Friday, 29 September 2017

INTERVIEW: "Descend into the Allure of Despair" - Amped & Doomed with Dan Alderson (Horrified)

As with all genres, the popularity of bands that are influential shifts as time goes on. Amongst the more underground death metal bands, the primary influential bands have been comprised of two main camps in recent years. On one side there is early Incantation and Autopsy and on the other is Dismember and Entombed. On the Incantation/Autopsy side, we have bands like Father Befouled, Ignivomous, and Dead Congregation. On the Dismember/Entombed side we have bands such as Black Breath, Miasmal, and Entrails. Those two camps have dominated the more old school-minded of the last several years.

A few years back, a new camp began to develop with a new set of influences. Specifically, Asphyx and Death, with the Death influence tending to come from the pre-‘Individual Thought Patterns’ era.  Two of the best albums of 2014 and featuring these influences were from Morbus Chron and Horrendous, along with several others. Indeed Horrified were one such band and they emerged with their debut album ‘Descent Into Putridity’ featuring similar influences, whilst also making use of the Sunlight Studios sound of Dismember. The focus of this debut album was on the uglier, simpler side of things as compared to Horrendous’ more melodic approach. It made for an enjoyable album but one that was not without its flaws, but with a nicely varied song writing style already in place, the future looked bright for Horrified

On their sophomore album ‘Of Despair’, they retained elements of what worked on their debut, but broadened their horizons considerably. Whilst they were very clearly still a death metal band, with a similar tempo to their previous material, the guitars on “Of Despair” took a more melodic turn and while the straightforward death metal moments on the album were  very good, it was  moments of downtempo grandiosity that separated Horrified from other modern day death metal bands.

Today will see the release of the highly anticipated third album from Horrified, “Allure of the Fallen” a work of towering, melodic death metal majesty.  To celebrate this release we offer this exclusive interview with main man Dan Alderson, who talks us through his influences and everything else in between, as we get AMPED & DOOMED with one of death metal’s rising stars. 

Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Horrified

I actually started playing music by picking up the Bass guitar when I was still in high school. All of my friends were getting into rock and getting their first instruments so I kind of followed suite. The bass didn't last long and I acquired my first guitar from one of my close friends and started taking it seriously as a teenager. I ended up going on to study music at college after high school, in my second year of college I finally met other capable musicians playing metal and started playing in bands.

Can you remember who are what inspired you to pick up the guitar and are there any bands, guitarists, musicians currently on the scene that continue to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Well back in those formative pre metal days classic choices such as Hendrix and Jimmy Paige really did make me to pick up the guitar and try to get some good lead chops down. The first metal album I ever heard was Megadeth's "Rust In Peace" album, which I discovered by one of my best friends sending me "Holy Wars.." via MSN messenger around 11 years ago now. I think looking back in hindsight the reason why I loved Dave's playing so much was down to him taking those classic pentatonic licks / runs and playing them at pretty insane speeds. I would honestly say that I owe a lot of my lead chops down to Alexi from Children of Bodom, when I was becoming more advanced in college, I really did challenge myself to start learning his leads, which lead me on to search out lessons and advice from other players to actually learn how to sweep pick and such in order to progress.

Ultimately my favourite lead players of all time are Andres Rain and Olaf Thörsen from Labyrinth, the lead playing on "Return To Heaven Denied" for me is simply unmatched and I often still jam lead sections from tracks such as "Moonlight" and "Night of Dreams" in order to keep my lead playing up to scratch and inspiring me to still focus on lead playing, which really does have to come second to songwriting now.

Whilst we’re on the subject of inspiration or heroes, do you have 5 records that stand out as favourites, what influence did they have upon you and what is it about those record that particular resonates amongst others?

This is going to be a long answer, as I love talking about albums close to me, here goes:

Edge of Sanity – “Crimson II”

This for me is my ultimate album, my greatest inspiration. Not only does this album inspire me to write music the most out of any album I've heard, but it also helps me push on through life during hard times. The entire album is incredible from start to finish but those highly layered, intense melodic parts stand out the most and has really made me push my song writing to layer up a lot of sections and build on themes in order to strive for really epic and tight arrangements for Horrified. This album really does captivate my imagination and create an emotive response unlike anything else.

Caladan Brood – “Echoes of Battle

The album which made me read "The Malazan Book Of The Fallen" I wasn't prepared for the impact that series would have on my life in general and the inspiration it gives me. But back to the album itself, again, it's all about those dense, heavily layered sections which really do define the term "epic". This album manages to encapsulate the feeling of a 11k word plus series in a 70 minute run time and that is definitely a huge achievement and an inspiring feat in my opinion. Countless times this album has moved me and still does on every listen; I can assure you this has racked up a pretty insane play count since it was released in 2013.

Horrendous “Ecydsis”

Oh boy, this album really did follow me through the most difficult and demanding 2 years of my entire life. I have followed this band closely ever since “The Chill”s and started communicating with Damain online via discovering his studio work in the run up for the release of “Ecydsis”. This album was a huge step up from the debut in my opinion and added incredibly sombre, melodic sections to an already melodic, intense death metal style and at the time that was everything I wanted to achieve in music and given to me on a silver plate with this record. This album really did inspire me to improve my own song writing and push on through times of severe adversity in my personal life. For all those reasons stated, this album will always remain close to me.  

Sacramentum – “Far Away From The Sun”

This should be pretty obvious if you have heard "Allure Of The Fallen”. This is the ultimate black metal album for me. The overall intensity from start to finish and melodic atmosphere is unmatched by anything else. The Swedish, melodic black metal movement of the mid 90's is easily my favourite scene overall. But the icy, sombre and nihilistic atmosphere of the riffs, vocals and lyrics hits me the hardest out of the countless gems from that time period.

While Heaven Wept – “Of Empires Forlorn”

Probably one of the saddest albums ever made, it’s hard for me to go into detail what makes this such an important record for me without going into very personal details. Musically an inspiration and a very relatable record in every way for me.   

Can remember your first electric guitar?

Yeah, it was an entry level Washburn guitar included in one of those beginner packs to get you started. I mentioned it in an earlier question, but by that time it was a pretty beat up guitar with a very high action. I ended up getting my first decent guitar the Xmas of that year.

What guitar(s) are you using today and how did you gravitate towards the guitar you currently use?

I'm currently using an Ibanez ICT 700 or "The Iceman". I played one of these on a music trip to a gear convention in college, pretty expensive guitar at the time though. So my first guitar close to the high end spectrum was a Jackson DK2M, which I used for countless shows and tracked guitar parts for quite a few releases with. Both guitars are actually discontinued, around 9 months ago now I really, really wanted another guitar with a fixed bridge and also a little more high end than the Jackson. I ended up scoring my Iceman for around retail price used and it now serves as my main axe. I would always remember playing that iceman at the sounds live in college and knew I had to get one, one day.

What do you like about the guitars you currently use and has there been any specific modifications to it?

The Iceman” has a neck thru neck and a string thru bridge, the sustain is insane and the Dimarzio pick ups are incredibly high end. The action is very, very low and it’s an overall joy to play. The guitar has not been modded at all. 

What amps and pedals do you currently use? Do you use a combination of amps, or a full half stack? Talk us through your set up both in the studio and in the live environment?

I use an ENGL Powerball II - 100watt tube amp for live's, this will go into a 4x12 at any venue we play.. The tone is incredible and I just play it direct in with no pedals. Obviously Horrified had a history of being a HM2 using band and I have a Japanese model HM2 I used to use all the time, but it's currently out of action at the moment. I don't really have much of a studio set up (Oddly enough even though I have a music production degree) Guitars for releases I write and play on are tracked dry with my interface for reamping purposes later in the mix phase

What are your amp/ pedal settings?

On the ENGL I use something close to this:

Gain - 7
Bass - 6
Mid (boosted) - 5
Treble - 7/7.5
Presence - 6/7

What tunings do you use and why, and as a result is there a specific brand / gauge of string you prefer ?

I have been playing in D standard for years and using 10 gauge strings for a very long time. A lot of people poke fun at how light gauge strings I use but I much prefer playing a lighter gauge strings. I find it much better for phrases and legato runs in terms of lead playing, as for the reasons for playing in D standard. I just find that it’s a tuning that provides a perfect middle ground in terms of pitch and I also love writing in D Minor. Since Horrified is quite melodic going any lower would be out of the question.

Do you have any advice for up and coming guitars players, bands?

Be patient, put the work in and keep grinding out. 

Do feel there are deeply help misconceptions about being in a band?

A ton, haha. Being in a band isn't touring the road 24/7 and partying. Its hard work, its stressful, there are elongated periods of little to no activity on the live front, its lots of practice, it can be disheartening, frustrating, etc.

Moving on a little then, what can you tell us about any of your current projects, tours, CD's, etc you’re currently promoting, completed and anything else band related we should know about?

The new Horrified album "Allure Of The Fallen" is coming out on Shadow Kingdom Records on September 29th, a release I worked incredibly hard on and I'm very excited for it to be finally coming out! This is the best record Horrified have done to date, we are also working on getting back out on the live front to support the release. With at least one show planned and hopefully gaining interest again from promoters to book us for shows post release. I'm also playing live in Sojourner and our debut live appearance is currently being organised and that may progress into a touring band to. I've also been working on my funeral death side project called Enshroudment. Which I have wrote a three track EP for, we have been practising it in the shadows for around a year and we are about to record the EP and start playing live in the final 1/3 of 2017. So after a pretty tough year of inactivity and hard work in regards to making "Allure Of The Fallen" I'm pretty excited for what the music has in store in the future!  

What springs to mind when you think about the completion of your upcoming record and how is the mood in the camp at present?

Excitement and maybe some nervous anticipation. We are all very eager to push the new album hard and start playing again, it’s been a long and at times tough journey. But now things are finally coming to fruition... 

What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

Hopefully a few decent shows for Horrified, it’s long overdue and deserved with this new record I feel. I'm also starting to write material for the fourth album. I want to try and out do “Allure…” and give Shadow Kingdom another epic!

Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

Just a thanks for the continued support from THE SLUDGELORD and anyone else out there who has been with us, or will join us with this new record. A lot does go into Horrified and I greatly appreciate all forms of support for the band, cheers all!

The End

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Ruby The Hatchet - "Planetary Space Child"

By: Joosep Nilk

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/08/2017
Label: Tee Pee Records


Dishing out psyched-out blast offs and danceable tunes all complemented by the vintage-sounding production and plenty of organ in-between, Ruby The Hatchet adds a further twist to their already suspensive sound. “Planetary Space Child” comes off sounding like a spaced out version of Uncle Acid and cements their place at the very top tier of heavy psych.

“Planetary Space Child“CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Planetary Space Child
2). Killer
3). Pagan Ritual
4). The Fool
5). Symphony of the Night
6). Gemini
7). Lightning Comes Again

The Review:

With an intro that would not be amiss on a Floyd album, “Planetary Space Child” opens with the dramatic title track and goes straight for the grandiose sweeps. With riffs alluding to the barren vastness depicted on the cover, along the uneasy undertones, the epic artwork of Adam Burke is another common trait to be found with fellow dread-mongerers Occultation. Whereas said group are perhaps slightly spookier, Ruby bring a handful more of melody. Like the opening notes of ’Pagan Ritual’ that come off equally as stirring as they are ominous, another turn is waiting around the corner. The shrouded riffs build up and crank the anticipation until a funky break-down, maintaining the trepidation and not letting you get too comfortable, the only solid thing being the bass-lines that follow the track through to its finish.

While these change-ups are familiar from prior albums, the additional organ progressions unabashedly harken back to rock’s golden era and really complement the album concept. That stands especially true for ’Symphony of the Night’, undoubtedly one of the stronger songs the band has put to tape yet. It opens with pensive plucks and picks the pace up near the middle and as the gloominess is equally cranked up a notch, the well-placed keys constantly adorn the unrelenting gradations.

Despite the material’s emotional density, the band hasn’t forgone their penchant for some infectious feel-good tunes. Second track ’Killer’ reminds us they’re still capable of more than a bit of moog-tinged tomfoolery, likewise on the equally fast-paced midpoint that is “Gemini”. Whereas the former is a fairly straight-forward and fun band jam (awfully fitting when they presented it at Roadburn’s Cul de Sac), the latter never quite loosens its intense grip and brings the full-sounding guitars and psychedelic leads further up front, with the relentless drumming of Mike Parise keeping it equally energetic and even-paced throughout. By the end they go near-prog with the keys straddled throughout amidst the influx of leads tearing straight into your headspace.

As is true for Jillian Taylor’s howls and moans that are at times wistful and bold on others, the created sound truly envelopes her voice well, especially so on the initially shuddersome “The Fool“ and the epic closer. The latter really runs the gamut on her whole range, beginning languid and solemn in near-ballad-form, almost timid by Ruby’s standards, but opening up near the end, an approach the band has proven to work for them time and again. It’s no straight-forward doom here but all splendidly woven in, making the pay-off that much more worth it. The culminating build-up and shake-down really allows the organ to shine amidst the oscillation of guitars and comes off dangerous, duly paying reference to the song-title.

Dishing out psyched-out blast offs and danceable tunes all complemented by the vintage-sounding production and plenty of organ in-between, Ruby The Hatchet adds a further twist to their already suspensive sound. “Planetary Space Child” comes off sounding like a spaced out version of Uncle Acid and cements their place at the very top tier of heavy psych.

“Planetary Space Child” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Thursday, 28 September 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Disastroid - "Screen"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 02/10/2017
Label: Independent

A few listens through "Screen" and you're certain to hear a truly unique voice at work.

“Screen” CD//DD track listing

1. Screen
2. New Day
3. Dinosaur
4. I Didn't Kill Myself
5. Getting in the Way
6. Coyote
7. Choke the Falcon
8. Clinical Perfection
9. Gunslinger

The Review:

With more than 10 years in, San Francisco's heavy music trio Disastroid have seemingly outlasted their share of other acts. Over that decade, the group has built a strong following in the Bay Area through its many live shows and steady output. Now back for the first time since a seven-inch of post-punk tracks last January, the team has something to prove.

Longevity is a weird thing. Performers can either get better as they age or their material can sound stale and uninspired without challenges. Disastroid's 2014 release, "Missiles," received positive press for a formula it continues on "Screen." Given the buzz the band has gotten during their tenure for its music, one has to ask if the new stuff can meet the high bar the group has previously set.

A lot gets made of Disastroid's seemingly undefinable sound. It's really not that difficult, frankly. The band does a version of hard rock that is influenced by heavier genres, such as post-punk, doom and hardcore. You may have heard this kind of hybrid more and more over the last couple of years, in part because it is listenable and gives musicians a lot of space to explore their own inspirations and concepts. On "Missiles," Disastroid happened to rise above the din of performers plying their trade here through sheer chemistry and creativity. Yet as more bands gravitate to this corner of music, standing out can only get more contentious. With that come issues of simply making better music too.

On a positive note, the California crew's new release, its fourth full length, continues its own musical tradition in grand style.

The title track kicks off this recording, and it is a superb example of why Disastroid's blend of melodic music is so disarming. The composition is particularly great, with the guitars and Travis Williams' bass complementing Braden McGaw's drums. Production on vocals is excellent; it is just enough to make it distinct, but muddy enough to keep it from mainstream rock. You get more of that post-punk vein with "New Day" and "I Didn't Kill Myself" – they're the subsequent cuts and demonstrate aptly Disastroid's commitment to its craft as well as creating an album poised to evolve the group's long-honed sound.

Sometimes the aforementioned heavier styles get more prominent on "Screen" – catch the doom soaked "Dinosaur" for example – but Disastroid is fundamentally a band anchored to hard rock. One might expect it sounds more interesting to portray unclassifiability than a style a few might find passé, but really Disastroid is one of the best independent bands out there doing what they do. And it is flourishes like "Getting in the Way," which does post-punk and hard rock stunningly well, that show you how talented Disastroid is at creating a bigger, bolder soundscape than three players might otherwise seem to offer.

"Screen" has many memorable forays. The syncopated rhythms and original arrangement of "Gunslinger" give it a classic feel. Even the briefest cut, "Clinical Perfection," with its dense drum and bass foundation, packs tremendous power. "Coyote" feels like zenith on "Screen." As one of the longer songs situated toward the middle of the album, its stoner-infused guitar chord progressions and building bassline set an introspective mood. Here and throughout, guitarist/vocalist Enver Koneya gets a nod for singing that's actual singing. Koneya can set the tone with his lyrical delivery, and does it with aplomb. A few listens through "Screen" and you're certain to hear a truly unique voice at work.

"Screen" is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

6 NEW BANDS: Nikos Mixas' 666 Pack Review (September 2017)

It’s the September edition of the THE SLUDGELORD’s 666 Pack Review!  Autumn is finally upon us and even though the temps are cooling, the metal is only getting hotter.   So many great albums were released this month and while THE SLUDGELORD is super swamped reviewing all of them, there was still time to review the rookies!  If you’re new to this, each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out our awesome rating scale below: 

1 – Just about as horrid as Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.
2 – Fall means the temperature is cooling off, so is this band… 
3 – Its ok…kind of like anything Slayer puts out these days. 
4 – Your friends like you, so we will like you also. 
5 – Surprisingly good.  Just like whatever your grandma cooks up.   
666THE SLUDGELORD smashes pumpkins while head banging to your latest offering!  

The 666 Pack Review is meant to offer humorous criticism and is not meant to hurt feelings, however, there are no safe spaces here.  THE SLUDGELORD is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

Ora  - “Abstraction” (Denver, USA)    Rating: 4          
A band to drink Absinthe to.    

Test Meat - “Demo” (Boston, USA)   Rating: 5

Short, heavy and catchy.  I concur!  

SHC - “SHC” (Portugal)   Rating: 4

Electric Wizard meets post stoner punk.

Glarus - “Then and When” (Manchester, UK)   Rating: 3

One man band.  It’s missing something.  

Wrapped in Pale - “Nidstang” (Orlando, USA)   Rating:  4

True Norwegian Disneyworld black metal.  Hails!

Five The Hierophant - “Over Phlegethon” (London, UK)   Rating: 666!

 Oh fuck yes!  Listen to them!!!

EXCLUSIVE TRAILER: KADAVAR | Lupus discusses how Witch's self-titled album influenced him

Unless you have been living under a rock or in hibernation for the last seven years, there really is no excuse for you to have missed Berlin based rock overlords Kadavar rising ascendency.  With 3 full lengths under there belts and having notch up thousands of air miles during a hectic touring cycle, this Germanic powerhouse are set to do all again, with the impending release of their fourth record “Rough Times” via metal heavyweight Nuclear Blast   on 29 September 2017.

While Kadavar are certainly not averse to sounding like Aston’s finest, Black Sabbath, on their third album “Berlin” they began to cast their net further into the seas of classic rock incorporating fizzy Stooges style riffs, groove reminiscent of The Who drenched in fuzz and the odd smattering of Hendrix/Cream flavour into proceedings and packed killer chorus’s into the mix which ensured the album was lodged in your brain for weeks.

Kadavar have always seemed to avoid the pitfalls of slavishly recreating the sound of rock legends of yesteryear. Instead they have taken their obvious influences and reassembled them in an exciting new configuration. The sheer exuberance and energy of their delivery, combined with masterful song writing skill, sounds completely vital whilst being unashamedly in thrall to the past. On new album “Rough Times” Kadavar offer yet another example of why they  should be held in the same esteem as their  heroes and be immortalised as masters of their craft by future generations.

Today ahead of the album’s official release on Friday, we offer you another trailer.  Watch below as Lupus discusses how Witch's self-titled album influenced him

Rough Times” will be released on September 29 via Nuclear Blast qnd you can order a copy: here  UK fans can catch Kadavar live:

30.09. London - The Dome, UK
01.10.  Sheffield - HRH Doom vs. Stoner, UK

Band info: facebook

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Made Of Teeth - "Made Of Teeth"

By: Jay Hampshire

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/08/2017
Label: Red Sun Sounds

Made Of Teeth have produced a confident, punchy, and savage debut that provides the listener with labyrinthine levels of surprises around each corner.

“Made Of Teeth” DD track listing

1). Citrus Fetus Potus
2). Drunk On Bleach
3). Weeper
4). Hook, Tooth and Claw
5). Bleak Phlegm
6). The Karman Line

The Review

What do you do with your down time? Binge watch the latest Netflix must see? Vainly attempt to put together some flat pack furniture without resorting to violence? Spin up some vinyl and indulge in some of the Devil’s lettuce? For Welsh heavy-underground luminaries Chris West and Steve Jones, their down time from ‘main’ doom/country/psych/stoner/prog/kitchen-sink project Spider Kitten has seen them give birth to something beautiful in its malignancy.

Made Of Teeth (and the self-titled debut record) were born of an insatiable lust to play live and as up in folks’ faces as possible. The third leg of the sonic stool is provided by Lacertilia’s Tom Cole on bass/vocals, seeing West on guitar/vocal duties and Jones handling duties behind the kit (as well as vocals, because three pissed off growls are better than one). The kind of sneering, vitriolic punk energy the best live bands tote around is captured and somehow restrained across the six tracks on offer.

‘Citrus Fetus Potus’ comes in hard with shimmering cymbals and a clock ticking like a bomb timer, before exploding with stabbing riffs that lumber like old-school Mastodon licks. Barked vocals buffer around the twisting, writhing guitars, almost used as punctuation. Stuttering palm muting hits like a closed fist, before the track ends on some beefy call and response shouts. ‘Drunk On Bleach’ trills with bright guitar before locking into a ripper of a drive, a real fist pumping, chugging groove. It’s a tad rough around the edges, but satisfyingly so, dropping briefly into a deceptively calm section with some monstrous vocals. It’s simple, but it’s fucking slablike.

Weeper’ shuffles in with some creepy backmasking, before crawling away on the back of a dour riff. Spoken word vocals come across like the fractured ramblings of a serial killers’ notebook, before rising up into jarring motes of atonality and massive chords. ‘Hook, Tooth and Claw’ is the biggest departure on the record. Lapping ways and a slow rush of breath usher in hollow, jangling, melancholy acoustic guitar (a possible hint at the bands’ experiences with all things Arachnid and Feline). Bolshy, bouncing riffs kick this aside with a hobnailed boot, hardcore gang vocals and razor edged bass rolling tidally over an underlay of muscular toms.

Bleak Phlegm’ is as delicate as it sounds, plodding, Melvins-ian bass and skittering guitar under ranting vocals swaggering away. Things amp up into a ballsier main riff, held chords screeching protest before collapsing into a gentle, lilting loop that builds to a dramatic, slowly revolving crescendo – it’s the longest song here, and it exploits its length to great effect. ‘The Karman Line’ hops with punk energy and rolling drums, scrappy with layers of guitar and angular riffing, running the gamut between lo-fi grooves and grungy drives.

Heavier and more confrontational than any work we’ve heard from the trio’s other projects (even Wests’ stint with the much missed Taint) there’s a simple ferocity to Made Of Teeth’s sound that sees them eschew overly flash production and gimmicky performance. They don’t skimp on songcraft, however, as it takes both nous and talent to write solid slabs of riffola that sound joyously simplistic while being anything but. They combine elements from all over the influence spectrum with an unerring smoothness, providing a listen that’s labyrinthine in the surprises around each corner. Confident, punchy, and savage – one thing that drips from every pore of this release is the knowledge that the band had as much cathartic fun making it as you will listening to it.

‘Made Of Teeth’ is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Monday, 25 September 2017

INTERVIEW: Foehammer at Shadow Woods Metal Festival September 14-17, 2017

By: Mark Ambrose

From September 14-17, hundreds of metal fans descended on White Hall, Maryland for a weekend of camping, music, and generic mayhem at the third annual Shadow Woods Metal Fest.  THE SLUDGELORD was on the scene and managed to snag a few interviews with performers, artists, and the people behind this unique, amazing musical event.  In our first interview we sat down with Annandale, Virginia’s Foehammer, whose self-titled debut on Grimoire Records was one of the highlights of 2015.  With a new record on the way, Jay (bass/vocals), Ben (drums) and Joe (guitar) sat down to share their thoughts on the festival, the state of local music in Washington, D.C. and their plans for the immediate future.

This is your first Shadow Woods Metal Fest.  What’s your impression so far?

Jay: Super chill and really fun.

Ben: It’s fantastic and I wish I had come to the ones earlier.

Joe: Yeah it totally makes me wish I had caught the earlier ones.

What are the plans for the future?

Jay: So we did a record last year with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Studio.  We got it mastered with James Plotkin of Khanate fame – semi-fame haha – and Australopithecus Records is putting it out.  We’re finishing up the vinyl details now.  It should be going off to the plant within the week.  So hopefully, by the end of the year we should be seeing that out.

Are you planning on any other physical formats or just vinyl?

Jay: Our plan for now is just vinyl and digital downloads.

What have been the current playlists for you guys?

Ben: The new Queens of the Stone Age is pretty awesome.  And the new Bloodclot, the hardcore band, the supergroup with Nick Oliveri and John Joseph, Joey Castillo and Todd Youth is REALLY good.  That’s like my favorite now.

Jay: I’m really hooked on this EP by this band Pregnancy out of Australia.  It’s really sick, nasty, vomitous, grinding shit.  I saw Secret Chiefs a couple weeks ago so they’ve been back in the playlist, and that’s just amazing, amazing stuff.  As well as that Dead Cross record.

Joe: Yesterday I listened to Ariel Pink’s “Before Today” – that’s not very metal at all but it’s amazing.  Lately I’ve been having a metal dry spell – I go through phases of that so I’ve been listening to a lot of different ethnic music.  A lot of Indian stuff, especially – oud players, guys like that.  And a lot of pop.  Stuff that makes me wanna chill.

Ben: The “electric years” of Miles Davis is on current play.

How was the Sunrot/God Root show at Atlas Brewing?

Ben: Oh my god – both so awesome.  Corpse Light too.  I said on my Facebook page that’s the heaviest show that I played or have been to this year.

Jay: We’re really good friends with Chris from Sunrot.  We did a tour with his other band, Thera Roya, last year.  We went down to Texas and back.  They also put out an amazing EP.

Ben: Love you guys!

A lot of bands have members multitasking – are you guys doing any other projects right now?

Jay: Ben and myself have another band, Black Dominia.  It’s bass, two drummers, saxophone and theremin.  It’s like heavy doom, psych, jazz.

Ben: One hundred percent improv.  Never the same song twice.

Joe:  I just started playing drums in a prog band very recently that’s Gong influenced.  It doesn’t really have a name right now.

Well we’ll keep our ears open for Joe from Foehammer’s latest prog project. 

You guys are located in the DC suburbs – what is the scene like there?

Jay: Most of the scene is in DC proper, but DC has always had a problem with keeping venues around.  It seems that venues that cater to underground bands don’t really stay around for more than a year or two.  You have your big clubs like Rock and Roll Hotel and Black Cat, but they don’t really put on too many doom or “our music” kind of shows.  Venues that do, don’t last too long.  Of course, Chris Moore does an amazing job.  I think a lot of credit is due to him building a scene in DC where there wasn’t really a cohesive scene for a long time, honestly.

Any upcoming shows or events that you want to hype?

Joe: We’re playing with The Sidebar in Baltimore on November 9 with Bell Witch, Primitive Man and Corpse Light.

Who are you looking forward to seeing here this weekend?

Ben: Woe and Vastum.

Jay: Black Table – I spent some time playing touring bass for them so I’m really excited to meet back up with them.  VastumPanopticon.  Definitely Withered.

The End

This interview transcript has been slightly edited for clarity.  Thanks to the wonderful Shannon Void for setting up the interview and for being an all round badass.  Many thanks to Jay, Ben, and Joe. 

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