Voivod ticket give away

Voivod at the Black Cat

This Saturday, February 13th, thrash fans are in for something special when Voivod and Vektor take over the main stage of the Black Cat. After that awesome Exodus show at the Black Cat in November you know this one is gonna be a rager too! In fact, we’re so excited about this show that we’re giving away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky DCHM readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite sci-fi themed band or album is. It doesn’t have to be metal, anything from Ziggy Stardust to Fear Factory to John Williams’ scores for Star Wars are fair game. At 5pm EST on Thursday, February 11th, 2016, the contest will end I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for just $20 here.

Voivod is thrash band that formed in 1981 in Quebec, Canada. They made a name for themselves by combining a more technical style of playing with thrash metal and have continued to innovate throughout their career. Vektor is a modern trash band from Philly that also dabbles with science fiction themes and some pretty technical guitar playing. You may remember that they headlined the DCHM 4th Anniversary Show at the Fillmore a few years back. Anyways, they always put on a great show and they should be a perfect support band for Voivod. Opening act Eight Bells is an experimental metal band from Portland. The band features three women and combines many different metal elements to create a unique atmosphere with their music. Now check out these songs below by each of the bands playing and let me know what your favorite sci-fi themed music is!

Voivod – We Are Connected

Vektor – Ultimate Artificer

Eight Bells – Hold My Breath

Review of Arc by Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Band: Agoraphobic Nosebleed
Album: Arc
Release Date: 22 January 2016
Record Label: Relapse Records
Buy on CD ($11) or digital ($6) or vinyl ($19) from: Bandcamp

Arc by Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Locals Agoraphobic Nosebleed have been very active lately. They recently started performing their first live shows at various festivals around the world (including their first ever live performance at last year’s Maryland Deathfest). Now they’re working on putting out a series of EPs that each feature a different band member’s musical tastes. When I heard the first of these was going to be a slower, more sludgey album I knew that DCHM writer Buzzo Jr would be perfect to review it since he is a fan of both grind and sludge metal. What follows is his take on the first studio recording of this new era for Agoraphobic Nosebleed. And don’t forget to stream a track from it at the end of this post!

Grindcore legends Agoraphobic Nosebleed have been delivering hyperspeed audio assaults fueled by manic riffs and machine gun tempo drum machines since the early 90’s. The band have since experimented with harsh noise, power electronics, and crossover thrash. Their experimentation continues with Arc, the first in the series of EPs the band is releasing that will each have a separate style representing a different member’s musical taste. Driven by vocalist Kat Katz, Arc is definitely a major departure from the ultra fast grind/crossover style Agoraphobic Nosebleed is infamous for, and instead is a slow, heavy, 3 song slab of sludge metal. If this was your first time listening to them, I’m pretty sure you would be quite surprised to learn that this is the same band that released Altered States of America; a frantic 100 song EP clocking in at only 20 minutes.

Arc gets the ball rolling with “Not a Daughter,” a relentlessly groovy track that at some points sounds almost upbeat with its swaying, southern feel. I don’t think anyone has ever dared to use the term “catchy” to describe an Agoraphobic Nosebleed song, but I’ll be damned if I can find a better description for the bluesy, pulsating riffs that guitarist Scott Hull unleashes here. Hull, also of local grindcore band Pig Destroyer, has flirted with slower, doomy material in the past on some Agoraphobic Nosebleed tracks and with Pig Destroyer’s Mass & Volume EP, but on this album it seems as if he’s actually been in at least 3 secret sludge bands. The riffs here are something I would expect from seasoned sludge veterans like Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod or Buzz Osbourne of the Melvins. The mid paced grooves of “Not a Daughter” soon give way to the next track, “Deathbed.” Any sense of slight optimism that may have been heard in the first track are now all but gone, with the pace coming to a slow dirge that creeps along with a spiteful sonic intensity. Agoraphobic Nosebleed has always been instantly recognizable for their use of incredibly fast drum machine blast beats, giving their early releases an almost machine like feel to them. Scott Hull’s programming skills have vastly improved throughout the years however, and on Arc the pounding drumbeats feel completely organic; at times I almost completely forgot that Agoraphobic Nosebleed didn’t have a drummer. The methodical pace of the drums on this album show that Hull definitely knows what he’s doing. Hull also handles the basswork on all of the tracks, and while not as exceptional as his guitar work, the flowing basslines on all of the tracks provide a great backbone to the rest of the music. The EP soon comes to a close with “Gnaw”, a mammothly crushing track filled to the brim with slow, sinister riffs and tormented screams. Vocalist Kat Katz is front and center on this album, with her howling screams and low growls echoing along with Scott Hull’s brilliant guitar and drum work. Kat is no stranger to doom and sludge, as many will remember her amazing vocals from her time in local doom band Salome. While not exactly a replication of past work, it’s great to hear Kat’s amazing vocals alongside slower material once again. Apart from the major change in tempo and number of songs, another huge change that listeners will notice about Arc is the subject matter of the tracks. You won’t find any songs like “Dick to Mouth Resuscitation” or “Druggernaut Jug Fuck” on here. The morbid comedy of past Agoraphobic Nosebleed tracks are instead replaced with much more personal tone. The lyrics on Arc are all written by Kat Katz, and revolve around her dealing with the death of her mother who suffered from schizophrenia. The intense personal meaning in the songs gives even more weight to them; with the emotional severity adding to the bleak tone the album already conveys.

The band is planning to release the rest of the EPs later this year, and I’m pretty psyched to hear how they differ from this and all of the previous Agoraphobic releases. Those of you who were expecting just another hyperspeed offering of grindcore may be disappointed, but if you’re open to a band experimenting with vastly different musical influences, and are a fan of slow, Black Sabbath worshipping tunes, then this is for you. Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Arc is a major departure from the sound we know them for, but it’s proof that experimentation can bring forth great results. For those still sad about Salome breaking up (myself included) this is a great way to appease your need for more local sludge driven by Kat’s peircing howls. Definitely give this album a listen and don’t miss Agoraphobic Nosebleed when they play their first ever local headline show at the Black Cat in May!

Graveyard ticket give away

Graveyard at 9:30 Club

On Friday, February 12th, the 9:30 Club is going to be invaded by Swedish rockers Graveyard. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, we’re going to give away a pair of tickets to the show to one of you lucky DCHM readers to get your Valentine’s Day weekend started off right! To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me what the best show you’ve ever seen at the 9:30 Club is! Please include details, I’m going to enjoy these. If you haven’t ever been to the 9:30 Club you can just say that you hope Graveyard will be the best! At 5pm EST on Friday, February 5th, 2016, the contest will end I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. Please note that this is an early show, doors open at 6pm, so if you can’t get there in time please don’t enter. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for just $25 here.

Graveyard plays a very catchy blues influenced style of hard rock than any fan of the heavy can enjoy. If you haven’t checked out their modern classic album Hisingen Blues I highly suggest it as a great starting point for getting into the band. Their latest album, Innocence & Decadence is pretty damn good too. And while Graveyard has played in Washington DC before, never have they played in the District on a stage with the size and sound set up like the 9:30 Club’s. The opening act is Spiders, a rock band also from Gothenburg, Sweden, that was formed as a side project of Graveyard drummer Axel Sjöberg though they have now come into their own. Now check out these great videos by the bands below and let me know what was your favorite show ever at the 9:30 Club!

Graveyard – Hisingen Blues

Graveyard – The Apple And The Tree

Spiders – Mad Dog

Review of Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Well all our year end posts have put me a bit behind on things but better late than never I suppose. On Sunday, December 27th I was at the 9:30 Club to see Clutch play along with Crobot and Valkyrie. There was a film crew there so it is very likely that this show, or at least parts of it, could wind up on a future Clutch video.

I got there early to make sure I could catch Valkyrie. The band is from Harrisonburg, Virginia, and is probably best known for sharing a guitarist with the band Baroness, Pete Adams. However it is Pete’s brother Jake Adams that is the driving force behind Valkyrie. The band’s sound is steeped in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with Jake’s vocals often pausing for several extended dueling guitar solos between the Adams brothers. Riffs abound and the chemistry between the brothers is as apparent as the fun they were having while performing on the 9:30 Club’s big stage. These guys have been something of a regional secret and it’s about time the word gets out about them. Hopefully this winter mini tour with Clutch will lead to bigger and better things for them.

The next band to play was Crobot from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. They’re a relatively new band, having formed in 2011, though they obviously see themselves as some sort of 70s throwback band. I’m generally ok with throwback bands but I’ve got to admit these guys just didn’t do it for me. I found their songs overly simple and the vocalist, Brandon Yeagley, was running around on stage striking poses like a coked up Steven Tyler. His voice was reminiscent of Geddy Lee, which is probably a good thing to some and bad thing to others, but honestly his stage presence was so annoying I quickly lost interest in not just him but the entire band.

Finally it was time for local favorites Clutch! This was the first time the Germantown, Maryland, based band would play to a local audience since the release of their latest album, Psychic Warfare, back in October. The album was well received and Clutch played the entire album throughout the course of the night, though not in order. A giant sized banner with the new album’s cover artwork hung behind Clutch while they performed their new songs with some older tunes thrown in throughout as well, and what a performance it was! The band hit the stage hot and seemed to fly through their set list without a whole lot of talking between songs. Clutch has really perfected their sound and live performance over the years and shows like this one make it obvious that they aren’t slowing down any time soon. Many bands at this stage of their careers start to lose a step or three but Clutch seems to only be getting better. It’s a rare quality that makes their energetic live shows special every time they play to their home crowd here in DC.

Below are my shots of the bands that night, you can click on any of them to see them full sized.

Valkyrie:

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Valkyrie at the 9:30 Club

Crobot:

Crobot at the 9:30 Club

Crobot at the 9:30 Club

Crobot at the 9:30 Club

Clutch:

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Clutch at the 9:30 Club

Most Metal Moments of 2015

Happy New Year everyone! As we look forward to another great year of metal be sure to read about the most “metal” moments of 2015 in the words of 11 of the DMV area’s biggest metal heads.

Blake Harrison is the knob twister and hype man for Pig Destroyer and the bird brainiac behind Hatebeak
Favorite album of 2015: Qliphoth by Cloud Rat
So I’d been laid off most of 2015 and because of said “paid vacation” courtesy of the state of Maryland, I had more then enough time to see plenty of shows. Seeing Wake three times this summer was pretty awesome, I saw Maruta and ACxDC twice, but the thing that sticks out the most was Agoraphobic Nosebleed‘s live debut at Maryland Death Fest. Playing to a sold out club (you couldn’t stack another body in there), the excitement was high and from the first note the crowd exploded into a frenzy adding to the overall experience. Definitely one of my favorite bands absolutely slaying their first live performance.

Dominique Cytryn Promoter for Nova Metal Booking and editor/graphic designer for Hallowed Pages Zine
Favorite album of 2015: Songs from the North by Swallow The Sun
Most Metal Moment of 2015: This year has been very generous to me. I started booking and promoting shows earlier this year in April and so far it’s been a very interesting experience. At first I never thought I would ever end up putting together shows or doing much of anything at all this year, but the severe lack of music in the NoVA area really started to bug me. I love our scene and the people in it; I’ve met many wonderful friends and seen a lot of cool bands, but I’d say my defining moment was the last show of this year this December on the 12th. It seemed like everything was going wrong that night- two of the bands I had booked had decided to drop off (one of them the night of) and I was freaking out. Luckily all of the members of Croatoan just happened to be at the show and they offered to play a set. Everyone who played that night was truly amazing and despite what happened it was one of the best shows I have put on. I’m grateful for the wonderful people in our community and the talented musicians and artists that inhabit it. All the people that came out and the bands that did their job really made that show special.

Steve Jones is the brewer at Oliver Ales
Favorite album of 2015: Vænir by Monolord
Most Metal Moment of 2015: Its been a great year with Oliver Ales finally transitioning to the new brewery. Once again I’ve managed to brew several batches inspired by/named after the music that I listen to in the brewery. Shortly before we left the brewpub forever I got a message from Steve of the doom band Destroyer Of Light asking about the beer I’d made in tribute to fellow Texan rockers Mothership and Wo Fat. Seemed like an opportunity too good to pass on, especially as their tour with Godhunter was bringing them to Baltimore so after a few emails it was decided, I would brew “Destroyer of Light.” The best fucking beer name in my humble opinion! I made a black (and yeah, I’m talking BLACK) smoked ale. Destroyer of Light (the band) rolled into town, came and hung out at the Pratt Street Ale House and drank Destroyer of Light before heading up Charles Street to shred at the Depot. Beer! Metal! Metal Beer! Awesome evening, metal as fuck!

Steve Jones with Destroyer Of Light

Steve (2nd from left) with Destroyer Of Light

Kim Dylla runs the metal clothing business Kylla Custom Rock Wear
Favorite album of 2015: Exercises in Futility by Mgła
Most Metal Moment of 2015: My most metal moment of 2015 would have to be watching Demoncy and Tsjuder live at Maryland Deathfest this year. The MDF lineups just keeps getting better and better. I’m not sure how Evan and Ryan do it, but they manage to top themselves each year. This year I was lucky enough to host one of my favorite Norwegian black metal bands, Tsjuder, before the festival. If you haven’t heard their 2004 album Desert Northern Hell, you need to. Their new album Antiliv is equally heavy hitting, and to watch them deliver some of the best black metal out there live on the big stage at Rams Head Live was an incredible experience. Honorable mention goes to “Anti (Auntie) Christian” for managing to pull off the mad scientist hair with corpsepaint. Adding to that evening was watching Demoncy’s amazing performance prior to Tsjuder’s set. I have been following Demoncy’s music since the days when I listened to nothing but underground black metal demos, and their sound retains that cult and satanic intensity that originally drew me in. Ixithra’s stage presence really left a lasting impression on me as well.

Matthew “Buke” Buchan is co-hosts the WeAreMetalheads.com podcast
Favorite album of 2015: Sleep at the Edge of the Earth by Wilderun
Most Metal Moment of 2015: After 2014 where I had an extremely hard time trying to come up with a year-end list 2015 was full of amazing music and events top to bottom. In May I attended my first Maryland Deathfest that I now regret missing years prior where over two days I was able to see bands like Primordial, Blood Red Throne, Serpentine Path and Amorphis. But my highlight of the year was being lucky enough to be able to cover the GwarBQ for the Metal Heads podcast with Brewer Will and my cohost George Washburn. We arrived in Richmond around 9:30am and had our first interview with the band Troglodyte. For those who aren’t familiar think bigfoot lore meets Cannibal Corpse. Sounds bad ass I know! After Troglodyte I spent the rest of the day chugging back beers and interviewing members from Municipal Waste, Mutoid Man and Goatwhore. When I thought the day couldn’t get any better I rounded a corner and ran into Phil Anselmo. Phil, through his work in Pantera, is who I credit getting me into metal. So the 15 minutes I spent talking football with Phil was the thrill of a life time. George, Will, and I capped off a fun GWARBQ with an interview with Beefcake the Mighty if Gwar. It was the weirdest interview we had ever conducted but we laughed the whole way through it and I’m still not sure we got a question answered.

James “Balor” Barile plays guitar in the band Khaotika
Favorite album of 2015: Exercises in Futility by Mgła
Most Metal Moment of 2015: To me the most metal moment of 2015 was witnessing the return of Black Metal Militia tour to the Baltimore Soundstage and finally with fucking Mayhem! Due to visa issues they couldn’t enter the US for the last tour with Watain. This time the tour had Rotting Christ tagging along too. Seeing these three tyrants together back to back was one of the most surreal experiences I could’ve hoped for.

Renee “Lusty Corpse” Tapia runs LCnK Promotions which puts on local metal radio shows and metal events
Favorite album of 2015: Methods of Disposal by Bound By The Grave
Most Metal Moment of 2015: 2015, the year of the goat, was a very metal year. Insane concert line ups, wild mosh pits and I met many great friends who became family to me. But my most memorable metal moment happened to be a metal gathering my partner Kaos and I threw in an attempt to bring our metal community even closer. We had this idea to do the first DMV metal community gathering and we pulled this off in just two weeks. We saved up every penny to buy food and beer. The outcome of the party amazed us, way more people came then we expected! And they brought in more food and alcohol! We had metal heads of all ages come through and the love was so strong. Every one had a great time, the music was great, we had a mosh pit with a bonfire close by on one side and a deep ditch on the other, luckily no one got seriously hurt in this killer pit of doom. This party was in a residential area so cops did show, but did not complain that we made noise past noise curfew or had pyrotechnic bottle rockets shooting off our homemade stage. Can’t wait to do it again in 2016

Metal Party!

Renee (front row, 2nd from right) at the DMV metal gathering

Will Cook is a brewer for Fairwinds Brewing and co-host of the Brutality At The Brewery metal nights we hold there.
Favorite album of 2015: Psychic Warfare by Clutch
Most Metal Moment of 2015: When Gwar and Battlecross, two bands that I love, played the 9:30 Club in November a new friend Shannon got me on the guest list and then backstage to hang out with Battlecross. I’d met them years ago but I was pleasantly surprised they remembered hanging out at my previous brewery. The next day the band came to my new brewery and hung out for several hours drinking beer, eating mac n’ cheese pizza (yes that is a real thing), playing disk golf and corn hole (Gumby and I won!) and generating calamity. I have to say that the dudes in Battlecross, and their staff are the most down to Earth and humble metal guys. It was a great time and very metal.

Lauri Lindqvist is better known as DC Heavy Metal album reviewer Tal around here although you can read more of his writing on his blog In My Winter Castle.
Favorite album of 2015: Under the Red Cloud by Amorphis
Most Metal Moment of 2015: There were a lot of cool moments this year. I finally saw Nightwish live after being a fan for 12 years. I finally got to mosh to Ensiferum‘s “Into Battle.” I got a photo with Jonas Ekdahl of Evergrey which made my girlfriend squeal. But the most metal moment of all was when I got to take my seven-year-old daughter to see Russian folk metal band Arkona at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore. Arkona is my daughter’s favorite band after Hevisaurus and Sekengard, and one of my all-time favorite bands. Arkona’s vocalist Masha Scream is one of my metal idols. I was a little sad that I couldn’t mosh for her since I had to stick by my kid, but it was more than worth it. Unfortunately Arkona went on so late that my kid was exhausted by the time they came on – but she was rocking out in the first row to Helsott right before them, so I know I have a little folk metal fan in the making. She stayed awake long enough to pump her fist for Arkona’s first few songs, and then spent the rest of their set asleep on my shoulder – in the fifth row!

Yaniv Kaufmann is DC Heavy Metal album reviewer that goes by Buzzo Jr despite his hair being rather short these days.
Favorite album of 2015: Psychic Warfare by Clutch
Most Metal Moment of 2015: My most metal moment of 2015, and probably one of my most memorable moments of the year overall was definitely seeing Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s first ever live performance at Maryland Deathfest. I’m a major grindcore freak so I had been waiting for this moment ever since it was first announced that they would be headlining the Baltimore Soundstage at Deathfest. I also met up with Chris Penrod, the Chicken Man, beforehand and we decided to each drop a tab of acid. Funnily enough, the set began with an audio sample of Hunter S. Thompson describing his affinity for the chemical compound. The show was one of the craziest events I had been to in a while. The pit was absolutely insane, stage divers were flying left and right, and the multi-colored strobe lights combined with ANb’s music all made for one hell of a trip. Also, someone in the crowd had somehow managed to bring in a 5 foot tall inflatable dick that people were throwing all over the venue much to everyone’s amusement. It eventually ended up finding its way onstage; hitting Richard “Grindfather” Johnson in the face, and it was pretty entertaining to see Rich hold it up above his head and shout “Shove it up your ass!” before throwing it back into the crowd. Between having one of the most terrifying/exhilarating acid trips I can recall, and seeing one of my favorite bands play their first live set, I can say that this was hands down one of the most metal moments of the year for me.

Metal Chris is the guy that runs this website!
Favorite album of 2015: Shadows by Valkyrie
Most Metal Moment of 2015: I’ve gotten to do some pretty awesome stuff because of this website but this year getting to interview Tom G. Warrior of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Triptykon was particularly stand out. Most of the interviews I do on DC Heavy Metal are recorded over the phone but since Triptykon was in town I got to interview Tom in person. I met him at the hotel he was staying at the day after Triptykon played MDF and his manager had reserved the office that is usually for business meetings. The manager left us alone and I conducted the interview in a small, windowless 8×8 room with just a table, Tom, myself and my recorder between us. You can’t ask for better conditions to conduct an interview under. Tom was very forthcoming and answered any of my questions, nothing was off limits, and the chance to talk to him about everything from heavy metal to his relationship with HR Giger to the protests in Baltimore around that time resulted in one of my best interviews yet and is something that I’ll never forget.

Review of Tenebrosum by Windfaerer

Band: Windfaerer
Album: Tenebrosum
Release Date: 22 September 2015
Record Label: Hammerheart Records (will re-issue in January)
Buy on CD ($12) or digital ($7) from: Bandcamp

Tenebrosum by Windfaerer

At the end of every year I like to give my album review writers the chance to write about not their favorite album of the year but instead the one they think was the most overlooked and deserving of more attention. The albums don’t have to be from the local scene like most of the reviews on DCHM and the choice is totally up to them. Buzzo Jr’s was posted here yesterday but today is Tal’s pick for the 2015 album that deserves more attention.

For a while now I’ve preferred metal music that’s slower and sadder than the norm, and sometimes haunting or ethereal rather than heavy. But there’s still a part of me that longs for epic grandeur, as my 2013 review of Echoes Of Battle by Caladan Brood goes to show, and this year I found myself drawn to a similarly dark and epic album: Tenebrosum by New Jersey’s Windfaerer.

I first heard Windfaerer on Lightfox177’s Youtube channel, a treasure trove of ambient and atmospheric metal, so I expected something either ethereal or desolate. I could hardly believe my ears as the commanding riffs at the start of “Celestial Supremacy,” which is the first song on the album, thundered out of my headphones. It does have a cascading atmospheric guitar sound to it, but it also has energetic groove more like the melodeathy end of the folk/Viking metal spectrum. I would put this song on while working on my novel, but then end up headbanging too hard to get any writing done. And it only amps up more, as a minute and a half in, the drums go wild and the guitars become a white-noise wall of sound punctuated by distorted wah’s, and then roaring vocals summon the darkness. A keening violin cuts through the chaos. Then during the chorus the song expands to epic grandeur, as you can just make out the vocalist roaring, “This is the legend we have forged.”

Comparisons to Summoning and Caladan Brood are inevitable, and warranted, as far as the epic parts are concerned. In addition, the style of the violin melodies recalls Maryland folk metal band Isenmor, especially in the parts where the violin soars on flights of fancy over a frenzied black metal barrage. Could this be a distinctive flavor of U.S. East Coast folk metal? The band describes themselves as “an extreme aural entity inspired by black metal and folkloric atmospheres…an homage to ancestral travels and an essence beyond our grasp,” defying location in a single genre or tradition.

Drawn in by “Celestial Supremacy,” I went on to listen to the rest of the album. The second song, “Finisterra,” features an irresistibly groovy and headbangable riff, and an instrumental segment that starts as a dreamy clean passage with gently flowing violin, and then morphs into a soaring solo over tremolo-y atmospheric guitar.

The first two songs are so captivating that they overshadow the third song. “Tales of Oblivion” has a slower feel, in spite of its blast beats and buzzsaw riffage, due to the slow melody and drawn out vocals, though it does have a fast and then furious passage in the middle. There isn’t as much captivating groove or melody to this song though. “Santería,” meanwhile, is a wild dance of violin over hammering riffs and frenetic blasts of drumming. It’s a relatively short, fast and heavy instrumental. It segues smoothly into “The Everlasting,” which features sweeping violin over the now expected barrage of drums and guitar, while the vocalist roars grandly, “These wounds will last forever, like stars carved in the sky / The heavens bleed the sorrows of mankind.” Cascades of tremolo guitar are surmounted by an achingly beautiful violin melody, and then the song closes with a clean guitar passage, contrasting with the godlike wrath of the vocals in between.

“Morir en el olvido” begins with a catchy riff and then violin melody, which underpin the song even once the darker vocals, blast beats and buzzsaw guitar come in. It’s another groovy headbangable one with its abundance of melodic riffage. “The Outer Darkness,” the last song on the album, is a last assault of frenzied guitar, drums and violin all together, as though all the forces of darkness were battering at the gates. This is not the anthropomorphic darkness of a demonic figure, however, but the inanimate forces of nature and the cosmos around us:

I am the expansiveness of planets
I am the disinterested force of storms

This plane is hostile
Here there is nothingness
I am the outer darkness

After a more moderate section with a meandering, proggy violin solo, like a pleasant jaunt through the far reaches of the galaxy, our ultimate smallness catches up with us, as the song and album end with a last barrage of instruments and vocals that conjures up the howling of the void.

In contrast to most other epic bands, Windfaerer’s subject matter on Tenebrosum doesn’t include any heroes or mighty deeds. Instead they sing of “sagas of seclusion,” “bleak words that have failed me” and being “washed away like sand at shore, slowly erased from time.” Even “Celestial Supremacy” with its references to legends and quests seems to be more about the fruitlessness of such endeavors, and ends with the voyagers leaving earth behind, perhaps forever. Heroic epics are about remembering; Tenebrosum is about oblivion, being forgotten and disappearing. It is actually anti-epic – or perhaps an epic paean to the immense cosmos that overwhelms all human attempts to write our names in the sand, as it were.

But hey, at least we get to listen to something as soul-stirring as this album during the time we do have here.

Review of The Insolent by Antigama

Band: Antigama
Album: The Insolent
Release Date: 7 May 2015
Record Label: Selfmadegod Records
Buy CD ($10) or digital ($8) or vinyl ($15) or cassette tape ($8) from: Bandcamp

The Insolent by Antigama

At the end of every year I like to give my album review writers the chance to write about not their favorite album of the year but the one they think was most overlooked and deserving of more attention. The albums don’t have to be from the local scene like most of the reviews on DCHM and the choice is totally up to them. Today is Buzzo Jr’s turn and, well, I’ll let his words do the talking from here.

There was a ton of awesome heavy music that was released this year, but an unfortunate amount of it went rather unnoticed by most people. One of those releases that I felt wasn’t given enough praise this year was The Insolent. The Insolent is the newest full length album from grindcore outfit Antigama; a band that has been delivering punishing tunes ever since the they formed in Warsaw, Poland, at the dawn of the millennium. With their seventh album, Antigama offers up a vicious array of grindcore tracks that that experiment with tempo and technicality.

The Insolent comes roaring straight out of the gate with the one-two punch of the tracks “Reward or Punishment” and “Foul Play,” both of which consist of blisteringly fast blast beats and energetic guitar riffs. Keeping within standard grindcore conventions, these first two tracks are very short; with neither of them breaking the two minute mark. Those who think that they are in for just another standard grindcore album are in for a surprise however, as they will soon realize that as the album progresses, the tracks get longer and more and more experimental. The next two tracks “Data Overload” and “Used To” bring the tempo of the album down slightly with distorted, industrial sounding grooves that are interspersed with sections of the familiar break neck speed found at the start of the record. Some grindcore bands often treat the bass guitar as a secondary instrument or shirks it in the production entirely making it all but inaudible and placing more emphasis to the lead guitar. This isn’t the case on this album however; Sebastian Kucharski’s bass is nice and audible, giving off a strong metallic twang. The flow of the album changes up again with “Randomize the Algorithm”; one of the more technical tracks on the album. The track opens with a brief audio sample from the 1995 supernatural horror film The Prophecy, (a pretty bad film in my not so humble opinion) and soon erupts into a barrage of start/stop riffage, dynamic bass lines, and tortured vocals roaring over it all. Sebastian Rockicki shows off his proficient guitar skills on this track especially; fusing traditional grindcore structures with more complex patterns to create a harsh, atonal sound that seems to take influence from the industrial sounds of Godflesh and the multi-layered, dissonant tunes found in GorgutsObscura album. The title track that soon follows is also jam packed with varying time signatures and corkscrewing riffs. The drumming on The Insolent is fantastic, and the title track provides the best example of Paweł Jaroszewicz’s incredible versatility on the drum kit. In the span of only two minutes, he transitions from hyperspeed blast beats to jazzy, polyrhythmic drum fills; meshing perfectly with the bass and guitar barrage provided by the two Sebastians.

The second half of The Insolent starts with the track “Sentenced to the Void,” a mid paced stomper filled with crunching grooves and thunderous vocals. Lukasz Myszkowski is a force of nature on this track, delivering cataclysmic roars that are soaked in distortion and vocal effects. The experimentation on the record comes out again in “Out Beyond”; a spacey track that makes good use of electronic effects to create an otherworldly atmosphere. The track is almost completely instrumental but for the last few seconds when the sample of a countdown to a launch is heard, perfectly leading into the track “Eraser”; another hyperfast display of technical riffs and vocal terror that slows again near the end to segue into the final track; “The Land of Monotony.” At over seven minutes long, this track is a slow, crushing slab of sludgy riffs and pounding drums. It provides a stark contrast to the balls to the wall speed of the majority of the album, giving a terminal sense of finality. The track at some points seems to be ticking down to its very last moments before coming to a void-like silence after the last echoes of Lukasz’s vocals fade away. There isn’t a single bad track on this album, although people who are looking for a more straightforward grindcore album may be put off by the slower, longer tracks near the end. That being said, if you were ever wondering what it would sound like if you took the spacey experimental style of Voivod and merged it with the balls out fury of Pig Destroyer, look no further than right here.

The Insolent is one of the best releases of 2015; grindcore or otherwise. If you consider yourself a fan of grindcore and experimental music, then give this album a spin and make sure to catch Antigama live if you ever have the opportunity, because I can say from first hand experience that they always put on one hell of a show. Here’s to another year of great underground music!

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