STREAMING: Enforcer "Below the Slumber" + Tobias Lindkvist interviewed

Enforcer

How do you separate what Enforcer does from something that’s deliberately throwback?
Tobias Lindkvist: We don't follow any trends in music. We play the music we love and always loved. Enforcer are not part of any movement and we don't want to be labeled as some "New-wave-of traditional-whatever..." band. We play heavy metal our way and we will do it as long as the band exists. Whatever the current trends in music are.

How much of Death By Fire is in From Beyond? Sonically and aesthetically.
Tobias Lindkvist: Quite a lot. We are still the same band. From Beyond has got more variation but it still has the same speed as Death by Fire. From Beyond is more melancholic and more melodic while Death By Fire might be a little bit more aggressive. They are both strong albums.

What was the writing process like?
Tobias Lindkvist: It was the smoothest writing process so far. We started collect our ideas in April 2014 and turned them into 10 songs in a couple of months. It felt great from the very start. Some songs like "Hell Will Follow" came together really quick and songs like "Mask Of Red Death" and "Below The Slumber" took a while to get as we wanted.
 
Is From Beyond meant to be listened to in the given song order? There’s a good cadence to the track order.
Tobias Lindkvist: It should definitely be listened as an album, from start to end. We always put a lot of thought in the order of the tracks to make the album dynamic and interesting.

If you had one song to play from From Beyond for someone which song would it be and why?
Tobias Lindkvist: If the person never heard Enforcer before I think I would play "Undying Evil". It's a catchy and fast song that really shows want this band is about. If the person heard us before I would play "Mask Of Red Death" because it's a untypical song for us. We never done anything like it. It's a more dramatic song with good instrumental parts.

You do a lot of the recording, engineering, mixing and mastering yourselves. Those aren’t the normal tasks of a heavy metal band. What does Enforcer gain by controlling all aspects?
Tobias Lindkvist: We gain total control of the music. We can't risk to involve anyone else in the writing or recording process. We got the knowledge within the band to make a record to sound as we want. It's a lot of work but in the end it's worth it. I can't see that we ever gonna do a record in another way.

The cover has a very ‘80s vector graphic feel. Was that intentional?
Tobias Lindkvist: We wanted a simple and direct cover this time. We kinda felt that we needed a blue cover to fit the atmosphere of the songs.

What are your Top 5 records of all time?
Tobias Lindkvist:

  1. Every record Iron Maiden made and will make
  2. Credo – Paying For Everything
  3. Metallica - Ride The Lightning
  4. Misfits - Walk Among Us
  5. Tormentor - Anno Domini

If that wasn't enough to get your '80s high tops pumped up, then a stream of "Below the Slumber" will. Clearly, the Swedes are on fire!

** Enforcer's new album, From Beyond, is out April 7th on Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order vinyl and CD versions HERE while they last.

Liturgy Channel Gustave Doré in Stunning New Video

dore

So rarely do we get music videos that successfully provide visuals that equal the grandeur of extreme metal, but it’s slowly starting to happen, and the new video for Liturgy’s “Quetzalcoatl”, from the excellent new album The Ark Work, is a stunner. Created by Japanese “anonymous contemporary art concept” Aujik, the clip takes a simple idea Liturgy’s Hunter Hunt-Hendrix had and comes up with something breathtaking.

Says Hunt-Hendrix, “I was interested in working with Aujik because they use CGI to traverse boundaries between the organic, machinic, subjective, sacred and profane in a stunning way, and the project seemed to complement my own efforts with the arrangements on The Ark Work.  I asked them to make a meditative piece drawing from Doré's famous illustration of The Divine Comedy depicting Dante and Beatrice gazing into the Empyrean realm, and they took it from there.”

With that Doré image (posted above) as reference, watch the video below. And if possible, set the picture quality to HD and maximize the player, because you are in for a treat. 

The Ark Work is out now on Thrill Jockey.

ALL CRASH, NO BURN: Minsk's "The Crash and the Draw" Album Stream

It's hard to think of any instance in which post-metal could be considered uplifting. Minsk certainly aren't going to change that. This Illinois-based act brings a widescreen sensibility to their Neurosis, storming through 76 minutes of sludge and misery. With the ever-dependable Sanford Parker guiding the storm, their latest descent into the void is a suffocating one. Hear it for yourself in its entirety below.

***The Crash and the Draw comes out April 7 courtesy of Relapse. Preorder it.

Maiden Meets Middle Earth: Exclusive Black Tower Video Premiere!

JRR Tolkien meets a seriously eclectic heavy metal melting pot on the upcoming Black Tower full-length debut The Secret Fire (Unspeakable Axe/No Idea, June 2), and we've got the exclusive premiere of the video for the track "Death March."

Here's what drummer/vocalist Dave Williams had to say:

"'Death March' is the opening battle cry from Black Tower's inaugural collection of blood-soaked trad metal legends -- a not-so-subtle nod to both the phantasmagoria of Tolkien's tomes and the dark melodicism of Elixir, Master's Hammer, Maiden, Dissection, et al, all the while rooted firmly in the soil that bore such punk essentials as Against the Grain, Sleep In Safety, and November-Coming-Fire. The video for 'Death March,' cut by Jason Gilmore at Urgency Company, is merely a reconfiguration of the cinematic triumph that is Sorceress, because...well, that shit is crazy."

Exclusive Interview: King Diamond vs. Food Poisoning

Photo credit: Soile Sirrtola

Photo credit: Soile Sirrtola

Last October saw King Diamond’s glorious return to the lighted stages of North America after nearly a decade away. The shows were unanimously well-received—audiences throughout the land were captivated by the massive stage setup, delightful theatrics and spot-on set list. In fact, our #3 extreme vocalist of all time says everything went about as smoothly as it could possibly go…except for a fateful encounter with some truck-stop cuisine. Here’s what happened:

“We were driving from Seattle to San Francisco and we stopped at a restaurant in the middle somewhere. When we came to San Francisco and played, I felt a bit of a weird thing in my stomach. The next night was Halloween and we played L.A., and it got so bad that you have no idea. I never threw up; that was one thing that was lucky for me. But you know, losing liquids and going on stage and sweating really hard, it’s like double dehydration. It’s almost impossible to keep up with. And then driving overnight to L.A., my stomach hurt so bad. I was in such sheer pain that I was standing up in the back of the bus trying to keep it from just exploding.

“So we finally got to L.A., and after sound check it got so bad that I didn’t think I was gonna be able to play. I have never felt so bad. I got no sleep. It was a very scary feeling to go out there and try to do [the show]. I started drinking Gatorade mixed with water because it was recommended by my own doctor, because I called her to figure out what I should do. That was one of the things she said: tons of water on stage. But we had to cut the last song because it became such a dangerous feeling inside. It could have ended really bad. After we finished the show and went back to the hotel, [Metal Blade CEO] Brian Slagel came with his wife to say hi, and I was lying in bed…I could not get up and say hi. I was so knocked on my fucking ass by this thing.

“The next day we had to drive to Las Vegas and it was the same type of painful trip. We got there and played that show, and I don’t know how the hell I did it. We left there and went toward Tucson and got there the day before [the show]. I don’t know if I was really there. I went to a doctor the next day and they checked me out. I tried to get as much hydration back in my system as I possibly could, and [that was the only reason] they didn’t have to perform something that could have been life-threatening. It was that bad. When I look back on it, I should have never gone up and played.”

What did the doctors say?

“I was sitting there, and they said, ‘We have to check your hydration levels and do some tests. When we get the tests back, we’ll know if we have to give you drugs. And if we have to give you drugs for this thing, with your situation, you might incur a heart stoppage.’ I was like, ‘You gotta be fucking kidding me. This cannot be true.’ And they told me, ‘You cannot play tonight. Are you kidding? No way in hell. How many shows do you think you’d need us to write you a doctor’s note for?’ Because of insurance and all that. I said, ‘Just one show. We have a day off tomorrow; I can try to do as much hydration as possible.’

“And that’s something I’m gonna do from now on—start hydrating during the day before the show. It really makes me feel better. Not that I didn’t drink water before, but this is a planned schedule that I go by to get hydrated properly. We have very little breaks in the show, so it’s quite intensive the whole way through. And it’s really cool, I like it. After the show is done, I’m not really out of breath or anything. I drink a full bottle of mixed Gatorade and water the three or four times I’m backstage. I just slam a glass and then go out again. And then all the water on the front stage is gone after a show.”

So, the rest of the tour was OK?

“Yeah, we did the rest of the shows down in Texas and there were no problems. That was the worst thing that happened. Nothing with the voice…the voice was cool!”

The 2015 Decibel Magazine Tour Starts TODAY

Fifteen North American dates, three weeks, one goal: utter decimation. The 2015 Decibel Magazine Tour launches today!

Featuring At the Gates, Converge, Pallbearer and Vallenfyre (and assorted special regional openers), our fourth tour is by far the most representative of the magazine's demented diversity. Multiple shows are sold out or near sold-out, so pick up your tickets now!

One very important note: the Montreal show (Thursday, April 9) has been moved from the Metropolis to the Corona Theatre. If you bought tickets already, don't worry: They're still valid and will be honored. If you still need to buy them, however, get your Montreal show tickets here.

 

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Remaster of Schammasch's "Black But Shining"

Here's one to send you off into the TGIF abyss...

We've got an exclusive stream of "Black But Shining," one of seven gorgeously remastered tracks on the re-release of Sic Lvceat Lvx, the debut album from forward-thinking black metallers Schammasch.

Here's the lowdown from vocalist C.S.R.  

Six years have passed since me and B.A. (drums) met in our old rehearsal room to discuss a new project. After the first few rehearsals in summer 2009, SCHAMMASCH was born. Yet without any kind of clear vision or line, but a strong will, we started to work on two songs which would later bear the titles 'Chaos Reigns' and the metaphoric 'He Whose Face Is Made of Entrails.' Later that year, M.A. (guitars) joined us as a session member. It took us one year of chaotic, fevered work to finish the seven tracks for 'Sic Lvceat Lvx,' which were first released in October 2010.

Now, five years later, many things have changed and I somehow didn't ever expect to talk about a reissue someday. So what else can I say, than just that it's making me proud to announce the reissue of 'Sic Lvceat Lvx,' in a brand new outfit and finally available on vinyl, through a label that actually does stuff on a professional level. Hopefully this album gets its deserved attention at last in 2015. No high-polished production and no technical perfectionism can be found here, but rather simple-hearted rawness, experimental songwriting and charming honesty.

 

This Will Keep Your Brain Busy For a While: Upsilon Acrux Track Premiere

Admittedly, before a couple weeks ago, I didn't know much about California's Upsilon Acrux. I had no idea the band had been around for almost twenty years, is set to release album number seven and have toured and shared the stage with the Locust, the Fucking Champs, the Dillinger Escape Plan, the Boredoms and a bunch of other weird-o bands that don't have "the" in their names. One would have thought that, with all those bands being near the top of my own musical radar since before Unlocking the Truth were even a gleam in their parents' eyes let alone a band, I would have stumbled across Upsilon Acrux at some point in the game. But, in the same way you can't win 'em all, you can't know everything. However, you can expose yourself to a new find if you sit down and shut up long enough, and what a find this band are!

Originally formed as a homage to King Crimson - their debut album was titled In the Acrux of the Upsilon King - Upsilon Acrux has made it their mission to blow, expand and confuse minds and ears since 1997. Imagine King Crimson, Zappa, Don Caballero, Battles, Orthrelm (or any Mick Barr project for that matter), Gore and free jazz bouncing off the padded walls of your local nuthouse and there you have it: a completely ridiculous and unhelpful analogy. Luckily, we've got a tune called "Dogshit on the Shoulders of Giants" from their upcoming seventh album, Sun Square Dialect, on tap for you below. Check it out, then uncross your eyes and check it out again. 

About the song, by guitarist and founding member, Paul Lai:

"Whenever I have the pleasure of having two drummers, I always ask them to write a song, or at least most of a song, just the drums, and we fill in the melodies and do the arrangement together. I think riffs and melodies broken up and set by rhythm is always golden. Different instrumentation facilitates a different way of playing a melody and I generally think the drummer-written songs are the most interesting because rhythm is so fuckin' important, in our band and otherwise. So, this is the drummers' song. I think it's the most briskly moving song on the album with just a tiny bit of repetition.There are constant clashes of 3 vs. 2, or 3 vs. 4, a super-stuttered middle section that has little tempo, and the beginning is an equally fast and slow part depending on which of your ears has less hearing loss.

"I think close intervals in harmonies create a beautiful tension, though some would say it's an ugly disharmony. I feel it's based primarily on what your ears are attuned to hearing. In that same way, I think when you have polyrhythms that don't line up every measure or stack on top of each other or that don't sync together, played without tempo, based on contrast, it's the fuckin' cream! But most people will probably think we're fucking up, so in very certain terms this song to me is close interval drumming at it's best and real proof that when you have two drummers not only working together, but working against each other in a collapsible form, it sets up a hyperized form of dynamic that's equally hard for the performer and the listener. Which essentially is the core of what we do."

*Band photo by Ebrahim Saleh

*Cover art by Rob Sato

Sun Square Dialect is out April 14th on New Atlantis Records

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