Death metal juggernaut Down Among The Dead Men have assembled a new album that’s filthier and crustier than ever before. Sounding massive, Rogga Johansson has created his best music for the band yet, with Dave Ingram being in absolute top form throughout. Both members have put out highly successful albums in Paganizer and Ursinne respectively this year, not to mention the sensational Echelon release where they joined forces again.
Transcending Obscurity Records owner Kunal Choksi states, “It’s a continued honour to work with legends Rogga Johansson and David Ingram. Down Among The Dead Men have been one of my favourites and I was blown away after listening to their new album. It’s crusty as fuck and crushing as they’ve ever been. I’m sure this will be very well received and it’s great to have the support of both the gentlemen who have been very kind and cooperative all along. Both have been in phenomenal form too, what with their new albums of Paganizer and Ursinne (even Echelon) receiving an overwhelming response. This has been a great signing for the label so far and their new album will definitely be one of the highlights of 2018.”
Dave Ingram comments, “Getting Down Among The Dead Men signed to Transcending Obscurity Records was the ideal move for myself and Rogga, since we both have bands already with this great label (Ursinne for me, Paganizer for Rogga, and Echelon jointly.) This is yet another notch in our respective bullet belts, and we are proud to bring the third Down Among The Dead Men album ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ to the world via Transcending Obscurity Records, one of the most hardworking labels on the scene.”
Rogga Johansson adds, “I just wanna riff, and riffing is what Down Among The Dead Men is all about. Riffing and the immense vocals of the legend himself David Ingram. So we did a new album, and its gonna blow you away, as its a really, really good one! And who better to release it than proven media mogul Kunal Choksi with his Transcending Obscurity? Well no one else at all. I’m utterly proud of this album, and how we release it, and I hope that anyone that needs some dirty deathly crust in their lives will agree to just that too.”
Album lineup –
Rogga Johansson – Guitars/Bass (Also in Paganizer, Echelon, Necrogod, Rogga Johansson)
Dave Ingram – Vocals (Also in Echelon, Ursinne and ex-Benediction, ex-Bolt Thrower, ex-Hail of Bullets)
Kjetil Lynghaug – Session Leads (Also in Paganizer, Echelon, Stass)
Erik R. Bevenrud – Session Drums (Also in Stass)
Artwork by Turkka G. Rantanen (Demilich, Demigod, Darkrypt)
Track listing –
1. Destroy The Infinite
2. Axis Of Insanity
3. …And You Will Obey Me
4. The End Of Time
6. House Of Blue Fire
7. The Age Of Steel
8. Eye Of Harmony
9. Darkness Of Glass
The full length is scheduled for release in early 2018 and a new song will be unveiled very soon via the upcoming Transcending Obscurity Records 2018 Label Sampler.
Chilean death metal has been a dominant force for quite some time but it hasn’t been until the last few years that I’ve seen bands from the country mentioned as frequently as their peers from other parts of the world. Thanks in part to the rise of platforms like Bandcamp and a number of labels that have worked to unearth some of the best material from the South American country, there’s been a ton of great albums to listen to. One of the latest is ‘Supremacy of Chaos’ from Thy Serpent’s Cult, out today on CD and digital formats from Italian label Ordo MCM. It’s the third full length from the group and unfortunately their last as they called it quits earlier this year, but the eleven song effort is a heavy hitter filled with old-school riffs that sends Thy Serpent’s Cult out on a high note. Today we’re streaming the entire album so you can hear for yourself the type of dense, bottom heavy death metal they have to offer.
Memento Mori’s already had a standout year with killer releases from Ruin, Soulrot, and Ekpyrosis (to name a few), but they’ve still got some more quality death metal to unleash upon listeners as we approach the end of 2017. This includes the debut full length from Greece’s Pile of Excrements, ‘Escatology’. For the type of filthy, sleazy death metal that these guys play I couldn’t think of a better band name, and while you might come in expecting third-rate death metal or low budget goregrind there’s a considerable amount of substance and hooks underneath the grime. ‘Escatology’ is the type of death metal that doesn’t take itself too seriously (as evidenced by song titles like Cult of the Unibrow and Buttfucked by Giant Cockroach) but brings plenty of killer riffs and a ton of energy to the table. With the release date of October 23rd a little under a week away, today we’re pleased to bring you a full stream of the record.
Every month when I do one of these monthly round up intros, I hope that the next month would bear good tidings and that I’d have something uplifting to write about the world. But yet again, this month has been filled with natural calamities and escalating tensions among nations don’t seem to make things any easier. With all this doom and gloom, one can only hope to switch off one’s senses to reality. Fortunately we have some solid releases this month to offer us that mental getaway. So before I bring everyone’s mood down, here’s some kickass music to check out! ~ Shrivatsan R.
While not as well-known abroad, the 90s Spanish death metal scene had quite a few noteworthy bands that contributed their own take on the genre. Through the efforts of Xtreem Music a lot of these groups have had their earlier material re-issued and offered up new albums, sometimes a decade or two after they were last heard from. This is the case with death/thrash band Canker, who originally re-issued their 1994 debut ‘Physical’ in a compilation that included their earlier demo material. Now they’re set to release their third full length album ‘Earthquake’ on September 18th, their first all-new material since 1997’s ‘Exquisites Tenderness’. What you may not know is that this actually isn’t a brand new record from the current incarnation of Canker, but rather a previously finished and unreleased album that’s been lying dormant since 2005. But you wouldn’t know it upon first listen, and it gives listeners a window of where the band was at this point in time and where they’re likely to be headed in the future.
Stuffed between a car lot and a liquor store, The Bancroft Bar in Spring Valley is roomier than it looks on the outside. Its L-shaped interior leads its patronage nicely along a path to maximum enjoyment — booths for socializing at the starting leg of the L, a cozy bar located in the bend, and finally a long yet wide hall leading to the back of the stage. Bands brought in their gear and set it on each side of the floor in front of the stage, but it’s still a big space to fill. The local presence seemed solid for a Sunday night, and more groups shuffled in as showtime neared — metalheads making the mecca for friendly support or dedication to the out-of-towners.
By the Power of Greenskull
I’d first seen Greenskull (San Diego) years ago by way of a few mutual high school friends. But seeing them set up at the Bancroft Bar, none of the members looked like who I remembered all those years ago (having a strong social media presence didn’t mean shit back then). As the lights went down and the fog machine went up, it was anybody’s guess whether this was even the same band.
As Greenskull tore into their first song, the band I’d known seemed to have left behind their blackened death trappings along with their old members. Left in its wake was a more derivative, albeit strong, traditionally black metal band. Tremolo guitars and blast beats drove their songs forward, aided by harsh, rasping vocals, as well as the occasional band-backed gutturals. Although I didn’t find their music particularly inventive, they had enough standout moments (good melodies, full dynamic stops) that came across powerfully in a live setting. Greenskull might not be the band I remember, but I’m still proud to support them today.
If You Can’t Beat ’em, Xantam
A big dude who had spent the previous set stumbling around in a drunken one-man mosh pit had somehow leapt backward (?) off the stage and popped his knee. Paramedics arrived, and the poor guy was wheeled out to a chorus of cheers and claps from the smokers who’d gathered outside. “It wouldn’t be a metal show unless someone broke something,” I overheard time and again.
A quick Facebook search revealed the second act, Xantam, as a one-man death metal band from my very own city. He brought a full lineup with him tonight, wearing bullet belts and wielding Jacksons. An unfortunate series of technical difficulties for the stage right guitar led to the downsize of their half-stack cab to an amp a third its size (all the while shaving precious minutes off their set time). I recognized that they weren’t a touring band from some faraway location, but having driven all the way out here like I did… I felt for them.
Once they got going, Xantam delivered decent-sized songs pieced together by too-long, yet triumphant, Mesarthim-esque synth intros. The way the intros gave way to clashing, cacophonous attacks brought to mind a more cosmic, space-y Qrixkuor — Xantam wielded a similar kind of whirlwind tremolo and constant blasting style that was never lacking in energy. I thought that the drummer could have benefited greatly from a metronome, especially for landing his fills, but other than that the band was pretty solid — the other members did a serviceable job picking up wherever he brought them (a telltale sign, to me at least, of a group that plays often together and compensates for each other’s mistakes).
Xantam had to call their set early (an unfortunate result of having spent too much time getting their gear going), but I had enjoyed what they played. Overall, a bit rough around the edges, but not at all so much that I wouldn’t see them again. Gotta represent the local scene.
The Glamour and the Grim
Run to the Hills had the drinking crowd in the back of the bar screaming with ‘ol Bruce, showing that even at 11 PM the Bancroft still had enough energy for a couple more bands.
Up next was Maledict (Los Angeles), a three-piece decked out in heavy corpse paint and silver-studded bondage — but I knew from Icon of Phobos a month earlier not to judge by appearances. Good thing, too — Maledict served up a cool, old-school kind of speedy black metal that seemed almost black ‘n roll (if not in performance than certainly in spirit). Their glitzy outfits felt fitting for a band from LA, as well as their stage presence; their grimacing was as camera-hungry as their strong performance. Vocals switched between the bassist on stage left and the drummer, who was able to keep in time while belting out a few hellfire-fueled incantations. Maledict is a perfect example of the kind of band I wouldn’t necessarily seek out but whose memorable live show will stick with me for a long, long time.
In Service to The ‘Master
12:30 was fast approaching — I was definitely not making it home until 2ish. The bar had mostly cleared out in the face of the impending start of the work week, but I knew my loyalties lay what the late night had to offer.
One Master (New York) blew through their four-song setlist with blistering precision. A four-piece consisting of vocals, guitars, bass, and drums, they pulled off their live sound in a way that was every bit as minimalist and effective as their recordings — oppressive and organic, without a hint of sterility. When not screeching maledictions into the mic, the vocalist/guitarist was staring indifferently toward the back of the bar, his guitar playing almost robotic. Some might be turned off by that lack of stage presence, but sometimes what you get out of that is what you put in. I was up front by the bassist, whipping my head and feeling my soul lashed by Will of the Shadow, and that’s what I came for. And the drummer — someone give that guy a medal, he was working harder than anyone the entire night. Each of One Master’s songs were filled with nonstop, mid-tempo blast beats; I thought by the closer, Erosion, that his right arm was going to fall off.
East Coast bands with the kind of cult status One Master has don’t often bother to come this far west, but I felt truly grateful I stuck around to see them. It’s also rare that all the bands of the night would more or less land in my preferred genres, and you can bet I’ll be returning to the Bancroft Bar sooner than later for more of that.
Nervecell are stalwarts of the Middle East metal scene. The UAE based death metal band have released 2 full length albums, toured across Europe and performed alongside legendary metal acts like Metallica and recently Nile.
Next week the band release their third album Past, Present…Torture via Lifeforce Records (US/Europe) and Metal East Records (Middle East). The band have premiered 3 tracks from the album so far, a peek into their heaviest material yet. A few listens of the album was all it took for me to get convinced that Nervecell had topped their previous album Pscyhogencide.
I spoke to guitarist Barney Ribeiro about Past, Present…Torture, death metal in 2017 and also performing in India.
Transcending Obscurity (Peter K): Your third album Past, Present…Torture releases this month. How does it feel now that the album is going to be released?
Nervecell (Barney): Pretty damn good, we were in Lyon, France exactly around this same time last year (July 2016) tracking drums with Kevin. After which we brought the drum tracks back with us to Dubai and immediately went into Haven Studios to track the guitars, bass and vocal tracks. So even though the album is new to the rest of the world, those songs have actually been with us for the better half of the last 2 years that we’ve been working on and crafting. If anything it just amazes me how fast time flies. I’m just really glad we’re finally going to release this thing, the fans have been very patient waiting for new music from us and their going to get what they’ve been waiting for.
TO: The album has a post apocalyptic theme. What was the inspiration behind it?
Nervecell: Honestly it’s something we came up with very gradually as the song titles started to come in one after the other. The music has this post apocalyptic vibe in a lot of the songs and the subject matter of the lyrics that James was singing about too was resonating with us quite a lot during the writing stage, which had to do with past events and the dark ages. There is still so much of untold information out there from the past that people do not necessarily know about, and that is only until recently being brought into the limelight. One would expect we live in a modern civilized world today but the future has so much of unpredictability ahead of us that it will inevitably lead to the fall of the human race. The present basically represents us trying to do our bit and alarm everyone to start taking action before it gets too late, hence why you see the Nervecell Emblem arising from the grounds on the album artwork to resemble a sense of warning and symbolism to act now, so take matters in our own hands so to speak, before it’s too late.
TO: You’ve have upped the ante on the production of the album. Did you try anything different this time around with the recording process?
Nervecell: Thanks! Well we played around with loads of stuff. We’ve always been a band that is heavily involved throughout the entire recording process. I mean we used our own Engl guitar amp heads for starters. Basically what we use live, we wanted the very same sound we deliver live to be used in the studio. So we had Rami and my guitar tones intentionally set out differently in that aspect while recording each of our songs. We also have songs on the album that Rami wrote individually and songs that I wrote individually as well, which is different this time around as we used to always merge our ideas together in our songs on previous releases. There are only 2 songs on this album that the entire band contributed to as a whole. We also wrote almost all the drum parts on this record and got Kevin to basically perform / record our ideas while doing the drum tracking. Unlike the first 2 albums, where we pretty much left Dave Haley with a lot of freedom you can say. So all of that together with that fact that we utilized some atmospheric elements into the songs, very faint stuff but you do here these minor details that add that extra element that helps emphasize the mood of certain tracks. Also we’ve recorded the entire album on a different tuning in comparison to our older releases, which gave a different edge on how our songs sounded this time around. We just went into making this record knowing we wanted a brutal more technical sounding record and to keep it as organic as possible.
TO: Kevin Foley (One life All-in, Benigthed) has recorded the drums on the album. How did he become a part of the album?
Nervecell: Kevin has always been a guy we’ve been very close with. We’ve worked with various drummers over the years but you know not everyone is necessarily the same. Kevin honestly reminds me of us, he’s extremely down to earth, extremely talented, very versatile by the way in his playing style, completely drama free, real fun to hang with and also has loads of recording experience in him as well! I mean there is more to just being a good drummer that we look for when selecting who we want to have been a part of our band and perform on our songs. Chemistry is so very important to me and I make sure there is that chemistry that we get along with all the drummers we work with more that anything else I’d say. He just had it all man and like I said, a very good friend to the band. Don’t forget he’s toured with us all over Asia and Europe for a good 2 to 3 years so all that counts too.
TO: What are your thoughts on the current state of death metal?
Nervecell: It’s coming back like a fucking tsumani, I mean we’ve got all the iconic death metal bands either releasing/released or working on new albums this year like ourselves, it’s ridiculous. Morbid Angel, Deicide, Suffocation, Decapitated, Cannibal Corpse, Broken Hope, Origin, Decrepit Birth, Obituary and a shit load of newer extreme metal bands too of course…I can keep naming them but anyway. I put up a post about this earlier this year on my Facebook stating how if there was anyone out there who claims Death Metal is dead or going nowhere in 2017 can seriously F#*k off! There are a lot more players now in the genre and the competition is getting real hot. I love it because we coming from the Middle East are used to the heat (and by heat I mean more of those who are envious and jealous of others success – especially in this region), so we are sooo super stoked to kick the shit out of all the non-believers with this new record and let the music speak for itself. “Past, Present…Torture” is going to seal the deal that we aren’t stopping anytime soon, and we are going out there proudly representing the Middle East for Extreme Metal in general.
TO: What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?
Nervecell: Honestly I haven’t been inspired for the last 4 to 5 years musically. Even in Metal there hasn’t really been anything that really does it for me anymore. There is this whole new wave of Death core bands that I just really can’t get into man. I mean I get it, it’s brutal, break-downs, crisp production etc. but they have like 20 laptops on stage playing backing tracks man…I’m sorry I don’t give in to that shit! Part of me liking metal is that raw, unpredictable and spontaneous energy you get when performing live that keeps this genre pure and different from the rest for me personally. I can’t stand these bands with their choreographed performances. I always keep an open ear for new music though, but really if there is anything I’ve been listening to lately it’s just the classic Thrash and Death metal bands I grew up to man. There just don’t make good old-school quality music like that anymore, the closest to that sound I can relate to today is probably Bloodbath, although that last album they did with Nick Holmes was rather disappointing. If I want to just chill and mellow out I’ll pop in some Sithu Aye, Plini, God is an Astronaut, Massive Attack, Anathema, Leprous…and perhaps even some Extol too, another very underrated band.
TO: You did a short tour of India in 2010. What are your memories from then?
Nervecell: I’ll keep this one short. That Blue Frog venue we played in Mumbai, India was one of the best live shows I’ve ever played with Nervecell. Dudes in the crowd went absolute nuts! I have no idea why the hell we haven’t been back there again since… I mean we almost sold out that venue and it was only our first time in Mumbai. Apart from that, we enjoyed the food and came back home to Dubai humbled, cause every time you feel you have something to complain about in your life, one must go visit India, shit will wake you the fuck up there and make you appreciate every little thing you got going. I’m just grateful we got fans there!
TO: You recently performed with Nile in Dubai. How did the show go?
Nervecell: It was excellent, we haven’t played in Dubai for almost 3 years, so it was nice to come back and perform at home again one last time before we release the new album officially. As always there were a lot of new faces in the audience, but that’s something we are used to being based here through out our entire career. We will probably look at playing Dubai again and other neighboring countries in the Middle East once the new album is released later this month.
TO: Do you have any more shows/tours planned this year?
Nervecell: Nothing as of now, but we sure as hell plan on touring a lot for the better half of next year in support of our new album “Past, Present…Torture”.
TO: Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any final words?
Nervecell: Well thank you for having me here Peter. Nervecell fans, don’t forget the new album “Past, Present…Torture” comes out on August 25th around the world. Fans in the Middle East can pick it up on shelves post August 25th via Metal East Records and fans from North America / Europe can pick it up from your local music stores via Lifeforce Records. We can’t wait to hear all of your feedback and we definitely look forward to playing in your cities very soon. Cheers!
Tommi Grönqvist has been responsible for quite a bit of quality Finnish death metal over the years, as he spent over a decade with Slugathor before forming Desecresy with vocalist Jarno Nurmi. Desecresy has put out albums at a steady pace, and even though this has amounted to four full-lengths over the span of five years each one has explored different elements of the death metal genre. This year’s ‘The Mortal Horizon’ represents the biggest change for the band, as Jarno Nurmi left the band and now Grönqvist has stepped up to do vocals in addition to continuing to write all of the instrumentation.
It turned out to be quite a mix at the month end list this time around. With equal parts big releases (Relapse, Prosthetic, Season of Mist etc) and independent outputs, there’s something here for everyone. Many of the releases highlighted here have a ‘name your price’ offer on their Bandcamps, so make sure to check out the music and buy the release if they please you. ~ Shrivatsan R