This Sunday, Wrestlemania 29 emanates from the MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey. I remember the days when I used to get pumped for this event every year; the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, the clash of the spandex clad titans. Starting with the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View, which traditionally kicks off the “road to Wrestlemania” by determining who will challenge for the heavyweight title in April, the anticipation would build across weekly installments of Raw and Smackdown, as the storylines progressed to a fever pitch, with the performers putting everything they had into whatever feud they were embroiled in so that their inevitable collision at the showcase of the immortals would be an emotionally charged explosion of hard-hitting action.
Roughly 5 months ago, Brandon Duncan (whom you may know from The Sequence of Prime) contacted me with an idea; let’s start a new online metal zine. Typically I prefer to work alone, but Brandon’s enthusiasm is contagious and I’m proud to call him my friend, so there was absolutely no way I could refuse. Brandon gathered an ace design team while I hand-picked some of my favorite writers from internet metal land with the express purpose of creating something new and unique, to drag the old school metal zine into the future, come Hell or high water with an emphasis on good old-fashioned writing and design.
After 5 months of hard work, I’m proud to present to all of you the fruits of our labors in the form of Backlit #0; fifteen pages of mind-melting music, art and literature.
Backlit / 0
Now available at backlitzine.com
Cover Art by Dan Harding
Raping Angels in America #1 / Joshua Haun
Angry Old Men / Jordan Campbell
Helpless Child / Dan Obstkrieg
Fucking The Future / Joshua Haun
Libations in the Labyrinth Vol. 1 / Dan Obstkrieg
Words That Wound / Dan Obstkrieg
Doomsday Device / Joshua Haun
Interview With Jester King Brewery / The Dragon of M87
Interview With Ashencult / Jordan Campbell
Art & Fiction:
Succubus in the Attic / Nikki Guerlain
Dan Harding: The Fine Art of Horror / Brandon Duncan
The Dragon of M87
I hope that you will all enjoy reading the first issue of Backlit as much as we enjoyed crafting it. This is only the beginning!
This past Monday, WWE celebrated the 1,000th episode of its flagship show, Monday Night Raw. Although pro wrestling isn’t what it used to be, I’m still a fan and was looking forward to seeing whether or not the company would be able to live up to the gargantuan amount of hype they had generated over the past several months. Part of me was hoping that Vince McMahon would go into evil genius mode and pull out all the stops, producing something on par with the classic episodes of the “Attitude Era” or at the very least giving us one five-star match. Knowing that many stars of the past would be on hand for the three-hour epic in the making, I found myself hopping aboard the hype machine against my better judgement.
Just about every band in heavy music today claims to mix hardcore and metal. Providence, Rhode Island’s Rampant Decay actually delivers, making a crusty crossover racket that’s the sonic equivalent of being locked in the clutches of the Tazzmission… in other words (for you non-ECW fans) it’s a brutalizing musical beatdown of skull-pummeling proportions. I caught up with vocalist Rich Horror and guitarist Pat Mahoney to discuss crossover, booze and professional wrestling.
THKD: Rampant Decay has been brutalizing the underground since 2007. How has the band changed/evolved/devolved over the years?
Rich: Initially it was supposed to be a American version of Brazillian thrash/death meets ignoramus 80’s Boston hardcore band, or that was the idea Pat Mahoney [guitars] had at the time. Our first bass player was Ninkaszi from Witch Tomb, and he brought a lot of Integrity-styled riffs. Once he left, Pat was the sole songwriter and started incorporating a lot more different influences, from Motorhead to Cocksparrer. Getting Pat Singleton on drums has just made us sound a lot leaner and meaner.
THKD: You guys play that bastard child of metal and hardcore that we like to call crossover. Is crossover making a comeback? Did it ever go away?
Pat: Crossover is making a comeback in some ways, but the kind of stuff we play is really different from what’s popular. When we say “crossover”, we’re really just referring to our music being a blend of styles rather than a specific genre.
THKD: What bands influenced Rampant Decay to take up this style? What is it about crossover that you find inspiring?
Pat: It’s just not as limiting as confining ourselves to one category. We set out to be the kind of band that could play HC, metal or punk shows and that versatility is important to us. Bands that are an influence are way too many to name but Rich and I originally wanted RD’s sound to be a mixture of early ’80′s New England HC (FUs, Negative FX, Jerry’s Kids) and dirty, primitive metal like Sextrash, Warfare, VON and Hellhammer. We definitely listen to all the original “crossover” stuff like C.O.C., Cryptic Slaughter, The Accused, Lethal Aggression, etc. Although we don’t sound a lot like those bands, we appreciate the idea of what they were doing with merging punk and thrash metal.
THKD: Many descriptions of Rampant Decay’s music make referrence to alcohol, such as “Drunk Edge” and “Beer-Soaked Fast As Fuck Crusty Crossover”. How much do you guys drink and what’s your booze of choice?
Rich: On a slow week we probably average a case per band member. Narragansett Beer, all the way. We should probably be sponsored by them for all the good work we do for their company. I’m also a fan of Schlitz. And malt liquor. And Jameson.
THKD: You guys recently put out a split 7 w/ Insult. What is the appeal of participating in split releases with other bands?
Pat: We try to do splits with bands whose music and attitude we have something in common with and who can help promote the record. Insult is a MA fastcore band that we’ve all been into since they put out “I Wanna Be a Burn Victim” back in ’94 and The Kruds are a new band from San Antonio, TX who play a Crossed Out/Plutocracy type of style.
Rich: The appeal would be nobody telling us who we can record with, not having to get our artwork “approved”, being able to do splits with whatever bands we want to on whatever label we want to. Thanks to PATAC Records, the usual downside isn’t there really. Dan has been really great about getting the word out everywhere about our shows, releases, new merch, etc. I mostly enjoy booking shows so having to do that ourselves is no big deal, I’d probably hate letting that all lie in someone else’s hands anyway.
THKD: Rampant Decay has a page on Bandcamp. Would you agree that this site makes Myspace look like a steaming pile of shit? What is the appeal of using Bandcamp for a band like Rampant Decay?
Rich: I have no idea why MySpace even exists anymore. The very few times I go on it these days, it’s a complete eyesore. It’s as if to combat the invasion of Facebook and similar sites they decided to hire a fourteen year old girl from the Midwest to design it to look just like her LiveJournal. I really like how Bandcamp makes it possible to stream entire albums, I think if they upped the interaction and show listing aspect they’d be the unquestionable number one.
THKD: I know you’re a fan of pro wrestling. Who are some of your favorite wrestlers and matches? Do you guys have any songs about wrestling?
Rich: Taz, The Sandman, Dudley Boys, Yoshihiro Tajiri, Rhino, Harley Race, Arn Anderson, Stan Hansen, Terry Funk, Fabulous Freebirds, the list goes on and on. Pitbulls vs. Raven & Stevie Richards Double Dog Collar Match is probably my favorite thing that ever happened. We have a song called “Tazmission Chokeout Motherfucker” in the set right now. Some upcoming ones are going to be “Dudleys Forever//Forever Dudleys”, “Bruiser Brody Stomp” and “LARIATOOOOO” which is about my idol Stan “The Lariat” Hansen.
THKD: With that said, your band biography mentions a feud with the legendary Von Erich wrestling family. Who would win a cage match between Rich Horror and Kerry Von Erich? What would your strategy be against the Texas Tornado?
Rich: It’d have to be me, just to avenge the Freebirds when they lost that Loser Leaves Texas Cage Match in ’84. I’d just have Gordy break into the cage and batter the fuck out of the pretty boy. Choke him out with the Asiatic Spike while I was at it.
Rich: Yep, we’re going out as far as Wisconsin before turning around and heading back home. A Cro-Mags meets Hellhammer sonic battering ram mixed with the best in-between songs heel promos this side of Jim Cornette. And so much booze.
THKD: What does the rest of 2011 have in store for Rampant Decay? Any new releases on the horizon?
Rich: We’re doing a split 7” with Kruds from Texas that’ll be out on their label Blast-A-Lot, Riotous Outburst from Connecticut among a few others. We’ll also be doing a split with Bitchslicer to commemorate their tenth anniversary as a band. After that, it’ll be a full length on PATAC Records that should be available in both CD and vinyl. Other than a few weekend tours we’re going to lie low in order to hit the songwriting with both barrels blazing.
THKD: You’re based out of Providence, RI. What is the metal/hardcore scene like there? Do you get much local support?
Pat: Providence has always had a thriving, diverse music scene. There’s a lot of metal/HC/punk here and there’s shows happening all the time. We have been catching on a bit more but since we’re a relatively new “local” band, it’s been slow to build.
Rich: The last show we played was a basement where I had kids bouncing off me every five seconds and the fluorescent light tube got rocked out of the fixture in the ceiling, so the reaction and support we have gotten thus far has been pretty great.
THKD: What are you listening to right now? Do you have any recommendations for THKD readers?
Rich: Teitanblood, Ramones, 3rd Bass, Dissection, Antiseen, Morbid Angel, In Disgust, Nunslaughter, Judas Priest, Abscess, Devil Dogs, Dio, AC/DC, Hard Skin, Winter. I could go on and on.
Pat: A few things I’ve been listening to are The New Bomb Turks “Destroy, Oh Boy!” LP, AGE (Jpn) “Survive” EP, the new Hookers 7″s, Sabbat/Desaster live split and Sadistic Intent (all). I recommend the Rampant Decay/Insult split 7″.
THKD: In addition to Rampant Decay, you also run the label/booking company Obscenity Cult. How did that come about and what are some of your current and upcoming releases readers should know about?
Rich: We just put out a CD by Blood Of The Gods entitled “The Shadow Before”. Total crusty death metal Entombed/Bolt Thrower worship. Coming up are the next two volumes in our Extreme Audio Gangbang comp series, a split 7” with Knifethruhead and Casket Blaster, sci-fi crossover thrashers Deathamphetamine’s “The Lost Album” and a release from the super stellar Led To The Grave. It’s gonna be a big year.
THKD: If you were able to book any bands you wanted to play the ultimate show, what would the lineup be?
Rich: Infest, Plutocracy, Spazz and Citizens Arrest. Or Entombed, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower and Sadistic Intent.
THKD: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Rich: Just thanks a ton for the interview and the support! Everyone should find us on the internet and order some merch or go to a show AND buy some merch because booze ain’t cheap.
[photos courtesy Rich Horror/Rampant Decay]