Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Exclusive Interview - Mirai Kawashima (Sigh)

I recently had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the inimitable Mirai Kawashima of Japanaese Avant-garde metal band, Sigh. I asked about their insanely fun new album Graveward, new members to the band and the impact of Japanese metal. 

More after the jump.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bell Witch - Four Phantoms

There are two people in Bell Witch.  Their names are Dylan Desmond and Adrian Guerra.  They each play an instrument in addition to providing vocals, with Dylan playing bass and Adrian drums.  I bring this up so abruptly because before you read any more of this review, I want you to know that I cannot comprehend how two instruments played by two men can create the music that Bell Witch does.  Their 2012 debut Longing instantly catapulted them to the forefront of doom metal, as it seamlessly wove harrowing roars and pummeling, crushing walls of distortion and pounding drums with delicate, almost quivering clean singing set to sparse bass notes.  The overarching themes and feelings on Longing live up to its title in spades, and it remains one of the most cryptic, mournfully beautiful pieces of art I've ever experienced; it's telling that the band sampled audio from Vincent Price's Poe adaptation The Masque of the Red Death, and that sequence is merely another moment of gothic terror, rather than the standout.  I tell you this for a few reasons; first, you should listen to Longing if you haven't yet, and second, Bell Witch's new album Four Phantoms is out now, and I wanted to give you a taste of how excited I am for that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Concert Review: The Decibel Magazine Tour 2015 (Chicago 4/6/15)

Sometime in the past few weeks (my perspective on time is supremely disjointed right now), Mick and I headed down to Chicago's House of Blues for the 2015 iteration of the Decibel Magazine Tour.  This tour always has some serious band power, but seems to always hit Chicago on the Durfette's birthday, so this was my first year attending.  Thankfully, the bill was as great as I could have asked for: Vallenfyre, Pallbearer, Converge, and At the Gates.  For those keeping track at home, that's one stellar up and coming metal band, two of my personal bucket list bands, and one of the most important bands in metal history.  Needless to say, excitement and expectations were pretty high as Mick and I settled into our spots, ice cold Dale's Pale Ales in hand to prepare for some metal.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dorthia Cottrell - Dorthia Cottrell

So I have a confession to make, a confession of the sort that doesn't really fit the vibe of what we do around these parts: I'm a huge Mumford and Sons fan.  Legitimately, too; they aren't just my favorite of the Durfette's favorite music (which is Sufjan Stevens, probably, as long as I'm confessing things); I enjoy the hell out of their music, and seeing them live at Bonnaroo in 2011 was just as exciting and fulfilling as seeing Opeth at the same festival (NOT a slight on Opeth).  They write fantastic pop songs, and that folky, heart-on-your-sleeve style gets me.  Before their second album was released, one of the members said in an interview that their sound was changing, that it was going to sound like their first album crossed with Black Sabbath, that it was going to be "doom folk."  In case I haven't overshared enough, after I read that, my erection didn't go away for a week.  Of course, later I learned it was a joke.  Babel was good enough, but I was promised (not really) a doom folk album, dammit, and I wanted it!  Well, evidently good things come to those who wait, because I finally have my doom folk album, not from Mumford and Sons, but from Dorthia Cottrell, frontwoman for Virginia doom crew Windhand, in the form of her self-titled debut solo album.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Exclusive Interview - Mike Scheidt (YOB)

It was with great pleasure that Durf and myself moseyed our way to down to Chicago's Thalia Hall this past Tuesday evening to talk shop with a true legend, Mike Scheidt of YOB.  While our interview was limited due to Mike needing time for vocal warm-ups, we were able to chat about the current tour, YOB's latest album, and Scheidt's positive approach to song-writing.  

Check out the interview after the break!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crypt Sermon - Out Of The Garden

When you are busy people like Brooks Wilson and Steve Jansson, you may find it hard to release new material as often as they do. Whether this duo is breaking necks as death metal band Trenchrot, grinding through some Nasum love as Unrest or by paying homage to the forefathers of epic doom metal in their most recent iteration: Crypt Sermon and their debut Out Of The Garden. you are surely to be impressed by the sheer variety of metal showcased by this heavy metal brain trust.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase.

Solo projects are somewhat of a double-edged sword.  An artist certainly has the freedom to explore different territories than previously explored in their primary project, but that freedom can sometimes come across as self-indulgent and perhaps even irksome for fans of the aforementioned mainstay.  Steven Wilson, the mastermind behind progressive metal band Porcupine Tree, is evidence of how a solo project can yield amazing results.  It's been six years since the last album from Porcupine Tree, but since then, Wilson has released three solo albums, each being progressive rock/metal journeys that are unique unto themselves.  Hand. Cannot. Erase., the latest and fourth installment in this solo discography, is no exception.  While it contains Wilson's poppiest material to date, its undercurrents stay true to the experimental boldness that was so much a part of the DNA of the three previous albums. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Primitive Man - Home is Where the Hatred Is

Few - if any - records have been as aptly titled as Primitive Man's Scorn.  That album, released in 2013, was forty minutes of dense, repulsive sludge metal unlike anything I had ever heard.  A lot of sludge bands steep themselves in gloom or a state of forlorn anguish, but Primitive Man bathes in spiteful ugliness, unapologetically spitting in the face of humanity.  Outside of (maaaaybe) the UK's Dragged Into Sunlight, nobody does misanthropy like Primitive Man.  Scorn is an agonizingly bleak album that I honestly have trouble listening to often because I occasionally enjoy being happy, but I can't deny how great it is, and how good Primitive Man is.  Whether you can listen to them once a day or once a month, the band is so punishingly on point with their sound and vision that you start thinking "Yeah, fuck everything! ...except these guys; these guys are pretty great."  Home is Where the Hatred Is, the band's EP follow up to Scorn, goes to show you that even if you can't judge a book by its cover, the title can still be a pretty good indication of what you're reading.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Exclusive Interview - Cold Blue Mountain

Last Thursday night, Mick and I ventured out into the cold Chicago night to see a concert (as we are wont to do).  Neither of us had been to the venue (Live Wire, in Old Irving Park) before, so there was additional excitement in the air.  Live Wire is a solid if unspectacular dive bar/venue, with a stage at the far end of the main room, movies playing on mute on the tvs, and ice cold Lagunitas IPAs ready to be drank.  Not a terrible place to see a show, so we settled in.  Cold Blue Mountain was the attraction, as the Chico, CA band is in the midst of their first-ever headlining tour supporting their sophomore album Old Blood.  I was lucky enough to get to talk to four of the guys in the band about their roles and responsibilities, the musical talents of water heaters, and Billy Joel's promising career in metal, all of which you can see in the video below after the break.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat

You know a new year is starting off right when Napalm Death choose to have it start with a new album of theirs. The oddly titled Apex Predator - Easy Meat continues the band's streak of strong albums which include more recent entries such as Time Waits For No Slave and Utilitarian. Barney Greenway, Shane Embury, Mitch Harris and Danny Herrera; the band's main battery for over 20 years are firing on all cylinders. Has it really been 3 years since their last album?