Tuesday, 11 December 2012

SERPENTINE PATH - Serpentine Path (2012)

01  Arrows
02  Crotalus Horridus Horridus
03  Bats Amongst Heathens
04  Beyond the Dawn of Time
05  Obseletion
06  Aphelion
07  Compendium of Suffering
08  Only a Monolith Remains

Serpentine Path is a death-doom supergroup (formed in 2011) supercharged with members of Electric Wizard, Ramesses, the now-defunct Unearthly Trance and The Howling Wind, this is the stuff extremely memorable debuts and colossal disappointments are made of. Fortunately, this self-titled slab of granite, released on September 11th 2012 via Relapse Records is more in the former category. Not to mention it bears as its face one of the neatest bits of cover art I've probably seen this year.

While the band might be drawing from the same fetid pool as Coffins and Hooded Menace, there's certainly less levity and – Last House on the Left nod aside – horror flick theatrics. This is serious stuff, and while you might be able to detect a whiff of gusto you nevertheless have cause to be very, very afraid.

From opener "Arrows" on, every single moment seems to have been slowly dredged up from the hadopelagic depths, each riff a weighty, slime-strewn thing that lands in your lap like some ancient Lovecraftian horror. All the while, Ryan Lipynsky's cloacal vocals gurgle like Satan's own duodenum as it passes a particularly truculent meal.

My only nitpicks are the off-hand way in which this record feels casual. Not that these artists didn't put in a strong effort because they did. But they don't sound quite like they pushed themselves beyond their comfort or capacity either. With a pedigree as strong as Serpentine Path's, one almost hopes for an immediate masterpiece. So while the songs are good: powerful, punishing, absorbing, perfectly balanced between death and doom; they also sound a bit standard, not quite breaking away from the glut this scene has recently perpetuated. I'm reminded of Vallenfyre, another death/doom supergroup with a strong record that pushes towards the front of the pack but doesn't quite push past it. As well as opener "Arrows", other highlights include; "Bats Amongst Heathens", "Obsoletion" and closer "Only A Monolith Remains".

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Is Tampa Still The 'Death Metal Capital' Of America?

The Tampa, Florida death metal scene was part of Rachel Maddow's August 28 segment debunking stories in the day's news on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show". In the five-minute clip below, Maddow separates fact from fiction on conventional wisdom about Tampa's relative stripperiness and its death-metallurgy. (Note: The death metal portion of the segment begins around the three-minute, 45-second mark.)

Tampa, which was known the "death metal capital" of America in the early 1990s, is playing host to the 2012 Republican National Convention, a current gathering of the United States Republican Party members during which Delegates officially nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President of the United States, respectively.

The convention is being held during the week of August 27 in Tampa at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

On August 25, Reuters published a story in which reporter Andy Sullivan wrote, "Some say it's ironic that a party that includes large numbers of religious conservatives would hold its convention in the city that fostered a musical genre known for album titles like 'To Hell With God' and 'Butchered At Birth'."

"It's kind of like having a group called Abstinence For The Sexually Anxious holding its convention in San Francisco," Steve Huey, a critic at AllMusic.com, told Reuters. "Or a group called Society For The Hatred Of Corn deciding to meet up in Iowa."

During her show, Maddow explained that "Tampa is considered the birthplace of death metal. It's home to such famous death metal bands as DEICIDE; that was their music video we played a clip of a moment ago. Also, the well-known band OBITUARY. Also, HATE ETERNAL and MORBID ANGEL and the band CANNIBAL CORPSE, which Bob Dole tried to make very famous in the '90s when he criticized them publicly the year before he ran for president. Bob Dole's friends at CANNIBAL CORPSE, they were not from Tampa, they're from New York, but they moved to Tampas, because Tampa is America's 'home sweet home' for death metal."

Maddow joked, "Death metal is the honest-to-goodness traditional Tampa experience. If you're in Tampa for the Republican convention, don't go to a strip club. Wait 'till you're going to Cincinnati. Death metal you should check out."

"Maybe I'm just a really boring human being, but I was not aware of Tampa being a death-metal capital," Tampa Bay Host Committee president Ken Jones told Reuters. "Maybe had I known that, I could have used that to raise a few dollars."

Reuters also spoke to several death-metal musicians, all of whom made it clear that they do not spend much time talking about politics.

"There is usually something far more creative and worthwhile happening that distracts our focus from the ever-important empty suits who promise everything and deliver nothing," said MORBID ANGEL frontman David Vincent.

"The kind of people that are going to listen to Bob Dole's opinion are not the kind of people who want to listen to our music in the first place," CANNIBAL CORPSE bassist Alex Webster said. "There are plenty of Republican death-metal fans. I'm sure we have fans on both sides of the fence."

"It's just like they're all coming home anyway," DEICIDE drummer Steve Asheim said about the prospect of thousands of religious conservatives descending on his city. "Down here every other block it's churches and strip bars. It's nothing new for us, man."

Friday, 24 August 2012

INTERVIEW - John Bosman

John "Thorous" Bosman is an American musician best known for his time as a member of the early 90s death metal band Deteriorate. He has also played with Silveth, Live Suffer Die, Random Draw and is currently active with T.O.M.B. (Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) and Treading On Divine. John was kind enough to answer some questions for Chamber Of Ages.

COA: At what age did you start getting into music and who were the artists that inspired you the most?

JB: I was given my first guitar by my dad when I was around 12 but didn't take it serious until I was probably 14. I was influenced by rock 'n' roll from the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and my father's classical training alongside honky tonk and old school country. My fondest memory of musical influence was of my father, my brother and I sitting on the piano bench watching him play for hours, "Moonlight Sonata" being the highlight, it was probably my most influential song of all time. Few of my main influences would be: Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Hank Williams, Black Sabbath, Wagner, Beethoven, Bach, The Beatles, Entombed, CArcass, Death, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Malmsteen, Deicide, Burzum, Venom, Bathory, Watain, Satyricon...

COA: How did you joining Deteriorate come about?

JB: I joined in late '92 prior to the recording of "Rotting In Hell". I was friends with Mike Trush. I had met him through a college friend in Bucks County, PA. I went to a couple practices and helped them out doing lights and sound shit like that. Then one practice I was chilling out during the writing of "A Thousand Years Of Anguish" and played the bass (first time I ever played bass with anyone) and I guess the guys liked what they heard. Next thing you know I'm learning the set and it worked out really well. As a 5 piece Mike could do more vocals and have more freedom to do what he wanted to. The potential for this band was so much and we were on top of our game by May 1993.

COA: As far as I know, you didn't actually play on the debut album 'Rotting In Hell' but were you around during any of the recording process? Who was the producer for that record?

JB: No I didn't play on the record but I was asked to and I declined. I kind of didn't feel good about playing on songs that I didn't help write. I was there the whole time and did some backing vocals on "Cannibal Autopsy" and on the intro to "Agonized Display". The producing was done by John Lovrich of Snugfit Studios, myself and Deteriorate.

COA: Are there any special memories you have from being on the road or of sharing the stage with other bands?

JB: Every show we ever did was a blast. We were always booked on alot of high quality tour packages (courtesy of John Finberg). For instance my first show with Deteriorate was in May of 1993, it was with Obituary, FearFactory. The show was filled beyond capacity. 500+ . We played Knoxville TN Deathfest ' 95(?) and Ancient was the headlining act, talk about an embarassment for them, they were burning a bible on stage when the singer tried to put it out he must have kicked it on to Azazels guitar cable which killed his sound completely, then the singer got out a club with real nails and was swinging it around wildly and someone through a blown up condom onstage and the dude swung at it missed and hit the bass player in the head with it then the bass player got pissed tried to kick the condom balloon and missed and fell on his ass! Man we were laughing our asses off. Later that night we were all chillin out in Ancients room and Azazel basically fired everyone. Another night in Chicago opening for Master we sort of incited a riot. We had a big Deteriorate fan come up to us and ask us if he wanted to hit someone over the head with a bottle and i guess he was serious because he ran behind the bar and hit this dude hard, next thing we know the whole place emptied out into the street and the whole place is fighting out there, cops everywhere, the whole bit, meanwhile we sat at the table pounding our beers on the table chanting Master! Master! Master! Crickets chirping and shit. Fun times!

COA: After 'Rotting In Hell', Deteriorate went through some line-up changes. What led to the shift toward a black metal sound on the band's second album 'The Senectuous Entrance'?

JB: Yeah we had some changes, we brought in Jack Gannon during the recording of the Gather the Nebbish Ep. I was the singer after Mike split and I felt like I couldn't perform the way I liked to doing both bass and vocals. I sang 3 songs on the "Gather The Nebbish" Ep and I was cool with that but we needed the 5 piece. The shift of music wasn't really any different other than the vocals. You can interpret "Senectuous' as black metal only because of the vocals. Honestly I think it was a little misinterpreted, we were doing what we did best and the riffs were very personal and full of feeling. The emotion we brought with those songs was insane. The mix on the CD wasn't quite right so it took away from the true feeling we were putting into the music. I thought of this transition as a natural one, especially from my writing stand point it just felt right, had I done the vocals it would have still sounded like black death metal instead of the stamp we had acquired by the media. To me this wasn't done purposely to jump on any band wagon or any thing it was just our emotions shining through.

COA: What led to Deteriorate's break-up and are you still in touch with any of your former bandmates?

JB: We broke up because of one fight between 2 of us. No names. But the argument was really stupid. We were on a gig in NYC (one of the first live online gigs of that sort) and we couldn't agree on the set list of all things. It is very unfortunate because Deteriorate never got to release the greatest shit we ever wrote. It's truly a loss. You can listen to some of those tracks on my myspace page or on youtube. I'm in touch with Mike, Joe (who is in the band Beyond The Lies), and Jack.

COA: Can you tell me about the possible re-issue of 'Rotting In Hell'? Will it feature any bonus material or new cover artwork?

JB: We have had many offers on this and we're not sure which one we are choosing yet but it will have the Rotting in Hell version that was recorded some months before at a different studio. This version has Mike playing Bass and singing his ass off. It is much darker and more time was spent on it. And now we will have a better production value due to modern technology. IT WILL CRUSH! The art work will be quite disturbing and have a photo montage of shows and band photos flyers and shit.

COA: You have a new band, Treading On Divine. Can you tell me about the band and any future plans or other side-projects you are involved in?

JB: Treading On Divine was started by me and Joe Gorski when we left Deteriorate and relocated to Florida. This project has been through many member changes throughout the last 15 years and very recently I lost my drummer. But i'm searching for the right person to fill the spot (anyone interested hit my email). This project has a lot of riffs that were intended for Deteriorate through the 90's but we either chose differently or never finished those songs but I have plenty of other material ready to roll. I do vocals and guitar and write the material. The first release is still being recorded and i hope to tour in the future. I was in a couple bands through the years such as SILVETH, LIVE SUFFER DIE, RANDOM DRAW to name a  couple. I am in the Black noise band T.O.M.B. (Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) which is beyond most peoples vision of sick. Check us out we are on the label "CRUCIAL BLAST RECORDS" and have several releases. we just released U.A.G. also some youtube stuff out there...

COA: What is your opinion of the current death and black metal scenes?

JB: This scene is just so giant its really hard to keep up on it all. Trueness has seemed to disappear I feel like I concentrate on the European bands mostly they just seem more real to me, the structure and heart that they put into the music is always right on. America seems to have dropped the ball for what ever reason. Bands that rule right now for me are; WATAIN, SATYRICON, BURZUM, MARDUK, BELPHEGOR, BEHEMOTH, DARK FUNERAL, CHELSEA WOLFE, SUNN O, FUNERARY CALL, IMMOLATION, GNAW THEIR TONGUES, ABSURD, DEPRESSIVE SUICIDAL BLACK METAL, ENTRAILS. My tastes range from all the old Swedish Death Metal, German Death/Black/Thrash metal,Grindcore,Sludge,DOOM, and hybrid forms of all of these.

COA:What is your opinion on file-sharing/downloading?

JB: I myself have been somewhat of a victim of this. When Deteriorate signed with the labels we were on we were promised such and such money for each unit sold. We were always told approximately how many sold quarterly. We were totally ripped off. All the units sold out over 10 if not 15 years ago. I barely recouped on my investments for recording touring and such. Now I see "new" copies of our CDs all over the place for some outragous prices, who's getting that $15, $20 a CD? Not me or Deteriorate. Now with file-sharing and downloading, thats a whole new level of piracy. The units aren't being sold, no body's getting paid and it seems that the industry has changed ways to still make money. Before you had to sell merch to get to tour now I think they put you on tour to make a profit and then proceed from there. It's hard to really put a opinion on something that has so many variables. You have technology moving blazing fast, where before we tape traded now its online at a click of the mouse. So maybe they still make out because the exposure is so much higher at a lighting speed. No more waiting for a reply in the mail or review of your CD. It's instant. No matter how much I agree or disagree it's going to tread on. I myself watch alot of Youtube so I'm doing the same thing just in a different way. And even that is downloadable through a ton of Realplayer-esque deals.

COA: Any final words/thoughts?

JB: I've seen many bands crash and burn due to in-fighting, arguments, girlfriends etc... It was a real tragedy that it happened to us because we were all great friends. When we played shows 99% of the time it was so tight and crushing where the energy was incredible and you could look over at each other and know this was something special, that we felt like this is where we belong. As much as I was angry over the breakup, I can honestly say I had the best time of my life doing something that made me and our fans feel powerful about even if it was only a second or a blink of an eye, you never forget that sound, that taste in your mouth, the sweat in your eyes and definitely the women...Thanks Chris for the interview it was my pleasure any one interested in TREADING ON DIVINE, T.O.M.B. please feel free to e-mail me at: www.thoroustreads@yahoo.com

Friday, 17 August 2012

MORBID ANGEL - Gateways To Annihilation (2000)

01  Kawazu
02  Summoning Redemption
03  Ageless, Still I Am
04  He Who Sleeps
05  To the Victor the Spoils
06  At One With Nothing
07  Opening Of The Gates
08  Secured Limitations
09  Awakening
10  I
11  God Of The Forsaken

'Gateways To Annihilation' is the sixth studio album by the death metal band Morbid Angel. It was released on October 17th 2000 via Earache Records and was produced by Jim Morris. This was the first album in which Steve Tucker contributed lyrics and music to the band. Dan Seagrave painted the album cover. The first Morbid Angel album cover he had painted since "Altars of Madness" back in 1989.

Imagine what life must have been like for poor Steve Tucker. Granted, the choice to accept the job opening of bassist/frontman/David Vincent replacement was all his, but a more unenviable position than that is virtually inconceivable in the world of death metal. However, the dude really shines on this album and proves to these ears that he is made of the morbidity required for said Vincent vacancy. His vox are low, they’re brutal, they’re fucking hateful, and considering the hostile reviews of Mr. Vincent’s recent return, some may be wondering what ol’ Steve is up to these days. Tucker has indeed penned all the lyrics of Gateways, with the exception of Azagthoth’s “Secured Limitations,” which is pretty much the “Angel of Disease” of this album.

Stylistically, this hearkens back to Blessed Are the Sick with a touch of Domination, in that it largely operates on a slower, fundamental tempo. Lurching, but so very determined and vast in scale, tunes like "Summoning Redemption" and "He Who Sleeps" retain a curious versatility despite their reluctance to spend considerable time in the acceleration zone. Tucker's voice has truly shaped itself here to become the ponderous bludgeon that can stand in for David Vincent, and the weighted fiber of the guitar tone possesses both a hard edge and a cystic resilience with great depth to it. The leads are exotic, alien sirens which splash upon the lifeless, terrestrial surfaces as if they were birds of prey striking through the vast vacuum of nothingness. In a sense, there is this cohesion throughout the album, from "Summoning Redemption" through the closer "God of the Forsaken", which makes it more difficult to distinguish individual pieces than it would be on Altars or Domination, yet this does not deter its quality.

In the end, the album suffers from being just a little too slow and too long for its own good and drowns under its own weight in parts, however there's just too much quality here for this to be a total fail. Regrettably, 'Gateways to Annihilation' won't have the replay value of previous Morbid Angel releases but it's a solid if not amazing album from true innovators of the death metal genre.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Obituary To Play "Classics" Set In Europe

Florida death metal veterans OBITUARY will embark on the "Rotting Slowly In Europe 2012" tour in November. The trek, which will feature, which will feature support from MACABRE, PSYCROPTIC and THE AMENTA, will see OBITUARY performing a classic 1989-1992 set, consisting of material culled solely from the "Slowly We Rot", "Cause Of Death" and "The End Complete" albums.

The dates are as follows:

Nov. 22 - Ludwigsburg, Germany - Rockfabrik
Nov. 23 - Trier, Germany - Exhaus
Nov. 24 - Leeuwared, Netherlands - Romein
Nov. 25 - Deventer, Netherlands - Burgerweeshuis
Nov. 27 - Berlin, Germany - K17
Nov. 28 - Ostrava, Czech Republic - Barrak Music Club
Nov. 29 - Wien, Austria - Szene
Nov. 30 - Cham, Germany - LA Club
Dec. 01 - Louvain Le Neuve, Belgium - Mass Deathtruction Fest
Dec. 02 - Paris, France - Divan Du Monde
Dec. 04 - Dublin, Ireland - Button Factory
Dec. 05 - London, UK - Garage
Dec. 06 - Essen, Germany - Turock
Dec. 07 - Geiselwind, Germany - Musichall
Dec. 09 - Colmar, France - Le Grillen
Dec. 11 - Lyon, France - C.C.O. Villeurbanne
Dec. 12 - Luzern, Switzerland - Konzerthaus Schuur
Dec. 13 - Munich, Germany - Backstage Halle
Dec. 14 - Eindhoven, Netherlands - Eindhoven Metal Meeting
Dec. 15 - Leipzig, Germany - Hellraiser

During a recent interview with MetalBlast.net, guitarist Trevor Peres revealed that OBITUARY was in the process of recording a three song EP, to be released as a picture disc and as a digital download. He said, "Before this [most recent European] tour, we started recording an EP. We were hoping to be finished recording before this tour, but a bunch of different personal things happened and we just didn't have time to finish it. But I've got all the guitar scratch tracks done and Donald [Tardy, drums] started doing scratch drum tracks. But when we get home from this, in one or two weeks we finish recording. It's like three new songs; it's an EP we're gonna do. We're actually gonna do a seven-inch picture disc — no CDs at all; just picture disc only. But then you [will be able to] download it from iTunes or Google Music and stuff. But then we've got another 10 songs we're gonna record after that. So, hopefully, by the end of the year — January, maybe — [there will be] a brand new full-length album."

Regarding how the new OBITUARY music is sounding, Trevor said, "It's pure OBITUARY. In fact, we've got some of the catchiest hooks on this album. These songs are so amazing. In fact, one of the first songs [we wrote] for it I'm always humming in my head. It pisses me off because it's stuck there all the time. So it's a good thing; it's, like, really catchy, groovy OBITUARY."

On the topc of OBITUARY's current record label situation, Trevor said, "We're between labels. We were hoping to do our own record label. We have a person who we're friends with who is interested in investing. I don't think it's gonna happen soon enough for us to be able to [release the next CD on our own]. So we're actually talking with Century Media. They're very interested. Without saying it's happened, [or that] it's done, 'cause we haven't signed a contract with them, [but] they've offered us a deal and they're really interested in OBITUARY."

New Evocation Album Revealed

 Swedish death metallers EVOCATION will release their fourth studio album, "Illusions Of Grandeur", in Europe on September 24 via Century Media Records. The CD includes "ten tracks of supreme Swedish death metal, a perfect mélange of Stockholm rawness and Gothenburg epics," according to a press release.

Cover artist Xaay, who previously worked with EVOCATION on the "Apocalyptic" album, has proven to be the best choice for the job, delivering a dark and desolate yet beautiful piece of art for the new album.

"Illusions Of Grandeur" was recorded at IF Studios (IN FLAMES, THE HAUNTED) and Evocation Studios with producer Roberto Laghi (IN FLAMES) and mixed at IF Studios by Laghi. It was mastered at Bohus Sound Studios by Dragan Tanaskovic.

As a very special guest, Johan Hegg of AMON AMARTH laid down vocals on the song "Into Submission".

"Illusions Of Grandeur" will be released on CD, limited-edition digipak CD (including three studio bonus tracks) and on LP (including a big-size poster of the album artwork).

"Illusions Of Grandeur" track listing:

01. Illusions Of Grandeur
02. Well Of Despair
03. Divide And Conquer
04. Perception Of Reality
05. Metus Odium
06. I’ll Be Your Suicide
07. Crimson Skies
08. Into Submission
09. The Seven Faces Of God
10. Final Disclosure
11. Shades Of Shame (digipak bonus track)
12. Dark Day Dawn (digipak bonus track)
13. Dead Without A Trace (digipak bonus track)

EVOCATION's third album, "Apocalyptic", was released on October 29, 2010 via Cyclone Empire Records.