Five years after the release of Phantom Limb, Pig Destroyer are about to make a whole bunch of grindcore fans really happy with their new album Book Burner. Just as ferocious and unforgiving as ever, this album is going to receive a lot of attention in year end lists, as it should. Of course, the second we heard about the new album we had questions, and Blake Harrison (electronics) came to the rescue with some answers.
OS: In the five years it’s been since Phantom Limb, Pig Destroyer has seen a lot of change surrounding the band, including a new drummer”what of these things do you think had the most pronounced effect on the material on Book Burner?
BH: Well, I think the most pronounced influence on Book Burner was the time, we felt like we wanted the record to be lean, stripped down, fierce. (more…)
2012 has proven to be quite a year for extreme metal vocalist Travis Ryan thus far. With the latest Cattle Decapitation album, Monolith of Inhumanity, released back in May and the debut full-length of his side project/pseudo-super group Murder Construct ” Results ”coming at the end of August, ‘busy’ doesn’t begin to describe Ryan’s year in full. His work (and that of his respective bandmates) on both Monolith of Inhumanity and Results, will likely doubly cement his place on many year-end metal lists, and rightfully so. We had some questions for Travis about how things worked with the two bands, seeking to clear the air of things circulating on the rumor mill, and he was kind enough to give us all of the dirty details.
OS: First off, you must be one busy guy since you have two bands putting out huge releases this year. How is the year working out for you so far?
TR: It’s been a whirlwind of activity but kinda just hit a dead spot because the Shockwave tour Cattle Decapitation was supposed to be on got canned at the last minute. [This] was kind of a blessing in disguise for my personal life because I had proposed to my girlfriend like two days before I was supposed to leave, so we’ve been able to hang out instead of be apart, which is cool. Got to go to Comic Con, party with Dethklok and various Adult Swim TV personalities, and was miraculously able to shoot a Murder Construct and Cattle Decapitation video with director Mitch Massie from Indiana. He came through on tour with Retox so both bands seriously lucked out. With him in Indiana and us in California, it’s a nightmare trying to come up with enough elbow grease to make it work. Last year was a brutally busy point in my life writing both MC and CD full length albums’ worth of lyrics as well as busting my ass off hustling to pay bills and take care of business.
With summer right around the corner, we can’t help but be totally stoked for Warped Tour. In case you haven’t heard, we’ll be sponsoring our own stage for twenty-two dates and bringing twenty-three artists out to perform on it. Twenty-two acts will snag a performance at their local tour stop, and Dallas native Larry g(EE) will be rocking the stage at each and every date. In addition, there are a handful of other OurStage artists already booked to play various dates of the tour. We decided to catch up with them to get the scoop on their summer plans.
Shreveport, Louisiana’s iwrestledabearonce don’t take themselves”or the metal scene”too seriously, and that may be one of the best things they have going for them. Sure, they may not be for the faint of heart, and you probably wouldn’t expect any less from a band with song titles like “Tastes Like Kevin Bacon” and “Karate Nipples.” Even so, the group is refreshingly fearless on stage and in the studio, mixing grindcore, electronica, screamo and just about every other genre into their musical melting pot. Led by formidable lead vocalist Krysta Cameron, the band battled sterotyping early on in their career, but have since proved that they can hang with the most metal dudes around. We caught up with guitarist Steven Bradley to chat about what they’ll be bringing to Warped Tour, the horror movie they just finished filming, and what they’ll be doing when summer ends.
OS: You guys love to mix a lot of different genres and styles in your music. How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it before?
SB: Terrible…beyond that, I don’t know. It’s heavy music that’s not quite as serious as maybe other straightforward heavy bands. Dance, grind, jazz, electronic, terrible…as long as the word terrible is in there.
Have you ever been nerding it up about your favorite metal band, talking to someone much less versed than you in the world of metal, and see the blank stare on their face as you use words they don’t understand? I thought so, which is why I’m here to help. I’ve comprised a very handy guide you can provide to all your friends that outlines the common terms associated with metal music. Nouns, verbs, titles, adjectives“you name it, I’m covering it. With no further ado, I give you the (somewhat) definitive metal glossary, presented neatly in alphabetical order.
Black – A genre of metal played by people obsessed with counter culture who wear black clothing almost exclusively. Notorious for being supposed Satanists and recording extraordinarily low quality albums. Solid chance anyone who makes it knows far too much about Norway, or actually resides there.
Blackened – Any music referred to as “blackened” is really only intended to be labeled as “more evil” than the other bands in their main genre. Primary examples include blackened thrash metal and blackened death metal.
Breakdown – A tool used by -core bands in place of true musical transitions in their song.
Metal as a community”made up of bands and their fans” is a tight-knit population, but that does not mean this happy family is without its schisms. With the somewhat recent rise of deathcore into the mainstream, many death metal and grindcore acts have drawn a line in the sand to separate themselves from this sub genre of metal. The same can be said for metalcore, which at one point in the early 2000s had a major surge within mainstream music and was ostracized by many metal sub genres. You see, if someone isn’t raised in the metal scene, then they may not be able to tell the minor differences between these sub genres. Add to this the large number of bands spilling over and changing sides between sub genres, and you’ve got a recipe for a giant mess.
Grindcore, metalcore, deathcore”they all came from very distinct roots: death metal and hardcore (scenes ultimately born from punk). Death metal is known for its heavy and constant nature, taken to an extreme level. Lots of bands fit this bill and have had the “death metal” label slapped onto them, but the essence of death metal lies in bands like Death, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Suffocation and Decapitated. Change anything the classic death metal formula and you’ve probably found yourself wandering into sub genre land”bands like Necrophagist are known as “technical death metal” but to the inexperienced listener are really not much different. For a good example of death metal, you can check out this video for Cannibal Corpse’s “Death Walking Terror”:
Early in the death metal days, grindcore was born”taking the heaviness of death metal bands of the time along with the avant-garde nature of post-rock, the frenetic rhythms and breakdowns of hardcore punk and an extra splash of craziness to create a totally new sub genre of music. The more famous grindcore acts include Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Check out this music video for Brutal Truth’s “Sugar Daddy” to hear a good example of grindcore:
The late 1990s witnessed the next offshoot: metalcore. Though its beginngs lie in early 90s bands like Converge and Zao, its current style was brought about by bands such as Unearth, God Forbid and Shadows Fall. Taking a lot of influence from trash, the metalcore tag may be a bit misleading, as the only real element taken from hardcore is the style of breakdown used. Most of the stylistic choices lie in heavy thrash, and the vocals often feature big melodic lines evident in heavy metal bands like Armored Saint. The most famous example of more modern metalcore is All That Remains‘ “This Calling”:
Soon after metalcore’s rise, deathcore began to brew. Take out the melodic vocals, make the sound a bit heavier and use more extreme breakdowns and you’ve transformed regular metalcore into deathcore. Bands such as The Acacia Strain, Caliban, The Red Chord, Animosity and Job For a Cowboy are known as some of the first true deathcore bands. To get a taste of an archetypal deathcore song, check out The Acacia Strain’s “Angry Mob Justice”:
Nowadays, though, bands are breaking these boundaries. Act such as The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Cephalic Carnage, Job For a Cowboy and Brain Drill have completely shattered the mold for these genres. This has been a much needed change for the metal scene since many separate sub-genres began drawing lines in the sand because, really, many of these bands aren’t that different at their core”they’re all just looking to have a good time by making extreme music people want to move to.
Self-described rocky mountain hydro grind veterans Cephalic Carnage are fresh off a spot on this year’s Summer Slaughter Tour, about to release their sixth studio album, Misled By Certainty and head overseas for another European tour. It doesn’t sound like they’ve got time to catch their breath really, but we still managed to talk with guitarist Steve Goldberg to see how things were going between tours and to ask about the new album:
MtD: First off, how was Summer Slaughter this year?
CC: Pretty awesome man, the shows have been really good. The downsides are the long days and long drives. You don’t get much personal time, but the shows have been awesome.
MtD: Your stage antics are a lot different than the other bands on the Summer Slaughter, do you think the crowds receive them well?
MtD: So, how are the crowds receiving the new songs from Misled By Certainty?
CC: It’s going over good too. Not really getting the same pits as we did with the old stuff, but everyone’s really pumped about it and absorbing it and we’ve been getting really positive reactions”you know, loud cheers and everything.
MtD: Can you give us a little insight to Misled By Certainty, and how you got the name for it?
CC: Oh, the title can pretty much relate to anything. Like, an example would be that we put about $2,000 into our van and were certain things would be good and we were set” but sure enough we blew a transmission first week into it. So it’s just kinda scenarios like that, never count your chickens before they hatch.
MtD: So, how about the first single, Abraxas of Filth, what exactly is an Abraxas?
CC: [Talking to someone else in the band] What does Abraxas mean?
It’s like an ancient God, and apparently he hasn’t bathed in a while, so he’s pretty filthy.
CC: There’s this place called Silver Surfer out in Colorado who kinda sponsored us as a band, and we just wanted to have some kinda cool promotion for a grand prize and they were kind enough to donate to the cause. Whomever wins that should be pretty happy because those things rule.
MtD: So, it’s no secret that you guys are pro-marijuana; do you ever catch any grief about it on tour?
CC: Nah, no issues. Maybe some like, podunk country cop you know, but we never really get any flack about it. People these days tend to be pretty pro-pot.
MtD: Now that you’re done with Summer Slaughter, you’re off to Europe to headline a tour”what are you most excited about being back in Europe for?
CC: Oh man, just the good times over there. Europe’s the best place to tour. Get back over there with our buddies Psycroptic and just looking forward to hanging out, playing some shows, and having fun.
MtD: You’re also on that tour in Europe with Ion Dissonance”is it your first full tour with them?
CC: Nah, the first summer slaughter tour four years ago actually. There’s also this band called Our Penance, and I’ve heard their songs on the Internet actually, and they’re pretty ridiculously brutal so I’m excited to check them out. The other band’s Discarnate, whom I haven’t heard yet.
Misled By Certainty drops on August 31th on Relapse Records” and you’d be a fool not to buy it (get it here). The tracks posted to the band’s MySpace page promise more of the same great Cephalic Carnage from Xenosapien and Anomalies”so, we’re all in for a treat. If you happen to be located in Europe, you’d also do well by your ears to check out their tour with Psycroptic, Ion Dissonance and more.