I’ve been meaning to check out New Zealand’s Beastwars for quite some time, but I’m ashamed to admit that the band somehow got lost in the disheveled and disorganized avalanche that is my “bands to check out” list when their self-titled debut was released back in 2011. In spite of this grievous error, it would appear the metal gods chose to smile upon me anyway, as my colleague Craig Hayes recently hooked me up with a promo of the band’s second album Blood Becomes Fire on the band’s behalf. Just one spin of the quartet’s sophomore opus had me cursing myself for a goddamn fool for not getting ’round to them sooner, because not only is this bad mama-jama right up my alley, it’s one of the all-around best metal albums I’ve heard so far in 2013.
2012 has been more stressful than a motherfucker; probably one of the most all-around stressful years of my life. Buying a house + assorted family and work-related issues that I wouldn’t even dream of getting into here managed to turn the year into a goddamn pressure-cooker. I’m pretty sure the only things that kept me alive were my wife’s unwavering love (and limitless patience) and an avalanche of incredible music. In 2011 I was feeling pretty jaded and dissatisfied with the state of heavy metal, this year I found myself feeling better about things than I have in years. That isn’t to say there weren’t great albums released in 2011, there were, but in 2012 I felt like there was so much greatness that I couldn’t possibly keep up with it all.
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!
I always imagine splits as the musical equivalent of a pro wrestling cage match. Two bands locked in combat, duking it out for supremacy in an all-out slugfest; there is no escape, there must be a winner. No matter how great both bands may be, it is inevitable that the listener will find one more appealing than the other, essentially making him or her the “special guest referee.”
I’ve always been a sucker for Six Feet Under’s lumbering, primitive death-sludge. There’s just something about the catchy simplicity of the arrangements, along with Chris Barnes’ patented zombie-vomit vocals that hits the spot, a spot that the hordes of overly technical fret-wankers currently comprising much of the death metal scene could never hope to so much as tickle. You see, when everyone and their grandmother is writing mind-numbing five million note non-riffs, piling them haphazardly on top of each other and calling it a “song,” Six Feet Under’s deep, memorable grooves and concise songwriting approach are a breath of fetid air.
I first discovered Corrosion of Conformity during the mid-’90s Pepper Keenan (guitar/vocals) era; by then, they had fully traded in the crossover thrash of 1985′s Animosity album in favor of the swaggering, metallic southern rock of Deliverance and Wiseblood. That’s the COC I had come to know and love over the years, so I was admittedly apprehensive upon hearing that the band had reconvened without Keenan at the helm to record their first new material since 2005′s underrated In the Arms of God. Would they abandon the smoked-out stoner-isms that had made COC so near and dear to my heart in favor of revisiting the crossover days of yore? Would Keenan’s absense leave an unfillable hole in their sound?
I’ve always been fascinated by power trios. It surely has something to do with my love of all things raw and stripped down, since it doesn’t get any more stripped down than tres hombres against the world, brandishing only electric instruments and bad attitudes. The power trio is the bare minimum of musicians needed to produce a full and complete sound within a rock or metal format (although I’m sure there are plenty of duos who would beg to differ… eh, fuck ‘em); it’s all about maximizing the minimal, and I’ve often found that power trios are inherently heavier and more powerful-sounding than these bands that feel the need to have three guitarists, two vocalists, four drummers, a percussionist, a keyboardist, a DJ, an acrobat, a lion tamer, etc… just listen to Motorhead, Venom, High on Fire or Hellhammer and you’ll catch my drift.
Eyehategod has long been one of my absolute favorite bands, yet thanks to living in the asshole of the Midwest for all of my natural life (six months in California doesn’t count), I’ve never had the chance to experience their down-tuned Sabbath-ian scuzz-sludge live. Luckily, the band released their first ever live DVD (simply titled Live) late last year, and I think I can safely say it’s the next best thing witnessing the crawling chaos that is Eyehategod in person.
The world needs real rock ‘n’ roll more than ever. Have you listened to the radio lately? Go on then, have a listen to some of the limp-wristed, candy-assed, sub-Nickelback horseshit that passes for mainstream rock music lately and you’ll hear what I’m talking about, a bunch of preening jackasses who look like they stepped out of the pages of the Abercrombie & Fuckface catalogue, playing songs about having sex with sluts, drinking, doing drugs and having sex with more sluts. And I don’t mean that in a filthy/sleazy/awesome Venom or Motorhead way either. I mean it in a soulless, sac-less, nauseating, pristinely produced and utterly contrived faux-grunge frat-rock way, replete with vocals that sound like a cross between Eddie Vedder and a goat with a cob up its ass. Yes folks, we need real rock ‘n’ roll more than ever.
Thanks to you, the loyal readers, 2011 was the best year ever for That’s How Kids Die. I can’t believe the great response the blog has gotten over the course of the last year, and I’m honored that so many of you are willing to take time out of your days and nights to read my incoherent ramblings on all things heavy metal.
So, in the spirit of giving something back to you, the readers, and to kick off another year of THKD with a bang, I am proud to announce our first ever giveaway!