desirable status us old’uns seem hell-bent on recreating…
As if to prove a point, the experienced boys of Colchester’s The King Is Blind ripped the Terrorizer stage a new one with their Blackened Death Doom hybrid and, in doing so, gave Damnation 2015 a fiery opening. The initial crowd had bred tenfold by the end of opener ‘Devoured’, and it was obvious from frontman Stephen John Tovey’s grinning visage that this was as enjoyable for the protagonists. Tovey threw horns with gay abandon and the band produced drops with the weight of a crash of rhino. New track ‘Genesis Refracted’ was lapped up by a crowd which needed a little time to get going, but eventually whipped up a small but vicious ‘pit’.
Undersmile had the crowd to themselves in the day’s only ‘non-clash’ slot on the Electric Amphetamine (referred to as the ‘Mine), third, stage, and every note of their shuddering Grunge Drone splintered bone. The screamed “Swim on” refrain of set opener ‘Atacama Sunburn’ disembowelled, the bewitching defiled dolls Hel Sterne and Taz Corona-Brown holding court whilst rhythm partners Olly Corona-Brown and Tom McKibbin waited to deliver the crush. A snaking, pulverising ‘Sky Burial’ concluded a hypnotising yet visceral set and surely gained this prepossessing quartet more fans in the process.
The first offering of three from the Belgian ‘Church of Ra’, Wiegedood’s blackened assault packed out the second stage, no doubt partly due to the Amenra connection, but that doesn’t take away from the deeply meaningful assault; whereas our first visit to the Eyesore saw the fiddle-graced Post-Rock of Talons compel a sizeable throng, and my first encounter with the dreadfully affecting, strobing lights.
Beer was flowing freely in the University’s Terrace bar so it was somewhat surprising to see ‘Jack and Alice’s storming burger joint doing less well. Guys, the cheese and bacon special was to die for…!
Positively shocking was the crush to get to see relatively unknown Kent outfit Ohhms at ‘Mine: two minutes into their set showed the reason. Their bluesy, low-end Reef-esque workout was injected with added spice by vocalist Paul Waller whose mad barefoot ‘surfing’ was the Heavy world’s Bez / Ian Brown hybrid. Captivating, dangerous, infectiously active, the whole band created one of the festival’s most talked-about sets.
French duo C.R.O.W.N. sought to wrest that mantle but their nevertheless atmospheric, Industrial post-Sludge was lacking in movement. Their hypnotic beats graced by static imagery it was a creative and sonically violent set, lazy yet striking, and musically brilliant which almost switched attention from the lack of stage presence – and those fucking lights that also plagued a dramatic set from Voices, for whom the Akercocke spin-off tag was firmly banished by the incredible London (Candlelight); their technical darkness holding the room in its thrall despite missing a certain mobility. Over at Jӓgermeister the Church of Ra’s second offering was laying waste: Oathbreaker’s Blackened Hardcore onslaught drew a huge crowd; vocalist Caro Tanghe leading a frantic, animated delivery.
It would have been interesting to see if Sea Bastard would have filled the main room, as ‘Mine was utterly rammed for the eleventh-hour replacement for Black Tusk. This is a band of implosive power, Oli Irongiant’s lofty stature possibly the only thing to dwarf the power of The Riff, and let rip with the set of the day to this point. Oppressive, the shudders displaced vertebrae along with Monty’s coruscating rasp, while Steve Patton and George Leaver based rhythms that would have crushed Everest. Never has the world seen a guitarist who feels every chord like Oli: grimacing, building the riff with sways of his giant body, his roars needed no microphone. Monty’s dreadlocks hung from his face like the monstrous sea creature they portray during forthcoming track ‘The Hermit’, the rare faster sections still trampling most other acts to dust.
In complete contrast to Vreid’s vicious yet occasionally inventive Black assault over at Terrorizer, Maybeshewill have decided they’ve been peddling their melodic heaviness for long enough and that’s a great shame. With more than a nod to the likes of Sigur Ros they packed out the notorious left upper room and left few dry eyes in the process: their sound icicle-cold yet sweet, nostalgic and heavy, their effusive thanks incredibly moving. Closing one’s eyes and allowing the pulses of light and utterly heart-breaking sound to wash over the head, it was easy to underestimate the fact that 40 Watt Sun was still to come.
The brittle beauty of the outgoing quintet’s melodic sweep seems apt for the story of Jim Willumsen, once of The Wounded Kings and the late, great Ishmael, now doing his fifth festival of the year as a fan. A protagonist of my favourite-ever gig, he is nevertheless happy with his lack of band involvement for now. “It gives me a chance to see loads of different stuff” said this quiet legend of the low-end. It’s also a fitting soundtrack for a meeting with Ian Davis, as former drummer of Grimpen Mire another crucial ingredient of that night and still mourning his former bandmate Paul van Linden, outside the room.
The Ocean came complete with cellist and a whole host of atmospherics, aided by my Bee 17 hybrid lager which, at £4:00 for a coke-sized can, seemed steep but it was a very pleasant change from the swill usually found at such events. This all embellished the German ensemble’s largely Prog effect but also contrasted superbly with the harsher elements of their sound. Jӓgermeister’s main stage was suitably packed, making it hard to believe there was a capacity cut for this year, but their set in 2013 benefited more from the vantage points of this year’s Terrorizer room. Ghold’s appearance at ‘Mine didn’t attract the numbers that previous bands had brought to that area but their darkened doom, like a Death-riddled Conan, rattled already battered heads. The inclusion of a guitarist gave their live presence another, more beneficial dimension to that on record.
WORDS BY PAUL QUINN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICH PRICE