The Extreme/Grindcore/Death Metal act, Cattle Decapitation has been pleasantly surprising modern metal listeners for nearly a decade. Since their record, The Harvest Floor (Metal Blade Records) in 2009, this quintet from San Diego has been pushing barriers in several different metal genres. Their relentless resilience and unabashed creativity throughout the years has been unexpected and still surprises fans today. The band is getting ready to release their eighth studio album, Death Atlas (Metal Blade Records) and the genius that is Cattle Decap is once again pushing the norm. Continue reading
Doyle Von Wolfgang Von Frankenstein or just Doyle for short is synonymous with punk and metal history. As a member of The Misfits and with his own solo material, Doyle has forged a career built on buzzsaw hardcore guitar riffs, heavy metal fury and horror punk aesthetics which he helped invent! Ghost Cult Magazine’s Keefy caught up with Doyle on his recent tour stop in New York city where his solo band slayed the solo crowd at Blackthorn 51 in Queens. While hanging on the tour bus with him, his band and friends, Doyle talked about his current album Doyle II: As We Die (Monsterman Records) his world tour, what the upcoming Misfits reunion shows mean to him, Spotify and music downloading, Veganism and much more. Videography and photos by Heather Wilkerson with editing by Omar Cordy. Continue reading
For the most part, Metalcore is a genre with an air of defiance and empowering; normally a genre that is anthemic and uplifting with a positive message throughout. On latest album album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (Epitaph), serious credit has to be given to Brits Architects as they break this notion and offer an album with a towering message of bleakness and the need for us to stand up for change, in one of the boldest releases in the genre to date.
What is immediately striking about AOGHAU is how genuinely angry it sounds. Far from the faux rage of many of their peers, Architects have genuine reasons to be pissed off. As vegans and environmental activists, much of the album’s focus is on humanities destruction of the planet, and the sentiment of it is undoubtedly clear and real. Frontman Sam Carter in particular gives his most impassioned displays ever and very rarely drops from a full throttle roar, which amplifies the tone even further. The guitar work of course is very prominent and has a much darker tone than the genre is renowned for, whilst keys, rather than dominate, increase the atmosphere with subtle usage.
Aside from the soundscapes and textures, there are other signs that Architects are going for greater ambition than many of their peers, namely the 8 plus minute closer ‘Memento Mori’ which interjects the album’s trademark heaviness with passages of brooding, near ambience before erupting once again in sheer, white hot fury. In a genre that for all its greatness can prove stagnant at times, these signs and moves put Architects in a class of their own when it comes to vision in the genre, and thus have not only exceeded all their own greatness, but have further proven why they are one of the shining lights in the style, and for British metal itself.
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In Part II of our interview with DROPDEAD from last fall’s Housecore Horror Festival, Ghost Cult’s Andrew Francis along with Ben Barnett and Bob Otis discussed the challenges of running a veteran band and still having the everyday challenges of life to deal with. Also they spoke of their lifelong political activism, and how it has stood on equal footing to the music they make since the beginning.
The music business is an unforgiving career choice for most. We asked Ben and Bob about their family lives, and how they manage to keep up with personal responsibilities and still tour, make albums etc.
Ben: “I have a girlfriend and help take care of my gram when I have time.”
Bob: “I’m a mental health worker during the day, and I do animal rescue during the night and also the
band, which is an extension of the animal rescue work because it’s animal rights related and politics. Maybe not all animal rights, but things based in that area. just an extension of things I already do.
Ben: I own two shops (Armageddon Record Shop in Cambridge, MA and Providence, RI ) a label, try to hang out with my friends, play a little music, take care of my Gram. As I said, there’s a lot of shit going on.”
Ben: “We fit it in best we can , we’re not trying to make it- there’s no goal besides to play music with our friends. Occasionally we have the opportunity to come to fest’s like these (Housecore) make new friends, see some great bands, hang out, and have some vegan tacos.”
Bob: “Part of it for me, personally is it’s a good podium to talk about our beliefs and the things we really believe in. I do cat rescue and similar things, and the animal rights as part of my life is fully supported in the band and my home life.
Considering the above sentiments, we figured out that it must be hard to hit the road and tour, leaving behind your family:
Bob: The days of being able to jet out and go somewhere for six months out of the year are definitely behind us we all have our responsibilities and real jobs adult jobs but we do the best we can. We’ve been going for 25 years now so, and I’ll go for another 25 if I can do it with this guy here. I don’t care aha! We’ll be in wheelchairs still trying to play in the band!”
On the differences between local shows in New England and playing Texas where fans might not be too familiar with your band:
Ben:“Yea there’s definitely stuff going on back there. Like today one of the guys at the shop in Providence, his grandfather is going to pass at any moment, and we just gotta tell him take the day off and close up shop. it doesn’t matter.”
Bob: “I actually have a house full of sick cats and kittens that my girl friend is home taking care of while I’m gone. Funny enough my father is watching mine back home as well.”
Bob: “Those things are our responsibilities back home, but stepping away and being here is our responsibility too. We’ve had a message for a very long time and I truly believe it, so to me this is equally important to me as well.
So basically being in DROPDEAD means staying humble, no vacations, and no party type atmospheres other bands dream of.
Ben: “Well no there’s some of that, I’ve never like to go out and have fun as much as we do now. back in the day I probably took it for granted but now I really enjoy it for what it is. My friendships too. The business part of it and the shows is just an extension of what we are doing for fun. I think I’m having a good time and enjoying it. I don’t think I let myself enjoy it that much back in the day. I was a little more serious.
Bob: “And we didn’t have time, most of the stuff we did was on a super budget and sleeping on a concrete floor somewhere and it was real raw. After 25 years and getting the respect of other bands and people and putting in the time now we get the flight paid for, or the room, and we never take that for granted. We still play cellar shows and shit like that but it’s a little easier that way now than it used to be when we were sleeping out on rocks on the side of the road.
Ben: “So no I don’t take any of this for granted I don’t think any one owes me anything, but its nice to stay in a hotel for a night and some one pays for the flight we’ve put in a lot of hard years lost girlfriends, apartments, and jobs to continue this because we believe what we say and you suck it up do what you love or you don’t do it. Don’t complain about it. Both worlds can co-exist, and we are thankful.
This interview took place in November during the Paris terror attacks. Having to talked to the politically astute guys who have made a career of understanding crisis worldwide, we could not help but ask about the relevance to those tragic acts. The bands own desire to shine a light on similar situations, such as their song ‘Bosnia” in 1992, or other songs in their catalog seemed relevant at the time:
Bob: “I say its extremism which is happening then with ethnic cleansing and same with France yesterday its extremism and ridiculous beliefs and religion things that we stand against all things we don’t believe in.
“That and none of us are religious in the band. I think its one of the biggest problems in the world next to capitalism and to me personally, is the destruction of the animal kingdom. All of those three things are the big factors of whats destroying the world to me. so of course we don’t believe it or we try to talk about it and share our ideas on it. When we first wrote the song ‘Bosnia’ that was in the early 90s and with the ethnic cleansing that was going on. I felt it was important to talk about. It’s kinda of a quick song, really four lines long. I always thought of it is political haiku the guys don’t leave me a lot time to write a long song to get our ideas out.”
We asked if there was a song about the Paris attacks coming as a form of a response:
Ben: “I may, we sing about a lot of things but I’ve been writing about animal cruelty so the songs will deal with that more so but once I have time to digest it and form my own thoughts on it then yea, maybe we’ll sing about it. but definitely we will sing about religious extremism in one way or another.”
Shortly after this point the interview kinda turned in to more of a conversation about a slew of other things. Interviews are great but as always to learn more about the band, they encourage fans to seek them out and to get involved in their causes, or your own. When not on tour, Ben can be found in the Armageddon Shops and Bob is accessible via Facebook, or of course going to a DROPDEAD show. They are more than willing to talk you and share their ideas and have a beer. Check em out, expand your mind, and get some more food for thought…
“Don’t you realize? you’re eating death! and the taste in your mouth, is the corpse on your breath!”
INTERVIEW BY ANDREW FRANCIS
Following their recent tour stop at Bogie’s in Albany NY, Mortals sat down with Bella Vendetta to chat about many topics including, social media, touring life vs home life, signing to a label, what is American Black Metal exactly, touring Europe for the first time, and much more. Cursed To See The Future is out now on Relapse Records.
Ever since the emergence of their debut Lucidity in 2006, has their unique blend of catchy melodies and heavy riffs made Dutch symphonic metal outfit Delain a force to be reckoned with. Originally planned as a studio project only, nowadays they are a successful live band and about to release their fourth, highly anticipated full length studio album The Human Contradiction (Napalm Records). Front lady Charlotte Wessels charmingly reveals the idea behind the mysterious title.
“The name is actually taken from one of my favourite books. It’s a trilogy called Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler, and it is a post-apocalypse story. It’s kind of sci-fi, which is funny, cause I never really took to sci-fi before, so this is the first time where I really appreciated it. Basically they introduce the human contradiction, as a theory which explains why humanity didn’t last. According to the book, the contradiction is that as a species we are both intelligent and hierarchic. The fact is though that successful intelligent life forms are not hierarchic, because this hierarchic thing makes for this ‘us versus the others-mentality’, which makes us rank things by random qualities.”
In the last couple of years Charlotte has been especially interested in the whole idea of otherness, both on an artistic as well as on an academic level. “This topic was of course already very present in our previous record. With The Human Contradiction we actually continue this idea lyrically. There are many songs which are about otherness in one way or another.” The topics Delain address in their songs seem to have become much more diverse and rooted in current social and political happenings than at the start of their career. Charlotte agrees with that. “I have definitely become more political myself. In the past we had some discussions about this in the band, because first and foremost we are making music and just want people to have a good time when they come to our shows and rather forget about their problems than take more home with them. So there is no agenda behind our music, I simply write about what’s on my mind by default.”
Nevertheless,The Human Contradiction contains some songs whose lyrics are quite complex. For example the song ‘Tell Me, Mechanist’, tells the captivating story of a dispute between the philosophers Descartes and Voltaire. Charlotte is still fascinated by the subject. “In the 17th century you had this philosopher and scientist called René Descartes. He was very famous and had a lot of ideas where he was really ahead of his time and one of his ideas was that all things on this earth are made up of small mechanic parts, like a clock. This was quite a smart remark, because of course they hadn’t discovered DNA yet, or atoms and his idea that the world was made up of smaller parts is kind of were science went later. But his statement had a lot of negative implications also, because he claimed that humans are the only ones with a God granted soul. So basically he said if you hurt animals, you cut them open, and they scream, this is just the spring that you have touched that is attached to screaming, it’s not that they actually feel pain, cause humans are the only ones that feel pain. And this was very convenient, because it was the time when they started to really get interested in human anatomy and they opened up animals to see how the heart works, how the lungs work, when they were still alive so they could see the blood flow et cetera. People who still believe in this mechanistic world view today are called mechanists. Then Voltaire, another philosopher, replied to Descartes theory by saying, and this is actually were I shamelessly stole my lyrics from, Voltaire said: ‘You cut open this animal and you see in him exactly the same veins of feeling as in yourself, tell me, mechanist, did nature arrange all the springs of feeling in him in order not to feel?’ And I thought this was so beautiful. However, I’m very much aware that this song especially is kind of more abstract and hard to get when you do not know the theory behind it. Of course the lyrics in the chorus go ‘If we could go back to the stars, we would see we are not that far apart’, if you don’t know that it’s talking about evolution and stuff, then it could just as well be a love song, which I really like about it.”
Charlotte is a real animal lover and has recently made some significant changes with regards to her lifestyle. “I’ve become a vegetarian recently and I’m cutting back on my entire animal intake. I cannot call myself vegan yet, because I have to cheat still a little bit too much, and the actual vegans will become upset. So this is one of the recent changes I’ve made and I try to make our house eco-proof. I live in a house from the 1600, which means that we have only one layer of glass everywhere and basically for years we thought that is okay, but we are heating so much that it is not in line anymore with the ideals that my partner and I have.”
However, she doesn’t want to impose her own values on other people in any way. “Everybody should decide for themselves what they want to do. When I talk about these matters in our songs, I just want to address things I care about, but never suggest that I know all the answers. Whenever you make big changes in your life, you really have to believe in them yourself. I will never say ‘you should do this or that’ that is simply not my style.”
The talented musician has just completed her master’s degree in Gender studies and is now standing at a crossroads in her life. “I was doing my studies and Delain, and now I don’t know what I will end up doing in the future, so this really isn’t the right time to ask me about it, because now of course I fall into this black hole,” she says jokingly. Then adds: “Actually Delain is becoming more and more of a full time job, so the next year is really going to decide whether I can do this full time or whether I have to do something next to it.”
Asked about the writing and recording process of the output, Charlotte has a lot to convey. “We always write the songs with, what we like to call the ‘Delain writing team’. It consists of keyboarder Martijn, me and Guus Eikens. Guus Eikens is actually not in our live band, but he has been involved with Delain from the very beginning, so he feels like a band member to us. The rest of the work on The Human Contradiction was very different from our previous album, because for our last release we were involved with three different labels. First it was Roadrunner, then it was Warner Brothers and we were moved to another office on top of that. After that it was the label which actually released the album, so we had a lot of people involved, a lot of opinions involved. So that’s why at this point, we thought that we are just going to make music by ourselves and are only going to include other people when we really need to. As a result, this is undeniably an album were we took matters into our own hands again and purely relied on ourselves for both the writing of the songs and also the production. Martijn was back as a producer which he had done for Lucidity and April Rain as well and I think that has created a very creative and free atmosphere within the band.”