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Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: Stone Angels - Within The Witch

Click this album cover art to go to the Stone Angels website
and find out how to obtain "Within the Witch"
Stone Angels - Within The Witch 
(Self released/Satan City Records, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Three days ago (two days before Xmas Day) my old home town of Christchurch was hit by its fourth major earthquake since September 2010. Ironically, around the same time I read another review of ‘Within the Witch’ quoting the Christchurch band's bio (see the bottom of this post), which talked about how Stone Angels had formed during this time (after the first Earthquake) and how inadvertently their existence as a band had become a by-product of it. But to the music... ...All will become clear.

My first impression of ‘Within the Witch’ was playing it while driving home from seeing Stone Angels play live for the first time at Stonerfest 2011 - Northern Lights show. My thoughts after a few minutes were: "This is actually a pretty damn enjoyable listen - especially for a first release". I've since listened to it quite a few more times.

If I had to name the sound that best describes Stone Angels it would be ‘Bleak Post Apocalyptic Sludge’. Reason being is their music is along the lines of the post-Sabbath sludge doom played by bands which I'll leave you to guess the names of, but with a unique difference; the best way to describe this difference, which lies in the songs, sound, intros and interludes, is to try and imagine the setting of the movie ‘The Road’, and then picture the sort of music a group of rogue survivors might make if they stumbled across a cache of drums, guitars, amps and diesel generators in the midst of the destruction. Take the environment that Stone Angels actually exist in and it all starts to make sense.

It's actually hard to pin point exactly where said sound lies in the music, but I think it's partially from the production and musical input of Sinistrous Diabolus’ main man Kris Stanley (live Session guitar for the band and who features on some of the album's tracks), who would be lying if he denied the mighty ‘Disembowelment’ as an influence. However, for the most part it's in the songs themselves. Some compositions including the title track, explore a rock groove while other tracks such as the closer ‘Coffin Cross’ delve into discordant down-tuned black textures; all of which makes for rewarding listening.

While Christchurch is still being hit by thousands of aftershocks, people are grieving for the 182 loved ones lost in the 22 Feb 2011 quake; houses are falling down, streets are full of sink-holes swamped with silt from liquefaction as well as the smell of raw sewage, and probably more major earthquakes are to come. At least a silver lining is that, much like the mass unemployment that influenced so much good music there in the early 90s, Christchurch musicians and artists, including Stone Angels, will be drawing influence from their experiences and producing gems like ‘Within the Witch’ into the foreseeable future................ or until the city returns to the sea from which it once came.

Stone Angels - Band bio
The band is not bound to any tag, fusing elements of doom, rock and metal into a lo-fi melting pot. Formed in Christchurch New Zealand after two devastating earthquakes, Stone Angels writes most of its material off the cuff - without pre-conceptions - in an effort to capture the feeling of the times. In an abstract way, to capture what it is to live through this sort of chaos. This has been the focus until now, however the direction is not limited by anything other than those creating the music.

The debut album Within the Witch was recorded in a concrete shed amongst the ruins of Christchurch, with K.S (Sinistrous Diabolus) handling recording and production duties. The CD was released on 02/12/2011, with tape + digital download coming early 2012.The band has shared the stage with, amongst others, Creeping, Ulcerate, Shallow Grave and Thrall (Australia). Members are also involved in Sinistrous Diabolus and Second Gear Grind, alongside other projects.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Review: Red Dawn - World Eater

Red Dawn - World Eater (Self Released)
The sound of Red Dawn could best be described as traditional Heavy Metal with tinges of melodic 80s speed/thrash (think Anthrax - Spreading the Disease) but with a modern production.
The four consistently strong tracks on "World Eater" are all reinforced by solid drumming from Steve Francis (Ex-Demoniac and who also beats the skins for Wellington (NZ) band Bulletbelt), as well as Guitar and Bass work from Andrew McGregor, Greg McColl and David Wong.  But the highlight for me are the outstanding "sung" vocals of Thomas Barker  That's right, Red Dawn haven't copped out and made a trad Metal record with stock standard growled Vocals, Thomas actually sings and sings well.  I wouldn't go as far as to compare him with the strength of Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford, but I'd definitely say he's on the same path.
World Eater is a strong first EP.  The only thing that's missing are a few sing-a-long metal anthems.  Add a few of those to the mix and the Red Dawn debut Album will be a classic in the making.

Find out for your self at the band's website:

Review: Heresiarch - Hammer Of Intransigence

Heresiarch - Hammer Of Intransigence CD (Dark Descent)

Following on from their pro-cassette released "Obsecrating the Global Holocaust", reviewed here back in August 11, "Hammer Of Intransigence" is a natural progression and also overall improvement in the Heresiarch sound.  Members of the band themselves have accurately said that this sounds ten times better than the previous recording.  Not only that, but you can't escape a review of this with out making mention of it's epic cover art by Nick Keller
Stand out tracks in my opinion are opener "Carnivor", a reworking of "Man is Carnivore" from the "Obsecrating" demo, and the heavy as all fuck doom closer "Intransigent". Both these compositions stand out to me because of their huge memorable riffs and intros which hook you in to the rest of "Hammer".  I'd like to see Heresiarch utilising more of this in the future to further enhance their sound.
This EP/Mini album is the sound of warlike chaos with definition and clarity at the same time. Lets hear what comes next.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sinistrous Diabolus - Interview

As previously mentioned here, Sinistrous Diabolus are one of New Zealand's undiscovered underground treasures. I have been lucky enough to witness almost all of their 20 year history. This interview is with Kris Stanley and digs into all aspects of what makes Sinistrous Diabolus what it is...

1) A couple of years ago you lost your left thumb in an industrial accident. Could you give us a run down of that i.e. how it happened and what has happened since. How has this affected your playing and more importantly your motivation to create and play music?

It was a work related injury. I work in a bronze foundry and got my hand caught in the machine used to straighten the bronze bar we make-the scene in the machinist where his arm is ripped off was a pretty accurate depiction…that feeling of pressure then realizing there’s no way of getting out. Ha Ha my inner monologue said, ”This isn’t going to be good!”
I had 4 operations to skin graft/muscle graft the big mess back together. My surgeon did an amazing job considering. Function is reduced noticeably but I can still play at probably 50% of my former ability, which is better than not being able to play at all. And it pisses me off enough to want to get as much recorded as I can before I go hack something else off by accident and end up like Stephen hawking programming guitar pro with a mouth stick. I’ve never been terribly accomplished as far as technique goes so its pruned some of the creative deadwood-using the right hand to fret extended chords or trying different tunings to reach the more dissonant intervals. I have had years of listening to useless dropkicks formulating every reason why they can’t do something …I’m not about to join their ranks any time soon. My first gig with Diocletian was 4 months after the accident-you just have to get off your ass and do these things. Supreme hailage to the DCOG for giving me the opportunity.

Enter the Pus Samosa

2) Opus One was released in 1993 and has just had a pro produced cassette re-release (the orignial was pro-duplicated but had a color photocopy cover) How can people get hold of this? Will it see CD or vinyl release? Why do you think that ‘Opus One’ has taken so many years to be recognised as a classic underground release?

It's funny what passed for "pro" back in the day. matrix printer stickers and all.The re-release is a co release between dark descent (USA) and goat gear (NZ), each label carrying 100 copies each. By the time i get round to finishing this, DARK DESCENT will probably have sold out of their copies, they have 20 copies remaining last i heard.(update: dark descent sold out: goat gear less than 10) As for being a classic? Having vocal supporters like yourself certainly helps. Scourge wanted to create something powerful that built on solid influences and carried them one step further-i think this essence is captured in that recording…no Sinistrous Diabolus material will see a CD release! It is a redundant format as far as I'm concerned. After "II" is released id like to do a vinyl with opus one on side a and the redone promo 08 tracks on side b. But that’s way in the future….

Note: This reissue of Opus One is now sold out. However you can download an authorised high quality version here:
Original flyer for Opus One

3) There have been multiple different live line ups for Sinistrous Diabolus, varying from the awesome four piece line up that performed at SATANFEST 2009, to the a solo performance in 2010. Whilst not forgetting the original 3 piece line up from 92/93 and all the Variations up until now. Which line up do you see as being the perfect one and what are we most likely to see heading into the future?

Well my focus is less and less about being a 'band" in the traditional sense, so for now I'm more interested in hired mercenaries with ability and good taste. Geography is a limiting factor in attaining an ideal line-up (I don't deal in absolutes so "perfect" doesn't register)but I'd have to move north if I wanted enlist the personnel and fuck that! I'm content with the way things are for now. Unsurprisingly the advances in technology since the early 90's have made it far easier to enlist session players and demo/record a number of tracks from anybody/anywhere. If I'm happy with the composition of the new material then perhaps I'll look at forming a more solid line-up.

I was really disappointed with the solo performance. I think I just bit off way to much to chew that night….although it is something I may revisit in the future.

Kris Playing Satanfest 2009. Photo By Rebecca Tovey
4) Over the last year, Christchurch has been hit by a series of major Earthquakes, which have decimated large areas including the almost total destruction of the central city. How has this affected you? Describe some of the experiences you have had. Do you think that this will have a impact on your music? If so, how?

I was already on the path to becoming an angry old hermit and the earthquakes have just hastened the process. It has had a big impact on my creative process as I mainly stay at home playing guitar or listening to cave reverbed explosions instead of socializing. And of course the destruction has a major aesthetic value…we've had over ten thousand quakes of varying magnitude so its all getting a bit old now but occasionally a strong one will creep up and remind you just how easily one's puny human existence can be smeared across the landscape
Of course now the city centre is in ruins most of the available venues have disappeared as well. No bother to me, one live gig a year is plenty. Audience turnouts have been increasingly more pitiful over the last few years so maybe some absence will be a good thing, bring some of the hunger back. Or starve the dying dog to death!

5) Tell us about the “Total Death Total Doom” online release. How did it come about? Will it see an official release? A while back you also had the “08 Promo” available for download? What was this material? What will become of it?

A gig was organized with the idea that it would be all the doom cult bands - Vassafor had absent personnel so couldn’t perform and malevolence were called in to complete the line up. The only way I could see to have Sinistrous perform and avoid a logistical clusterfuck was to ditch the live lineup and do it myself. I'd had the idea of doing a minimalist type of set for a while so I bought a roland SP404 and got into it. The writing process was super efficient, the ideas flowed really well…however the live rendering was less than what I'd envisioned! So I re-recorded the set once i got home and added a few layers with the idea of distributing to a few people as a promo and a preview of some of the stuff that would be on the next release. I doubt i will bother to release it officially as most of the ideas will be better represented on the current material.
Click the image to download Total Death Total Doom
The 08 promo was an attempt at a fresh start, rather than struggle away with old stuff ….I just hammered out a few ideas. It would probably be still gathering dust if not for Mike C (2nd guitars) who put the word out on it. it will be re-recorded as those versions online are just writing/demo's…necrobastard of doomcult is re-doing drum tracks as his schedule allows. If and when this gets done is low priority.

Click above image to download the 2008 Promo

6) ‘Opus Two’ is going to be completed and released some time in 2011. Why has it taken so long? Can you describe and names some of the songs that will be on it? Are there any songs from the original era that weren't recorded for Opus One that may be resurrected in the future? If so what are they?

My writing methodology is extremely slow….coupled with an obsession for details. I'll demo something, listen it to death, pick it apart and hate it. So it is good to get some feedback from others as in the case of the promo 08 stuff. It seems the older you get the more the mundanities of life invade your creative time. I’m also a huge gear nerd and have wasted shitloads of time using crap/wrong gear that didn’t have the functionality to work for me…as well as learning to audio engineer as I go. We mostly started with shit gear that was traded for slightly better gear and on and on. Took a fuckin long time to get something worthwhile. I’m very happy with my set-up now, the short burst of demo’s came together very effortlessly. If the songs were created in more of a band type setting the output would be greatly increased I'm sure.
The material on "II" is a mix of some old post "opus one" riffs and expanded musical themes from that time, plus some newer pieces influenced from old stuff. We did play a rough hash of some of these riffs at Satanfest '92, I'm currently re-recording this as an "alternative" version to the one that will be included on Sinistrous Diabolus II.

Click above image to listen to said track.
The new recording will be two songs, separated into parts/movements (in name only)-two continuous pieces of music 25 mins long. I'm leaving it to the listener to decide where each starts/finishes…

7) Although not documented, drugs have played a part in the history of both Sinistrous Diabolus and what could be described as other legendary sounding Christchurch underground Metal bands from the early 90s. What impact do you see that they have had on your self, Sinistrous and that scene? What do you think might have happened if those drugs were not a factor?

We were all pretty young back in 91-92 so youthful experimentation grew to habit for some I guess - certainly showed the rotten underbelly of this town which I think is mandatory when playing ugly music and something I’m glad to have seen first hand.. ….I got bored of it all pretty fast. It showed just how lacking in character some were. A bottomless well of self pity and something I’ve grown to loathe. It’s the survival instinct in reverse, destroying yourself to live!  But this is not unique at all, every scene has fuck ups and deviants. As for what may have been-that time has passed so to muse over it is pointless.

8)Aside from the above, what factors (Social, technological etc) do you think contributed to the unique Underground metal sound that came from Christchurch in the early 90s? 

Being shit poor was probably the biggest factor. But however that was our choice-we were all too busy adding to the detritus of society to go out and work/save for good gear etc. The most flash amp we had between us was probably a peavey bandit….there was a certain rough and somewhat haphazard element as well. Although I think this was just from a lack of ability perhaps, cavemen with distortion pedals.

Sinistrous Diabolus Live at Satanfest 2009. Photo by Rebecca Tovey
9) Jon/Scourge was originally the creative force and leader of Sinistrous Diabolus when it was formed in 91/92(?). What lead to his leaving the band? How does you writing different to his? What parts of Jon’s influence remain in the music? I know there was recently talk of Jon collaborating with Sinistrous again. Is this still likely to happen? Why/why not?

I can only really comment from how i saw it back then as I've not actually spoken to him about it…..i think he was tired of the general pretentiousness of the scene at the time, second wave black metal was starting to gain momentum and every fuckin second meathead was bestowing them selves with "titles"…lord ,count, baron, etc.. This was exacerbated by his involvement with the O.H.L.P (Order of the Left Hand Path) and later O.S.V (Ordo Sinistra Vivendi) (remember key of Alocer/Aabaaner incendium? ha!)
He just said one day he'd had enough and if we wanted to keep it going, to do so. I guess its the case with all creative processes, you have a vision but the transition from theory to practice sometimes goes astray. J and I didn't start jamming again till maybe a year later but a lot of the ideas I had were weak as shit. Which is why there has been such a huge gap in the discography. Opus One was the standard by which all other material had to meet. We discussed collaborating but we came to the agreement that we've probably moved too far apart to make it work. I do still value his critique and try to get his opinion on most material since regaining contact. I sent him some rough demos on some of the new material which was well received-it good to know I’m on the right path.
Click above image to read interview with Jon/Scourge from Subcide Zine #1 from 1993
I still draw from the same influences as back when we started-lord of Putrefaction, Blasphemy, Laibach, hell awaits era Slayer, Bathory, Thergothon, Death in June Non.….

Sinistrous Diabolus was my first decent band so a lot of the ideas and techniques for sound have stuck with me to the present day. For instance we tried putting bass strings on a normal scale guitar and while it sounded rhythmically heavy, there was very little audible melodic content. I’ve since had a 30’’ guitar built that is tuned EADGBEA to try and achieve some of the vision we had then…more like a distorted string quartet –Bass ADGC, Bass vii EADGBEA, Baritone guitar ADGCFA and standard tuning EADGBE. It might seem confused but its an attempt to simplify the writing/recording process as instead of multiple overdubs there is one track per instrument. I’ve found out the hard way that too many overdubs destroy dynamics. Less is more!

10) You’ve recently been the session vocalist for Witchrist and session bassist/vocalist for Diocletian.  What have some of the highlights been? What have you learned from the experience?

The doom over Siam gig was probably the highlight for me, just such a complete reversal of what gigs generally are here in NZ. Drinking all afternoon in scorching jungle heat meant my performance was less than brilliant but it did give birth to the beast named CHANG WILDCHILD
…As far as the other gigs went, I fuckin hated being just the vocalist, I’ll never take that role on again that’s for sure. And now I think about it, nearly all the sole position vocalists I know are odd people. Some amount of personality disorder is advantageous….I enjoyed the recording process more than playing live, my playing has really gotten shit post accident…well guitar at least, bass I find a bit easier. I know I performed better with both bands back in NZ but that was then. Both bands have full time replacements for my session spots so I can concentrate on other things now.
Kris in Witchrist somewhere in Europe in 2010
Biggest lesson I’ve got from both bands is doing the basics right. I have a tendency to go off on tangents trying to squeeze too much into a song and fuckin smother it. A dose of the cult puts things back on track.

11) What is your view for the future of Sinistrous Diabolus? What definite things not already mentioned are on the horizon? Any last words?

The future? At the moment I can't see past completing the current material. Assuming it goes as intended there may be a few shows plus i have some other stuff in line to be recorded.
A huge thanks to the patient long time supporters-V.K, yourself, Rebecca T, the DCOG and the thoroughly cool cunts met through touring –id list them but ill save that for when the record is finished. Doom ‘till Death.

Photo of original Sinistrous Diabolus 1993 line up from inside of "Opus One" casstte

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Arc of Ascent - Interview

Arc of Ascent are a Hamilton (New Zealand) bassed 3 piece  who's music what I'd describe as a groovy psychedelic stonerdoom rock/metal sound.  Whilst I hate comparing bands to others, If you can imagine Cathedral crossed with early Pink Floyd you're not far off the mark with AoA.  Everything else you need to know about them is in the following interview which was answered by Vocalist and Bass player Craig Williamson.  

1 - With out making reference to any other bands, artists or musical genre’s, describe your music in a away that will make readers of this interview want to check you out.


Rays of the third eye awaking the mountain and reascending in a path to freedom.

2 - What is the significance of the Nag Champa incense that you burn on stage at your shows? What inspires the psychedelic nature of your titles, lyrics and art work? Where do you think these inspirations originate from?
The Inscense burning has quite a few personal reasons, but mainly it's for calm and for focus while playing, but it has other greater significance, on a higher level....
Try this shit. It's awesome!

I wouldn't say my lyrics are especially psychedelic, not consiously anyway, i'd say they're more personal.

Like many things we do the source of inspiration hasn't been discussed alot, it just happens, it's same with the lyrics, they're just worked on until everything seems "right" I don't spend any time thinking about where riffs or lyrical ideas come from, it's more of an organic way, and hopefully gives our sound a more accuate feeling that it's from us and not fabricated. The artwork for "Circle of the Sun" was inspired by Greg Hodgsons visions of what we do, him and i spoke at length on how the cover and direction of the artwork in general would it reprasent Arc of Ascent, and with a little guidance it came out that way.

3 - How has the International response been to “Circle of the Sun”? Has it opened any doors for AoA? If so what? Are you happy with that release? Is there anything you would have done differently in retrospect? Why should people hear “Circle of the Sun”? Will we see a vinyl release?

The response has been very positive. Opened any doors? not really any that weren't open before, there are always things or offers in the pipeline with us - weather we do them or not is another thing. If you're talking about touring overseas then yes we have had offers, they must be right for us though, we will not play if we feel it's not a good idea or we'll go broke by doing it, but it depends - next year we'll follow up a few things.

Yes, i'm definately happy with Circle of the Sun, i guess when you look back you'll always think that you could've done something diferent, but that always happens, i've done a few albums now and there is always something, but that's just learning more about what you're doing for next time....the LP version will come out hopefully September or October too....

"Circle of the Sun" album cover
Why people should listen to Circle of the Sun? it has many ways for you to take the music & direction.....the more you listen the more different aspects will unveil themselves, there are deep deep things on that album, lyrically and musically that don't hit you right away, but they are there.

4 - Tell us about your Solo project “Lamp of the Universe”. How does it differ to AoA? Are there any links between the two? I understand there they are being released on Vinyl. How can people obtain them?

Lamp of the Universe is just me alone in the studio, that's the difference between Arc of Ascent mostly, it's been happening for awhile now - the style is a combination of eastern influenced psychedelic folk, acid rock, cosmic drone and a few other influences here and there. The links between the two would be that I write in the same way for both, just one is interpreted by a rock band and the other just by myself.....same songs really....a few of the songs on Circle of the Sun started out as Lamp of the Universe songs which i never used, so when the band started i brought them in to the mix, some of the other tracks on the album are songs that were written for Datura but never got used, for example Master of the Serpents i wrote around 1993 or 1994 which Datura used to play but never recorded.
The first two Lamp of the Universe albums have been reissued on LP, "The Cosmic Union" and "Echo in Light", a fair few on-line mailorder outlets have them. Also an album from 2005 "Earth, Spirit & Sky" came out on LP too.

5 - You are working on the next Arc release at the moment? What can we expect from that? How will it differ to “Circle of the Sun” what will it be called? When will it be available?

We're working on a new album at the moment, and are going into the studio to start recording in early September, so hopefully it'll be ready sometime early 2012, maybe March or April once everything has been done. The style has progressed a bit i'd say, more dynamic, it's hard to say being so close to the music, but it really has a more intense feel for me in places, Sandy and John are playing some amazing things on this new one, and i'll be of course doing the psych-trance-eastern-mystic thing on the new one again will be called "The Higher Key".

John's mid song back scratching trick captured on film.

6 - You were in band called Datura prior to forming Arc Of Ascent. Tell us about that. How did Datura lead to the forming of Arc of Ascent?

Datura was a stoner type band i formed at the end of 1992, somehow we managed to keep it all going until 1999, which now that i think about it was crazy, did three demos and two albums plus some other random songs here and there, but as many may already know NO ONE in New Zealand understood what we were trying to do at the time, so it kind of petered out....that led to me doing the solo Lamp of the Universe studio thing, vowing never to be in a band situation ever again after the whole experience was a little taxing to say the least, but after 10 or so years doing the solo thing a band situation, in the right way, sounded appealing to me. So I started looking for musicans
.7 - In the early 90s you were a member of Hamilton underground Black/Death Metal band Azazel. Do you believe that this may have had a long term influence on your musical out put? If so what?

No, i don't really think playing in that band influenced or helped me much long term - hell that was 20 years ago. I don't think something i did for 18 months when I was 18 years old has much bearing on what i do now.

Note: For those who are interested you can chech our both Azazel demos by following these links:  

Azazel - Azazel - Demo 1 - 1992
Azazel - Nocturnal Cognation - Demo 2 - 1992

8 - Link association time. What thoughts spring to mind when visiting each of the following links: - Looks interesting - The ultimate festival, man to play at this would be amazing.... - um, yea ok....pretty cool. - Anyone wanting to find out about some great NZ and Aussie stoner type bands check this out. - My good friend Richard's extremely vital blog on everything that is old and obscure to do with fuzz, stoner, acid
Sandy (Left) and Craig (Right)

9 - John (Drums) and Sandy (Guitar) have quite different musical back grounds to you. Please give a run down of these. What Atributes do each of them bring to Arc of Ascent?

I wouldn't say our musical backgrounds are that different really....we have diferent backgrounds sure, but everyone does, there are alot of areas where we all overlap at some point aswell. I guess generally John is more into modern sounds and Sandy more into the 70's....i'm somewhere in between, but like I said, we all have musical interests that cross over so everyone brings some cool new angle to the table, it would suck if we all listened to the same bands, had the same influences anyway....

10 - What else is in the future for Arc of Ascent? Anything else to add?

At the moment the future is just getting this new album done, then we'll take it from there. Thanks for the interview Chris.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Triple Cassette Review: Heresiarch, Vassafor and Sinistrous Diabolus

I’ve had these for a couple of months now. Unfortunately, I managed to destroy the belt in my tape deck right when I received them.  Now after a $96 repair bill (it’s a good tape deck and was worth it), I can now listen to and present you with reviews for the following cassette releases:

HERESIARCH - Obsecrating the Global Holocaust
Note: In order to stay with the theme of the band’s obscure titles, it is advisable to have open in an extra tab to make sense of this review.
This debut pro released demo tape features three tracks. The first two being originals, including the title track and “Man is Carnivore”.  The third song, on side two, is a cover of my all time favourite Bathory song “Equimanthorn”. The cover and originals alike vary on their canvases between defined heavy as war head riffs to intense pounding walls of Chaos.
The packaging is incommensurable to anything I’ve seen before,  kind of a mini DVD case to create larger cover art with a cassette compartment on the inside. See photo.  The prodigious cover art work is by Bad News Brown.
Recorded by VK at the Killing Rooms, a local Auckland band rehearsal space, “Obsecrating the Global Holocaust” is “A” tuned, barbarous and absonant as fuck. The catastrophe that is Heresiarch is a  meritorious conscript to New Zealand Metal.  “Obsecrating the Global Holocaust” is a preeminent primogenial recording and a taster for things to come.   I look forward to the "Hammer of Intransigence” EP, which judging from the below sample track, will be an enhancement on this again. 
Go here to find out how to obtain “Obsecrating the Global Holocaust”
This has already had a fair bit of coverage here.  MMX is also is a pro-released (by Serpents Head Reprisal) version of the promo cassette that was used to promote, to labels, the material that is to become the double vinyl “Obsidian Codex”.
MMX features two songs “Sunya” and “Rites of Ascension”. They are both long epic dark Metal tunes in unique Vassaforian style. Both of which would seem to be a natural progression following on from the self titled mini album.  I, along with many others, am looking forward to the album version of these songs.  I will keep this review brief in the meantime.

This is a classic recording that, after nearly 20 years is finally starting to receive the recognition it deserves.  I’ve got the original of this somewhere.  It has a colour photocopied paper cover which was hand cut out...slightly crooked.  This version, released by Dark Descent Records, has black and white artwork, but is pro printed on gloss card, with additional liner notes by Diocletian’s Atrociter. The track order is different, opening with  “Sleep of the damned” first, then “Wipe out Christianity” followed by “Aeon Ended”.  This works, but feels slightly odd to me as “Wipeout” was and is the natural opener with it’s epic intro and anthemic chorus.
If you’re unfamiliar with the music on “Opus One”, all of what I’ve just written will mean very little to you.  So I will go deeper into the music.  In it’s time (and even now) there was something that lifted “Sinistrous Diabolus - Opus One” above the music of other underground extreme metal. It had focus, thought, the hearts of it’s creators pumped into it.  They actively sought influences from external genres to create unique memorable heavy dark music. Often experimenting with bizarre chords, rhythms and tunings. I remember at their first ever gig (Satanfest 1992 in Christchurch) where they tuned two “E octave” i.e. an entire octave lower than standard tuning.  The results were messy and full of feedback. By the second show, a few months later they had refined their sound (and tuned higher to a low “A”). That show left an impression that (obviously) has stayed with me to this day. Although not quite as powerful (as that live experience), “Opus One” captured the spirit of that show.
Aside from the legendary satanic anthem “Wipe out Christianity”, “Sleep of the Damned” is the next highlight, a slow atmospheric grinding dirge with one of the most heavy memorable riffs never previously discovered. It progresses from the sounds of a desolate howling wind through to death metal intensity over it’s epic almost 10 minute length.  “Aeon Ended” is a more standard 3 minute death metal composition which nicely wraps up “Opus One”.  
These were the only 3 songs Sinistrous  Diabolus recorded during this era, but below is a reworking of an unrecorded, untitled song from that time.  Check it out and get a taste of what’s to come with the forth coming and long over due “Opus Two”.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Meth Drinker s/t vinyl

s/t album on Alwaysneverfunrecords

I don’t know much about these guys except that they’re from Wellington (New Zealand)
and that this, their debut self titled release, features nasty filthy depressive sludge in the vein of Buzzov*en or Eyehategod.  Imagine that, then picture a scummy flat in Newtown (Wellington suburb) that hasn’t seen a vacuum cleaner in 15+ years. There's assorted crap strewn everywhere, used plates covered in dried crusted food all over the floor. The occupants are unconscious...occasionally coming out of their drugged out methylated spirits induced haze to start jamming on the various instruments set up around the room. With this you’ve pretty much got Meth Drinker. ...or at least the sound of their record.
See for your self on this music video for the track “Broken Down and Used Up”

This is an excellent first release, however I’d like to see where Meth Drinker can take their song writing on the next one.

My version is the vinyl which is Limited to 100 with a screen printed cover. As mine is number 98 It’s safe to say that it won’t be available any longer.  I believe however that a CD version is still in stock and can be obtained from here: alwaysneverfunrecords

I’ll get to see Meth Drinker live in a week or so when they come to Auckland to play, not a normal gig in a venue but at a party at someones house.  Something tells me this will be the perfect environment.
Check out more Meth Drinker tunes here:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Skuldom - Kill This Fucking World - Album Review

After more than 10 years in existence, "Kill This Fucking World" is the self released CD version of the first full length Skuldom album.   The disk comes in a limited run of just 300, each copy smeared with a band members own blood.  As I understand it, Skuldom have chosen to put out this version themselves, as after 3 years of ‘Kill This Fucking World’ being completed, it was time to stop waiting for someone else to do it for them.

I will attempt to describe Skuldom and their music for those that don't know of them. Skuldom play extremely violent black metal with the unconventional line up of one filthy sounding distorted bass (Faeces christ), no guitars, intense blasting drums (WC) and insane female vocals/screams (Femondeotus). The Skuldom live show matches their sound, with band members covering them selves their own syringed blood before going on stage.  Shows have also included the use of human feacal corpse paint, human bones, a meat bra, dead rotting animals and scalpel blades thrown into the audience.
Faeces Christ featuring human blood and fecal corpse paint
Compared to the muddy sound of 2003 EP ‘Nativity in Brown’ (which featured a cover photo of a miniature nativity scene containing, instead of the baby Jesus, a knobbly little manger sized turd that bassist Faeces Christ had apparently selected after inspecting his own poo everyday for a week to find the perfect specimen),  “Kill This Fucking World”  has a Brutal 'in your face' production which captures the band's onstage aggression perfectly.  All of the songs have been edited close together to create one flowing wall of war like satanic chaos. 
The cover of 'Nativity In Brown' featuring previously mentioned turd.
This release sticks in your mind with well defined and very memorable songs. It grows better and better with each repeated listen just like great albums should.  From The opening bass chords of "Return to the Abyss" to the closing of "Beyond" (The first ever slow Skuldom song), tracks such as the title tune and ‘Dying Bleeding Burning Kneeling’ start growing in your head and spreading like a growth.
Lets cut to the chase: ‘Kill This Fucking World’ IS an underground black metal classic!
You need to hear this!!!!
You can order ‘Kill this fucking World’ from the band’s Website If you’re a label you should go there to contact the band and offer to release a kick ass vinyl version!

For a 30 second taste of “Kill This Fucking World” watch the below video:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nadja interview

Illistration by Klawful
Nadja were responsible for inspiring the first post on this incarnation of Subcide after I witnessed them live in October 2010. Therefore it only seems appropriate that further exploring the realms of the band's dynamic yet intense enveloping drone should take place. Following is an interview with Aidan Baker...

1 - With out making reference to any other bands, artists or musical genre’s, describe your music in a away that will make readers of this interview, who haven’t heard Nadja, want to check you out.
Nadja is like a heavy blanket of sound to tuck you in at night.
2 - Nadja have a interesting and unique live stage presence.   Leah faces away from the Audience, with Aidan toward and a table of effects pedals in between.  Is intentionally planned or was it something that came about naturally? How do you find audiences react to it?  What aspects do you feel are important to your live show? What were your impressions of your recent (5 October 2010) New Zealand show? Any plans to return?

Our performances aren't really about us, per se, but the sound, so we like to physically present ourselves on stage more as a something of a tableau than a specific focal point. Most audiences seem to be fine with this, although we have had some people complain that we don't move around enough...but since we don't exactly make boppy, bouncy music, this complaint seems fairly irrelevant. 

To be honest, my memories of our Auckland show remains rather hazey, since we were pretty jet-lagged at the time...I do remember enjoying the show, at least, and the audience was enthusiastic and responsive, which is always satisfying. It would definitely be nice to come back to New Zealand, if only to see more of the country than just Auckland, but who knows when that will happen...

3 - Aidan, I’ve read that you used to make ‘Godflesh’ inspired music in the 90s.  What form did this take? Were there any releases?

No releases, just demos...although one day I might get around to making proper recordings of these demos. They aren't really any more or less Godflesh-inspired or -sounding than Nadja songs, though certainly more structured and not as droning/ambient. I would describe the music I was writing then as something of a mix of Codeine and Godflesh with a touch of Caspar Brotzmann, since these were three artists I listened to a lot at the time. 

4 - I  understand you also have books published.  Could please you tell us what these all are and where they are available?
I have published four books of poetry, or prose poems, as I prefer to designate them: "Fingerspelling" (Penumbra Press, 2000), "Wound Culture" (Unbound Books, 2002), "Place Name" (Wingate Press, 2005), and "The Shape of Snakes" (Broken Spine/Averse Publishing, 2010). Of these books, only the last is still in print and available (from our webstore: I do have another book of poetry, "Passing Thru," coming out this year with Beta-Lactam Ring Records.

5 - How did the collaboration New Zealand’s Black Boned Angel come about?  What process did you use to create and record said collaboration? Were you happy with the results? Why/why not? Are there any other artists that you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
The collaboration with Black Boned Angel was suggested and initiated by the record label 20 Buck Spin. We traded cds of raw, unfinished tracks through the mail, each of us finishing what the other had started. Personally, I'm happier with the "Christ Send Light" ep than the full-length, if only because "Christ Send Light" was such an unexpected result. I am happy with the full-length, but it kind of sounds like what one would expect from such a collaboration and I think collaborations are more successful when they result in something entirely unexpected. 

It would certainly be interesting to do something collaborative with Justin Broadrick, of course...I have spoken with him about the possibility and while he wasn't opposed to the idea, actually making it happen might be a challenge...

6 - How do you and Leah find making music and touring as a couple? What are it’s advantages?
Touring and travelling with one's partner is certainly easier and more comfortable than travelling with bandmates, no matter how close band members might be. And definitely it is nice to be able to share these experiences with each other. Also, because there are just the two of us and we perform with a minimal amount of gear, we are able to get to a lot more places that it can be too difficult to get full bands.

7 - What are your favourite Effects pedals? Why? What pedals or equipment do you think are most responsible for creating the Nadja soundscape?
Well, I am pretty attached to my Akai Headrush looping pedal, which I've had for about 10 years now and is definitely integral to the Nadja sound -- though more so to my solo work, perhaps. Equally important to the Nadja sound are my distortion/overdrive pedals, of which I have three: a Boss Overdrive/Distortion, Profile Overdrive (which was the very first pedal I bought, well over 20 years ago now), and a Boss Super-Octave (which has a built in distortion). Leah uses a Boss Bass Distortion/Overdrive pedal as well.

8 - for those unfamiliar with your Solo material, where would be a good place to start as far as ‘Aidan Baker’ releases are concerned.  What sort or people may like to check it out and why?

I released a 2CD compilation on Important Records recently, entitled "I Wish Too, To Be Absorbed," of material drawn from older and/or more obscure releases that was something of an attempt to showcase the different types of music I make under my own name, so it serves as a good introduction. Generally, drone and ambient is a recurring element within all my music, but I have made albums ranging from space-rock to shoegazer-pop to neo-classical post-rock to drone-folk. 

9 - How do you maintain the high frequency of Nadja and Aidan Baker releases? What inspires you to produce so much music?

I have a lot of sounds in my head and I need to get them out...

10 - I understand that Nadja’s music is inspired by what you read. What are you reading at the moment? How might it inspire the music you are creating or are going to create?

Some of it is inspired by literary sources, yes, although not exclusivly. We take inspiration from other sources as well; films, other music, or simply from making sounds/compostions/whatever ourselves...Right now, I'm reading "Aurorama" by Jean-Christophe Valtat (Melville House, 2010) which is a something of a steam-punk/revisionist history novel about a Victorian city in the Arctic. It's an interesting blend of fantasy and realism, science-fictional and anachronistic technology, and Inuit/shamanistic mythology. Since it is set in the Arctic, ice and cold are dominant elements, so we might end up making an icy, cold album... 

11 - How did your covers Album ‘when i see the sun always shines on tv’ come about? Will there be another covers album? why/why not?
We played cover version of Swans' 'No Cure For the Lonely' and Paul Bellini/Kids in the Hall's 'Long Dark Twenties' in our live set for some time and they always got appreciative responses, so we thought we'd make a full album of covers, both as something of an attempt to illustrate our sonic roots and to have some fun (in a genre that's not especially known for levity). There are lots of other songs we would like to cover, but I don't know that we will make another full album of just is probably enough...
12 - You have a number of older hard to get albums such as Corrasion.  Are there any plans to re-release them so that they are more easily available.  If so where, when and how?
"Corrasion" is still available on vinyl from Basses Frequences ( But yes, there are a number of older, out-of-print albums. Some of them we plan to re-issue ourselves on our own label, Broken Spine Productions ( The first of these cd re-issues, "Bodycage," we just released a few months ago and we have plans to re-issue "Thaumogenesis" and "The Bungled & The Botched" as well.
13 - What is next for Nadja?  Any last words?
We are slowing down the Nadja releases at the moment, so we only have 2 albums, apart from afore-mentioned re-issues, scheduled for this year: A collaborative album, "Konstruktion," coming out this spring with the US ambient/noise artist Galena ( on Adagio830 Records ( in time for our April tour in Europe. And we have a split album with fellow Canadians Picastro ( entitled "Fools, Redeemers," coming out next fall with Alien8 Recordings (
Solo, I just released two new albums, "Lost in the Rat Maze" (Consouling Sounds) and "Only Stories" (Broken Spine/The Kora Records), and I have a few other releases scheduled for later in the year. Including a multi-genre (ambient/metal/jazz/etc.) album I did with multiple drummers, including Ted Parsons (Swans, Prong, Godflesh), Thor Harris (Swans, Angels of Light), Mac McNeilly (Jesus Lizard), Steven Hess (Locrian, Panamerican), and Phil Petrocelli (Jesu, Grey Machine), to name a few.