Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ghost- Infestissumam

I've been listening to Ghost's new album for couple of days now. I don't know what to make of Ghost's music really. It depends on my mood whether to put it on or not. Infestissumam is more atmospheric than the previous one. This is my first opinion on the album.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nick DiSalvo (Elder): PLAYLIST

The spirits are moving again and stars are falling. The unconditional break was mostly due to unwillingness of a truck to get out of the way. It intended to hit hard; so hard indeed that it almost succeeded to bury me six feet under. So with the excuse getting quickly out of the way, let's focus on some music.

Elder, young guns from Massachusetts, have been surfing on my radar for quite a time now. If I remember correctly, I came across Gemini, which is the first song off of Dead Roots Stirring, from the YouTube's suggestion column while blasting out Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' Black Sabbath-ian influenced acid rock Blood Lust. Being more than impressed, I got hold of the whole album and since then Dead Roots Stirring took unreasonable amount of spinning. Simply the record kept growing on me. The heavy psychedelic gain perfectly intertwins with stoner rock which gives certain hypnotic power. Although the core of Elder is brilliant guitar display by Nick DiSalvo, the efforts of bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto can not be overlooked. Collectively Elder takes you back to the vintage '70s era with incredibly glowing sounds. They further stretched the credibility on Spires Burn/ Rise 12" EP released on Armageddon Shop. Just a few days back, I got in touch with Nick DiSalvo and he compiled a list of 10 albums which are in constant rotation for a while and/or have been sonically influential. Enjoy and don't forget to catch Elder with Church of Misery on 24th May (for tickets/more info, visit here).

Windhand- S/T

Colour Haze- All

Dungen- Skit I Allt

35007- Phase V

Batillus- Furnace

Bo Hansson- Sagan Om Ringen

Earth Ride- Vampire Circus

Motorpsycho- Little Lucid Moments

Pallbearer- Sorrow and Extinction

Steely Dan- Countdown to Ecstacy

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Night Dinner #1

Let's have some grilled & smoked chicken with sour creamy mashed potatoes, fresh green salad and garlic rice. Grab a beer and enjoy these crappy videos!

Many of you already know the collaboration between Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson for a new project Storm Corrosion. The self titled album is set to be released on May 7 on Roadrunner Records. But before that a new video for the song Drag Ropes has been released which is amazing in every way imaginable. Forget about the song. The video is so epic that I keep rewinding over and over again. The clip was directed by Jess Cope who did a brilliant job on the art of puppet moving animation. Don't miss it at any cost!

Do you remember about that Pantera track which surfaced at the mid of last year? It was explained that the track was a result of a fun jam between Dimebag, Phil and Sean Yseult. Again few days back, a lost track Piss evolved from The Vulgar Display of Power sessions which has got a video now. You can watch it below along with a solo Dimebag track which is basically a promotion for a new Dimebag Skateboard.

Danish black horror metal horde Denial of God will be releasing their 2nd full length album entitled Death And The Beyond on Friday, July 13th via Hells Headbangers Records. They have released a promo video for the track Black Dethe which features scenes from the movie Nosferatu(?)

Enjoy three new performance-videos of Emptiness, Decapitated and Black Breath below!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gunner Hansen's hard work pays off on Faustcoven's Hellfire and Funeral Bells

Given Trondheim's rich history and cultural importance, it's not much of a surprise that many bands from the area follow the chosen path of Black Metal. It's true that Norway lost those glamorous activities to some extent over the years from let's say when the second wave of black metal thing was going on but Norway still holds characteristic bands who are making quality music applying innovative ideas. As the whole old school revival strategy in the scene is going on, the breed of Faustcoven can be useful once they come in the limelight. Faustcoven's sound leans more into blackened doom side of things along with the first wave of Satanic sound from the 80s- imagine Necros Christos meets Hellhammer.

It's a little surprising that Faustcoven is still on the radar of a very specific group of fans as around ten years have passed since the band's inception with some demos and two full length albums previously under the belt. Maybe it's because of the fact that frontman Gunner Hansen, who handles the guitars, vocals and bass duties, is a full time Chemical Engineer if I'm not mistaken. So timing is an issue here. The addition of Johnny Tombthrasher in 2006 added strength and inevitably he became a key member. The duo made a great start on the album Rising from Below The Earth and the follow- up Hellfire and Funeral Bells carries the torch further with authorative song writing.

Art by Seth Bennett
About 5 months ago, the title track Hellfire and Funeral Bells was already floating in the Web and indicated a substantial release. Also add that it was coming out on Nuclear War Now! Productions. So it had all the makings of a monumental album. After a bit of delay which is never a bad thing given the amount of time and energy that goes into polishing a solid piece of work, Hellfire and Funeral Bells LP finally came out on April 4th. It's understood that Gunner worked hard with amps and guitars in order to make the sound as evil and crushing as possible. He posted, "I have also been working like a maniac with the guitar sound. Found a suiting rehersal room that can take the earbleeding volume of a classic 100W Marshall JCM800. And it has unfortunatly taken me a long time to get the hang of micing up the amp. This is very different from the simulated direct line in type I have done before. I probably spent something like 20 hours moving the mic back and forward and tearing my hair out. Now that this is straightened out I have finished up the guitar tracks for two songs tested some different mixes etc and will return to the others as soon as I have time. The songs at least are turning out good so far (Barbarian Wrath)." The final product was drenched in dense production and all the dedication which went behind the album certainly paid off.

The album runs just over 40 minutes with six tracks pouring vicious black/doom/ death which shatters everything above and below. Fans of every extreme genre will find something to cling into. Even there is a refined touch of heavy metal which alternates between mid and slow paced passages. The opening riff of the title track Hellfire and Funeral Bells is memorable along with the crawling lead work at the very end. The whole track Convent of Earthly Delights is one of the highlights of the album esp. the way it transforms, the track keeps ringing inside the head. Dr. Carswell starts off with a speech which then transcends into horrifying vibrance and outcry of mourning. When Faustcoven decides to dive into melancholic doom on Lost in the Forest of Suicide or Choir of Mentors, it shows the band is equally capable of producing  anguish and sadness filled with torturous vocals.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anhedonist- Netherwards

Dark Descent continues the trend of jolting crushing records one after another this year.

The stunning piece of cover art by Alexander Brown reflects the mood, attitude and overall feel of the music which conjures large sum of emotional connection. Never a doubt in the first place with the hint of musicianship being displayed on The Drear which gives birth to a monumental piece of work entitled Netherwards. The mere tagging of doom/death will be misleading. The sound delves into sludge laden death to blackened doom to funeral doom and so forth. The bold approach to the contemporary scene with keeping old school worship in tact is nothing short of applauding. Anhedonist has arrived.

If memory serves right, my first introduction to Anhedonist was through a mixtape curated by Coffinworm last year. I followed the path to The Drear and enjoyed it to some extent but Netherwards is completely on its own league. I was in great anticipation after coming across the news of a new album and that anticipation reached to another level when the album cover and second track Estrangement got premiered  just a few days back. Now finally I got hold of the whole thing and it's growing on me like a weed. Each of the four tracks with a total spinning time of 40 minutes calls for utter devastation in the vein of causing grief and misery.

The opening track Saturnine starts off like the calmness before the storm and after around 2 minutes of floating, the first riff strikes. The doom laden death sound filters raw filthiness of Incantation, Disma and Coffins. You'll get hooked to the proceedings and there's no way out. The production is dense and also contains the perfect edginess. You can even hear clearly the guitar scream when the technique of pinch harmonics has been applied. When Anhedonist slows things down on Estrangement with funeral doom infused with melodic passages, it shows the band can successfully nurture every end of doom metal either it's Disembowelment or Loss. There is a vast difference between making a plan and executing it perfectly. It's mesmerizing how Anhedonist applied each of their ideas and polished the final product flawlessly. The track Carne Liberatus shows further variations. It even enters into blackened death territory in the manner of Mitochondrion. The strong hold of Anhedonist is slow/mid paced melodic doom channel which takes full effect on Inherent Opprobrium again. In mid way through, the track turns into doom/death sludginess of the early '90s era. The transition continues alternating between guttural and screeching vocals. This 15- minute long closer leaves a memorable mark with the presence of enough dynamics.

Netherwards is a journey into our very dreams and emotions with plentiful of dark and hollow atmosphere. Imagine walking into a void of nothingness. It's a cloud of unknowing. You can sense that a shadow is approaching; once closer, it will take away all the pain.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

new Electric Wizard 7'' vinyl

The mighty ol' Electric Wizard strikes with a new 7'' EP Legalise Drugs & Murder without much of a fuss containing two songs which may or may not be included on the upcoming album. It's kind of weird listening to Wizard in such a small burst but the songs don't stray away from Vinum Sabbathi infused with spacey and distorted psychedelic doom. The band sold 800 clear Vinyl new edition on their recent London show. 800 Purple Edition is sold out and Regular Edition Black Vinyl may or may not be available on Rise Above Records.

Heavy Cross in town!

With handful of  NWOBHM releases this year from the veterans like Angel Witch (who released As Above, So Below) and Pagan Altar (gearing up for Never Quite Dead), let's turn our attention to a fairly unknown band Heavy Cross churning out glimpse of quality composition on the debut EP Street Wolf with mass load of inspirations from NWOBHM in the vein of Saxon, Tokyo Blade, Angel Witch to classic heavy metal acts such as Oz, Heavy Load etc. Keep an eye on Hells Headbangers for more information. You can listen to the tracks, Street Wolf and Red Light Woman, below.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

a look into death metal guitar sound with Deus Otiosus

This is Peter Engkjær from Danish death metal band Deus Otiosus. I’ve been asked to reveal a bit about the guitar setup behind our death metallic sound. If you have not heard the music yet, you can do so here: deusotiosus.bandcamp.com

In Deus Otiosus we are two guitarists, myself and my brother (Henrik Engkjær). We are in no way sound experts, but I will try to take you through our different guitar setups and equipment. Hopefully it won’t be to boring, and even more hopefully someone out there will be able to use one or more of our “tricks”, or perhaps just be inspired to try something new. Now remember: a good sound doesn’t make your music better, but it can sure help communicating it to others easier. If the music is poorly written it will be a waste of time producing good tone, but if the music is original and good, it will be just that regardless of production quality (within reason of course).

We use two different approaches when making guitar sound and tone; one setup for live/rehearsal and another setup for recording. 

Me and my brothers "live setup", as I will call it, is somewhat similar in concept although different in terms of equipment. Both use a classic:

"guitar -> various stompbox floor pedals -> Marshall stack"-setup.

Peters equipment

Primary guitars

Epiphone SG
Epiphone Explorer
BC Rich Warlock

All three have had their stock bridge pickup replaced with a Seymour Duncan Dimebucker, which gives a hot output as well as combats feedback at high gain. They are all guitars that I have acquired fairly cheep, but with the right modifications and adjustments, I find that they play and sound just as good as any expensive guitar out there -- at least for my use!


From right to left (guitar to amp): Wah, Tuner, Noise Suppressor, Power Stack, Equalizer
I use the following specific brands:
Vox Classic Wah
Boss Tuner
Boss Power Stack
Boss Noise Suppressor
Boss Equalizer (rarely used)

The Power Stack pedal produces the majority of my sound. It sounds very close to the classic tube amp distortion, and is very simple to adjust and has a lot more gain available than most tube amps. The Noise Suppressor is used to suppress feedback and noise when I'm not playing. The wah is my latest addition, and I use it a lot for solos. A tuner is essential, and I'm a real tune freak. (I tune almost between each song when playing live or even rehearsing)


JCM 900 with standard 1960 cabs
A very straightforward two channel amp. I used to use the overdrive channel, but ever since I got the Power Stack I only use the clean channel and let the Power Stack produce the distortion. This gives me a very sharp tone, which I rather like.

Henriks equipment

Primary guitars

Gibson Explorer
Epiphone SG
Gothic Les Paul
Again, these are guitars that can be bought very cheap, but they play very well and sound great.


Right to left (guitar to amp): Tuner, Noise Suppressor, Tubescreamer
Henrik uses the Tubescreamer in combination with his amp distortion, which produces a very old school heavy but distinctly sharp tone. He also uses a Noise Suppressor to combat unwanted feedback and noise. A tuner goes without saying.


JCM 2000 with standard 1960 cabs
A newer and bit more advanced amplifier than my own, in terms of available settings, but their sound is quite similar I would say.

Notes on equipment

As you maybe can tell I am somewhat more of a gadget geek than my brother, but despite this I think that our guitar tones are quite similar. I think it just comes down to having an appropriate amount of distortion and the right equalization. Since it’s death metal we like to have a lot of distortion, but too much sounds awful and tends to introduce feedback and drown the tone. As for equalization I like it when the guitar has both the low and high frequencies, so it sounds both heavy and sharp in tone. (So lots of "low" and "hi", very little "mid")

Our equipment is in the cheaper end of the spectrum, but in my experience it doesn’t require much to make a big metal sound, just the right settings and maybe a few modifications. We are not trying to make music that sounds beautiful -- it's old school, rotten death metal! I will say however that we've had bad experiences with cheaper pedals that has broken down or not functioned optimally. I would therefore recommend to buy higher quality pedals, such as Boss or similar, as these are built like tanks and can take a lot of abuse, and always work as you expect them to!

If you, like us, have some cheaper-end guitars, and you are not completely satisfied with it or them, try giving it an adjustment (move the strings closer to the fretboard, intonate each string, etc.) or maybe even change a pickup. These things are not as complicated as they sound, and you can get a lot of help online. Don't be afraid to try, because if you fuck up you can always get a professional guitar tech to correct your mistakes or finish the job for you.

Recording setup

We use a trick that our trusty studio engineer Pede showed us, where the guitar goes through a guitar pedal that simply produces two identical outputs (could be a Boss Chorus or similar, with the effect off, of course). One line is fed through a tube amp stack (on “Murderer” I think it was a Peavey Triple X) that is recorded with a microphone, the other goes through a Line 6 Pod and then into the recording station. This way we can record a single rhythm guitar, that produces two independently adjustable tracks, that together forms a big enough sound for one side. Henrik records one of these for one side and I record one for the other, and they are panned out (not 100% I think, but close to it). We might use different equipment for the next album, but the "one guitar, two tracks"-trick will probably be used again, as it gives a big sound and saves a lot of valuable studio time.

Feel free to try out or rip off any ideas, but more importantly: make some killer songs!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Whitehorse- Progression

The main reason for writing about Whitehorse is that they do not get enough recognition among the sludge/doom fans despite being continuously putting out quality materials. Last year's LP Progression simply flew under the radar of every year end lists. Either we forgot about Whitehorse or several line up changes might be a factor. Anyhow the way Whitehorse is evolving, they are bound to move the crowd sooner than later. After releasing some live records since the inception, the self titled debut release knocked a few punch. Starting from drone/death to funeral doom to sludge to noise, Whitehorse incorporated everything and that too with some dignity. The follow up LP Progression although shorter than what you'd expect doesn't disappoint a bit. It's downright heavy, crushing and dirty.

Pete described that some fans who were not entirely familiar with Whitehorse looked genuinely terrified at a show when the opening track Mechanical Disintegration was played and unearthly demonic vocals had been unleashed in the middle/last segment. It's that horrifying. The noise effect has been controlled with great impact throughout the track. The title track Progression starts off with a bass section and heavily down-tuned funeral doom chord progression takes an unexpected doom laden death turn. You won't be able to restrain from headbanging along with gnarly riffing and Craig Pillard era Incantation vocal summoning with a tempo down. The guitar tone is unbelievably swamp drudg-y. Give the track Remains Unknown a bit of time as it slowly builds up. The sound texture underneath resembles spacey/ verby tone. The middle section gives a kind of feeling as if the earth has been destroyed and only fossils and cremated human embers lying on the ground and buried. The shattering of dying hellion around dismantling atmosphere adds tension to the air. Then silence; tribal drum beats confirm the dissipating ritual process. The track Control, Annihilate delves into a sluggish aura of raw vulgarity and acts as a perfect bridging between Remains Unknown and Time Worn Regression. The hellion rises again to dry out any bit of earthly being and mutilate it. Time Worn Regression is a percussive noise generator and complements the variations of intense scorching throat radiation throughout.

The noise texture plays an important role for doom/death sound that Whitehorse is trying to achieve. It's not there just for the sake of it. Progression is the perfect name for the album although you might complain about the album art which looks a bit like clip art image but it's misleading. The album gives a perfect launching opportunity for Whitehorse. It looks like they are willing to experiment and provide a different dimension with a modern approach which is fresh and filthy at the same time.

Currently the vinyl version of Progression is available via At A Loss Records.

Whitehorse official site
Whitehorse facebook page