Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DECIBEL Top 40 of 2012 by RECORD LABEL

A few months ago I cancelled my subscription to Decibel Magazine. It was partly because of the lackluster content (the excessive coverage to totally shitty bands) and partly because there were two months when the magazine did not arrive.

Since, I have bought the magazine occasionally and I actually just purchased the issue with the Top 40 of 2012, especially because of the induction of Sarcofago's I.N.R.I. into the Decibel Hall of Fame. The article is great, what's not so great is the inclusion of bands like August Burns Red and the Top 40 itself, which includes some obvious and deserving ones, alongside others that really just seem to make the cut because they either know people or are released by the right label.

The following is the main reason why I don't subscribe to the mag anymore:

Relapse 5
Nuclear Blast 5
Century Media 4
Season of Mist 2
Profound Lore 2
Metal Blade 2
Roadrunner 1
Neurot 1
Epitaph 1
Debemur Morti 1
Eone 1
Young God 1
Dark Descent 1
Spinefarm 1
No Sleep 1
Hydra Head 1
Prosthetic 1
20 Buck Spin 1
Tee Pee 1
Listenable 1
Handmade Birds 1
Self-Released 1
Inside Out 1
Seventh Rule 1
Lupus Lounge 1
Black Market Activities 1

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Diablo III VS Torchlight II: The Showdown of HONESTY, For Reals, No Payoffs


We're not sure how many of our readers are gamers, but with extreme music, probably at least 70%, so this is for you.  Over the years, there have been several PC series that have revolutionized the video game industry.  One of those was Diablo, with its incredibly awesome sequel Diablo II.  Following the success of these games, the so-called H&S genre developed further.  H&S means simply hack & slash, where you control a character who goes around chopping up enemies.  Diablo really helped solidify the idea, and when II was released it caused a revolution in gaming, one of which can still be found for sale at Best Buy (sorry, had to mention it) at the time of this entry.  Naturally, copycats abound, and they all follow the same idea, where is basically what the first Torchlight was.

Recently, though, Blizzard, the company behind Diablo, has been demonized by the fans that helped it to make it the megalith it is today.  And, unfortunately, like so many great companies, it's because money is starting to feed their creations.  That's where we come in, honest truth, from someone with no monetary attachments other than the price to purchase.  Now, we're not going to get into an extensive history of either game, suffice to say Torchlight basically owes its existence to several people who used to work for Blizzard and got sick of what they saw happening, creating the company Runic Games.  Though largely a copycat, the first Torchlight was something of a test for what would come, Torchlight II.  Before this, however, the highly anticipated, and probably most anticipated PC game of all time, Diablo III was released.

Released to high acclaim at first, but this in itself reveals the problem with modern review sites.  They typically need to get something out to readers before launch.  If you don't do it in time, who's going to want to read your site?  Unfortunately, this led to a glut of suspiciously high scores for D3, something completely at odds with popular consensus, which, if you look at a site like Amazon, is so glaringly low the false 5-star reviews on there are obvious for the propaganda they are.  Having played both of these games thoroughly, which is what it takes to give a proper review, ahem IGN, it's clear Diablo III sucks.  It sucks more than every porn actress of all time in history, and is quite possibly the worst PC game of all time because of how it has failed its critical fanbase.  You've probably read a few of these comparisons, but now you're going to read one from someone who's played both since their initial launch and knows them thoroughly.  In fact, I already have some pretty elite characters for both, but I only play Torchlight II now, haven't touched that piece of shit D3 for at least two months.  Why?  Well, best to go over this in a simple, cross-comparison format.

1. The Plot

Okay, in general terms, both of these games aren't exactly the deepest experience you're ever going to have. Torchlight II involves a plot that's basically stripped straight from Diablo II; not unusual since some of the guys who designed the former helped with the latter.  But, it has some clever little twists and interesting creatures (like the various guardians).  Still, nothing fancy, nor surprising.  Diablo III on the otherhand, holy fucking Christ.  Worse than realizing you don't have a penis at the age of 13 while reading Hustler.  The plot of D3 is so shockingly thin and childish it's almost amazing it got through the initial design phase.  A two-year-old can figure it out by the end of Act I, or by Act II it's definitely yawn-worthy, and Acts III and IV are throw-away.  And the voice acting, what the fuck?  Who in the living hell did they get to act so badly?!  They even let PC fall upon them in some of the designs?!  So, though either doesn't excel in any sense in this area, Torchlight II offers a more mature concept that plays out well.  The plot is much more believable and the dialog isn't nearly as wooden.  Plus, the bosses are fucking awesome, whereas in D3 you're treated to some of the most tame and uninspired losers you'll ever see.  And hey, look at the overall idea behind T2.  Steampunk people.  Guns, cannons, antiquated, evil robots, holy fuck yes.  Why, because it has a little variety!  Not the usual black metal doom gloom blood fest.  Sometimes we need something a little different.

2. The Graphics

This is probably the only area where Diablo III really seems to outweigh Torchlight II, but after playing both it's a matter of opinion.  D3 is oriented towards realism, T2 is oriented towards a more colorful, almost cartoony look, or perhaps best to say WoW look (meaning World of Warcraft).  As such, it depends on your tastes.  Both have excellent environment designs, integration of the world with character action, great animations, and so forth.  It just depends what you prefer.  Honestly, I didn't like T2's graphics at first, but after playing it I prefer them to D3 because they're more artistic and lush.  D3 is overall dark and bloody.  So, both excel here, it really depends on what you're looking for.  However, please note, this is a minor point when you look at a few critical areas.



3. The Sound

In general, both games have the high and low points in this area.  D3's soundtrack is terrible and you'll never notice it, whereas T2's is awesome but essentially ripped straight from D2 for the most part other than some cool, unique moments.  Each, however, has a nice set of sound effects.  T2 features steam powered machines and robots that give it a cool touch, and D3 is more realistic with various effects.  Really, they both largely excel in this area, but T2's music is much better, in spite of the fact it was lifted from ideas in D2.  But hey, don't forget, some of those guys broke away from what Blizzard once was to create T2, so you at least know where it came from.

4. Character Classes

First off, D3 has more character types, and T2 looks, on the surface, like hacks of D2 characters with little depth.  For D2 you have the Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Demon Hunter.  All of them, if you know D2, are basically redos of previous characters.  The Monk is a combination of the Paladin and Assassin from the preceding game, and the Witch Doctor is clearly the Necromancer but is way difficult to use unless you know what you're doing.  So, more classes, sure, but they're pretty shallow when you think about it.  And, more importantly, most of their skills suck dick.  Anyone trying the raven skill for the Demon Hunter had enough at first try.




In T2, you only have four total classes, so at first it seems inferior.  But then you see how the game works.  So, you have the Embermage, Engineer, Outlander, and Beserker.  It's clear what the Embermage is.  The Outlander is basically a ranged character, and the Berserker is clearly like a Barbarian.  The Engineer is tough to place, but think of it as almost a part Paladin, part Amazon, it's weird.  Anyway, point is most people say IT ONLY HAS FOUR CLASSES WTF.  Fools.  First off, yeah, only four, but the skill set is much different.  In fact, you can essentially create probably at least 5-7 different types of each character, so it's more like you have 20 classes in all.  An Electric Engineer, a Canonneer, a Sword Mage, whatever you want.  Doesn't exist in D3.  You pick a character, and you're done, no incentive to try it again.  With T2, you'll be thinking of a new build constantly.  Speaking of which...

5. Character Builds

One of the things that made D2 such a fun game was the ability to make almost any character variation you wanted.  Of course, only a few were true machines, but you still had the option of trying new things.  In D3 this potential is completely missing.  For some reason, the designers decided to make it so that upon reaching level 60 where it caps you have all available skills and simply select the ones you want to use.  That means, there is no way to increase their potential except through items (we'll get to why this is critical later).  WHAT THE FUCK...  Basically, you're going to see the same handful of character types all the time with very little variation because, well, really only a handful of skills are any good!

T2, on the other hand, first off lets you personalize your character's look (hair color, facial structure, etc.).  And, more importantly, it has a skill set that you place points into, just like D2, so you can adjust their powerful and usefulness as you see fit.  Furthermore, skills in T2 aren't attached to a skill tree, meaning they're all individual and you can put the points anywhere you want without previous requirements other than level for the initial opening of each one.  This means, you're going to see a shitload of character variety.  Want to be a mage that wields swords and functions like a tank?  Go for it.  Want to see an engineer who functions like a summoner and fires shotguns from afar?  Go for it bitch.  That's just the thing, T2 is a gamer's  game, you can do anything you want with it.  D3 does not give this option, and for an important, insidious reason we'll get to now...


6. Core Gameplay

So, both D3 and T2 have the H&S thing going on.  You listen to the plot, select quests, run around, kill stuff, collect items, play some more.  T2 has several better features over D3, including little ones like the ability to adjust your viewing screen into any depth you want simply by rolling the scroll wheel on your mouse.  D3 is annoyingly stuck at too far away or so damn close you can't see shit.  But that's just one detail, I won't go over all the others.  But let's mention the pets!  Man, you can select several different types of pets and personalize them, and they can be used to run items back to town for sale or come back with more potions so you can keep playing while they do the work.  FUCKING BOSS.  But, the critical issue for any game like this is finding better items and making your character a beast that can stand up to more and more pressure.  Both games function in largely the same way, other than what's already been mentioned, but there's a critical big fucking deal issue with D3, namely, the Auction House, and in particular the Real Money Auction House, or RMAH.  See, it's simple.

In T2, you kill stuff, you find items.  It has basically the same item system as D3, other than drop rate.  White items are the least powerful, followed by green, blue, then orange, and then the incredibly unique red.  D3 has white, blue, yellow, brown, and green.  In T2 there are sets for every level from blue up, D3 only has set items in green.  White items are usually stock and not very useful later, whereas low-level items will serve their purpose for most of the game.  And, even cooler, item vendors actually have good shit most of the time in T2.  The gambler, for example, will deal out some seriously good shit if you save up the money to take the chance.  Further, you get a great item drop rate that keeps you coming back.  Usually, you get at least one slightly better item almost every run in T2.  Because of the huge diversity in items (multiple sets, multiple gem types, the ability to enchant your items in different ways, etc.), pretty much everything is workable.  Many items can be used by multiple classes.

D3 is the complete opposite of this.  White items are worthless, even at low levels.  Blues are rarely good, yellows are often better but you'll get annoyed with the variety of shitty ones you find, browns almost never appear and when they do usually piss you off because they end up blowing goats, and green set items usually appear and suck even more dick because they're usually cool when you find them, but not what you need, like at all, like a DPS (damage per second) loss of over 13,000.  Gem inserts are restricted to only four different types of varying levels of perfection, but in T2 you have blood embers that give life regeneration, spark embers for electric power, certain skulls that reflect damage, you name it.  In D3 you're lucky if you find one item you need every fucking fifty runs.  But hey, that's okay if you're still finding stuff that's good.  But you're not.  Why?  Simple, Blizzard has D3 tied into the RMAH.  The auction house lets players post their items in a database and sell them for in-game gold.  But, it also includes a section where you can buy and sell things for real money.  Blizzard thought of this for two reasons.  One, it eliminated third-party sites selling items as you found with D2.  And, more importantly, two, it lets them make more money.  At least in theory.  Want to know why you're not finding a lot of good rares?  Easy, it's because it depends on the number of them for sale in the auction house.  It has nothing to do with your magic find (MF) percentage.  It has everything to do with Blizzard making more cash if you're stupid enough to pay real money on a fantasy life.  How's that?  Simple, you spend the time playing, and they actually fucking take a percentage of each sell.  Well, do it with fake gold then?  Go ahead, but they control that market too!  They take a cut of that even, and then sell game gold in the RMAH to make more money.  Motherfuckers...  That's all you really need to know about D3 in this regard.  You'll usually see people complaining about the item drops, and this is the critical reason why it sucks so much dick.  Greedy scum.


7. Max Levels

Another big issue.  D3 maxes at 60.  SUCKS.  Sucks for a few reasons.  One, the game keeps going and monsters keep getting more powerful while you don't.  They tried to fix this with what they call "Paragon Levels", but it's boring as piss because the core gameplay remains the same.  Two, the only way to counteract this is with better items.  Three, the better items are in the auction house.  Four, the really, really good items you need are for...you guessed it, sale in real dollars...  It all makes sense, doesn't it?  Further, D3 really has no balance.  The first four difficulty settings are FOR PUSSIES.  The last one, Inferno, suddenly went to fucking death from all directions with the first zombie you encountered.  So hard it wasn't even enjoyable anymore, but you wanted to prove you could win.  When you did, you didn't give a shit anymore and quit the whole fucking thing.  Thus it goes with D3.  There's no incentive to play.  Why make another Demon Hunter when you can simply switch out your skills?  There's no personalization of play whatsoever!

T2, however, maxes at 100.  This matters for several reasons.  First, it provides balanced play throughout, going from easy to hard, a setting which, by the way, you can change at any time.  Currently playing it on Normal but want to try the next task on Elite?  Go ahead, and it won't take starting a new game to do it!  Second, skills aren't tied to items, so when you raise more levels, so do your skills, and you can make them better as you see fit using a wide variety of gear, most of which can be used by almost every class.  So how do you level further in T2?  Easy, you can either create a so-called NG+ (each + meaning you've played it that many more times), where everything resets based on current level, or you can do what most players do, go to a special world called Mapworks where you can purchase a variety of random maps with a boss creature at the end to keep leveling.  After that, you have the 105-level maps that really test your skill at any level, or, if you want to try, you can actually modify your own maps by programming them and create worlds where you fight absolutely elite bosses all packed into a single room.  All up to you!  Won't find that in D3.


8. Online Community

One problem with D3, no offline mode, you have to play the whole thing online, and everyone knows what happened the first day.  The servers crashed and no one could play.  Good one, Blizzard.  This is one thing many have complained about.  However, D3 is slick in that you have an online list of friends attached to any game in the Blizzard universe, and you can chat with them during play at any point.  If you want to join a game with them, you simply request invite or they ask you.  So yeah, if you've played D2 you know immediately what the problem is there.  No more created games.  D3 runs entirely on a system that either puts you with random players, or you create a game and invite your friends, provided you have any who are even still playing this hunk of shit.  At launch, you'd see numbers in excess of 10,000 public games with slots for up to four players max (another issue, T2 enables up to 6 max).  Today, usually around 300-500, no joke, open public games.  That tells you a lot.

T2, however, has the good old create and name your game feature.  Remember those awesome "Tristy001" runs in D2?  You'll find that kind of shit again in T2.  The online mode, should you select it instead of offline, which yeah, this has, enables you to see what friends you have on, where they're playing, and also enables you to create any type of game you want almost with passwords, level caps, and the like.  In the offline mode you can actually play the same character as online and level them up without playing with others, something you never saw in D2.  There are only two issues with T2.  One, you can't chat to your friends outside of a game.  Two, if you choose to enter a NG+ or higher setting, you can't play with anyone below you anymore.  That's a little annoying, and not sure why they chose to do that, but it's something you can assume they'll fix in the future.  Which gets us to another critical area.


9. Game Modifications

Blizzard has already gotten an asston of fire for the various changes they've made to D3 since launch, and they've been very sneaky about it at some points, which just pisses off players.  There are some people who say that they're probably manipulating drops and the RMAH to make themselves more money (by, say, making the really good stuff only available in there, sold by characters they actually own), but that's hard to prove.  What can be proven, however, is the constant, draconian methods Blizzard has been using that are downright fucking propaganda in certain cases.  Here's one: the Demon Hunter has a cool, upper-level skill called Trail of Cinders.  When you flip out of the way of enemies, you'd leave a trail of fire that once did 1500% of armed weapon damage.  Very useful for a character that's usually not able to take many hits.  So, during one patch, they announced this damage increase.  A patch or so later, suddenly they were stating that the 1500% of damage done by ToC was actually a "bug" or "glitch" and was "never intended" to do that, when, in fact, the fucking previous patch notes stating otherwise from their own fucking mouths was still fucking online.  That, my friends, is the kind of shit real gamers don't enjoy, not one bit, and it's only one example of countless times this has happened.  It's understandable that certain skills may work too well or not so well and need altered, but sure as hell make sure you don't fucking lie about it.

T2 has gone through changes too, such as a recent implementation of different languages into the game text and storyline for foreign players, since more and more are appearing.  At launch you'd see around 2 pages of open games without about 4000-5000 players online.  Now, you can pretty much quadruple that.  One reason why is that Runic Games largely leaves the core play alone.  Why?  Simple, because skills are not set to predetermined conditions.  In T2, as already mentioned, YOU control how much power you want a skill to have, it's capped at a certain level, and that's it.  Do what you want with it, get items to increase potential overall, and have at it.  You will not see this same kind of core play manipulation because of this simple issue, which, in essence, has been a way D3 was envisioned as a money-making machine that has largely failed because we aren't fucking idiots.

Further, and even cooler, you can modify almost any aspect of T2!  That means, create your own super maps if your character is too powerful for what they provide, create more sockets than possible in an item, add enchantments you usually couldn't outside of what the game provides, etc.  So wait, that means people can cheat?  Yes, it does, but thankfully, their character is then marked with items that say CHEATED or special symbols when they log in so other players know they're either just having fun or cheating sons-of-bitches.  You won't see many people doing this because who likes to admit that?  But, they do exist.  Thankfully, Runic Games foresaw possible problems with this, so characters are then marked with a scarlet ! symbol, no joke, so everyone knows they're full of shit.  Modifying your own maps and levels to make them more challenging, however, is considered totally fair game, and it should be.  Sadly, you won't see any of this in D3.  If you're even suspected of doing anything close to this, your account will be banned and locked like a concentration camp.  Recently there was the issue of players reducing the screen view size so they could see monsters farther away and attack them without activating their motion, so Blizzard banned them.  Really?

10. Player Versus Player

Anyone playing D3 is aware of this.  This some bullshit.  Player VS Player fighting, otherwise known as PvP, was supposed to be available during launch and still fucking isn't for D3?!!!!  What the fucking fuck?!!  If you know these games, inexcusable.  They're apparently working on it, but it looks lame as shit and their new act they're working on sounds retarded and is sure to be as lackluster as what they already released, probably worse.  T2, folks, has PvP, and you can set it at any time, anywhere.  Fucking intense too.



In conclusion, and having played both of these games to death, Torchlight II is really the only way to go anymore.  Diablo III was ruined by the time it was conceived, and there's no possible way they can get out of it.  The problem is easy to understand, money.  Torchlight II is all about the player, and Diablo III is all about the cash, so the game is constantly manipulated in order to make it in their favor, not yours.  By adjusting various skills, they make it more difficult for you to find the good shit, which will undoubtedly, and unfortunately, force many players to spend real money on game items to feel good about their pathetic, up-until-4AM existence.  This is not a way to run a gaming business, and it's likely the first step in Blizzard's eventual demise.  As it happens with many gaming companies, they get full of themselves, and they think that whatever they fucking release is going to be awesome or no one will notice when it sucks.  This may have broke sale records, but it also likely broken the fanbase that made it possible.  More likely than not, all downhill from here.  Runic Games, on the other hand, shows incredible promise and insight through Torchlight II, and if you're a true gamer who cares about actual play, that's where you need to look.  Don't fall for the bullshit you might read out there ever, ever again.  Show Blizzard that without you, they're the piece of shit that they are.  Fuck you, I'm done with you.  For further information, usually in very short reviews, just check out the overwhelming negatives on amazon.com and you'll get all you need to know.

The First DJ in North Korea


We tend to forget in the West how important music is to us, and how big of a part of our lives it is.  Sure, we sometimes harp on how sites like Myspace turned underground music into a rotting cesspool of inadequacy, but when you read about things like this, even the worst crust punkabilly band in the world sounds awesome.  The following is a short interview with DJ BO, a Westerner who recently became the first DJ to ever perform in North Korea.  Short, but very interesting read with some cool pictures:

NORTH KOREA GETS ITS FIRST DJ

Saturday, October 27, 2012

First DEIPHAGO US TOUR

Filipino black/death warlords DEIPHAGO will be embarking upon their first-ever USA tour starting this Saturday, October 27th in Chicago. Riding high on the worldwide critical acclaim afforded their latest Satan Alpha Omega album - released by HELLS HEADBANGERS this past August - and considered by many to be THE most violent band around, DEIPHAGO will be decimating 12 doomed cities across America this month and next, sharing the stage with such comrades as Nocturnal Fear, Manticore, Nuclearhammer, Prosanctus Inferi, and Ritual Combat. Here are the confirmed dates/venues, with details for each:

October 27 - Chicago, IL @ Cafe Lura w/ Nuclearhammer

November 2 - San Diego, CA @ Til-Two Club w/ Ritual Combat

November 3 - Los Angeles, CA @ 5 Star Bar w/ Ritual Combat

November 4 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge w/ Ritual Combat

Novemer 9 - Columbus, OH @ Cara Bar w/ Manticore & Prosanctus Inferi

November 10 - Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters/Stonefly/Uptowner w/ Manticore

November 11 - Detroit, MI @ Paycheck's Lounge w/ Manticore & Nocturnal Fear

November 12 - Buffalo, NY @ The Funeral Home w/ Manticore

November 14 - Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Pickwick Pub w/ Manticore

November 15 - Allston, MA @ O'Briens Pub w/ Manticore

November 16 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Manticore

November 17 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron w/ Manticore

Monday, October 8, 2012

SHADOWS IN PARADISE - I'm Nikander...

I don't want anything from anybody. I'm Nikander, ex-butcher, now a garbage man. Bad teeth and stomach, liver barely hanging on, which is more than I can say for my head. No use asking what I want. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

DOG DAYS - Austrian Nasty


After watching Dog Days a couple of things are clear; Austria is comprised of millions of the ugliest people in the world, and oh yeah, and they are all a bunch of pervs and weirdos.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

CONVULSE Are Back Bitches!!!

This is what the people who care had to say...

One of the most memorable pioneers of Finnish first-wave death metal, CONVULSE were there in 1990 alongside bands such as Xysma, Disgrace, and Abhorrence to create a scene which was to become legendary. Formed in Nokia in early 1990, the band was quickly snapped up by Thrash Records from France, and the future cult classic World Without God appeared a year later.

After an 18-year break, CONVULSE returned in 2012 and played a few comeback shows in Finland this year. The band has already been confirmed to play Maryland Deathfest 2013, with more live appearances in the works for the near future. A new CONVULSE vinyl EP, with two brand-new tracks, is scheduled for a November release, and a new full-length album can be expected in 2013. The band has signed to SVART RECORDS, who will handle both the EP and the album worldwide.

"Our new material has a strong old school death metal feel to it, and the band is tighter than ever before," says Rami Jämsä, the man responsible for lead guitars and vocals. "When recording, we plan to concentrate on the energy brought on by playing everything live - no triggers or ProTools. Nothing beats a well-rehearsed band playing live, be it on stage or in the studio."

...and this is footage of a new rehearsal...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

JESUS GONE WRONG

Whoever restored this piece should be given a million bucks...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

KILL LIST - Smash That Head Like a Watermelon

Weird, bizarre, funny and horrifying. Kill List also has the best 'hammer smashing' scene in the history of cinema.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

BEDEMON Announces New Record

Today, SVART RECORDS announces August 24th as the worldwide release date for BEDEMON's long-awaited Symphony of Shadows, the first-ever set of all-new material by the band regarded by many as the original true U.S. doom band. The UK release date shall be September 3rd, while a special North American release date for later in the fall shall be announced soon.

Inspired by the goriest of fright films and the most menacing of music at the time, guitarist/composer/journalist/author Randy Palmer churned out the very first doom songs written on North American soil. This understated innovator recruited the help of his bandmates, PENTAGRAM co-founders Geof O’Keefe (drums) and Bobby Liebling (vocals) as well as schoolmate Mike Matthews (bass). Throughout the 1970s, the band recorded numerous sinister, doom-drenched slabs of metallic gold — Black Sabbath were Palmer’s idols — that illegally floated around on sub-standard bootlegs for decades. Finally, in 2004 to much fanfare, these rough, never-intended-for-public recordings were collected, repaired, and released as Child of Darkness: From the Original Master Tapes.

Since then, BEDEMON has seen a surge in popularity due to their intertwined history with the original PENTAGRAM, in addition to their music being featured in the critically acclaimed award-winning documentary, Last Days Here (Sundance Selects/914 Pictures), chronicling the life and times of PENTAGRAM and original BEDEMON vocalist Bobby Liebling. 

Literally a decade in the making, BEDEMON now proudly issues their sophomore release, Symphony of Shadows. Shortly after completing recording of the basic rhythm tracks in April 2002, band founder Randy Palmer was involved in a tragic car accident and passed away in August of that year. O’Keefe, Matthews, and new vocalist Craig Junghandel worked with recording engineer Shawn Hafley over the next decade to finish the project both in tribute to Randy and also because they felt so passionately about the strength of the material; the result is nine bone-crushingly heavy slices of pure '70s-flavored doom metal. 

Clocking in at just under 60 minutes, Symphony of Shadows will be released as both a single CD and deluxe 2-LP vinyl set, chock-full of photos, lyrics, liner notes, and intimate stories from the surviving members of this very special band. 

Of the album, drummer/guitarist/composer Geof O’Keefe says, “This is dedicated to Randy. His songwriting is so far advanced beyond the Child of Darkness material. The album sounds like a classic '70s metal release, which is very intentional!” 

SVART RECORDS president Tomi Pulkki heard the album and knew it was perfect for SVART, saying, “As a label that is perhaps best known for releasing PENTAGRAM and REVEREND BIZARRE on vinyl, I didn’t think twice when the chance to work with BEDEMON was offered. We're happy to help bring their final opus to the world.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WINDHAND On Tour

On a trek that will see them snaking their way across the continental US and sharing stages with the likes of *ILSA, COFFINWORM, PILGRIM, MARES OF THRACE, PRIMITIVE WEAPONS, PALLBEARER, DEADBIRD, IRON TONGUE,* and more, * WINDHAND* will be playing tuneful dirges off their critically acclaimed debut LP.

The response from the press and fans alike has been immense. *Cvlt Nation'*s review insists, "*WINDHAND* takes apocalyptic blues, puts it into a punk bong, lights it with a sabbath lighter and exhales rad clouds made out of fuzzed out bliss...WINDHAND are way more than a band that you should be on the look out for, they are group of humans that will change the way your hear doom." *The Obelisk* intoned, "The album is a distinctly American answer back to the all-consuming distortion and bleary-eyed psychedelia of Electric Wizard‘s latter-day missives that strips away some of the cult mentality and puts in and puts in its place a woodsy sensibility — not forest-dwelling silliness, but something organic and un-postured," while *Heavy Blog Is Heavy* gushed, ". This music has a certain kind of conviction that leaves you yearning for more," and *To Eleven* put it simply: "This is one of those records that is so good it doesn’t need a masters thesis of a review. *This slays*."

*WINDHAND ON TOUR:*
8/1 Washinghton DC @ Smash Records w/ Ilsa and Midnight Eye *All Ages / 6PM*
8/2 Philadelphia, PA @ The Mill Creek Tavern w/ Grass, Tapeworm, and No Stayer
8/3 Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus Bar w/ Pilgrim, Mares of Thrace, Primitive Weapons
8/4 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Rock Room
8/5 Columbus, OH @ The Carabar
8/6 Cincinnati @ The Drinkery w/ Mephitic Husk, Mollusk
8/7 Indianapolis, IN @ Indy's Jukebox w/ Coffinworm, Conjurer
8/8 Detroit, MI @ New Dodge Lounge w/ Bison Machine
8/9 Chicago, IL @ The Ultra Lounge w/ Knife of Simpson
8/10 Milwaukee, WI @ The Cactus Bar w/ No Future, Iron Rain
8/11 Minneapolis, MN @ The Hexagon w/ Oaks, Scaphe, Ashen
8/12 Omaha, NE @ The West Wing w/ Solid Attitude, Solid Goldberg
8/13 Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar w/ Hossferatu and 1950D.A.
8/14 Texarkana, AK @ Hopkins Icehouse
8/15 Little Rock, AK @ White Water Tavern w/ Pallbearer and Iron Tongue
8/16 Memphis, TN @ The Buccaneer w/ Deadbird
8/17 Lafayette, LA @ The Wild Salmon w/ Come&Conquer
8/18 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia w/ Blood Royale & Hot Rails to Hell
8/19 Birmingham, AL @ The Bottle Tree
8/20 Nashville, TN @ tba w/ All Them Witches
8/21 Knoxville, TN @ The Poisoning Lawn
8/22 Atlanta, GA @ TBA DIY spot
8/23 Savannah, GA @ The Jinx

Monday, March 12, 2012

Southern Lord To Unleash DOPESMOKER Deluxe Reissue

News of almighty proportions has landed as Southern Lord announce a deluxe reissue of one of the towering achievements in metal history, Dopesmoker by SLEEP.

For the 2012 reissue, there are some very notable changes. The original studio tapes have been remastered presenting the album as the band had originally intended. The audio is clearer, louder, and at last brings a true representation of SLEEP's hour-plus Weedian chronicle. Exclusive to this Southern Lord edition is brand new artwork by long time SLEEP artist Arik Roper, to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Additionally, this reborn version of Dopesmoker boasts an unreleased live recording of one of the band's best all-time performances: "Holy Mountain" from San Francisco's I-Beam in 1994.

Southern Lord is overwhelmingly ecstatic to reissue one of the most important recordings in heavy metal history. This edition ensures that this mesmerizing, incredibly complex document remains unrivaled in the annals of stoner metal.

Dopesmoker Track Listing:

1. Dopesmoker 1:03:31
2. Holy Mountain (Live @ the I-Beam SF, CA. 1994) 11:54
Check out SLEEP's upcoming European tour dates below...

SLEEP 2012 European Tour Dates:
4/14/2012 Roadburn Festival - Tilburg, Netherlands
5/03/2012 Asymmetry Festival - Wroclaw, Poland w/ A Storm of Light
5/04/2012 Amager Bio - Copenhagen, Denmark w/ A Storm of Light
5/05/2012 Betong - Oslo, Norway w/ A Storm of Light
5/06/2012 Strand - Stockholm, Sweden w/ A Storm of Light
5/08/2012 Tavastia - Helsinki, Finland
5/09/2012 Berghain - Berlin, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/10/2012 Conne Island - Leipzig, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/11/2012 Lucerna Music Bar - Prague, Czech Republic w/ A Storm of Light
5/12/2012 Club 202 - Budapest, Hungary w/ A Storm of Light
5/13/2012 Tvornica Kulture - Zagreb, Croatia w/ A Storm of Light
5/14/2012 Arena - Vienna, Austria w/ A Storm of Light
5/16/2012 Circolo Degli Artisti - Rome, Italy w/ A Storm of Light
5/17/2012 Fillmore Club - Cortemaggiore, Italy w/ A Storm of Light
5/18/2012 Dachstock - Bern, Switzerland w/ A Storm of Light
5/19/2012 Fzw - Dortmund, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/20/2012 Gagarin 205 - Athens, Greece
5/22/2012 The Arches - Glasgow, Scotland w/ A Storm of Light
5/23/2012 Button Factory - Dublin, Ireland w/ A Storm of Light
5/24/2012 Stylus - Leeds, United Kingdom w/ A Storm of Light
5/25/2012 I'll Be Your Mirror - London, United Kingdom w/ Slayer, Melvins
5/26/2012 Villette, Sonique - Paris, France
5/27/2012 Trix - Antwerp, Belgium w/ A Storm of Light
5/28/2012 Feierwerk - Munich, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/31/2012 Primavera Sound Barcelona - Barcelona, Spain w/ Wolves In The Throne Room

Thursday, March 8, 2012

MIXTAPE 2 - 70's Prog Rock

A few weeks ago Richard Nossar, guitarist for peruvian doom band Don Juan Matus, made this mixtape for a Latin american blog. The mixtape contains tracks by 70's prog bands that did not record more than three albums. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD

Not that I can relate to people this brilliant...but...fucking awesome... Smart guy, weirdo, hero, anti-semitic jew, Fischer was truly one of a kind.

TAKE SHELTER - Crazy Eyes

Michael Shannon has a face like he's about to poop gods...

SUBMARINE - Awww, that was sweet...

I am a total sucker for this kind of well-done bullshit...

GOATSNAKE at HELLFEST

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

MARTYRDÖD Dark Lords Of Swedish Crust Sign With Southern Lord

New LP Under Construction At Studio Fredman Now Swedish crustpunk horde MARTYRDÖD have officially inked a multi-release deal with Southern Lord Recordings, and are currently barricaded in the infamous Studio Fredman (At The Gates, Amon Amarth, Opeth) recording their debut label LP, Paranoia. 
 
After formation in 2001, MARTYRDÖD, have since slammed the crustpunk and underground metal scene with a surplus of CD and LP releases on such brutal labels as Plaguebearer, Havoc, Farewell, La Familia and Prank, as well as sporadic touring across Europe and a massive offensive on the United States in 2011.

In an scene overabundant with clones of the founding/front running acts of
the genre, MARTYRDÖD manage to remain heavily unique in their filth-ridden approach. While undeniably influenced by acts like Anticimex, Bathory, Totalitär, Oral and Wolfpack, the band intertwines their crust roots with sinister, haunting soundscapes and unique riff attacks. With genuine Swedish lyrics, distinguished songwriting manifested through bleak and obscure original artwork MARTYRDÖD will continue to conjure up their blackened d-beat crust, now under the Southern Lord banner.

Paranoia will be released sometime this Spring/Summer 2012.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New BLACK BREATH Album

BLACK BREATH: Seattle Savages Go On The Attack With Second LP Seattle's barbaric wrecking crew BLACK BREATH have completed their second LP and are preparing to fire it point blank into the public's face this March. The forthcoming new platter, dubbed Sentenced to Life, is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the band's raging 2010 debut album, Heavy Breathing, which blew away fans of both hardcore-fueled rock and roll and crushing Swedish death metal internationally.

Now in 2012, BLACK BREATH's neck-snapping Sentenced To Life projects an even more vile, metallic sonic attack than its predecessor, bearing is a bit less rock and roll swagger and a showcasing more full-on crushing rage. The album is a product of furious creativity jammed into a short span of time, written in the seemingly endless Winter after returning from their November 2010 European tour.

Bearing 10 thunderous tracks in under 33 minutes, Sentenced To Life features such smashing BLACK BREATH hits as "Feast of the Damned," "Doomed," "Forced Into Possession," "Home of the Grave" and of course the title anthem "Sentenced to Life." The band once again recorded at God City Studios with Kurt Ballou, and had the finished product mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side. Easily the band's most thunderous recording to date, BLACK BREATH sentence every listener to a life of headbanging after spinning this motherfucker!

Monday, January 2, 2012

THE STIFFS - Innocent Bystander


Just got this strange message. Not sure if it is spam or the guy just had the wrong address. The remittent is named Chris Brown. Not that Chris Brown.

Hey,

My name is Chris Brown, and I recorded that demo at RPM Studios in Philadelphia circa 1991-92. It's stuck out in my mind for all these years, and I've wondered(more than a few times), "What happened to those guys and those songs?". I just found you now, because I've been listening to a bunch of punk music and was telling my girl about this band called The Stiffs. I only remembered the Bored Stiff song... finally remembered the Cry Baby song. The two songs found me you. After finding the list of songs I remembered Awake at the Wake. I loved the enthusiasm, and said "earnest" attitude toward getting the songs recorded. Anyway, it's good to see that you didn't stay in Phila and expanded. I would like to have a copy of those songs if it's possible. Good times!

CB Happy 2012!!


Free INDIAN METAL Compilation

Not sure if this is good at all, but give it a shot...click here for download.