Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AMERICAN AFTERMATH: Grim Kim Kelly’s Top 10 Demos Of 2011

Original post (with song streams/Youtube videos) - http://americanaftermath.net/2011/12/20/grim-kim-kellys-top-10-demos-of-2011/#more-8562

Hello, American Aftermath. My name is Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if you insist). I suppose I’m something of a guest writer (party-crasher, more like) as Ross asked me to contribute something to the site’s year-end roundup. After procrastinating mightily, I presented him with this haphazard list of my favorite 2011 demos (and almost demos). I had to turn off Demoncy to revisit a couple of these babies, so you’d better fucking appreciate it.

Get a load of Kim on Twitter and her personal blog (which you are currently on - Ed).

Lycus – Demo MMXI
This wondrous slab of atmospheric funeral doom is quite simply the best demo recording of the year, if not the best album outright. It’s unbelievable that this is an initial offering – the complexity, maturity, and crushing, heaving emotions encapsulated within these three compositions is nothing short of breathtaking. These forgotten sons of Samothrace, distant cousins of Anhedonist, purebred descendents of Asunder…trust me, you’ll be hearing a lot about Lycus in the coming months (especially after The Flenser entomb this masterpiece in wax come the new year).

Bell Witch – self-titled
Bell Witch move at the slow, measured pace of an elegant funeral party, trudging along beside the pallbearers’ shining black leather shoes and picking their way, carefully, through the weeds. Droning, despondent, deceptively simple, and steeped in desperate pathos, this recording transcends the world of mere doom. The two minds behind is have also spent time in Samothrace and Lethe, which should tell you something.

Niantiel – Cavern of the Skeletal Spirits
Surreal, dissonant black metal thrown up from the void. Though Negative Plane’s psyched-out mindfuckery may be a good reference point for this Virginian horde, the sound they’ve created on this three-track demo is truly unique. Ominous, chiming chords, howling vocals, unsettling atmosphere, the stains of occult ritual…

One Tail One Head – Tandava
This is technically an EP, but the recording quality is subterranean enough to land it a place amongst the demo-level masses. OTOH feature members of Celestial Bloodshed, Behexen, and Mare, but this is no mere “supergroup” – this is pure fucking holocaust. Primitive in execution, slavish in its devotion to the old ways, and gloriously raw, Tandava is a chaotic hellstorm of Norwegian black metal vengeance – and a damn enjoyable listen, if you have the stomach for it.

Pilgrim – Forsaken Man
Without contest, Pilgrim are one of the most exciting new true doom bands to emerge from North American shores in ages, and Jon Rossi’s voice is the closest thing to a national treasure to which American doom has lain claim since Wino first picked up a mic. In short, this band is a perfect example of epic, traditional doom metal (it’s no wonder Metal Blade have signed on for their debut LP), and their debut offering makes it all to clear that Pilgrim have only begun their slow, certain rise to the top.

House of Atreus – Demo I
Melodic death metal isn’t all Gothenburg trills or wimpy American metalcore leanings. “Melody” does not have to be a slur; rather, in the case of some, it is a deadly weapon. House of Atreus wield their harmonic tendencies like a scythe, slicing through the thick, galloping death metal riffs that make up the bulk of this release and leaving fresh, oozing scars. Arghoslent are an obvious reference point, but this Greek horde are clearly well-acquainted with their countrymen Varathron as well. This is fucking fantastic.
listen here.

It’s impossible to tell who created these recordings; Rhinocervs are a shadowy collective, affiliated with the Black Twilight Circle and responsible for releases by Glossolalia, Odz Manouk, etc. Their two 2011 demos are exercises in primal fury – lo-fi, raging slabs of total misanthropic hate in the guise of cold, driving black metal. Oh, and all their songs are untitled, because fuck you. Good luck Googling ‘em, nerds.

So a cadre of Brooklyn’s crustiest death metal dudes got together and formed a band, and, big surprise, it RIPS! Trenchgrinder feature past and current members of hometown homies Attake and Mutant Supremacy with artist Owen Rundquist manning the mic with his savage, shrapnel-coated roar. Bolt Thrower-worshipping riffs, breakneck d-beat machinegun blasts, punk as fuck speed, devilishly murky tones – it doesn’t get much better than this.

Mutilation Rites
NYC’s hardest touring, hardest-hitting black metal band may have hit the bigger leagues (‘sup Prosthetic) but they truly fucking earned it, by playing hundreds of shows, self-releasing a string of solid releases & splits, and spitting out some of the meanest, truest extreme music this city has to offer. Inhumanely intense and ice fucking cold, Mutilation Rites channel Mayhem at their best and Enslaved at their blackest, drawing down the moon onto a craggy base of crusty punk fervor. Their latest demo is yet another triumph of evil.

Doomslaughter – Downfall Progenitor
Bestial Belorussian extremity. An unholy amalgamation of black, death, and thrash metal, leaning towards the cult of death but even throwing in a few moments of certain doom before bringing the hammer of antichrist down – Doomslaughter fucking rule, and Iron Bonehead are releasing their next effort, so you know it’s good. I can’t stop listening to this.

Bonus Round:
This band doesn’t actually have a demo recorded yet, but the handful of songs they’ve posted so far have captured my heart, and the world needs to take notice of this newest addition to the NZ hordes. Behold, SABBATIC GOAT:
listen here

METAL INJECTION: Grim Kim's Top Ten Releases of 2011 That You've Never Heard Of

Original post: http://www.metalinjection.net/lists/best-of-2011/grim-kims-top-ten-releases-of-2011-that-youve-never-heard-of

Every year, Rob asks me to contribute a year-end list to this fine establishment, and every year, I harsh everyone’s buzz by submitting the most putrid, willfully esoteric hodgepodge of sonic brutality I can conjure up. The following list spotlights some of the best underground releases of 2011; it’s been a good year for metal, and this is only a taste of what’s out there. There’s more to life than Mastodon (or even Leviathan). Come, my fanatics. Enter the eternal fire.

Ensorcelor – Crucifuge
(Media Tree Recordings) – This Quebecois horde’s first full-length album is one of the most perfectly-crafted releases of the past five years, and it’s a wretched shame that it has been allowed to fester in relative obscurity. A sinuous creation of ash and bone, dark and light, Crucifuge is a black metal record at heart, merged with a sludgy temperament and some of funeral doom’s more harrowing hallmarks – crawling pace, shivering tension between riffs and chords, coarse, cavernous vocals. However, Ensorcelor allow so much interplay between the spacious passages, the slow, resolute tempo, and the washes of ambiance, bathes them in cold, desolate atmosphere, and cloaks it all in a muted production effort, draped it across the recording like wispy strands of dying Spanish moss, that this monument of filth becomes something close to beauty.

Void Meditation Cult – Sulfurous Prayers
(Hell’s Headbangers) – Harrowing, hateful, and primitive, three songs of blasphemous black/death supremacy make up Void Meditation Cult’s virgin offering. Murderously slow and graced with some of the most bilious, guttural invocations this side of Wormphlegm, ‘Sulfurous Prayers’ was torn from the crypt and dragged straight down to hell. Highly, highly recommended.

Blasphemophagher – The III Command of Absolute Chaos
(Nuclear War Now!) – The third full-length from Italy’s finest apocalyptic war command is an unrelenting slab of bestial black/death, swathed in layers upon layers of distortion. Hellishly fast, lo-fi, and thick as blood, Blasphemophagher show no mercy, hammering out Blasphemy-baiting odes to nuclear hell and radioactive carnage in an orgy of violence. UGH!

Lycus – Demo 2011
(Graceless Recordings) Originally formed in 2008, lain to rest, and now, with this year’s demo, resurrected in despair, California’s Lycus are a welcome addition to the doomed pantheon. Mournful, weighty funeral doom in the vein of genre titans Skepticism and Worship and peers Loss; elegant in its despondency, achingly beautiful in its sorrow. Doomed forever, forever doomed.

Dolorvotre – Dolorvotre
(Crepusculo Negro) – The shadowy collective of musicians known as the Black Twilight Circle have unleashed a slew of demos and collaborations over the past few years, but few have stood out as brightly as Dolorvotre, who build upon the so-primitive-it’s-almost-punk black metal template lain down by brothers in arms Volahn, Ashdautas, Blue Hummingbird on the Left, et al, but dose their seemingly simplistic melodies with swirls of psychedelia and haunt their chainsaw riffs with hallucinogenic nightmares. Murky, claustrophobic, and bleeding raw, Dolorvotre are not meant for everyone – the sub-demo recording quality will cause many to shy away, but those who dare will not regret their foray into this subterranean cell.

Bestial Raids - Prime Evil Damnation
(Nuclear War Now!) – This album is fucking barbaric. Prime Evil Damnation is the second LP from this Polish cult, and sees them marching leaps and bounds ahead of their previous efforts. Submerged in filth and impenetrable darkness, constructed from an unholy meeting of black and death, and rife with Satanic hate, Prime Evil Damnation is intensity personified, a swirling void of chaos and menace augmented by vicious backing vocals from Vaz and Impurath of the immortal Black Witchery. Buy or die.

Oskoreien – Oskoreien
This one-man entity creates epic, nature-inspired atmospheric black metal in the vein of Altar of Plagues, Panopticon, Falls of Rauros, Agalloch, but still stands alone. Oskoreien immediately brings to mind the triumphant feel of Bathory’s Hammerheart, filtered through the sweet air and crystalline waters of the great Northwest and imbued with ancient wisdom. Gorgeous expanses of fragile post-rock mix gently with the harshness and purpose of the album’s more blackened passages, songs ebb and flow like waves at sunset, and it’s far too easy to lose yourself amongst the waves.

Ritual Necromancy – Oath of the Abyss
(Dark Descent) – Truly disgusting, stifling, churning, atonal death metal, torn from the pages of John McEntee’s songbook and flung into the cavernous depths that spat out like-minded Incantation-spawn Antediluvian, Cemetery Urn, Disma, Portal, et al. Ritual Necromancy practice ancient, occult death worship, smeared with black vomit and with tendons cut to slow them to a wretched crawl. They are not reinventing any wheels or breaking down barriers, but in this world, regression trumps progression. Hail infernal death.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Blood Lust
All roads lead to Black Sabbath. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats decided to take their pilgrimage early, trawling the paisley-clad, riff-worshipping, occult-laced , bluesy oozing confusion of seventies acid rock and late sixties witch rock on their way back to Birmingham. When Jinx Dawson dances with the Devil, Uncle Acid’s there running Ol’ Scratch’s fiddle through a Big Muff. When Iommi strummed his way through that inimitable Sabbath boogie, he was there again to filter it all through 666 layers of smoke and mirrors. When Electric Wizard climb up onto their dopethrones to sleep off the druglust, Uncle Acid is there to unplug their amps, mellow their buzz, and pack the bowl. Blood Lust is hazy, fuzzed-put, bad trip psychedelic doomed stoner rock from a trio of depraved acid casualties with Satan on their side. Tune in, tune down, drop out of life with bong in hand.

Botanist – I: The Suicide Tree/II: A Rose from the Dead
(tUMULt) – You have never heard anything like this before. Not simply because it’s a bit more on the obscure side, but because there is nothing on this dying planet that sounds like Botanist. The words “experimental” and “progressive” get thrown around willy-nilly by any band who’s ever owned a Yes record, but how many of them have composed a double-album suite played entirely on hammered dulcimer, accompanied by various percussion and one inhumanly twisted voice? That’s what I thought. The idea behind Botanist is rooted in ecological awareness and a deep love of the natural world; the Botanist himself professes a desire to see “ the day when humans will either die or kill each other off, which will allow plants to make the Earth green once again.” As for the music? It’s gloriously weird, saturated with otherwordly tones and startling transitions, both ambient and jarring, intriguing and alienating, harsh yet lush. Black metal’s misanthropic core and trademark nihilistic croak anchor it all in place, but that’s where the similarities between this and metal as we know it end abruptly. Enter the Verdant Realm – but don’t stray too far from the path, lest you never return.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Excuse the rant, but: unless it’s a favor for friends/allies or a publication I genuinely adore (or a guest column of some kind), I will not work for free. I am an internationally published writer with PLENTY of credentials who has been doing this for almost a decade. Would you ask a plumber to fix your drain pro bono, or a painter to simply give away his canvases? No? Then don’t expect the same from me.

It’s like booking a gig. If you want people to come out and have a good time, you book a decent band, offer them a guarantee, and give them some free drinks to keep them happy - they’ll put on a great performance, you’ll clean up at the bar, everyone wins. If you just want to fill in room space, book a shitty local band, have them play for free (and sell tickets, “for exposure”) and then act all puzzled when no one comes.

This is not to belittle or denigrate bloggers or journos who work for free, or to demonize non-paying publications, at all. Working for free and providing quality material are not mutually exclusive concepts - I’ve been doing both for years, and so many many, many others. Doing something for the pure love of it is a beautiful thing. Being compensated for hours of hard work and years of dues-paying is also a beautiful thing.

This is simply something I wanted to say.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top Records of 2011: Metalsucks Edition

I'm doing a million versions of my supposed "year-end list" because 1. I hate narrowing things down, 2. I want to bring attention to as many of the releases I enjoyed this year as is within my power to do, and 3. people keep asking me. Already turned in my lists for the Terrorizer and Invisible Oranges polls, agreed to do listy lists for Metal Injection, Brooklyn Vegan, Cvlt Nation, and American Aftermath, and just had my Metalsucks one posted today. Here's that (and my goofy face) - also bear in mind, the order is purely arbitrary. I adore all of these releases equally, just had to skim 15 off the very top.

When I was first making this list, I had a hard time thinking of that many new albums I’d actually listened to in 2011. But once I actually got home and went through my iTunes/most recent pile of vinyl scores/the mid-year list I wrote, I realized that it’s actually been a damn good year. A few early favorites were supplanted by more recent discoveries and sneaky year-end releases (sorry, Aksumite; hello, Wrathprayer!). Two of my enduring picks came courtesy of the always-excellent Gilead Media, who could use a hand right now and richly deserve your support.

Most of the albums I really loved fall beneath the “black metal” umbrella (11/15), but there are a couple monuments of death and a few doomed souls thrown in there as well. Hell, I would have just written down Beherit’s Live at the Devil’s Studio 1990 fifteen times if I thought I could get away with it.

So, here’s my list! I decided to leave the descriptions a bit vague this year to pique curiosity and inspire further exploration. Spoiler alert: Opeth’s not on it, and I still think that Burzum re-recording was a terrible idea. No, I’m still not sold on the Sonne Adam record (Armed with Hammers was better, and the production on Transformation was far too clean), and if you’re going to leave pouty comments saying that “I’ve never heard of any of these bands, jeez!”, I recommend you direct your browser to Metal Archives and start typing.

15. Reveal, Nocturne of Eyes and Teeth (High Roller) – Eerie, horror-obsessed, lo-fi, classic ‘80s-styled black/thrash.

14. Corrupted, Garten der Unbewussthelt (Nostalgia Blackrain) – Enigmatic, atmospheric, slow-burning, beautiful doom.

13. Blasphemophagher, The III Command of the Absolute Chaos (Nuclear War Now! Productions) – Primitive, bestial, unrelenting black/death metal.

12. Absu, Abzu (Candlelight) – Complex, aggressive, thrashy, immensely satisfying mythological occult black metal.

11. Inquisition, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (Hell’s Headbangers) – Inimitable, memorable, savage, melodically-inclined old-school black metal.

10. Barghest, Barghest (Gilead Media/Big Mountain) – Cold, hateful, Second Wave-inspired black metal.

9. Wrathprayer, The Sun of Moloch: The Sublimation of Sulphur’s Essence Which Spawns Death and Life (Nuclear War Now! Productions) – Ritualized, chaotic, warmongering, bestial black/death.

8. Void Meditation Cult, Sulfurous Prayers demo (Hell’s Headbangers) – Menacing, sepulchral, esoteric, crawling black/death/doom metal.

7. Altar of Plagues, Mammal (Profound Lore/Candlelight) – Gorgeous, expansive, windswept, post-everything black metal.

6. Necros Christos, Doom ov the Occvlt (Sepulchral Voice/Van/AJNA Offensive) – Crushing, atmospheric, mid-paced, uber-occult 90’s-style death metal.

5. Wreck of the Hesperus, Light Rotting Out (Aesthetic Death) – Filthy, desperate, bludgeoning, funereal death/doom.

4. Negative Plane,Stained Glass Revelations (AJNA Offensive/Invictus Productions) – Warped, ingenious, experimental, otherwordly black metal.

3. 40 Watt Sun, The Inside Room (Cyclone Empire/Metal Blade) – Aching, fragile, emotionally heavy, Warning-esque doom.

2. Ash Borer, Ash Borer (Psychic Violence) – Entrancing, atmospheric, mercilessly aggressive Cascadian black metal.

1. Bosse de Nage, II (The Flenser) – Twisted, addictive, depraved, obscure black metal.

(Dis)honorable mentions (LPs):

False, False (Gilead Media) – Vicious, dynamic, innovative, schizophrenic black metal.
The Wounded Kings, In the Chapel of the Black Hand (I Hate)
Amebix, Sonic Mass (Easy Action)
The Atlas Moth, An Ache for the Distance (Profound Lore)
Wolvhammer, The Obsidian Plains (Profound Lore)
Antediluvian, Through the Cervix of Hawwah (Profound Lore)
Falls of Rauros, The Light that Dwells in Rotten Wood (Bindrune)

(Dis)honorable mentions (EPs/splits/demos):

Cruciamentum/Vasaeleth split 7”, Eroding Chaos Unto Ascendant Flesh
Batillus/Mutilation Rites split 7” (Shinebox)
Pilgrim, Forsaken Man demo (self-released)
Bell Witch, Bell Witch demo (self-released)
One Tail One Head, Tandava EP (Terratur Possessions)
Niantiel, Cavern of the Skeletal Spirits demo (self-released)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Whittling down the year-end list...

A work in progress, sure to be spliced, diced, and spread out across multiple outlets...

Bosse de Nage - II
Corrupted - Garten der Unbewussthelt
40 Watt Sun - The Inside Room
Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations
Inquisition - Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm
Ash Borer - Ash Borer
Reveal - Nocturne of Eyes and Teeth
Absu - Abzu
Altar of Plagues - Mammal
Necros Christos - Doom of the Occult
Barghest - Barghest
Amebix - Sonic Mass
Wreck of the Hesperus - Light Rotting Out
Autopsy - Macabre Eternal
Sanguis Imperem - In Glory We Match Towards Our Doom
Beherit - At the Devil's Studio 1990
Antediluvian - Through the Cervix of Hawwah
Servile Sect - Trvth
Root - Heritage of Satan
Bastard Priest - Ghouls of the Endless Night

splits/EPs/LPs/demos/etc from

Cruciamentum/Vasaeleth split
The Atlas Moth
Hot Graves
Clair Cassis
Bell Witch
Mournful Congregation

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Liz Buckingham & Electric Wizard Worship (for NPR)

I'm doing a piece on Liz Buckingham for NPR! Pretty stoked - she's a killer interview, and a huge inspiration. It'll be posted pretty soon, I guess. I got carried away on the intro and delved a little too deeply into 'Wizard history, so that's headed for the chopping block. I really liked what I originally came up with, though, so I'm throwing it up on here for posterity.


UK doom titans Electric Wizard are a shadowy entity at best; a monolithic, esoteric mystery otherwise. Borne of the ashes of proro-Wizardian projects Eternal, Grief Eternal, and Lord of Putrefaction (musical ideas, like fine wine or bratty teenagers, need time to mature and lose their ungainly limbs and excess baby fat) the behemoth first began its flight in 1993 in the small, quiet English hamlet of Dorset. Small towns keep their secrets close, but for those who follow such things, it’s long been known that Dorset is possessed of a certain eldritch quality, buoyed by age-old reports of fairies, ghosts, will ‘o wisps, howling winds and rotting churches. Those ancient stones and lonesome moors breed ill omens and witchcraft, and fittingly enough, it is here that Electric Wizard’s occult doom rituals began in earnest. 1995 saw the release of their self-titled opus, and during the ensuing years, Jus Osborn and his marauding band of Brits released a series of splits, EPs, and 1997’s Come My Fanatics LP. Their following grew from cult to countrywide and finally to global phenomenon, securing them a sepulchre within doom’s most hallowed hallways and spreading the three-horned gospel of black magic, bad luck, and druglust far and wide.

2000, though, was the year the levy broke - Electric Wizard released their now-classic Dopethrone LP, and the world of riff-based stoner jams, heavy psychedelic vibes, and that which we call doom metal would never be the same. Epic in scope, effortless in execution, and catchy as the black death, the album's eight expansive compositions reign in the band's earlier psychedelic freakouts and erupt into a beautifully violent crescendo of sheer amplifier-worship. Inspired by B-movies’ gleeful gore and pneumatic Venus ’and the sultry, sinister auras of seventies’ film noir, narrated by Osborn’s entombed wail, the album conjured up images of Satanic bordellos and bloodstained altars. Moreover, there were songs - honest to goodness songs, with bastardized melodies that stuck in your head, seeped into your consciousness, and left you no other recourse than to wreck your neck for the . Many of the band’s signature tunes - “Funeralopolis,” “Vinum Sabbathi,” “We Hate You,” and the endlessly satisfying endlessness of the title track - are found therein, and the blueprints it drew in blood have served as the starting point for more bands than even seems feasible. The funereal fuzz of Dopethrone will forever be known as the ‘Wiz’s career highlight, genre defining landmark, seminal release, and above all, the kind of record that heavy metal (and heavy riffs’) Godfather Tony Iommi, would be proud of.

Electric Wizard had truly arrived, but within the ranks of the cursed few, trouble was brewing. A quick follow-up came in Let Us Prey, accompanied by a host of personal problems within the band - legal, medical, some may say musical. An ill-fated North American tour and several lineup changes later, the dynamic had shifted once again. “Manning” the axe, as it were, was an American guitarist named Liz Buckingham, who brought order to chaos alongside her black tar licks, world-rattling riffs, and road dogged experience in sludge fiends 13 and Sourvein. Her first album with Electric Wizard, 2004’s We Live, featured a leaner, meaner sound, streamlined yet still mind-melting and mercilessly heavy. Her presence was felt immediately, and nowadays, it’s impossible to think of the ‘Wizard without her molten leads, flying fingers, and flaxen-haired, dark-eyed visage floating above the stage. Liz rarely does interviews, and this one was a long time coming - we first contacted her this past spring, and, after months of crossed fingers and transcontinental email chains, her responses materialized out of the aether.
Liz is an extreme metal icon, an immensely talented musician, and, despite her low-key demeanor, an incredible inspiration to other women who feel the urge to strap on a guitar and hew some sonic slabs of their own. As a bastion of understated, self-confident strength, self-confidence, and femininity within a traditionally male-dominated genre, she has risen to the absolute summit, and shows no sign whatsoever of stepping down off her (dope)throne. Here’s what she had to say about her fluid evolution from classical scion to the reigning high priestess of doom.

Stay tuned for the finished piece!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It's frustrating when a penchant for talking about the music you enjoy leads others to brand you as "insecure," or "trying too hard."

I am many things, but "insecure" is definitely not one of them. Why is it when a woman writes about how much she loves (insert random black metal band here) she's automatically met with derision, but when a man does the same thing, it's all "yeah man" and no big deal?

I love Wormphlegm, Loretta Lynn, Amebix, Nirvana, Thou, Tormentor, and Bestial Warlust. Come at me, bro.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

About a boy...Oh well, whatever...Nevermind.

This post is also not about metal.

It's now been over twenty years since Nevermind was released, and understandably enough, a vast number of music magazines, blogs, and whatever falls in between have been running stories in the tune of Cobain. Some have done generic cut-and-paste writeups (heroin, Aberdeen, Pearl Jam, flannel, naked baby - check!) and others, like my homie Lars, have done really heartfelt, interesting pieces (http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2011/09/21/140676378/about-a-song-thou-on-nirvanas-something-in-the-way). I've got an idea for a more in-depth piece that'll most likely surface on Invisible Oranges in the coming months, but for now, this is just my little tribute to the band that sold the world on raw power, angst, and unhappy endings.

Nirvana are one of my favorite bands. For awhile, they were my favorite, favorite band, one that I obsessed over to the degree of loving madness that only a fifteen-year-old girl with a lot on her mind can conjure. I had every t-shirt, every poster, every album, every bootleg, bought money orders at the post office so that I could order bootleg live DVDs off Ebay, absolutely devoured his Journals when the book was released, drew pictures of his wounded angel's face, wrote song lyrics and Kurt quotes on index cards and papered my walls with them...there is no love like a teenage girl's. Now that I'm a few years past teenage dreams, the love remains, but has matured a bit (I think), at least to the point where I can appreciate them as a purely musical entity as well as a cultural phenomenon, and can finally really relate to a thing or two that had Kurt hurting.
They still have a hold over me, though at this point I've locked away most of my considerable collection of Nirvana memorabilia in some heart-shaped box in my parents' basement. I will always love Nirvana, and that love has bled into some of the other bands from their era - Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Green River, Mudhoney. Grunge isn't dead, baby - it's just gone into hiding.

My best guy friend Jesse is still stuck in the nineties (despite our mutual January 1988 birthdays) and was the original impetus for my discovery of and appreciation for that little band from Aberdeen. Of course I'd heard Nirvana songs on the radio, but they never grabbed me really. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was cool, but generally I just thought of them as "Mom music," because they always came on after "Enter Sandman" or "Back in Black" on the classic rock station she kept the dial on. When I got to high school and befriended Jesse, an adorable, loudmouthed kid with blue hair and the nicest smile I'd ever seen, his Nirvana shirts and burned CDs began to interest me a bit. Fittingly enough, given Kurt's perpetually heartbroken existence and penchant for penning aching, unsettling love songs, the initial adoration I developed for "the band" in reality was about a boy.

Our fledgling romance lasted about two months, and when he decided to call things off, I was devastated beyond belief. Kurt was there for me, though, and I'd spend hours listening to every shred of Nirvana I could hunt down, alone in my room of course, nursing my first broken heart. Nine years later, the relationship Jesse and I have is quite a lot stronger than those first few weeks of adolescent awkwardness, hand-holding, rounding bases and nightly phone calls could have predicted. Puppy love settled and evolved, life happened, we grew up, fell in love with other people and with each other and with other people again, and now we have ended up solidifying into comfortably best friends. We've discovered that, to each of us, the other is the kind of person you love far too deeply to ever risk dating but will always be around, and we still listen to Nirvana together.

Apart from that romantic interlude, though, my love affair with Nirvana runs a bit deeper than that story might intimate. The music is what really got me. Kurt's lyrics, those inscrutable, mangled poems that didn't make any sense really, but made all the sense in the world when picked apart and filtered through however I was feeling that day. Every album has its tone, its hallmarks, its messages, and I loved - and love! - them all. Nevermind has always been my favorite, though, as much as I secretly wanted to be more into the scratchy demos and outtakes on Outcesticide or primal screams of Bleach. That album got me through some trying times and provided a soundtrack for some terribly happy ones, and has held up through it all. I damn near wore out every CD of theirs I had, and treasured every bootleg or live version I could find. When my parents were being horrible (or reasonable, in retrospect) I'd cry along to Nirvana Unplugged, or fume to Bleach. My best girl friend at the time, Ashley, was another Nirvana freak, and we'd geek out over rare demos and swoon over Kurt and trade Nirvana shirts for most of sophomore year, until my newly forming obsession with death metal really began to take hold.

Twenty years after a trio of misfits let loose all their anger and alienation and creativity and hurt into a big wide world, nine years after a couple of young misfits a countrylength away soaked it all in, and one day since the anniversary of the date it all went down, I am sprawled out in my New York apartment, with a sleepy roommate and sleepy black cat curled up on the couch across from me and an Irishman wailing to the ancients from my laptop speakers, thinking about another Irishman with dark eyes and my heart in his grasp, wearing a Zoroaster shirt and nursing suspension wounds, a long, long way from the pines and light years away from fifteen...and I still love Nirvana.

Some things never change. The people and songs and places and flavors and books you loved when you were young, when you were just discovering who you were and starting to dream of what you could be - those things stick with you forever. Who you are when you're sixteen is a skeletal version of who you could be when you're 64.

Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whatchu Lookin' At?

Tis post is not about metal.

Well. Not metal music, anyway.

Metal is a big, biiiig part of my life. It has yet to consume my entire existence, but it does a damn good job of trying, and I don't exactly fight it. However, I do have other interests, passions, and hobbies, some of which are fairly obvious and others I keep more private. One of these in particular is, for better or for worse, 100% impossible to hide (unless you happen to be blind, in which case just assume I look like a twenty-years-younger Doro and we'll go from there). I've made allusions to it on here before, usually by posting pictures that are pretty damn hard to misread. Body modification - the practice of altering one's physical form in order to achieve a desired result - has been around for far longer than the devil's music, and it forms one of the cornerstones of my life.
Depending on your experience/opinion, I am either moderately modded, heavily modded, or just plain weird-looking. I've posted photos of myself on here before, so scroll down a bit for a visual, but essentially, I am pierced, stretched, tattooed, implanted, and suspended. On top of it, I dress more or less the same every day - band shirt, boots, tight black pants. My hair is super long and kind of wild. Add my various visible mods into this particular equation, and we're looking at a lot of public scrutiny.

And it REALLY gets to me sometime. I know and have met people who are far, far more heavily modded than I am, and I can only imagine the shit they go through just because society isn't quite ready to accept those who purposefully deviate from whatever "normal" is. Yes, I am well aware that I look different. That's sort of the point (one of them, anyway). That still does not give other people the right to treat me as some sort of subhuman, alien, or sketchy character just because I've got a bit of metal shoved through the bridge of my nose or some tattoos on my neck. This isn't a unique problem - it's something the modified community deals with constantly. I'm just whining a bit because I had a string of negative experiences the other day, and bitching about it on Facebook et al just garners a chorus of "What do you expect?"

I expect to be treated like a human being, no matter how I've decided to portray myself. I'm not looking for attention - I'd look exactly the same way if all the world was blind. The way I look is an ever-evolving process, an experiment, and a very personal journey. Body mod isn't a fashion statement; hell, it can be for some, but for the majority of practitioners, and definitely for myself, it's a very spiritual, emotional act. A nose ring isn't always just a nose ring. Pain is a part of life, and learning to deal with it, accept it, and at times embrace it will only make you stronger. That massive smile on my face that shows through in the photos of my first suspension wasn't fake. Catharsis, release, adrenaline, endorphins, self-realization - a lot of positive energy can be found at the point of a needle.

The outsider status afforded those who choose to modify their bodies is similar in part with the way metal culture is regarded by the mainstream. Ostracized, held suspect, disrespected, condescended to, mistreated, mocked - both cultures have been through a lot, and it only gets easier with time. Both scenes are filled with passionate, intelligent, creative, unorthodox personalities, and it only makes sense that the twain should often meet. I've seen enough band tattoos by now to back that up, to say nothing of the legions of pierced, tattooed, dyed, or otherwise decorated metalheads I'e seen across the globe. I hang out on both side of that flimsy fence. Both body mod and metal have had a profound impact on me and my growth as a human being, and I know for a fact that I'm not alone in that.

It's just so fucking frustrating to be stared at, asked rude questions, see mothers pull their kids away from you on the subway, get dirty looks from older people, deal with your family's confusion and dislike for how you look, have strangers assume you're "kinky" or a "freak" and feel entitled to ask you about your sexual preferences, be greeted with derisive snorts or laughter when you try to explain why you are the way you are...

But, whatever. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.


It takes a lot for me to click on anything that's linked to my least-favorite "metal" "news" aggregator, Blabbermouth, but a headline like "Tori Amos Issues Challenge to Metal Bands" is hard to ignore. I went over to Spinner.com to read the original interview (http://www.spinner.com/2011/09/20/tori-amos-night-of-hunters/). and this is what she had to say:

"Well, look, sometimes you don't know how music affects people. I embrace that because I don't think that just because I talk about emotional stuff that it's not mother---er stuff. I'll stand next to the hardest f---ing heavy metal band on any stage in the world and take them down, alone, by myself. Gauntlet laid down, see who steps up. See who steps up! I'll take them down at 48. And they know I will. Because emotion has power that the metal guys know is just you can't touch it. Insanity can't touch the soul. It's going to win every f---ing time."

Before we get too riled up, it'd be smart to remember that homegirl has a new album to promote, and will spout any number of ridiculous soundbites to sell some plastic. Also, the offending paragraph showed up at the end of the interview, and feels like an offhand remark. Metal news sites went apeshit over it, though, so here we are. I sincerely doubt that Ms. Amos really intends to stand onstage next to Iron Maiden (or Manowar!) and "blow them off the stage." Unless she's got about sixteen Orange amps to blast her whispery, piano-driven poem-songs through and 4/5 of Vader providing backup , she ain't gonna have much luck.

To take her slightly seriously for a minute, though, there is something worth gleaning from her inane rambling. The most glaring problem here is the implication that metal bands and emotions are two mutually exclusive entities. This (mangled) sentence - "Because emotion has power that the metal guys know is just you can't touch it. Insanity can't touch the soul" - is really quite ignorant, especially given than Ms. Amos has at least a working knowledge of metal (at least enough to know that covering "Raining Blood" will intrigue at least a few Slayer fans and bring 'em over to the, er, light side). To say that there is no emotion within the boundaries of heavy metal is beyond absurd, and is a sad reinforcement of just how little mainstream society "gets" it. Yes, death metal is predominantly a lyrical bloodbath - but not all of it. Black metal does spend most of its time worshipping black twilight and embracing anti-human, nihilistic hate - but not all of it. Look at Bathory. Look at Opeth, Katatonia, Mayhem, Type O Negative…look at Warning, Altar of Plagues, Worship, Corrupted, Revenge, Amebix…look at fucking NEUROSIS.

Hey, Tori. When I was an angry, pierced-up kid in high school, and my mother was lying in a hospital for months and months, drifting in and out of comas, with nothing but a lifetime of brain damage to look forward to - what do you think I was listening to? Was it your records - your artfully angsty, gentle, dreamy little songs? No. You know what cheered me up and made me feel strong, made me feel like I wasn't alone, and convinced me that there was a bigger world outside of my 600-odd person town in the middle of nowhere? A world worth living for, fighting for? It was not you, Tori. It was black metal. I couldn't talk to my friends about how I was feeling, about the howling void of bleakness, hopelessness, and sadness that threatened to consume me. The harshness, the raw, agonizing pain and aggression and sheer misanthropic ferocity that shone through Leviathan, Xasthur, Darkthrone, Cult of Daath, Kult ov Azazel - THAT made sense to me then. And I'd be willing to bet that I wasn't the only one. You've got a pretty voice, that's for sure, and i'm sure your lyrics resonate with and empower some people…but they do absolutely nothing for me. Nothing. Where are those all-powerful emotions? That soul? That fire? Your music is not universal, Tori. You are not all-knowing, or even particularly interesting. Turn down the ego, slow your roll, and back off.

This is why it genuinely bothers me when outsiders deride and scoff at metal as nothing but angry grunting and tuneless screaming. Metal saved my life. Metal has saved many lives. Listening, playing, writing, and being involved with this scene has given a lot of lonesome, angry, confused, fucked-up and otherwise "different" kids something to hold onto, to belong to, to count on. This shit MATTERS.

This "challenge" was a publicity stunt, one that will be forgotten by the end of the day and buried at the bottom of Twitter feeds where it belongs, but the ignorance and condescension it radiates are things that we have dealt with, and will continue dealing with, for a long time coming.

But hey, we can handle it.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Some words about WOLVHAMMER

WOLVHAMMER - The Obsidian Plains (Profound Lore)

Bleak, moody blackened metal from a bunch of tattooed Midwestern miscreants that chose to bury their filthy rock’n’roll swagger beneath layers of cold, grim, distortion and desolate doom. Wolvhammer have progressed past their primal sludge/black metal hybrid of their first couple releases, and reached an (un)happy balance between the heavy and the hateful. Their jump to Profound Lore was richly deserved, and will hopefully expose their particular mutated strain of black magic to a broader audience.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rainy day sounds: VIT

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oaths and Black Blood

I haven't written very much about my personal life on here, for two very simple reasons. Firstly, because I don't really like anyone knowing what I'm up to non-metallically speaking, and secondly, since my personal life essentially is my work life essentially is my metal life, there's not much call for me to unravel the tangled web I inhabit. Every facet of my life is tied up with my love, respect, and diehard dedication to extreme metal, so at this point, it's more or less impossible to talk about myself without bringing that element into play.

So, whatever. my boyfriend's in a couple reasonably well-known metal bands, I work in metal, and we're having a couple very un-metal issues. Love is grim.

So what do girls do when they're having guy issues? Buy shoes.

What do I do when I'm having guy issues?

Buy records,


and band shirts.

I feel a bit better.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

KRALLICE Video Retrospective:

A collaborative effort between (((unartig))) and myself.
Go HERE for the amazing live footage & full writeup: http://unartignyc.com/2011/05/13/krallice/

Here's the text on its own...

The first time I laid eyes and fresh ears on Krallice was in a conceptual artist’s oversized studio, framed by boxes of wire and sticky with someone else’s blood. It was a rainy night in Queens. The Manhattan skyline stood slick and weary in the humid air, and the Hudson slithered by as languidly as a sated python. As summer light died away sweetly and darkness stole quietly into its place, the scent of burning flesh wafted by. A skinny man in a leather jacket brushed past me, and a woman in yellow tip-toed behind him. It was July in the year 2008, and with Dagon in tow, Inquisition had brought their occult black rituals to New York. An intriguing new band from the outer boroughs was slated to open the proceedings. A massive art space nestled on the banks of the river had been called into duty, and an unlikely mĂ©lange of leather jackets, cheap beer, silver necklaces and ballerina flats populated this alien slice of the city. Flanked by an upscale restaurant and a loading dock, the “venue” seemed as out of place there as its temporary residents, and no one was quite certain of what to expect. As longhairs and curious passersby gnawed bones and snuck swigs from carefully stowed bottles, a great rumbling came from inside the warehouse’s cavernous depths – a harbinger of things to come. As bodies trickled in, four men fiddled with instruments and twiddled knobs, preparing. And then – it began.

The juxtaposition of corpse paint, bemused and be-V-necked voyeurs, and a severed pig’s head lent an air of surrealism to that arresting, monumentally cathartic performance that that young band with the strange name and even stranger aesthetic had chosen to unleash. Whether or not we realized it then, Krallice had arrived.

Krallice have come a long way since that muggy night by the river. Making the jump from “promising upstarts” to “New York’s best metal band” was not easy, and every ounce of success that they’ve enjoyed has been earned. It’s all been worked towards, paid for in blood, and is now deeply appreciated. Their first album served as an introduction; their second, a statement of intent. Their third opus, the newly released Diotima, is nothing short of a declaration of war. Now, we’re not talking guns-blazing war metal here – there are no panzers splashed across the album’s cover, and there’s certainly nothing bestial about the intricate compositions within. Krallice’s fight is more subtle; a sea change, rather than an invasion. Remember a few years ago, when their self-titled debut dropped – and jaws throughout the American metal scene dropped with it? USBM, the bastard son and redheaded stepchild of black metal tradition, had suddenly become a force to be reckoned with. Weakling planted the seeds, Wolves in the Throne Room relit the torch, but Krallice were one of the first of an eventual wave of American bands that had decided, for whatever reason, to embrace the beauty in brutality, and look beyond the freezing moon into not what black metal is, but what it could be.

It’s been a fair few years since the first wave of USBM hit, and many of the old guard have fallen or paled into wistful imitations of their former strength. For some, the power remains, but regardless, the game has changed. The unimaginable has happened – the meek have inherited the earth. USBM has grown into an entirely different beast than its puritanical beginnings would have predicted, and become an entirely unique entity unto itself. American black metal bands eschew the corpsepaint and spikes of their European brothers in favor of a more human approach. This new breed’s descriptors – organic, progressive, atmospheric, experimental, expansive, earthy, technical, multi-faceted – are a far cry from the European hordes’ focus on occult aggression and Satanic orthodoxy. American black metal cannot draw upon the ancient spells of the fjords, the steppes, the Black Forest. Instead, its inspiration springs forth from the forests of the Northwest, the rolling hills and hidden homes of Appalachia, the urban blight and suffocation that plagues our cities, the wide-open skies out West and frantic pace out East, the poverty-stricken South and economic nightmares up North – our land, our history, our daily struggles breathe life into this darkest expression of musical malady. Maybe we’re all still victims of that “melting pot” mentality so many of our forebears picked up alongside their brand-newAnglicized names at Ellis Island. We as a nation are rather fond of recycling, reimagining, and rebuilding what we’re given to create our own realities. Why would our take on ravishing grimness be any different? A bit of post-rock here, some hardcore there, a pinch of crust, a dash of noise, a hint of folk, a snippet of thrash and a helluva lot of ambience…Call it what you will (“post-black metal” seems to be gaining ground) and point fingers towards its influences all you like, but this scene, this community, this movement couldn’t have come from anywhere else. Krallice couldn’t have come from anywhere but New York – and Abbath’s bombastic winterdemoncy has no place in Queens.

The members of Krallice are musicians and fans, purveyors of the heavy, the filthy, the complex. Their sonic template is as varied and diverse as a packed subway car, and the aural pictures they paint prove that there are many, many shades of black. Their skill levels are practically obscene, ranging from Colin Marston’s technical ecstasies to Mick Barr’s ingenious fretboard wrangling, to Nick McMaster’s flying fingers and Lev Weinsteins apocalyptic drumbeats, and the luxury of having a world-class recording engineer and access to Marston’s cavernous studio within their ranks hasn’t hurt ‘em a bit. Combining a mutual desire to progress, experiment, and explore with a shared love of the blackest of arts, Krallice exploded onto the scene and the aftershock rippled through scores of curious and appreciative eardrums across the world. They were new, they were interesting, but above all – they were damn good.

The debut was a stunner, but its follow-up was more of a grower. Dimensional Bleedthrough was a brave album, one that greatly revealed the band members’ backgrounds in uber-technical, complex music. This time, it really sounded like the dudes from Dysrhythmia, Bloody Panda, and Orthrelm were involved. The difficult second album was just that – a challenging listen, but a rewarding one, and a startlingly mature offering from a band that, for all their chops and know-how, were still pretty new. The material for Diotima was written with dizzying speed, and was already ready for release by the time its predecessor dropped. This album is their most cohesive effort yet, and makes it crystal clear that Krallice have grown into themselves, found their comfort zone, and then immediately, characteristically, pushed those boundaries to the breaking point.

By now, Krallice have grown used to press accolades, top ten lists, and fanboys, but that doesn’t mean they take it for granted; if anything, it seems to push them further.
Each member has settled into his respective role, comfortable with his past and his future in the band. In such a pedigreed project, stacked as it is with the combined resumes of Barr, Marston, and Weinstein, it’s been interesting watching bassist and vocalist McMaster stepping into a more prominent role as a vocalist and songwriter. His budding contributions to the band’s artistic direction (coupled with the visionary work of NYC-based artist Karlynn Holland) only serve to emphasize the fact that the man is a true talent in his own right. With time comes growth.

As you can see for yourself, Krallice are a formidable live band. For being such a complex band, not only do they pull it off in a live setting, but the intensity and raw power emanating from their speakers, strings, and selves amplifies the experience – turns it up to 11, even. The band is selective when it comes to playing shows, and have managed to make every gig and tour count, from their North American runs with Ludicra, Withered and Wolves in the Throne Room to appearances at events like Fall Into Darkness, Maryland Deathfest, and Scion Rock Fest. Less is more, after all, and while road dogs bust their ass and generally get their due, there’s something to be said for moderation as well. A Krallice show is an event, and a special one at that. The live footage that (((unartig))) has so artfully captured is testament enough to that, and says more about the band than words ever could.

Kim Kelly | New York City, May 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Musings on Metal's Nuclear Fixation

I wrote this for Metalsucks, and wanted to post it on here because, well, I like it. It's something I may expound upon someday, time and luck willing.


Ever since the dawn of the nuclear age, mankind has been fascinated with The Bomb and its terrifying capabilities. Even before The Manhattan Project bore fruit, countless nuke-themed songs, movies, books, and of course, good ol’ propaganda flooded the American consciousness and captivated our over-reactive imaginations. Some truly masterful books (Level 7, Alas, Babylon, A Canticle for Liebowitz) and truly abominable pulp fiction novels were written, the government cheerfully advised its citizens to build bomb shelters out back and stockpile creamed corn “just in case!” (better an oblivious populace then a nation of protestors, right?), and Bert the talking turtle advised kiddies on the best way to protect themselves during an atomic blast (hide under your desk and cover your head, and everything will be swell!).

These catchy little ditties, cheesy sci-fi flicks, and government-sponsored nonsense planted seeds of fear and xenophobia, and left lasting scars upon the children of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Ask your parents and grandparents if they remember being told to “duck and cover,” or the feeling that they got when they heard the air raid sirens scream, or the impenetrable dread that settled over the country during the Cuban Missile Crisis as JFK and Krushchev toyed with the idea of apocalypse. My granddad’s voice shook as he described it (and he’s a 6”4 ex-Marine who goes bear-hunting in Alaska on the regular). Our current administration grew up during this time, and one can only wonder how their childhood memories may someday impact their nuclear decisions.

A few decades of that will leave one hell of an impression on a young country like ours, and on the places across the globe wherein similar scenarios played out. Eastern Europe trembled when Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor blew, and the aftermath of that disaster can still be seen in the radiation-rich swaths of land as far as Siberia that some impoverished people still call home. In WWII, the United States’ destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki served as a nightmarish introduction to the horrifying consequences of intentionally pushing that red button. The world has never reclaimed its pre-atomic innocence, or lost its morbid curiosity about what goes down after the bomb goes off.

The psychological remnants of this period inadvertently went on to inspire many, many more works of art, music, and literature, and has provided a creative spark for struggling extreme metal lyricists everywhere. Heavy metal has held a long-term love affair with Armageddon, and the genre itself was born barely a decade after the Cold War thawed. It’s only natural that the twain should meet. It’s possible to find references to nuclear war, fallout, and post-apocalyptic wastelands within nearly any subgenre (hell, even power metal pansies Primal Fear have a record called Nuclear Fire, and Erik Wunder of Man’s Gin penned a dark alt-country ode to his “Nuclear Ambition”). Insect Warfare, Angelcorpse, Mutant Supremacy, and the immortal warmongers Bolt Thrower have all referenced the topic within their lyrics, and that’s just the result of a two-second brain scan on my part. The theme of nuclear annihilation has been embraced most by the anti-lifers in black metal and sociopolitical edge of thrash (and about a thousand crust bands like the incredible Nuclear Death Terror). Sodom imagined “Nuclear Winter” in 1987, while Voivod lamented the onset of “Nuclear War” in 1984, and crossover bands especially had their fingers on the pulse. Nuclear Assault have been flying the atomic flag since 1984, Cryptic Slaughter envisioned a “Nuclear Future” on 1986’s Convicted, and nowadays, we’ve got Toxic Holocaust keeping that dangerous flame lit (Joel Grind kicked things off with 1999’s Radiation Sickness demo and hasn’t looked back). As far as the black legions go, the list verges upon endless thanks to the likes of Impaled Nazarene, Nuclear Desecration, Parabellum, Aanal Beehemoth, Bestial Holocaust, Black Witchery, Nuclearhammer, Bestial Mockery… even war metal OGs Blasphemy were preaching nuclear desecration in between dripping blood upon the altar. The mere existence of cult label/distro Nuclear War Now! says it all, really, and their roster is prime territory for apocalyptic metal.

When I was at this year’s NWN! Fest in Berlin a few months back, I heard so many nuclear song titles and hails to the apocalypse that it was almost funny. It all seemed bit ironic, too, that these sweaty, leather-clad musicians, with their gas masks and bandoliers of ammunition, would be calling for war in the middle of a city that has seen so much of it, and especially one that played such a crucial role during a time when WWIII seemed just around the corner. Extreme metal’s warlike nature will never be tamed, and as time goes on and mankind continues to flirt with its own extinction, bands like Nuclear Desecration may end up providing the most fitting soundtrack to whatever’s coming next.

Friday, January 21, 2011

AMEBIX Announce New Album Title & Release Date

This is the most important announcement of my career, and one that means a lot to me as a friend to and massive fan of the band. Please spread the word.

AMEBIX Announce New Album Title & Release Date

The darkest hour is upon us. The legends have returned.

AMEBIX, one of the best-loved and most influential bands in heavy music, have spent the last two years working towards this, a defining moment in their storied career - the release of their first collection of all-new material since 1987.

On September 20, 2011, upon the cusp of the autumnal Equinox, the new AMEBIX album will be released. Entitled Sonic Mass, these nine songs represent the past, present, and future of the band, and will enthrall and inspire longtime fans and new converts alike. As dark, crushing, and honest as anything on their classics Arise! and Monolith, but imbued with a lifetime of hardship, raw emotion, and eternal hope, Sonic Mass is the album AMEBIX have always wanted to create.

The album was recorded at Rock Cottage in Derbyshire and The Lodge Studios in Northampton, England, and engineered, mixed and produced by AMEBIX drummer Roy Mayorga. Sonic Mass will be released digitally and on CD by Alternative Tentacles, with a deluxe 12" vinyl edition from Profane Existence.

Formed in the late seventies and hailed as the godfathers of crust punk and extreme metal, AMEBIX had long lain dormant until the addition of drummer Roy Mayorga (Nausea, Crisis, Soulfly, Stone Sour), a DVD release, and a string of 2009 reunion shows reignited the flame. The band's resurrection first resulted in the release of 2010's Redux EP, which features live and rerecorded versions of several of the band's best-loved classics, including "Winter," "Chain Reaction," and the immortal battle cry, "Arise." The songs were remixed by Mayorga and Redux is available from Profane Existence on CD, 12" LP and digitally.

Now, the time has come to finish what they started. A whole new chapter in the AMEBIX saga has begun.

Rob Miller: Vocals/Bass
Stig C Miller: Guitars
Roy Mayorga: Drums/Keyboards/Mandolin

Photos from the recording sessions for Sonic Mass can be viewed HERE. All photos by Fin MacAteer.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Castevet, Lake of Blood, Seidr, Falls of Rauros played two blocks from my house.

And I wrote about it for Brooklyn Vegan.



It was bitter cold outside,. A starless sky and biting wind provided the perfect setting for a black metal ritual, as soiled snowdrifts hugged the sidewalk and surely made load-in a nightmare for the quartet of bands slated to perform. Those that braved the winter chill and got to the Acheron in time for the first band were richly rewarded.

Falls of Rauros’ set unfolded over a series of long, gorgeously-crafted atmospheric black metal compositions. Their sprawling odes to the wilderness and man’s primal past recalled the power and delicacy of Drudkh and Agalloch, with a taste of Ulver’s Kveldssanger and a hungry intensity all their own. Unfortunately they’d already sold out of CDs by the time they rolled through Brooklyn, but this Maine collective are working on new material for an upcoming release that will undoubtedly surpass even my high expectations.

Louisville, KY’s black/doom cult Seidr have long been a favorite of mine, and did not disappoint. The band, which includes Austin Lunn of Panopticon, was unafraid to allow beautiful melodies to shine through the thick black fog that envelops their funereal dirges. Their performance was absolutely riveting – total catharsis, and the strongest set of the night.

California black metallers Lake of Blood commanded our attention, and got it. While their imposing frontman roared and raged down on the floor with a whiskey- and blood-drunk crowd, the rest of the band closed their eyes and hammered away, churning out riff after riff of darkness and light. They managed to sound melodic and refined without sacrificing any of the barbarity and speed that keep underground black metal dangerous – impressive, to say the least. Look for a new album from these guys as well.

Castevet still stand out as one of NYC’s most engaging live acts, and closed out the evening with a bang. If you haven’t seen them yet, you’re fucking up. Luckily, they’ll be back at the Acheron with Phantom Glue and brother band Defeatist – don’t miss out.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Albums I'm Looking Forward To Hearing In 2011:

Adorior – TBA 3rd album

Antediluvian / Adversarial – split album

Ascended / HelcaraxĂ« – split 7″

Bastard Sapling – TBA debut album

Burial Invocation – TBA debut album

Cruciamentum – TBA MLP

Gallhammer - TBA album

Gates of Slumber - The Scourge of Drunkenness

Gospel of the Horns – TBA mCD

Katharsis / Teitanblood – split

Kerasphorus – TBA 7″


Morbid Angel – TBA “I” album

Petrychor - TBA

Repugnant – TBA second album

Revenge – Scum.Collapse.Eradication

Revenge / Black Witchery – TBA split

Sanguis Imperem – TBA debut album

Scythian / Kawir – split 7″ (spoiler alert: the Scythian track rulezzz)

and probably a million more I'm forgetting about.

A couple upcoming releases that I can PROMISE you are awesome:

Altar of Plagues - Mammal

Amebix - Sonic Mass

Crowbar - Sever the Wicked Hand

Necros Christos – Doom of the Occult

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I like band tattoos.

And I really LOVE EyeHateGod.

Take as needed for pain, bitches.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011



I just figured out how Tumblr works (sort of) and decided to make one for my PR company, Catharsis PR. Once I caught myself posting non-work stuff on there like five seconds after I made it, I decided to make another one just for me to dick around on. Here are the links, let's be friends.




ASCENSION - With Burning Tongues demo
BOLT THROWER - Realm of Chaos
APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT - It's Far From Fucking Over
STEVE VON TILL - A Grave is a Grim Horse
JOHNNY CASH - American V: A Hundred Highways
THE GAULT - Even As All Before Us

I'm making a mix CD for my boyfriend, thus the more mellow stuff near the end of the evening. Yeah, I'm aware that I am 1. a massive sap, and 2. stuck in the early 2000's. Come at me, bro.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

To Separate Flesh From Bone - Happenings and Discoveries

The above photo was snapped by my beloved friend Samantha Marble to accompany a piece that ran on NPR.org this past week as part of the Record's "The Year in Music" retrospective series. Entitled "2010's Best Writing About Metal," the post rounded up a handful of pieces that its author thought particularly exemplary, and I'm pretty chuffed that my "Metal Etiquette: A Ladies' Guide to Concert-going" (Metalsucks) was chosen. Many thanks to Lars Gotrich for the honor. You can read the writeup and find a link to the original article here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2010/12/30/132413390/the-year-in-music-2010s-best-writing-about-metal

Sam, my roommate Karlynn Holland and I spent a good couple hours Immortal-izing my face, shooting in the snow outside Sam's apartment, spooking unsuspecting passersby,, and breathlessly giggling at the sight of my dumb ass in full-on Abbath mode. You can see a couple more photos here - I look like a dude, but am totally okay with it. Talk about ravishing grimness. Hah! http://samanthamarble.tumblr.com/


Clandestine Blaze released a new album on longtime allies Northern Heritage at the tail end of 2010, and it completely snuck under my nose! I haven't gotten my mitts on it yet, but according to the NH website,

"2010 album of Clandestine Blaze underlines the core of black metal as it has been interpreted by it. Utmost focus on the core elements of riffs, melody, song structures and lyrics, leaving out everything unnecessary. In stripped down simplicity of sound, music and artwork it continues logical journey since Church Of Atrocity, with more distorted, lethal and fierce sound."

There's a new Mgla on the way, too! Stoked.

Fans of Cruciamentum should hit up Metal Ireland and check out a cool new interview with Dan, conducted by Andy from Dublin doom titans Wreck of the Hesperus: http://www.metalireland.com/2010/12/26/cruciamentum-interview/ Cruciamentum's 2009 EP 'Convocation of Crawling Chaos' is a proclamation of intent and an essential listen for anyone who gives a damn about the current state of underground metal ov death.
Listen and worship: http://www.last.fm/music/Cruciamentum

Negative Plane have a brand-new record due out on Ireland's truly barbaric Invictus Productions in early 2011. Invictus will also be releasing an LP for Canadian black/death warriors Antediluvian, who are planning a split with brothers in arms Adversarial as well.

Altar of Plagues have completed their new album for Profound Lore, which is currently being mastered by the immortal Necromorbus. Can't spill any more details, but trust me - this will be the one of the best albums of 2011.

Much-loved Necros Christos affiliates Drowned have come to their senses and gotten together to record new material, though no hope (as of yet) of catching the Teutonic death/doom beasts live:

A new line-up has been coagulated earlier this year, involving Tlmnn on guitar, G.ST (also in Essenz) on bass and T.E. (also in Essenz and Android Empire) on drums. We are currently working on material for an upcoming full-length album.
MDR will remain available for future vocal recordings, albeit his participation in live shows is unlikely due to the ever more time-consuming nature of Necros Christos.
Because of this circumstance and also in order to focus on songwriting, Drowned will not play live in the near future."

My good friends Craven Idol will be releasing their debut EP Ethereal Altars on Hammer of Hate/Vengeful Atakkk - black/thrash supremacy! Speaking of the London scene, my mates Scythian (warlike black/thrash) will be releasing a split 7" with Greek horde Kawir in the coming months.


Some new discoveries have hit my headphones today; I'm taking advantage of my newfound downtime to greedily devour as much new-to-me (and underappreciated) UGBM/UGDM as possible. Lots of demos, lots of new blood and surprisingly, lots of American stuff.

SKITSYSTEM - Stigmata (2006)
SOMBRES FORETS - Royaume De Glace (2008)
GOAT HORN - Trinza After Sunset demo (1999)
CASTLE OF PURITY - s/t demo (2009)
ETERNAL DIRGE - Morbus Ascendit (1992)
GAROTTE - Count the Almounds (2010)
ROMAN CROSS - Rain rehearsal (2008)
GRAVE MIASMA - Realm of Evoked Doom rerelease (2010)