Sunday, September 17, 2017

Inquisition, Uada, Volahn, Gamaliel - Live

This was an absolutely killer show, so here are some blurry pictures and an even blurrier write up of the evening...


Gamaliel


While it's not fair to Gamaliel I really hadn't heard of them before the show, but their set was still really enjoyable and a good fit. Based off of the strength of their performance, I'll be digging deeper into their music over the coming weeks and regret that I hadn't done so before. It's always better when you go into a show knowing, at least partly, what to expect from a band. That way you get a sense of how they sound in the studio versus live and can really embrace the live experience rather than focusing on absorbing new music.

<iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1404839292/size=large/bgcol=333333/linkcol=0f91ff/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="http://gamalielofficial.bandcamp.com/album/the-abyssal-gateway">The Abyssal Gateway by Gamaliel</a></iframe>

Volahn
Volahn - Passion and Sweat

Going into the night, I would have put Volahn as easily my favorite band of the set and man did they deliver. While some of the more atmospheric nuances of the music were burnt away by the ferocity of the live performance, the overall meaning of the music was made abundantly clear. There's not much sense belaboring the point, Volahn is an awesome project and I'm assuming the rest of the lineup was filled out with Black Twilight Circle Crew. Part of me was morbidly curious as to how a solo project would be done live (which honestly, I've seen a more times than I care to count).

Uada


Uada - Expert Level Smoke Tech
   
Uada - From 0 to 100
Uada - These Cymbals were Ridiculously Clean and Pretty
Uada's Smoke Tech the Night's Real Hero
Uada is absolutely fantastic live. Just to put things into perspective, Volahn is a huge deal for me and I absolutely love their music and I'm also super into Inquisition. Uada on the other hand I never really got into, but on this night their performance was hands down the best of any of the bands in attendance. Their energy was unreal and they sounded significantly better than what I had heard from them on "Devoid of Light." I'd have to really sit down with the album and hear them live again to totally pin down why the magic failed to translate onto the recording. Despite how much I appreciate the band's smoke tech, there is a substantial difference in their live sound that goes well beyond theatrics.

<iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=336486757/size=large/bgcol=333333/linkcol=0f91ff/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="http://uada.bandcamp.com/album/devoid-of-light">Devoid of Light by UADA</a></iframe>

Inquisition
Inquisition's Banners Hide Incubus from View (Also Note - Real Photographer in Background)
You know what's absolutely bewildering? How Inquisition sounds so immersive with just two musicians in a live setting. In a live venue, similar to music in a vehicle, the high end can often get drowned out. With Inquisition though the lead guitar occasionally occupies some of the frequencies that you'd usually hear from the bass. Also the music's composition darts from high tremolo picking to low bends so frequently that they can somewhat convincingly project greater numbers than they have (a similar effect, albeit much smaller, as what you can hear from famous folk guitar prodigy Leo Kottke who uses virtuoso speed and liberal counterpoint to sound like five people). Another thing notable about Inquisition is how even the vocals are live. You can hear this in similar vocalists like Demonaz, so it may be attributable to the style, but even the brief operatic/bark/cleans (sorry, I'll work on a better term for these) were 100% precise. All in all this was a hell of a night and one of the best shows I've been to. 

<iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2574764700/size=large/bgcol=333333/linkcol=0f91ff/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="http://inquisitionbm.bandcamp.com/album/bloodshed-across-the-empyrean-altar-beyond-the-celestial-zenith">Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith by Inquisition</a></iframe>

Friday, September 8, 2017

Mesmur - S


Mesmur’s S is hands down one the best funeral doom albums I’ve heard, and by that I don’t mean it’s merely some kind of subgenre revival. S stands on equal footing with the greats of funeral doom, and like any particularly high quality album, it should capture the interest of fans of other metal genres. Funeral doom as a niche genre is possibly one of the shakiest premises to have spawned from the recesses of heavy metal. What if the very pacing of the songs and their structures were, in of themselves, a source of heaviness? Well, more often than not you end up with something that feels more slow and boring than crushing. It’s a wildly challenging balance to strike, but on S Mesmur calibrates the overall atmosphere just perfectly with a detailed landscape of tones.

It’s almost ridiculous to mention given the nature of the album, but even in a genre where everything is supposed to be heavy and a subgenre that is supposed to be crushing, this album is notably oppressive. The heaviness though is more than just thick guitars and bass backed up by what I am sure is an impressive array of gear. What really makes S stand out is how clear everything is, or in other words the impeccable mixing helps to highlight every last bit of the album’s overall sound. The vocals especially are uncannily even and strong. So instead of just being crushed by a falling wall of heaviness you also happen to notice the beautiful bricks and artisan-tier mortar work just before you get pancaked.

Aside from the obvious musical comparisons (Esoteric, Ahab, Mournful Congregation et al.) some of the more relaxed spacier moments remind me of Earth, like when the lush lead guitars take the forefront or start to softly echo around. It’s a nice example of how S keeps things interesting because the high end is incredibly rich without coming across as overly sugary. Many moments in the songs even have a delicate feel to them, some airy riff with effects whirling about in the background like leaves in gentle breeze. These moments however never interfere with the overall song structures, and even help to enhance them, which is critical when you have songs that are over fourteen, fifteen, and even sixteen minutes long.

The only flaw I really picked up on that I can’t chalk up to not being obsessed with funeral doom was how some of the effects are super obvious in the first song “Singularity.” I don’t know if it’s the distortion, fuzz, flanger, or phaser but during parts of the first half of the song I could have sworn there was some loose change or maybe a rattlesnake on top of my speakers. While a little distracting, particularly for such a crystal clear produced album, it isn’t a huge issue for the song or overall music. Otherwise I have no grips with S. It’s worth noting that while the band’s 2014 self-titled debut was pretty damn good, S is definitely a step up. Even after revisiting some of my favorite funeral doom albums (many of which are releases that are widely viewed as lodestars for the genre) I can safely say that S puts Mesmur up there with the greats.

Check out the Contaminated Tones interview with Yixja of Mesmur (and Dalla Nebbia) here.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Vile Desecration Absolute Blasphemy, Sacrificial Blood Live Video / Shows, Upcoming Horna Flier


This will be a somewhat busy month for Contaminated Tones. After getting back to the grind and caught up somewhat with material sent for review, there are some interesting things going on. First, the upcoming Vile Desecration demo, titled Absolute Blasphemy, will be released sometime within the next couple weeks. Tapes will be available through band at shows and through the webstore online. There will be some short lived pre-sale deal featuring the 2015 demo as well. Details on that in a week or so. Absolute Blasphemy marks the progression of Vile Desecration towards a more refined hell, inspired by Blasphemy, Beherit, and early Sodom. Unrelenting Bestial War Metal will tear you to shreds.

Vile Desecration has several upcoming shows:
Sept 13: Witchtrap, Abysmal Lord, Tombstalker, Process Of Suffocation (East Room - Nashville, TN)
Oct 20: Aura Noir, Mutilation Rites, Forest of Tygers (Exit/In - Nashville, TN)






Upcoming Sacrificial Blood tour dates:
October 25th - Saint Vitus, NY
Sept 30th - Silver Spring, MD

There is also going to be a September 29th show in Philly, PA with Traitor and Day Of The Beast (basically, the lineup from the Silver Spring date with Witchtrap, just without Witchtrap. Hope to see some people at these shows. I will be at them with Contaminated Tones releases and distro. Below is video from the other night in NY:




There is also this gig being set up for November in Brooklyn through Signature Riff.





Friday, September 1, 2017

Monthly Blast: August 2017

Balance Interruption - Door 218 (2016) 

It's always interesting to hear bands blend black metal with jazz, especially when it's done right. Such is the case with Ukraine's Balance Interruption: a band that was completely anonymous to me, until Aleksey from Satanath Records requested a review. Balance Interruption is not afraid to experiment and push boundaries, blending various elements to formulate their own sound. This is experimental black metal of the most abrasive kind, delivered with a strong performance. Every song is like a nightmarish roller coaster, as you have no idea where it's going to take you. With a purposeful lack of repetition, it's chaotic and beautiful, while never losing a degree of subtlety and cohesion. Door 218 is a rather solid offering of idiosyncratic black metal. (Mongrel) 

 
Demonomancy - Throne Of Demonic Proselytism (2013)

You're lost in a cave, and you falter. Slack against the stone you ponder  your demise. The slick and damp walls appear to be closing in around you,  ready to encapsulate you in their calcified sediments. Your eyes close. You  are awakened after a time undetermined to the pounding of tight human skins  over drums. There are cimmerian figures moving beyond your vision yet their  presence is known; the torches and flames fueled by the refined oils of  cultivated human sacrifices throw their certainty against chiselled  sandstone. Where are you? What is this hellish chamber? Your weakened body  is rinsed and bathed by disfigured and breastless sycophants before being  dragged through a ceremonial labyrinth in which from above priests pelt you  with rotten egg, basil, and feces. They drop maggots into your hair. You are  presented to an empty throne in an ancient hall. As a knife is raised to  your throat droning melodies too low and too disparate to be made by any  understood culture find refuge in the niches of cavern rock and pockets of  unoccupied air. The pounding tempest of distant drums and constant strumming  of alien instruments goes on for unfathomable periods of time, always with  the knife held firmly in fatal location. Summoned, an armored maggot gyrates  from the darkness to take vantage at the throne. You are sacrificed and the  massive demonic larvae consumes your remains. (Orion)

 
Furia - Guido (2016)

With Furia's Ksiezyc Milczy Luty being so impressive, delving deeper in  their discography is necessary. Guido is presented as an EP but at thirty- five minutes long and as an entire 12" record in addition to a 7" record,  I'm much more keen to view it in lexicon as a full length album. The set up  is a bit strange; the 7" contains the first two untitled songs, both  featuring guitarist Nihil on vocals as well as more conventional black metal  content albeit in Furia's unique style. It's the 12" record that is worth  more ridicule. Guido is the name of a coal mine in Poland in which Furia  recorded this material live. It's a unique setting and I'm sure the  technical background would make for a phenomenal video documentary or full  length music video. The first track, "320 w 2" (the recording was done  three-hundred and twenty meters underground) has the listener entering the  shaft elevator and descending into the mine. Bells ring as we reach the  bottom of the shaft, signalling a moment safe to exit. "Hahary" and "Taczka"  are both quite stripped down and experimental. "Hahary" is most twanging  guitar chorus left ringing and "Taczka" is a monotonous bass and kick drum  plod with distant guitar tones beyond. "Lew Albinos" showcases the only  outwardly black metal styling and even though the first half of the track  is faster with tremolo guitars, we get a couple minutes of empty expansive  contrast midway through. The song closes relatively strong. Cieri, vocalist  of fellow Katowice, Poland black metal band FDS (Nihil also plays guitars),  provides whispered and deep gritty spoken vocals on these last three tracks.  Interestingly, the three final songs here hint more at what we would hear on  Ksiezyc Milczy Luty than the first two predominantly black metal tracks. For  that angle and outlook, Guido is a record worth hearing if, like me, Ksiezyc  Milczy Luty was one of your favorites from last year. There is a definitive  uniqueness to Furia which is love or hate. That polarizing feeling is one of  the best reasons to give them a chance musically without any preconceived  notions of what to expect. (Orion)

 
Maze of Terror - Ready to Kill (2016) 

This album opens with the sample "I am become death, destroyer of worlds" by J. Robert Oppenheimer, which is an appropriate overture for what follows: a full-fledged thrash assault that sounds like a tank crashing into your living room. The music is loud, heavy and mean. Hailing from Lima, Peru, Maze of Terror's debut Ready to Kill is easily one of the best thrash metal albums that I've heard in a while. The album boasts a solid production. You can hear every instrument, even the bass, which interplays nicely with everything else. The riffs are consistently strong throughout the album. The vocals are par excellent and menacing to say the least. The sound on the album is emphatically lethal and makes most new bands attempting to play "thrash" walk away in shame. This band may be from Peru, but they have a sound much more in common with North American thrash as opposed to other Latin-American bands who opt for a more Sepultura inspired sound. Ready to Kill is cream of the crop for modern thrash. (Mongrel)
 
Morgirion - Morgirion (2008)

Morgirion; A Connecticut trio playing decimating black metal in the Northeastern US style, which is becoming it's own distinctive sound. The more aggressive tendencies  of the Northeast seem to resonate in the New York, Boston, and Philadelphia  bars and clubs where death metal once reigned supreme, and that influence is  felt. Sturdier riffing, darker more evil melodic tendencies, and more  vicious and malicious content forms the foundation. Morgirion may be best  known for their connection to One Master through Lustrum, but this - their  self titled EP from a decade back - hinted at a lot of promise to come. In  particular, "Waking The Dragon" and "Wrath Upon The Insolent" lead this EP  as the strongest track, each containing it's own distinct character, but the  thick oppressiveness, harder tones, and faster drumming exudes more hate and  disgruntled ferocity than a lot of bands manage to muster. Though it's been  several years since a follow up to their last album, Morgirion, in  particular this EP, demands some exploration. The hand numbered light- scribed discs are really a nice, DIY effort that may be tough to come by... (Orion)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

Opening with the famous "Cinnamon Girl" - including the phenomenal riff  closing the track, Neil Young's second album drifts enjoyably through  several territories. While "Cinnamon Girl" is a more easily recognizable hit  song, the second single off the record, "Down By The River" is a must hear  murder ballad. "Cowgirl In The Sand" closes the record but the three tracks  are linked by the origin story provided by Young that the trio were written  delirious in bed with a high fever in Topanga Canyon. There is a clear late  60's / 70's vibe across other tracks such as "Round and Round" and the title  track. Young's vocals are crooning and nostalgic. Crazy Horse, the  collective band behind Young never overshadows yet also finds it's own space  on the record. This is an ideal record to get into Neil Young's early years  with some hits but also a sense of danger and dread. This is an ideal listen  on a long highway trip through unpopulated areas or wooded areas. The  recording is very minimalist, with ringing guitars, and plump bass. This  minimalist rawness will appeal to a wide swath of listeners. (Orion)

 
Olde - Temple (2017)

There's a lot of this out there now... the stoner, doom, sludge mixture made  prevalent the past ten years. Olde do the style admirably on Temple, though  without too much originality. The clear and honest production portrays Olde  as talented musicians first and raucous and rowdy harbingers second. Sleep  is the obvious throw-out comparison, but even closer would be a band like  Eerie, or locals Clamfight and the defunct Maegashira, especially  considering the similarities between Doug McLarty's vocals and JJ Koczan's on  The Stark Arctic. On the surface this could be construed as a monotonous  album yet multiple listens reveals some nuanced songwriting, such as the  title track which uses well placed chord progressions to help weave yarns  across the longest song on the album and create the potential 'imagery in  the mind' effect that I require my slow tumbling doom to sculpt for me as I  listen. Some notable infusions of creativity appear scattered throughout.  Ringing reverby layered chords in "Subterfuge" lend the song a cosmic  quality. "The Ghost Narrative" subconsciously seems to borrow melodies and a  spacious serenity from recent Earth albums. "Centrifugal Disaster" has some  interesting drum rhythms courtesy of Ryan Aubin. Temple is definitely a  strong record, and I would consider it a fine example of the genre. It  doesn't quite reach the lofty heights that render it a must-hear for most,  but I would recommend it easily to anyone that loves the stoner sludge  aesthetic. (Orion)

Paganfire - Wreaking Fear and Death (2013)

For the last decade, these Filipino miscreants' name has been circulating in the underground: a few dozen demos and splits later, these Quezon City maniacs finally release their long-awaited debut album upon the masses, entitled Wreaking Fear and Death. Paganfire plays an almost "sloppy" kind of thrash, with elements reminiscent of bands such as Sodom, Mutilator, Sabbat, etc. After so much overpolished, bland modern thrash with bands who sing about getting laid and the local pizza scene -- it's always refreshing to see bands like Paganfire keeping it real and spreading the hate. The production is considerably raw, while still keeping the performance audible. It's a kind of obscure evil thrash that is close to black/death metal at times. Wreaking Fear and Death is a little underground beast that is sure to send the hippies packing. (Mongrel)

Pale Horse - Pale Horse (1997)

There are the obscure, the forgotten, and what I call, the righteously  hidden. Pale Horse remains no longer hidden. Some fine print first: this is  not the proper Pale Horse from Gloucester, New Jersey. It also is not the unimportant Pale Horse from Hoboken, New Jersey. This is the Pale Horse from  Bigler, Pennsylvania, unfortunately the only band I can find from this poor  womb of a location deep amidst the backwoods of farmland and poor taste in  music. The most ruinous attribute, other than everything else, are the  disgusting grunts of John Miller; sweaty, predatorial, gnarls that would be  better suited for a VHS porno from 1974. "Hell To Pay" has a decent opening  riff, however the song forgets to include something under the guitar solo  which manifests itself as a multitude of stringy twangs. There is a  creepiness to songs "Innocence Lost", "Whore"and "Love Machine," which will  forever linger in my internal lexicon as a synonym for 'reprehensible'. I  considered putting this up on youtube for the sole reason of allowing others to  understand how sickening it is to hear a sweaty man sing "when the race  starts going/ the juice starts flowin'... when the cab starts popping / her  head starts bobbin' / well I've got a hell of a deal for you / I'm gonna luv  (probably spelt this way but there are no lyrics listed) ya til you're black  and blue. This is undeniably one of the worst tapes I've ever heard, and  that still exists. Truly lovemachinely. (Orion)

Somne - Demo 2011 (2011)

Though an extremely murky and underground production graces the shrill  shrieks of Somne's lonely 2011 demo, the overall songwriting and melodic  structures are quite interesting and telling. The work of two individuals,  Origin and Axiom (using monikers T and A respectively), The faster, more  grim black metal elements of the material, of which the majority of the demo  is built around, remind me of Helheim's Jormundgand. There is some variety  built into the recordings, however. Second track, "Halls of Melancholy," is  not short in length, or variety with acoustics, faster second-wave styled  black metal, and perhaps some influence from the Cascadian scene is present.  "Beyond," the final track, sounds a bit out of place and is oddly upbeat in  melody. This raw black metal demo is not entirely without merit but also not  for everyone. If you truly like raw lo-fi black metal with hints of the  Norwegian and Cascadian heritage, it might meet standards. (Orion)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

All My Sins - Lunar / Solar

 

From Serbia, All My Sins present typical but competent black metal in the Eastern European style. Lunar / Solar follows a gap of more than ten years between releases with the From The Land Of The Shining Past demo circa 2004 being the only previous offering. Lunar / Solar aesthetically presents themes of duality and paganism commonplace in the Eastern European style such as pagan swordsmen, nature, wolves, and transformation symbolism. This is all presented by way of the four tracks being split with the opening two tracks representing the lunar and night and the second two tracks representing the solar and daytime. None of this is impressive in itself but at least this grounds the band and release in some form of context. From The Land Of The Shining Past showcased some of this desire to present a complete concept as well, attempting to be "an ode to the forest spirits." Some similarity between the two exists in songs such as "Moonbeast" and "Utopia," a concept necessarily implying transformation towards an idealistic reality. All My Sins declare Lunar / Solar is an ode to the sky. Point is, All My Sins attempts to imbue their black metal with philosophical grounding and meaning.

Where From The Land Of The Shining Past reminded me greatly of early Arkona or Graveland's Thousand Swords, Lunar / Solar sounds more like Drudkh' Blood In Our Wells or Kozeljnik's Deeper The Fall. The overall production is excellent. All My Sins seems to have put a lot of effort into ensuring this album sounded on par with any of their contemporaries while never being simonized. The guitars, performed by 'V', are bright and cutting with the commonly shifting chords clear and distinct. Bass, handled by both 'V' as well as vocalist Nav Cosmos, is measurable across the whole album. The bass is both smooth and full while also gravid with dirt and grit. Cosmos' vocals are well done. For being generic and monotone, he exudes energy which guides the spirited performance.



"Jeka Prve Kise (Echoes of the First Rain)" opens the album with the aim of sounding like a transition from day to night, as the song closes with crickets and insects chirping. It's an interesting way to open a release but it leads into the gripping "Pod Mesecom Prastari Hrast (An Ancient Oak under the Moon)" ably. The first full track gallops along on strong melodic turns and crescendos and the impassioned vocal performance which continues beyond the point of music as the track closes. Third track "Pomen Usnulom Suncu (The Commemoration of the Sleeping Sun)" seems to be the highlight track regardless, with a lot of different ideas and moods mixed into it's eight minute and thirty second duration. Opening with clean guitar, the song ascends into presence, shifting through some early verses in a fast and intense yet lighthearted and frolicking manner. The song offers a laid back break midway, with some fretless bass action by guest musician Bojan Kvocka (Terrorhammer / Kawir) to add to the mood. The aggressiveness picks up again until the end of the track, never relenting. The final track offers another acoustic soliloquy.

Overall, Lunar / Solar easily holds it's ground against other black metal releases so far this year. Though All My Sin's first release in more than a decade resides almost completely in tried and true method and style with the sole exception being the acoustic elements, the obvious effort put into this from both a production as well as artistic perspective is to be admired. The length is also on point for an EP listening experience. At just beyond twenty minutes long, it can be listened to easily without risk of distraction, and enough times to consider the concepts behind it. With the layout being also adequately realized, I would recommend this to those looking to widen their knowledge of black metal from Serbia or the Baltic region overall. You can do a lot worse than exploring this pocket of bands which include Kawir and Terrorhammer.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Black Bleeding - The Awakening


Nihilistic Holocaust recently put out a new CD version The Awakening, a 2005 EP from Belgians Black Bleeding. I was skeptical since I was not a huge fan of A Bright Future, which I felt surged with comedic black thrash that lacked seriousness. This older record, however, is a far cry from what sounded like Gamma Bomb doing their best death metal impression. Now, I'm not exactly how much more serious the actual content here is, because the layout notes that "this release is not hand-numbered because Oussama broke our fingers," and there is a rather silly band photo included but at least it sounds more assertive and angry.

"One With The Universe" has a mid-paced opening chugging riff that expands into more melodic and rhythmic brutality. Including a whammy solo and several transitions that work well in the song, this is the highlight of the record for me. Guitarist and vocalist Alexandre Pomes is at his best in this song in regards to his vocals which are often low and guttural. He tosses in some higher raspy spits and sputterings as well now and then. Opener "The Sleeper Has Awakened" twists through some different tremolo and more bludgeoning riffs with rather intense blasting and drumming courtesy of drummer Balmuzette, who is impressive throughout.

"Demonic Quantum Boundaries" ends the record in massive fashion. The ten minute long epic eclipses several musical ideas. Opening with a "Planet Caravan"-esque genesis before launching itself into stark blasts. The song then sifts through some interesting pinch harmonic slow sections mid-way through before culminating in a few minutes of synth which, in all honesty, is very enjoyable on it's own beginning at the six-minute mark. The variety here is evidence of more potentially interesting compositions from the band and possible experimentation tendencies which I never really discerned from A Bright Future.

I much prefer this style to the less intense modern material. Black Bleeding here sound more like a less technical version of Incantation instead of a second-rate thrash band trying to play death metal. The band claims that they are death black metal on the back of the booklet but I don't get a whole lot of black metal influence. If it is there, it is far overshadowed by the death metal. Perhaps at times the record galumphs, and "Proxima Centauri" hints at the less virulent material you'll find on more recent releases, but The Awakening is a sturdy release shying away from the detrimental elements that seeped through to the forefront. Those interested in the band would perhaps be best off starting with The Awakening and working backwards through their previous material. I can't speak for The Great Satan, their 2009 record, though.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Monthly Blast: July 2017

Back in force this month with a couple full reviews and the Penetration interview, we also attempted to get some material covered in a shorter form. You'll also notice reviews by Mongrel, who is coming on a new contributor. He has an extensive background, running his own blog for a long period of time. We're excited to have him on board.


Afflictis Lenae - Post Nuklear Trauma (2012)

Afflictis Lentae is a one-man project born out of France playing thrash metal with some punk influences. On this demo, the band presents four original songs including covers of Negative Approach, Cro-mags and The Business. The three covers itself is a testament of the band's sound and influences. The music is comprised of shouty vocals embedded with thrashy riffs and hints of black metal here and there. Nowadays it has become the norm for hardcore/punk bands to infuse black metal elements into their sound, so it isn't such a strange concoction anymore. The music isn't bad - it comes off as fairly enjoyable and good for what it is, although I find the production a little too "digital" for my liking, including the fact that the drums are programmed and not particularly well. Then again, this is a demo recording, so I am yet to hear what else the band has to offer. All in all, Post Nuklear Trauma is a decent slap of thrash/hardcore that should appeal to people into crossover. The cover of The Business' 'No one likes us' is pretty cool, which is apparently based on a football anthem sung by the Millwall hooligans. (Mongrel)




Dead of Night - Dead of Night (2001)

We don't speak of these years, and Dead of Night proves to be an example of why not. So many US bands, inspired to play Melodic Death Metal, put up sheds in their back yards, bought some metal-zone pedals, and blindly chug chug chugged into the black-hole we have dubbed metalcore. Dead of Night, thought not quite as excrement-laden to the senses as Beyond the Embrace or God Forbid or Shadows Fall still cause my ears to fill with wax in earnest. A close comparison would be In Flames' Lunar Strain but only the worst riffs. Most of these tracks are apparently older with the exception being "Season of the Witch," which has some extremely cliche lyrical lines which Vocalist Duane Morris articulates extremely clearly. If you like the worst parts of In Flames best era, or Melodic Death Metal maybe look them up, but to most this is going to sound particularly aged by this point. (Orion)

Hordes of the Black Cross - Dawn of war, Nights of Chaos (2016)  

Melbourne-based miscreants Hordes of the Black Cross opts for a familiar sound on their debut album playing filthy blackened thrash in the vein of bands like Destroyer 666, Nocturnal Graves, etc. There's no shortage of ripping riffs, with a musicianship that is on par with some of the best in the genre, added a satisfactory production job and killer artwork depicting medieval warfare with demonic hordes slaying all that is human. "Dawn of War, Nights of Chaos" is an enjoyable slap of Aussie-styled black/thrash that's sure to leave some bruises in its wake.  (Mongrel) 




Lambs - Betrayed From Birth (2016)

A combination of sludgy rhythmic pounding, black metal tremolo and blasting moments, layered with hardcore vocals and the occasional breakdown, Italian group Lambs on Betrayed From Birth give a good expose on the band's multifaceted style. What they don't do is truly win me over the band's style. I'm generally picky with my black metal. I also picky with my sludge. The two combined often don't gather enough of what I like about either to give me tingling sensations. The three songs incorporate some atonal contrasts, feedback, and other sludge hallmarks as well. Not a fan of the hardcore style vocals which sound somewhat whiny overall and angsty but I'm sure some fans of the genre wouldn't find them appalling. "Fear Is Your Key" opens the three songs and I'm impressed with the bass playing, mostly, here and elsewhere on the release. It's very noticeable in the mix and defined with a nice dirty crunch that peeks out from behind the guitars and vocals. Lambs is perhaps best on display in the final track here, "And Your Time Will Be Collapsed," where the influences seem to best gel. The sludgy pace, atonal flourishes mixed with the black metal ringing notes, and hardcore impassioned - and less pubescent - vocals all combine for a worthwhile session. The demo title seems at odds with the rest of the song content, reading more as a Cannibal Corpse album title than that of Lambs, whose song titles are markedly less visceral. Neutral overall impression, regardless. (Orion)

Martyrvore - Obliteration (2014)

My initial introduction to Maryrvore was through their 2007 release, Possessed by Mayhemic Slaughter, which was a pretty relentless slap of black/death metal inspired by Blasphemy and Beherit. Fast-forward 7 years later, the band finally release its long-awaited debut album, entitled Obliteration. There are some re-recorded tracks here as well as a good portion of new material. For someone that's new to the band, this would be a good starting point. The songs on this album maintains an upper-tempo, with a solid injection of evil riffs and war-like percussion. The vocals play an integral part in the mix, adding a definite lethalness and interplay well with the crashing wall of guitars and drums. The production has an elegant touch, ensuring the subtlety of instruments without sounding too compressed, while the ambiance cast a dark and oppressive tone. The music on Obliteration is an exercise in excessive and unrelenting violence - A strong statement of militant black/death metal that should appeal to fans of Angelcorpse, Archgoat and Black Witchery.  (Mongrel)

Monastery - Ripping Terror (2015)

Dirty and authentic death metal out of Netherlands with a grind slant. Ripping Terror was originally released in 1991. this version is the Vic records re-release. The members may be familiar. Lars Rosenberg spent time in Carbonized and Entombed and Aars Kloosterwaard resides in Sinister. I'm not totally sure that the demo warranted a re-release even if these six tracks constitute the sole addition to the metal universe. The material is definitely listenable, and there are some good riffs to be found, particularly in "Monastery" and "Monastery II" but there is a lack of originality and memorability. The sound of the mix is awesome, though and when Kloosterwaard goes barbaric on the cymbals in "False Prediction," the aggression is hard to contain. There's more rewarding Dutch treasure from this era but Vic Records seems to do a great job of unearthing relics from this period and genre in Europe, just like they did with the Phlebotomized 
                                                          material. (Orion)

Mother Earth - Living With The Animals (1968)

Tracy Nelson is a heralded singer in the folk and country realms. Mother Earth's 1968 debut, Living With The Animals was her first widely circulated recording. The mix of styles here is quite nice, and meshed well. The tracks she sings on are without a doubt some of the best female sung Americana and folk recordings from this era. The bluesy "Down So Low" is a sultry and sensual classic due to Nelson's powerful vocals. Lyrically, it speaks for a more real and honest desire, as Nelson claims "And it's not losing you  that's got me down so low, I just can't find another man to take your place." Also standout is the brisk and rip-roaring "Goodnight Nelda Grebe, The Telephone Company Has Cut Us Off," with it's proto d-beat carrying a beat throughout saxophone solos. I'm also partial to "The Kingdom Of Heaven (Is Within You)," a psychedelic blues jam closing out the record sung by Powell St. John. Overall a forgotten record by this generation that would have an audience among fans of rock and blues and particularly fans of powerful female vocalists. (Orion)

Othar - Euthanasia of Existence (2016)

The Świdnica-based black metal band, Othar, have been around since 1996, with their last full-length, Human Fuel of Death, released back in 2006. The music presented on this disc is mostly slow to mid-paced, with an epic feel in the guitars. Whether it is purely the sound itself or their nationality, I cannot be sure, but they remind me of other Polish black metal bands like Veles, Graveland and Dark Fury. The atmosphere will spellbind you with its nostalgic sensibilities, as grim snarls interact with a rhythmic bass and epic guitar lines. While the drums are quite basic and get the job done, they have a tendency to be a little repetitive and loud in the mix. Other than that, there aren't too many quirks I can think of. The production is solid, with the songs effectively absorbed as a whole; it should be listened to in its entirety. Euthanasia of Existence does by no means tread on new territory, but that is hardly an issue when the presentation is this good. I recommend listening to this album in isolation and on a cold winter night. (Mongrel)


Pain - Insanity (1986)

Totally unnecessary listening from the mid-80's. Stanley Falk's vocals are a total deal-breaker here as they taint his mediocre riffs with bored and monotone ramblings. It's not like there was a reason to listen to Insanity beyond what amounts to stumbling through German bands from this era for a possible diamond that no-one's ever heard of. Spoiler: this is a lump of coal. Underneath all the pseudo-heaviness of tracks like opener "On My Knees" - a lame title for a song no matter how you phrase it - or title track "Insanity," an undercurrent of lameness pervades this record. Titles like "I'm Gonna Love", "Spending The Night Alone" (which steals a chorus from JP's "Love Bites" of all places), and "The Groove of Love," combined with the aforementioned vocals grab the listener in a gentle hug instead of by the balls. Skip this one unless you need some comforting in the night. (Orion)

Samot - Across The Abyss (2016)

The EP's cover art says it all, really, in what is almost stolen Dissection font, Samot's purple logo is haphazardly placed over a blue-tinted castle in front of an almost full moon drawing obvious comparisons to Dissection's The Somberlain cover. Across The Abyss, is a well mannered and politely offered EP. From the first tepid strums of opening intro track "Awaken" that the sauntering black metal of this Chilean band hints at a much too reserved attack. While it's true that the recording sounds great, and the instrumentals are very tight, and the material hearkens to the Swedish black metal movement very nicely... the lack of intensity and energy is a killer on this one. "The Calling" is rather timid as a first true song. "Across the Abyss" ambles along with the energy of a geriatric looking for his car keys. The songs are mid-paced mostly, nothing exceeds breakneck speed riff-wise. There are some faster drum parts but nothing takes off. In the title track, before the midway point, we get a slowed down 'spooky' section before what is the fastest section on the release - a generic tremolo riff - which doesn't come across as speedy at all. Ending with a thunderclaps and clean guitar, I'm left unimpressed. There's some melodic potential and compositionally the sons are structured well, but the band needs to somehow inject some life into the songs. (Orion)

Scarlett Taylor - III (2017)

Scarlett Taylor is a poor man's Lana Del Rey. III is a five song EP which takes the seductive, dry, nostalgic lounge style of Lana Del Rey or the less percussive tracks from Florence and the Machine, and adds touches of electronic and 80's synth to the mix to make it her own. There's also influence from 90's alternative rock like Garbage. "Children of the Sun" has a strict pendulistic rap section that pairs with the electronic elements and is the only track which I didn't enjoy. "Orphan" and "Unborn" - the latter of which has a lot of Florence and the Machine stylings - is a better example of what Scarlett Taylor does well with the electronic elements. "Concrete Angels" and opener "I Can Fly" show more of the Lana Del Rey style. A more washed-out bleakness and depressive angle places Scarlett Taylor in a slightly different box from some of her contemporaries; her dinginess comes across as more authentic than others who have already reaped the rewards of successful careers. I might be way off base with what exactly 'gloompop' as this is self-described as, actually is. I found it interesting that the promotional representative felt this would be a 'good fit for' this blog. I do like Lana Del Rey a lot though, so lucky for them. (Orion)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Penetration Interview



Penetration have graced Contaminated Tones before. I was surprised with how awesome Return To Sodom was when I first heard it and Victory or Death afterwards. Guitarist and main man Black Bart was kind enough to grant me an ear when I told him I was excited about the new EP, Hell Wants More Souls. Breakneck riffs, wild guitar solos, brutal thrash blasts... it should be everything a metal fan could possibly want in their metal.

BB: Hello?

CT: Hello?

BB: Hey!

CT: Hey! What's going on man?

BB: Nothing! I got you on speaker phone, can you hear me ok?

CT: Yeah. I got you on speaker phone too because, uh, that's how I do my recordings, I can hear you fine!

BB: Alright, cool!

CT: Alright, good. How's everything going? How was your fourth of July? I know that you're...

BB: Ahhh, I was mowing the lawn, you know... I didn't have to work and uh.. chilled out at home, played some x-box. That kind of thing.

CT: Awesome.

BB: How was yours?

CT: It was alright. Just hung out in the backyard and drank some beers, and relaxed. Pretty much the same old stuff, you know?

BB: Yeah. It's good to be in America!

CT: So, I'm going to start off with getting some of the historical stuff out of the way. Give me a little idea of how Penetration came together and how did you meet up with the original band members and stuff?

BB: Ok, this is always a cool question I think, because we... I... have a pretty cool story to tell. I live in the sticks pretty much... it's the middle of nowhere... I'm like ten minutes from Canada maybe, up here in the Thousand Islands - but I don't actually live in the river or the touristy areas - I live kind of inland in the woods. So anyway, you know... not a whole lot of heavy music is played on the radio up here and stuff but when I was starting with Penetration maybe twelve years ago or something... umm, it was hard to find anywhere to play or anything like that. There's not a lot of places for bands to play period up here. Even now, especially though back then with heavy bands and stuff like that so, I had this big old farm house in the middle of nowhere that I live in and I actually started throwing keg parties because we couldn't find  anywhere to play so I started teaming up with my buddy Adam Netto, who plays bass now with us and has for quite a many years, and... umm... he plays solo a lot and has a lot of bar experience and stuff like that so... he had a whole lights set up with a fog machine, little spinners down by the PAs, he had all that stuff too. So we started throwing parties in my living room at this place we called the Thrash Barn and it's in the middle of nowhere so people would show up and sometimes there would be like, one hundred people there and of course, you know, we'd have kegs and stuff and we'd play with a full light show. That's how we started. That was on Halloween or Halloween weekend 2005, and... um... by our fifth gig in April, or May - excuse me - 2006, we were opening in Cleveland and then over the years we just ended up touring Europe three times plus I played in another band so I toured Europe with them once and... uh... ended up with Marc from Destruction, who plays in Morgoth now and recording with Andy LaRocque in Sweden. So it's pretty exciting! Sorry to be so long-winded about that!



CT: That's awesome. So up in that area of New York, I know it's pretty... there's not a lot of people up there. It's spread out. I guess that was a difficulty starting, trying to get people. I guess there's probably not a lot of... you know, musicians up there in that area.

BB: That's why... it kind of added to delay our start a little bit because... I've been playing guitar since I was eight and I'd always wanted to be in a band and some point I decided to form my own band, but then I had to find musicians, you know, which was next to impossible, especially in the day. You know, because I was really into guitar, and playing fast, with lots of fast changes and solo breaks and all sorts of stuff. You know I was really inspired by bands like Morbid Angel, and Deicide or Amon, and... you know a lot of black metal stuff too and thrash bands and Mercyful Fate and all sorts of stuff. I wanted a really good drummer, I wasn't just going to settle for somebody so. You know the first good drummer - real good drummer - we ever had was Dave Tedesco out of New Jersey and umm... then we ended up with Marc Reign, who's in Morgoth now, so I've been really lucky and fortunate. We don't do much right now, you know. We released the album and I'm kind of just doing the home/domestic thing and stuff but it won't be too much longer and we'll set up with a tour or something. So I'm pretty excited. Really lucky, you know?

CT: With Marc, is he also going to be doing live stuff with you? Or is he...

BB: Yeah we toured with Marc twice. And he's... umm... he's our official drummer right now at this point and umm, basically every time I come up with a tour plan I just gotta make sure he can clear it with Morgoth and clear it with, like, his guy from Century Media, maybe - I might be wrong about that, but I think he's with Century Media. And if he is he's good to go to play with us. He's a wicked cool guy, man. You know, he could have been like Axl Rose or somebody and been a complete ass but he's the coolest guy, and you know, I've had him to my home in New York and stuff like that for the last tour or two, you know. It's just really awesome. I can't wait to tour again and we want to record another album with Andy as soon as we can.



CT: Yeah, so tell me about how you came to work with Andy LaRoqcue on this album? I know that he's probably a really busy dude. I mean, did you know him personally or is that something that just sort of came together?

BB: No I don't - well I do now. I mean, now that we recorded with him I know him a little bit personally. I mean, I of course, you know, don't know him super personally but I recorded with him and I, uh, you know, would drive me around in his car a little bit to go get beers and stuff like that with him, or go eat or whatever so... It's really cool, but to answer your question... umm... basically he has his studio - Sonic Train Studio - and the only thing I really did was write to him in email because I'm a huge King Diamond fan and I'm a huge Mercyful Fate fan and I have been for so long; to meet your inspiration and influences to my music... so you know at some point I was like 'you know I want to record an album that has like pristine sound and just, you know, have a state of the art album and "who am I going to do it with?" The first person I could think of off the top of my head was like Peter from Hypocrisy or somebody that I don't really know if he does that now or what but, at the time I just started writing Andy and getting in touch with him and then he mastered the Return To Sodom album - that still has a pretty rough mix and stuff. You know it's a cool album. I love it. I'm proud of it, but it's a little bit of a rough mix and Andy cleaned it up and mastered it pretty good and then, he actually recorded the new album in Sweden, Hell Wants More Souls, which is actually just a four song... like... EP, but... so it was... I think he took a gamble that... you know... that we were going to be able to pull it off, just by listening to our older material and I had the money, you know, to pay the studio fees and stuff and... umm... yeah, man! It just... It could have been a disaster. You know, I felt like I wasn't rehearsed enough. "Metalheads Forever", which is like maybe the best song I ever wrote - I dunno - or one of the best...

CT: Haha..

BB: I mean, that didn't even have the lyrics finished when I got into the studio, you know, it was so close to being finished, you know I just had to figure out some solo parts and finish up the lyrics and that kind of thing and... umm... I was worried about that being sloppy sounding? Umm... which like - you know I'm not trying to rip on myself; cut myself down, but - you know... uh... I'm pretty critical of myself a little bit and whatever and like, I like the past couple albums like, but some things could... you know Return To Sodom was really rushed. Umm.. that album, some of the songs didn't come out really as tight as they should have and like they were supposed to and... the new one... I was worried that was going to happen and it just... I mean, it blew my mind, it was like one of those miracle moments in my history or someone's history. I mean, I wish the world could hear - well more of the world - could hear this music, like, it's just so incredible to me as a Metal fan, I'm just so impressed with this EP. I just love it. I love the sound, I love the songs, everything about it.

CT: I think it's, I mean, I'm familiar, I know your other two albums also - well I guess Victory or Death is more of a demo, I guess you would call it... but uh... I thought Return To Sodom sounded awesome... That was my first...

BB: Thank you.

CT: ...impression with the band.

BB: It has a better sound and as far as the songs, are cooler than Victory or Death or something... so... sorry to interupt you.

CT: No, no.

BB: That's just my opinion.

CT: That's fine. Haha. Umm.. so that was... Return to Sodom, I guess because that was my first introduction to Penetration , that really kind of sold me on the band. I first saw you guys at St. Vitus. I think you played with Evoken or something like that...

BB: Yeah I remember.


CT: Yup. So getting to actual new EP, as you call it. Umm, did you have a different writing process for these songs or from say, the other songs? What kind of writing process do you have in putting together your material?

BB: Good question. Uhh.. as far as writing process goes, when I started when I was twenty-nine or whatever when the band started... umm.. I had a lot of trouble writing songs, like I was still new to the band thing so I ended up with songs that I just kind of threw together out of... uh... frustration or something. Umm... The first songs that we wrote - we actually released a demo - like you said Victory or Death is kind of a demo - and a lot of people think that - but we have a demo from before Victory or Death with four songs... it was "Air Penetration Raid", "Ritual Decapitation",... um... "Neverending Relentless and Paralyzing Slow and Agonizing Merciless Painful Death", and a song that, uh, it's only on that demo still. It's called "Penetrated." It was our theme song at the time. And... umm... then you know we recorded Victory or Death and umm... by then I was getting better at songwriting, I think. Just coming up with ideas and structures and time changes and stuff, Like, off that album the song "Iraq" really stands out as a song that, I think, has really cool songwriting. Umm... it's a really well written song. "Eaten By Wolves" is just shredding and has two cool solos. Umm.. "Victory or Death" is catchy. "Bishop Slayer" has cool solos; you know, I was kind of working my way out at that point of how to write better songs but, ah.. by the time I got into... well we got Return To Sodom then, and that was actually, I wanted to re-record the original demo songs from the self-titled Demo.

CT: Mmm hmm.

BB: "Penetrated" got lost somehow at the studio, which I'm not going to even get into but, uh, that's why you end up with "Air Penetration Raid", umm... "Ritual Decapitation", and the "Neverending..." song. And uh, then we added some new songs like "Forced March", "Women Are Cunts", "Return to Sodom", and at this point like "Metalheads Forever", really into lucid dreaming and stuff like that and that like all the solos and stuff in "Metalheads Forever", I actually had lucid dreams, worked the whole solos out while asleep on my couch. Most of this happened in one nap. I mean it was so weird. It was like time stood still and I just went over the solos over and over and over... you know... while I was asleep, but I was really aware in my dreams and, uh, I wrote "Metalheads Forever." You know, I came up with the main riff, like, just playing guitar but I ended up writing the song dreaming. And I've done that with a few other songs too. That's just really cool. And, I am curious... like... you're into the band enough where you wanted to call and ask me questions so I want to ask you a question, if that's cool?

CT: Ok, Go ahead?

BB: If I return to Sweden, which - hopefully I intend to - umm, to record some new material, is there any songs that you could think of off the top of your head from the older albums that you would like to hear re-recorded with Marc Reign on drums, with Andy LaRoqcue, you know, doing the sound?

CT: Well, you know, it's kind of funny that you mentioned "Bishop Slayer" 'cause that's one song that I would probably say stood out to me when I first heard it. So that might be a cool one. Maybe... I feel like... that song, in some ways is kind of like a... uh... maybe one your best known tracks because I remember when you played it live everyone seemed to recognize that song that knew of the band. So I was thinking that might be a good one to re-record.

BB: Yeah, that's a good thought, man. Thank you. Umm... it's just got such a cool and epic solo and it's kind of, uh, I like to think of it as, um, an instrumental with lyrics - which doesn't make sense but..

CT: Haha.

BB: ...you know I've always liked "Bishop Slayer" and I think I say "die" only once.

CT: Yeah.

BB: But yeah, that's cool. Thank you. I would like to re-record "Air Penetration Raid." On the original demo it had a lot of cool samples and we sampled from the movie We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson and so the whole song, the whole way through you would hear... uh... aerial warfare and, uh, bombing and stuff and it really complemented the music but... ummm... I lost that when we did Return To Sodom. Because there was some goof with the studio sampling. I don't know.

CT: So yeah, like I said I would say "Bishop Slayer" and even, I thought "Iraq" always stood out to me as one of those, you know... just awesome song because like you described it it's really epic and it's a really memorable track as well. So that might be one of my choices.

BB: Thank You. That's awesome. I've always loved that song. I just think it's really well written. I would really like to re-record "Eaten By Wolves." That's just one of those brutal song and I just love that too. Or "Women are Cunts" - clean that up, or "Forced March" came out rough... I don't know, there's just some songs I'd like to do over but, you know, then there comes the question, and this one that I can never answer, is do I - I mean there's a budget, you know, I can only spend so much money on recording the albums because we're not signed to a label... umm... so - do I re-record the whole Return To Sodom album or Victory or Death album you know and call it Victory To Death. And put it out as an EP or do I select a few tracks off each one and throw them on as bonus tracks, that kind of thing, but then if ever down the road and we have the money and we want to redo more songs it's... that's the question. Do I do the whole album over or just a few songs. Leaving just a few songs, I think...

CT: Yeah, I guess it really depends on how many new songs you have. If you have enough new songs where doing only one or two old ones would be a nice addition to it.. umm... I would rather hear new stuff than a lot of older stuff, but to take one or two tracks would be cool. Especially if it's older and it fits in with the new material, you know, it's uh... when I listen to an album I always seem to hear a song that sticks out to me... so... and it helps me get into the rest of the album so having an older song which is familiar might really help people that are familiar get into the new material that you are recording too.

BB: Yeah, I mean... and here's another thing. I mean, you know I've been inspired by bands like Mercyful Fate and Scorpions and all sorts of bands in Death Metal, Black Metal, Thrash... I don't really try to stick with a genre which pisses off some people some times. Some people are die-hard into like... Suffocation or something don't want to hear anything but.

CT: Yeah.

BB: Brutal death, you know? Or people who are strickly into Black Metal or strickly into Thrash... I mean most of the time we appeal to the general metal crowd but then you have the other people who only want to hear one style and then they cross the new EP, Hell Wants More Souls. I feel like the first two songs are really brutal. I mean, they're really inspired by like Vader - who's one of my favorite, biggest inspirations, for example - but then the second two songs that are really thrashy... I mean, "See You In Guantanamo" is almost punky, you know?



CT: Yeah, Definitely. 

BB: And that's kind of my Motorhead influence coming out. Motorhead is my favorite band. You know I love early Bathory. And, I mean... I love all Bathory but that's, (inaudible)... Stuff like that so, uh, what do you think? Do you think the mix of the styles is cool, you know? Throughout the CDs or, or do you prefer to hear more brutal stuff or more thrash stuff? Just curious, you know?

CT: Yeah, I mean... I think... When I think of Agent Orange, and how Sodom, on that album, you have a lot of thrash stuff but you have a couple tracks that really stand out like "Ausgebombt" and "Magic Dragon" also and those songs are a little bit different than some of the other stuff on that album. And I kind of like that, because, like I said, if you hear a track that's a little bit different it always seems to stand out and it helps... it gives you a focal point to kind of enjoy the other material on also, so it kind of makes you want to keep listening over and over for new stuff if you have a couple of those tracks which have a little bit of a difference to them. It gives you that variety, because I think a lot of times there's not a lot of variety when I'm hearing an album. Like you said "See You In Guantanamo" is a little punkier, "Metalheads Forever" has a more Heavy Metal style to it and you have the opening two tracks which are... brutal...

BB: Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be like... umm... like uh, what do they call it like - ahh I can't think - but you know what I'm saying, I don't want to like... be like Dream Theater who's all over the place or like...

CT: Well, I hate Dream Theater so...

BB: What's that?

CT: I hate Dream Theater so...

BB: Do ya?

CT: Yeah.

BB: Well, what's the style of music they call that? I'm having a mental block... not fusion...

CT: Progressive metal?

BB: Progressive! Thank you very much. Uh, You know, we're not trying to be Progressive or fusion. I just write what comes to mind like. I mean, like "Metalheads Forever" we busted out some riffs on guitar the next thing I know I'm dreaming about it, like... that's how I write... I'm not going to say 'Oohhh maybe I should put this on a thrashier album' or on a different band. I just put it out. I just do it man.

CT: That's awesome. I think - like I said - it gives a little variety but I think... nothing sounds like something... everything song, even if it is a little different still sounds like Penetration, to me. I think it's a really awesome stand out think about the band, really. Because you have a little bit of that variety in there. So... What Um... A lot of the material, I mean, as far as, like, lyrics and stuff like that, a lot of it is about war or military related things and stuff like that... tell me a little bit about what you write about lyrically and, umm, what some of your favorite lyrics on the new album are specifically.

BB: Well yeah, great question. Ahh... well when I started writing I was struggling to come up with some songs and put a band together for the first time and write songs for the first time... and, uh, that's when I came up with those original songs like "Ritual Decapitation." Our old artist and drummer Matt Detmer, who died actually a few years ago, he... I remember at the time I said to him, 'I'm going to write a song, you come up with the name.' and he says in his best death voice like Suffocation 'RITUALISTIC DECAPITATION' and I'm like 'well... how about "Ritual Decapitation"?' which I think he was kind of pissed about but that's how I ended up writing it. And uh, anyway, he just kind of gave me a subject and like... someone was just getting their head cut off in the name of Satan. That worked. You know? Then at some point it kind of developed more towards war because thats the reality we live in. I mean, I've never actually met anyone who's cut someone's head off in a Satanic ritual, I mean, maybe I have and I don't know, right? But I've never done that personally and I'm not knocking killing or Satanism, Its just that I wanted a more reality based lyrical... based or whatever and uh, war is with all of us and, I have the type of job where, I help train the military. I'm not in the military but a civilian job, through a contractor - like a military contractor - but I do range operations. I was just in Texas, Fort Hood doing it and, you know I'm out there just stranded like, doing maintenance and stuff and they're firing tanks off right... real close to me... like one-hundred yards away... just awesome, you know? Very inspiring. come home with a bunch of (inaudible) that kind of thing. And uh... and uh... the devil and the occult. At this point I just want to write music that, uh, is based on my experiences, like "Hell Wants More Souls," from the new album, is based on my own experiences. "War Never Ends" that's a subject we can all relate to, I think, and uh, a lot of hate towards religion in it, and society, and uh... you know like a raging type song, you know? And it seems like I'm almost just inspired by the corruption, the political state, and the bankers that rule the world or whoever you want to call them. You know? And um, the One-Percent. Umm.. "Metalheads Forever" that was just my salute to Heavy Metal and Thrash and Death and Black Metal... I mean I couldn't tribute half the bands I wanted to so I still got to write another song to pay tribute to bands like Slayer but, I dedicated "Return To Sodom" to Sodom, "Ritual Decapitation" is dedicated to Exodus, and "Metalheads Forever" has all sorts of references in it from King Diamond to Metallica, who I just saw, by the way.

CT: How were they?

BB: Well, Here's the deal. I saw them in 1994 on the black album in Poughkipsie. No, Middletown... with Suicidal Tendencies and Danzig. They were killer, umm, there's some stuff off the black album I don't like so much but its... I like it at this point. Now, all the albums after that, I really don't like... until the new one, which was refreshing. I mean, these songs are fucking killer. And umm, so I saw them in Texas... I was kind like 'ohh they're going to play a bunch of songs from Load or whatever, and between the black album and the new album, they only played one song: "Fuel." They played "Fight Fire with Fire", and "Master of Puppets" and, umm, "Four Horsemen." Robert Trujilio played "Anesthesia..." and I'm telling you man, they renewed my faith in them. The new album renewed my faith in them. Super impressed, it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. Incredible.

CT: Awesome!

BB: And that was in San Antonio, Texas. And, umm, when I was down helping the military, I had to schedule my off-site; it was actually my first day, I went to Metallica and... umm... if you Youtube Metallica San Antonio 2017, they have a professionally recorded clip of "Sad But True," and it's pretty killer. I was there. 

CT: So you have a... I guess you would call it a nice little dedication inside the album, to Lemmy and uh, your first drummer also. Tell me how that came about and how you decided to put that dedication in the album.

BB: Well... even in 2005 when we started we were going to have a Lemmy birthday party but they lost their drummer and uh... so that didn't happen but uh... but Motorhead's been my favorite band for like fifteen years or something, I don't know, and um, my friend Matt, who did a lot of our artwork he did the artwork for Return to Sodom, he did all the artwork on that. He did the artwork on Hell Wants More Souls... he died from drinking, actually, and umm... killed his liver, and uh, I went to his... he had all this art, he was a fan to us too, and I went to his memorial where they had all his art on sale and I bought as much as I could and he had this Lemmy picture there, that he did. This was the kind of stuff that he would do for fun. And I guarantee you he was drunk as fuck when he painted every one of these pictures but uh. He died - my friend died - and then Lemmy died right after and umm, I just thought it was really fitting for the album. I wanted the picture of Matt Detmer and Motorhead too.

CT: Yeah I thought that was really nice. I didn't see that when I first bought, got, the album. I kind of just noticed it, like, last night, as I was looking at it. I was like, 'Oh wow, I didn't see this behind the disc in there'. I thought that was cool. It was a nice little surprise, and I like that kind of stuff.

BB: Yeah, Matt did a fantastic job, painting it and its just... Probably the most legendary figure I could think of next to anyone else who is legendary like Jim Morrison or whoever, you know?

CT: Yeah.

BB: I saw them like... six or seven times... I think? And they were just incredible. I think the last time I saw them was in Toronto and I think it was one of the loudest shows I ever saw. There were thousands of people there. It was crazy and I couldn't hear all for like the next and stuff. Everything louder than everything else, you know?

CT: Yep! I know that the night... when I found out he died I drank half a bottle of Jack and just spun Motorhead records all night until three in the night or something like that.



BB: Yeah. I respect that man. Hey, I got a leave soon, umm, you can either wrap it up or if you want I can do a part two or whatever...

CT: Yeah, yeah! I was just about to say I don't really have any other questions to ask you, I just... It was awesome talking to you and doing the interview and uh, hopefully I'll catch you when you're in the New York area. Hopefully you come down and play pretty soon. I can definitely look forward to seeing some of these songs live.

BB: Thank you, man. The only other thing I could say if anyone writes to you and is interested you can give them my contact information or whatever. My stuff is downloadable online and I don't pay much attention to having a website these days but if anyone wants to see me or hear stuff online they can find me on facebook... I go under the alias Bart Tepes, like Vlad, II, like the Roman numeral. Bart Tepes II. Bart Tepes is my band profile one but if someone wants to connect with me or whatever just hit me up. Or on youtube... you can just youtube Penetration - Hell Wants More Souls or whatever.

CT: All right! Thank you!

BB: Thank you!

CT: Hopefully we'll see you in the Tri-state area soon.

BB: Yes sir! Thank you. Bye bye.