Interview – Selim Lemouchi of The Devil’s Blood

I’ve always been fascinated with musical projects that act as a soundtrack to a way of life. Crass was an anarchist collective that recorded records as one means to spread its message. Each one of their albums read as a news-of-the day for Britain’s ultra-left. There was The Genitorturers with its sadomasochistic stage show that shocked and awed audiences. The lifestyle was so captivating that it made former Morbid Angel frontman David Vincent leave what was probably the most successful death metal band at the time and reach for the nearest latex.

Dutch band The Devil’s Blood acts as a vehicle for the Satanic beliefs of founders (and brother and sister) Selim and Farida Lemouchi. The band fuses 60s psychedelic rock with 70s metal with haunting female vocals. The band’s music answers the question, what if the generation of bands influenced by Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin continued with the spiritual endeavors and haunting imagery of bands like Black Widow and Lucifer’s Friend, instead of veering into NWOBHM territory? The style contrasts heavily with other bands on the Metal Blade label. Tomorrow, January 17th Devil’s Blood releases its first album for the label, The Thousandfold Epicentre. I interviewed guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/founder Selim, an extremely engaging and articulate artist with a clear vision for his music and the spiritual messages it carries.

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Get Slasher’s Pray for Dead LP for Free!

Here’s an interesting use of the internets. Brazilian thrashers “Slasher” spent a lot of creative energy in a social media campaign to spread the word out about their new album. However, they must have been out of creative juice when thinking up a band name and a name for the album (Pray For The Dead).

Raise your hand if you were NOT in a band called “Slasher” at one point in your life.

Go to this website and scroll down. There’s a button that says “Pay with a Tweet or Facebook.” Follow the steps provided. For the measly cost of telling your followers/friends that you are downloading the album and providing the link, you get the album for free. The rub is when you have to explain to all your friends that this is the Brazilian band called Slasher, not the band that your cousin was in that played the Battle of the Bands in junior high.

LOMA PRIETA and Why Not All Screamo is Created Equal

Loma Prieta is a bay area hardcore band who, to our benefit, seem to have anger management issues. They’re grindy, They’re screamy, and throw down lots of nice low-end interludes. This new track remind me a lot of Nails, whose Unsilent Death record has been on heavy rotation on my iPod and in my nightmares.

Loma Prieta – “Trilogy 4 – Momentary”

Loma Prieta is set to release “I.V” (Not sure if this is the number four or an acronym for intravenous, but I like the mystery) on Deathwish Records January 17th.

Sidenote —

Yes, most of their older stuff can be described as “screamo,” which I think deserves a little explanation.

A brief history of the bastardization of the term after the jump.
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C.O.C. To Tour in Support of New Album

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will release a self-titled album, set for North American release on February 28. It will feature the legendary Animosity line-up of vocalist/bassist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman, and drummer/vocalist Reed Mullin. This is the band’s first full-length since 2005’s In the Arms of God

Tour Dates:

w/ Torche, Valient Thorr, A Storm Of Light

03/01/2012 Gramercy Theatre – NYC, NY
03/02/2012 Sonar – Baltimore, MD
03/03/2012 Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC
03/05/2012 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
03/06/2012 Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI
03/07/2012 Double Door – Chicago, IL
03/08/2012 Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN
03/09/2012 Beaumont Club – Kansas City, MO
03/10/2012 Downtown Music Hall – Little Rock, AR
03/11/2012 Hi-Tone Café – Memphis, TN
03/12/2012 Trees – Dallas, TX
03/14/2012 SXSW – Austin, TX ! #
03/15/2012 SXSW – Austin, TX ! #
03/17/2012 One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA #
03/18/2012 Zydeco – Birmingham, AL #

! = No Torche
# = No Valient Thorr

Gene Simmons Diss Tracks

I know I’m the elder statesmen of this website, so I feel the need to make clear that I hate KISS. I know I’m supposed to love them, but I hate just about everything about that band. Their gimmick was lame. Their songs were lamer and Gene Simmons is probably the world’s biggest douche.

Gene Simmons explains to Adweek that KISS was a pyramid scheme and a “brand, not a band”

I think Trent Reznor said it best when he said,

I’d never want to be Gene Simmons, an old man who puts on makeup to entertain kids, like a clown going to work … In my paranoia, I fear that if I don’t stop this, it could become that.

Review: Crusader’s Rise of the Templars E.P.

I started listening to metal at an early age. It was the mid-eighties, and I was in elementary school so the only bands I really had access to were radio bands like Motley Crue, Poison, and Ratt. I had cousins about ten years older than me who noticed my interest and made a gesture that had a major impact on my life. They gave me their record collection. I was suddenly the owner of first-pressing editions of some of the most important New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), power metal, and class rock records of all time. I may not have been the first on my block to own Venom’s Black Metal, but I was probably the first eleven year old, although I didn’t like it much at the time. However, I immediately fell madly in love with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest.

Crusader’s four-song E.P. “Rise of the Templars” fits nicely between my Accept and Tygers of Pan Tang records. It’s unabashedly metal. There’s a lot of Saxon in the mix (a band that recorded a song sharing Crusader’s namesake). There’s some early Iron Maiden in there, and definitely a lot of Raven.

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Album Review: HARPOON’s “Deception Among Birds”

Chicago in the mid-to-late 90s — the tectonic plates under the extreme music landscape started to shift and converge (no pun intended). The metal and hardcore scenes started to accept the fact that each other existed.  The line of demarcation started to lift at shows.  There were karate chops in the Dying Fetus pit. Rows of long hair could be spotted swirling about to Hatebreed breakdowns at the Knights of Columbus hall. Some could call this period re-crossover.

Here's the album cover. Be patient, I'll get to the review in a minute.

There were a lot of factors that contributed to this. Many in the P.C. Vegan Straightedge Youth Squad* fled to college (and started drinking beer publicly), leaving a hole in that scene. At that point, death metal started getting trite with third- and fourth-generation bands that seemed to be influenced only by other death metal bands, creating styles like “goregrind” and wait for it… “pornogrind.” This left many hessians without a home. Consolidation was necessary. However, there needed to be some space in the middle of the brutal Venn diagram to bring it all together. Powerviolence and grindcore filled that void.

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Chicago Zo’s Top 5 Records of 2011

I’m not big on lists. They are a good way to focus writing, but there are some tracks that I think were better than entire albums I heard. There are bands that played amazing live shows that did not put out a record this year. I hate to overlook the best moments of music just to follow a structure. Plus, when I think all of the characters in High Fidelity, I get mad and throw things.

Here are my top five albums of 2011:


5. Anthrax – Worship Music

I’m finding this to be a pretty divisive record. They brought back Joey. There are now definite limits to his vocal range that make this a less than stellar homecoming performance. From Sound of White Noise on, Anthrax was moving into a lot of new directions. I’m going to look past their flirtations with nu-metal (hell, even the mighty Slayer downtuned and wrote a few jump around tracks in the late 90s), but Bush’s range and unique style gave them a fuller palate to play with. The thrash resurgence of late may have prompted this personnel change, but for most of this record I’m forced to imagine the tracks with John Bush. Maybe I was just too big a fan of “what if” issues of comic books as a kid. It’s nice to see the parents get back together, but things are just different since stepdad flew the coop.

Having said all that, a mediocre Anthrax record is still a pretty great record. For those of us who cut our teeth on Overkill and Testament, this is one heavy record. Precise, clear distorted riffs and clockwork drumming and a stomping bass line.

4. Black Tusk – Set The Dial

Although they made my top five, I have to say this album from Savannah sludgeteers Black Tusk was a disappointing follow-up to “Taste the Sin.” It’s still doom metal meets hardcore meets NWOBHM with three vocalists, each with his own brand of urgency in his voice, but TST had some amazing stand-alone tracks that this album just lacked.

All that being said, this album has been in heavy rotation for me for the past few months. The band seems to be moving in a more groove-oriented direction. I hear more Down in this record than the last. I anticipate great things coming from this band in the future. It would have been nice to hear another “Red Eyes, Black Skies” or “Embrace the Madness” on this record, but they just aren’t there. However, I’m excited to watch this band evolve in the coming years.

3. Lock Up – Necropolis Transparent

I remember as a kid catching a video from the Travelling Wilburys. At first I noticed George Harrison. I thought to myself, this is going to suck. Then I heard Bob Dylan’s voice and I started to feel sick. Then I saw Tom Petty and I was utterly confused and angry at the same time. Even though I didn’t know what a “baby boomer” was, I knew that this music was for really boring old people. It was my first experience with a supergroup.  I think they were trying to cash in on the momentum of Live Aid without giving any of the money to starving African kids. It took me a while to realize that the concept of a supergroup could actually work. There was Phantasm, Fantômas, and Brujeria. You get some masters of brutality together and it can be amazing.

That’s how I feel about this band, Lock Up. You have one of my all-time favorite Swedish death metal vocalists and fellow metal high school teacher Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates, Disfear, The Crown), Shane Embury (Napalm Death, Blood from the Soul, Brujeria), Anton Reisenegger (Pentagram, Criminal), and Nicholas Barker (Brujeria, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir) making up this all-star lineup.

Lock up plays extremely fast, cut-to-the-chase deathgrind where each member gets to do his thing and they do it quite well. You have classic Embury style; clockwork grind riffs sandwiched between swirling atmospheric moments for when you can step out of the pit for a minute to catch your breath. Barker’s blastbeats and punishing double bass remind you that this isn’t Napalm Death. Tomas Lindberg’s vocals are intense with just enough punk sensibility to let you know that he’s thumbing his nose at the entire world.

2. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

I’ve played FU for friends and a common reaction is, “So what?” And then I take them to see the band live and they say, “Oh, I get it!” I don’t have to get deep into that, even NPR has described the FU experience.  My one anecdote is from when I saw them at the Logan Square Auditorium. One of their guitar players had to go to the bathroom and singer Damian Abraham asked the crowd who knew how to play “Police.” A kid raised his hand and he ended up joining the band in a raucous rendition of their classic hardcore admonishment of the boys-in-blue.

This concept album tells a love story revolving around “David” who’s confused and excited about these new emotions he’s experiencing. Honestly, I didn’t dive deep into the story of the album so I can’t break the whole thing down for you. If that’s your thing, figure it out yourself. I just really like the contrast between Abraham’s intense screaming and the sweet melodies that drive this album through uncharted hardcore territory.

Click here for my review of FU’s “Year of the Ox” 12′.

This is not the album version, but the kids kill it.

1. Trap Them – Darker Handcraft

I caught these guys at Reggie’s Rockhouse opening up for Converge earlier this year. I was excited to see Converge, but I had seen them a thousand times. For me, Trap Them stole the show. I ran to the merch booth and picked up this album without hesitation. The singer, Ryan McKenney sold it to me and he could not have been a cooler guy. After a set of face-ripping intensity, he took a minute to chat with me even though I could tell he was sick. Honestly, that’s important. So on that note, I have to say please do not torrent this album. Go see them and buy the record from them.

If you look closely, I’m the guy in the red shirt up front.

The album opens with “Damage Prose” a D-beat thrasher with some mathier-Converge-esque parts that keep you interested and a break down that tore the house down at the Rockhouse. “Saintpeelers” is full-out crazy grind assault. These are a few of my favorite things.

Who in Metal Lights the Menorah? [Top 5]

Where I grew up, there weren’t any Jews. There weren’t any Japanese Americans. I am both. Needless to say, I didn’t exactly fit in. There were a bunch of us who didn’t fit in, all colors, shapes and sizes. We had one thing in common, we loved metal and pretty much hated everything else in the world. I guess you could say in my formative years, I mostly identified as a Heavy Metal American.

As a Channukah treat, today’s post goes out to my fellow metal Jews.

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Marduk is the Reason for the Season

I don’t often speak highly of the mainstream media. I find their bias towards people in positions of power to be disingenuous at best and deadly at worst. However, today I came across this gem from Eric Zorn in my local paper, the Chicago Tribune entitled, “Try Not to Forget the Real Reason for the Season.”

He laments the right-wing’s fallacious “War on Christmas”:

No secret there.  Civilizations all over the northern hemisphere have been making merry toward the end of December for thousands of years, with most of the celebrations linked somehow to the “return” of the sun — the longer periods of daylight that begin on the Winter Solstice December 21.

Which is why the triumphant, even defiant slogan “Jesus is the reason for the season” — seen this time of year on buttons, T-shirts and bumper stickers and heard from those who grouse that secular society is at war with Christmas— is so irritating.

A cynic with more energy than I have ought to create“Marduk is the reason for the season” banners in honor of the beloved Zagmuk story.

Read the whole post here. It’ll be a great conversation starter over the ham and mashed potatoes at Nana’s house Sunday.

I can’t speak for everyone on staff at American Aftermath, but as for Mr. Zorn’s thesis, I can’t imagine you’d see much disagreement on our end.