After much trial and tribulation, I am excited to announce that the Summer 2014 issue of Backlit zine is alive.
I’ve spent a lot of time covering cassettes here at THKD, not just because I dig them, but because I truly believe that some of the best and most interesting heavy music today is being released by smaller labels who have embraced the format as an affordable way to bring the underground to the masses. As such, my relationship with several of these labels has become far more personal than just receiving an e-mail blast from some faceless PR company; their owners have proven to be incredibly personable and genuinely appreciative of the coverage I’ve given them. But, as deeply as I’ve delved into cassettes and as much as I’ve chatted with those who are in the business of releasing them, I still had many unanswered questions. What motivates them? What brought them to the format? At the end of the day, does the format even matter? In an attempt to answer these and many other questions, I gathered the gents behind the labels for a virtual round table discussion of all things tape-related.
Southern California-based label Gore House Productions recently sent me several of their releases for review, and one of the immediate standouts was Ready for Gore, the debut album from Oxnard’s Colpolscopy. The band employs a unique dual-vocalist approach that when coupled with their leveling low-end-fueled brand of brutal death metal creates a singular, instantly-recognizable approach to the genre. A full review of the album is coming soon to THKD, but in the meantime I couldn’t resist the opportunity to interrogate the quintet in order to get the full skinny on their beginnings, their motivations, and their thoughts on brutal death metal’s imagery and subject matter.
Back in 2012, South Africa’s Wildernessking came seemingly out of nowhere with The Writing of Gods in the Sand, an album that combined the progressive black metal maelstrom of Enslaved with the sweeping, epic attack of Primordial to create music that was as uplifting and cathartic as it was dark and heavy. After releasing a follow-up EP that same year, the band went quiet; a surprising move given the notoriety they’d quickly gained on the strength of those two excellent releases. Fast-forward to 2014 and the Cape Town-based quartet have broken their silence with The Devil Within, an EP that showcases the band at their most scathing; I got in touch with bassist/vocalist Keenan Oakes to discuss this new release and find out what the future has in store for the mighty Wildernessking…
Narcotic Wasteland is the brainchild of Dallas Toler-Wade, whom will be familiar to most of you as one of the driving forces behind death metal legends Nile. Far from being a mere side project, Narcotic Wasteland is a technical death metal juggernaut in its own right; their self-titled debut, which was released independently by the band on January 15th, is one of the best albums of the young year, balancing insane levels of musicianship with frightening brutality and gritty lyrics depicting the horrors of addiction. I contacted the band via e-mail requesting an interview, and all four members of the band graciously took time out of their no-doubt busy-as-hell schedules to answer my questions regarding their formation, the unique subject matter of their lyrics, how the debut album came together and beyond…
Inflicting wound upon wound on the bloated, festering corpse of print.
BACKLIT / 2
Now available at backlitzine.com
Cover Art by Brian Smith
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Raping Angels in America #3 / Joshua Haun
Fear and Loathing…In Hollywood / Dave Schalek
That’s When I Became A Metalhead – Gene Hoglan / Kyle Harcott
The Rise and Call of the Mastodon / Dean Brown
The Rains of Resurrection / Ian Chainey
Live (Before) Death / Craig Hayes
Red, The Bleeding. The Blood Streams…Von / Dave Schalek
(R)aging Gracefully: Sunbathing in Filth / Jordan Campbell
Doomsday Device #3 / Joshua Haun
Directeur / D. Harlan Wilson
Unearthed: A Conversation With Brian Smith / Brandon Duncan
While numerous bands (both heavy metal and otherwise) have drawn lyrical and conceptual inspiration from the works of JRR Tolkien over the years, few if any have managed to translate the late author’s work into music in as singular a fashion as Vienna’s legendary Summoning. For two decades, the duo of Silenius and Protector have crafted fantastically immersive, utterly entrancing symphonies of synth-heavy, atmospheric black metal inspired by such timeless works as the The Hobbit, The Simarillion and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Over the course of seven full length albums and two EPs, they have transformed this rich literary mythology into a total musical environment that’s both regally breathtaking and strangely melancholic, carving out a style for themselves which is truly theirs and theirs alone, and in turn inspiring a rabidly devoted fanbase.
After over half a decade of silence, the masters of “Austrian epic black metal” are set to return with their best album yet in the form of Old Mornings Dawn, which will be unleashed on June 5th via Napalm Records. Silenius and Protector were gracious enough to answer my questions via e-mail in advance of the album’s release.