Scandinavian Black Metallers 1349 and MARDUK (who are Norwegian and Swedish, respectively) recently joined forces for the American chapter of MARDUK’s headlining Serpent Sermon World Tour 2012. This tour, which took the Scandinavians, WEAPON, and WITHERED from Coast to Coast and even up into Canada, marked 1349’s first Stateside expedition since their 2010 promotional run for their then-latest opus, Demonoir. The tour borrows its title from MARDUK’s new album.
MARDUK are the Energizer Bunny equivalent of Metal bands – these guys NEVER stop moving, and they’ve hit virtually everywhere a band could possibly hope to hit in the world! (Even Japan, back in 1999 on their World Panzer Battle Tour). The Swedish Black Metal scene vets, who formed in 1990, just returned to their home country to play at the ExtremeFest on July 5th. Later this month, MARDUK will appear at Finland’s Hammer Open Air Festival on July 21st, and then they will be heading to Brazil in August for a few dates before hitting several stops in Europe once more. Click here for more tour information.
I was lucky enough to take in 1349 at two different California stops ; their headlining June 18th gig at Weber’s Bar and Grill in Reseda (without MARDUK, but supported by local California acts THE FUNERAL PYRE, MUTILACION, and AURORA BLACK), and the next night with MARDUK at the House of Blues in Hollywood. Supporting them at the latter gig were American outfits WITHERED and WEAPON.
I’ll begin this review by revisiting 1349‘s headlining gig at Weber’s. The overall number of people who turned out was surprisingly lower than I had expected, but there were some headbangers present showing their support, and, despite the aforementioned attendance rate, the crowd’s eyes were totally locked on the Norwegians. The thing I love about sincere Black Metal bands is that they almost appear to be possessed by some primal, inner power (which is why Ravn said in an interview once that Black Metal was the perfect avenue down which to direct and express the base nature of aggression that exists in every man) and that, in turn, lends an almost psychedelic undercurrent to the music’s overall dark atmosphere, and leaves those truly appreciative, captivated.
The intimacy of the venue was nice – smaller venues enhance the experience of watching a great live band tenfold. Especially when featuring music of extreme genres. Black Metal wasn’t made for big arenas and stadiums. It is a homegrown, organic music that needs an appropriate atmosphere.
That is not to say that Weber’s is a shoddy place – it’s located in a decent area. It was easily accessible, and had plenty of street parking if the small parking lot in back got full (which it didn’t). But best of all… there was a liquor store right next to it! (You can get hammered cheaply in your car before going in if you’re not willing to pay bar price)
So the first band, AURORA BLACK, didn’t go on until about an hour after schedule. They had an alright sound, good vocals/guitar and overall instrumentation, but I think they need to work on their stage presence – they didn’t seem terribly enthused to be there, so it’s hard to get into a band that doesn’t clearly want to be there or exude confidence. I mean, their bassist stood PERFECTLY STILL the entire time – only moving to pluck strings or alter his finger placement.
Next up were MUTILACION – the only support act I really got into that night, to be perfectly honest. They had the whole package: the look, the sound, the attitude, confidence, and the presence. Their theatrics: blood-smeared skin, animal bone body adornments, and corpse paint; coupled with all the other aforementioned traits made their set a true performance and I really like when a band presents something to you rather than just play. It takes the whole show to the next level – and since 1349 also offer fans a consummate show, I think MUTILACION were the most suitable addition to this bill. According to Encyclopaedia Metallum, two members of the band run a metal fanzine called The Beyond, which features religious, Satanic, and occult bands.
1349’s direct support came from La Habra in the form of Melodic Death/Black Metallers THE FUNERAL PYRE. They were decent too, and I could tell they were really into it, but since I barely remember forming an opinion about them, I guess I could say they’re kind of like many other American Black Metal acts. Not terrible, but not great. Just somewhere in that vast middle.
Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for… 1349! Other than the fact that I was apparently not at a favorable angle in relation to Ravn’s vocal amp and couldn’t hear him except when he addressed us between songs and during his clean vocal chanting in “Atomic Chapel”, the sound was great, and since I was right up in front of them I got some good footage and photos.
Their setlist was as follows:
At the House of Blues show the next night, Canadian Death/Black openers WEAPON did a not-bad, but forgettable job, and Atlanta, Georgia-based WITHERED kicked some ass but are hard to define. I guess they’re kinda Doomy Black.
1349 subjected us to an even more ravaging beating than that of the previous night. Fed by the voraciousness of a suitably larger gathering before them, the room was a circuit of primal excitement in the middle of which a sizeable moshpit formed about 30-50 feet from the actual stage – with some very interesting characters. Including a big bulky fellow, who appeared equal parts drunk and confused and in turn confused and intrigued ME with his fluorescent orange beanie and Santa Claus footwear. He very well may have been the bastard experiment of a gene splicing of DNA from Chris Kringle, Papa Smurf and Anton LaVey. We shall forever know him as… Piss Pringles.
Piss Pringles: can you spot him? Unfortunately the Santa boots aren’t visible in the shot, though. Just the beanie that was so goddamn orange that it “imploded” and desaturated all these photos.
MARDUK guitarist Morgan “Evil” Steinmeyer Håkansson subconsciously (?) flips the bird.
The crowd REALLY got crazy when MARDUK (who enjoyed a sold-out show at the Slide Bar in Fullerton the night before while I went to check out 1349) took the stage. The pit increased with as many girls and dudes alike. The band definitely earned, kept, and built upon the tremendously positive response the crowd gave them; frontman Mortuus is especially interactive, urging and encouraging response, movement, and a display of energy from the fans. And it paid off – MARDUK came back for two encores and were STILL begged to do another.
I unfortunately do not recall their entire set, but here are some of the songs I know for a fact they played:
The fans were ravenous! But alas, the concert finally drew to an end. I LOVE the House of Blues – I’ve always had great concert experiences here, especially when I get in the photo pit and can really watch and listen up close.
- by LEJA SIV HARJU
CobraMetal.net’s Leja Siv Harju conducted an interview with Mike Thompson of WITHERED when they played with 1349 and MARDUK at the House of Blues in Hollywood on June 19th, 2012.
If problem with playback occurs click here to stream via YouTube.
BEHEMOTH have recently completed a series of shows and festivals throughout Europe, which were a massive success and featured some of the band’s intense stage production to date. To sample what these shows were like, check out this bootleg of “Lucifer”, live in Pratteln, Switzerland HERE.
BEHEMOTH frontman Nergal adds the following: “We are back home recharging our batteries before striking back at Hellfest and Graspop! Things are intense and it feels great to be raging across Europe with renewed show and refreshed set list! Unfortunately, we were kind of cursed when it came to weather forecasts on this European trek. One show in Austria had to be cancelled due to a massive thunderstorm. Nevertheless, we kept on conquering. Eight shows completed. A perfect warm up before summer. Hail to everyone who was there to support us!”
In other news, BEHEMOTH has recently announced that they are among the acts confirmed for the Barge To Hell cruise December 3rd-7th. For more information, the entire line up, and to book a room, visit http://www.bargetohell.com.
A limited number of Evangelia Heretika double LP’s are still available from Metal Blade Records HERE. The LP, which features live audio from the DVD of the same name, comes on clear vinyl with a 12″x24″ poster in a beautiful gatefold package. Evangelion and Ezkaton vinyl are also available; visit indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords for the complete list of releases.
(Live photo courtesy of Shelley Jambresic)
- by ANDREW MELENDEZ
Today CATTLE DECAPITATION wants to start you week with a kick in the teeth. Check out new in-studio video footage from the Monolith of Inhumanity sessions — specifically adventures in vocal tracking and additional CATTLE-related fun — at THIS LOCATION.
Comments vocalist Travis Ryan: “”Kids always ask me how I do my vocals and here it is… the vocals studio report for our new album Monolith of Inhumanity. As you can see, polar bear pajama pants and a really stupid haircut really help me achieve those pitches needed to push the melodic high vocals over the top. You will also find there actually are no ‘pirate’ influences in the studio. Nor any ninjas, vampires, zombies or Chuck Norris paraphernalia in there either so sit down, shut up and smell the farts… there’s at least two of ‘em in there if you listen closely…”
In related news, CATTLE DECAPITATION will sever souls on this Summer’s Shockwave Festival Tour 2012, announced earlier this month. The band will be joined by Fear Factory, Voivod, Misery Index, Revocation, Havok, Dirge Within, Last Chance To Reason, Vildhjarta, The Browning and Forged In Flame. Tickets are on sale NOW at THIS LOCATION.
In the meantime, the band is currently bringing their hostility to the stage on the Occupation Domination 2012 tour alongside Origin, Decrepit Birth, Aborted, Rings Of Saturn, Battlecross and more!
CATTLE DECAPITATION – Occupation Domination 2012
w/ Origin, Decrepit Birth, Aborted, Rings Of Saturn, Battlecross [remaining dates]
5/14/12 In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
5/15/12 The Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
5/16/12 People’s Court – Des Moines, IA
5/17/12 Station 4 – St. Paul, MN
5/18/12 The Granada Theater – Lawrence, KS
CATTLE DECAPITATION – Shockwave Festival Tour 2012 Presented By Full Metal Jackie
w/ Fear Factory, Voivod, Misery Index, Revocation, Havok, Dirge Within, Last Chance To Reason, Vildhjarta, The Browning, Forged In Flame
7/06/2012 Studio Seven Seattle, WA [TICKETS]
7/07/2012 Vogue Theatre Vancouver, BC [TICKETS]
7/09/2012 The Republik Calgary, AB [TICKETS] ***
7/11/2012 Pyramid Cabaret Winnipeg, MB [TICKETS]
7/12/2012 Station 4 St Paul, MN [TICKETS]
7/13/2012 The Rave Milwaukee, WI [TICKETS]
7/14/2012 Kool House Toronto, ON [TICKETS]
7/15/2012 The Armouries – Windsor, ON [TICKETS] ***
7/17/2012 Imperial Theater Quebec City, QC [TICKETS]
7/18/2012 National Montreal, QC [TICKETS]
7/20/2012 Northern Lights Clifton, NY [TICKETS]
7/21/2012 Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY [TICKETS]
7/22/2012 Reverb Reading, PA [TICKETS]
7/25/2012 Palladium Worcester, MA [TICKETS]
7/27/2012 Empire West Springfield, VA [TICKETS]
7/29/2012 Tebala Shrine Rockford, IL [TICKETS]
8/02/2012 Nakai Hall Window Rock, AZ [TICKETS]
8/03/2012 The Marqee Theater Tempe, AZ [TICKETS]
8/04/2012 House Of Blues Hollywood, CA [TICKETS]
Monolith Of Inhumanity was released on May 8, 2012 via Metal Blade Records. Produced by Dave Otero of Denver’s Flatline Audio, Monolith Of Inhumanity sees the band investigating inventive new techniques in songwriting without abandoning their signature formula of confrontational audio wreckage. Conceptually, the record revolves around a potent distaste for contemporary civilization and the damage wrought in the name of progress. In addition, Monolith Of Inhumanity features a host of guests including Mike Majewski of Devourment (guest vocals on “Projectile Ovulation”), Lenard Leal of Cephalic Carnage (backing vocals by on “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat”), The Cephalic Carnage Community Men’s Choir, consisting of all current Cephalic members and alumni Jawsh Mullen and Zac Joe (gang choir vocals on “The Carbon Stampede”), and ambient and noise interludes by Los Angeles’ most extreme decimator of sound, John Wiese.
“CATTLE DECAPITATION have merged into an intoxicating death metal group, doing what is necessary to slam faces into the wall, but doing so in a tender and passionate manner.” About.com
“their most focused and intelligent album yet… another solid CATTLE DECAP release that proves again that they are not to be fucked with.” Stereokiller
“…arguably the quartet’s strongest effort to date.” Blistering
“…the band shred harder than ever but with lots of cool twists…” Revolver
“…solid, vicious death/grind from Cattle Decapitation that actually has purpose.” Sputnik Music
“It’s useless to call Monolith of Inhumanity the band’s best album: long time fans will doubtless have ingrained personal biases favoring one of its predecessors for the time being, but get over that hump in familiarity and the diversity present here will stand the test of time as well as anything the Cali quartet have ever done. As icing on the cake, Otero gives the album a virtually flawless production: everything sounds fantastic, from Travis Ryan’s pliable vocals to the tight snap of the drums.” Metal Injection
The Eighties: A time when Hair Metal and British New Wave ruled the musical landscapes. It’s hard to imagine that there was a band back then that was creating organic, genuine rock n roll. But there was! Fortunately for us Rock n Roll fans, we had The Cult. With albums like 1987’s “Electric” and 1989’s (and my personal favorite) “Sonic Temple”, The Cult marched onward to the beat of their own drum, seemingly oblivious to what was going on around them. Although a few personnel changes and The Doors would cause the band to release a few lackluster albums and later go on hiatus between 1991-2007, it is safe to say that the Cult that created such tunes as “Sweet Soul Sister” and “Soul Asylum” is back with “Choice of Weapon”.
“Choice of Weapon” is the ninth studio effort from The Cult and is arguably one of their best-to-date. Vocalist Ian Astbury, although singing in a lower register these days, still has the vocal prowess to deliver. Billy Duffy has always been the guitar hero’s guitar hero and “Choice of Weapon” showcases his chops, and his unique approach to composing guitar pieces. No two songs sound alike in terms of tone or technique, yet each song provides standout moments that will inspire guitarists to pick up the old axe. The band is joined by newest members John Tempesta on Drums and Chris Wyse on Bass who provide a new, yet familiar rhythm to the album and help capture that signature “Cult” sound perfectly.
Lyrically, “Choice of Weapon” provides a narrative that dives into the current dissolution of a society (presumably our own) and the decision that people have to ultimately make: Do we revolt, or do we simply roll with the punches? Is the pen mightier than the sword? How will we fight for change?
It also reflects man’s search for individual meaning among a people who are becoming blinded by technology. With the advent of social media and photo sharing sites, narcissism is now the norm with people often pushing the envelope to gain notoriety: “ALL THE CHILDREN LOVING THE CAMERA, TURN THEIR FACE INTO THE LIGHT, CAN YOU TAKE THE PACE MUCH FASTER, LICKING HONEY FROM A KNIFE.”
All in all, “Choice of Weapon” is a record that is sure to become an instant classic and is definitely a must have for any Cult fan. Do yourself a favor and go get it!
Notable tracks: “Honey From A Knife”, “Life > Death”, “The Wolf”.