Mortals – Cursed to See the Future (2014)

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MortalsCursed to See the Future (Relapse Records, 08 July 2014)

 

I don’t know who wrote the official band bio for Brooklynite trio Mortals (the one that accompanies their press kit and also appears on their record label’s website), but I don’t think I really understand what it’s trying to say. It starts off by contrasting this band with the way most other bands come together:
 

Many heavy bands follow a straight line — they start a band with some people they know, they pick a well-worn genre, they write riffs and drum beats that sound pretty similar to all the other riffs and drum beats that have been written. That isn’t Mortals.

 
…but then it goes on to explain how the three members met when they were involved with various other bands (for example, two of them were in a Slayer cover band together, two of them were in a math-rock band together) and eventually the three of them found they had enough common interests that they decided to form a new band; chemistry developed and gradually they found themselves evolving into their own style. Which, in essence, sounds like a variant of the history behind almost every band I know. So that’s got me feeling slightly confused.

But anyway, none of that really matters. What the band sounds like is far more important than any written description, when it comes to me picking what I want to write about and share with you, and the music should be able to speak for itself. And here it certainly does. It also helps that I’ve been watching for news from this band over the past couple of years — on the advice of Meat Mead Metal (whom you should absolutely familiarize yourself with immediately if you aren’t already a regular reader, because not only is this without a doubt the best music journalism you’ll find here in Pittsburgh, but this guy churns out high-quality writing with a consistency that could rival just about anyone else out there!), who has had plenty of good things to say about Mortals on several occasions (like here, for example). About a year after that particular article was written, the band had signed a deal with Relapse Records, and today marks their first release with that label, the full-length Cursed to See the Future.

 

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Two New Splits From Tankcrimes!

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Cannabis Corpse / GhoulSplatterhash (7 January 2014, Tankcrimes Records)

 

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Exhumed / Iron ReaganSplit 12″ (7 January 2014, Tankcrimes Records)

 

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Tankcrimes Records has been known to put out some fairly unique and sought-after releases over the past few years. (For instance, who could forget 2012’s hugely successful Toxic Waste split featuring Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste?) Well yesterday, just barely a week into 2014, we find the label has issued not one but TWO more excellent split records to add to that impressive repertory.

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Fatality – Psychonaut (New Album // Coming to Pittsburgh TONIGHT!)

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FatalityPsychonaut (self-released, 28 June 2013)

 
Hey, guys and gals! Remember Fatality? I first introduced you to this cool Canadian thrash band last summer when they were holding a contest, but at the same time I wrote a few words about their 2011 T.F.E.S. EP. That three-song release is still available to download for free (I’ll toss the Bandcamp widget at the bottom of this post), and the title track (“Thrash Fuck Eat Sleep”) is still one of the catchiest pieces of thrash metal I’ve heard in ages.

Anyway, the guys have a brand new album out now — they released Psychonaut two months ago, and since then they’ve been jaunting all across the United States and Canada on what they’re calling the “Towards Disastour”. (It’s a play on words, because there’s a song on the new record called “Towards Disaster”. Funny, right? These guys are just full of hilarity — just check out vocalist Spencer Le Von‘s ongoing tour blog over at Dead Rhetoric, or his series of Backseat Podcasts, or the band’s blog which he occasionally updates “with fervent apathy”. Seriously, check that shit out.)

The Towards Disastour tour is coming to a close tonight — Wednesday 28 August 2013 — with a stop in Pittsburgh, PA. Readers who live nearby are highly encouraged to come on out to Howlers in Bloomfield tonight. The show will also feature local thrash/traditional heavy metal greats Vermithrax and the NWOBHM-flavored Lady Beast (see full details about the show here). If you need more convincing than that (or if you live somewhere far away and won’t be able to go see the band in person tonight), keep on reading and I’ll tell you a little more about the new album Psychonaut.

 
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VOS Interview: Travesty Reunion Edition

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The past year or so has been quite an exciting time for classic Pittsburgh bands… for example, Derkéta finally got around to releasing their debut album; Dream Death had such a big response to their reunion show that they decided to do it a few more times; and hardcore/thrash legends Castle Blood followed suit last fall with a couple reunion shows of their own.

Well, here’s another one to add to the pile: after 25 years of broken-uppedness, Travesty — the hardcore/thrash band which included some of the members of Castle Blood during a couple years in which that band had gone dormant — is reassembling all of its original members for some local gigs, in addition to finally putting some of their classic material on tape!

Their first show together since 1988 is happening this Saturday — tomorrow night!! — so I had a little chat with a few of the band’s members this week, to find out more about Travesty, what they’re doing now, and what the future might bring…

 
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Person or Persons Unknown: Six Questions with Grisly Amputation/Vulture Guitarist Gene Fikhman

  
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Six Questions with Grisly Amputation/Vulture Guitarist Gene Fikhman

by Asya Yanyo

 
 
My second Person or Persons Unknown is with Gene Fikhman, guitarist for Grisly Amputation and Vulture (one of my personal favorite bands EVER), horror and gore movie enthusiast, and all around cool and collected kind of guy. I must admit that I don’t know Gene very well, but in my personal interactions with him it has always seemed like he was the type of person who knew lots of information once you scratched the surface. I’ve had a lot of men in my life that are like this — in fact, I am married to one — and it’s been my personal experience that you are never disappointed when you get to know these kinds of guys. They are usually extremely intelligent, full of useless knowledge, helpful in all kinds of situations and hell to play trivia against. This is what made me want to interview him, not about just GrisAmp or Vulture, but about him personally so I could see if I was correct and I think you’ll see from this interview that I wasn’t disappointed. I hope you won’t be, either.

 
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Vermithrax – Vol. 1 Sampler (FREE Download!)

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VermithraxVol. 1 Sampler (14 February 2013)

 
Hey! Remember back when I used to write about music? That was fun, I think I’m going to try it again.

So the Pittsburgh-based old-school thrash & NWOBHM-influenced band Vermithrax has some new material available for downloading and inserting into your ears. They announced this fact a couple weeks ago, but I was right in the middle of a million different things at that moment, so I grabbed myself a copy and planned to go back to it later.

Well, “later” ended up being just a few days ago, and now I’m kicking myself for not jumping on this sooner. If you’re already familiar with Vermithrax — perhaps from their appearance on the Innervenus free compilation Iron Atrocity Vol.2 (more info here) — then surely you understand.

If you haven’t heard that compilation yet, go download the damn thing already!! But in the meantime, here’s the Vermithrax song, “The Final Feast”:

 
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VOS Interview: A Drummer Double Feature! Molasses Barge vs. Vulture!

Hello folks, and a happy Friday to you! Just when it felt like it would never happen, the weekend’s finally here. I’ve got a feeling this is going to be an especially good one, because there’s a ton of amazing shows and events happening! I’ll have more on that later, so stay tuned.

One of them in particular stands out, though — tomorrow night at the 31st Street Pub is the first date on the joint headlining tour between Relapse Records artists 16 and Tombs. That by itself is reason enough to get excited, but opening the show will be two of my absolute favorite local bands, the heavy doom armada that is Molasses Barge and Steel City sludgelords Vulture!

I’ve only seen Molasses Barge once before (and it was over a year ago! — read more about that here), and (believe it or not) although I’ve been listening to Vulture for a long time, I’ve never had the chance to see them play live yet! So needless to say, I’m really looking forward to this show. I’ve already got my tickets (they can be ordered here) but if you don’t, it’s just twelve bucks when you show up at the door. More info on the show itself can be found here.

Anyway, in anticipation of this event, I decided to get a couple of interviews lined up. If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you may have picked up on the fact that I often tend to focus on drumming while listening to music. It’s just the way I hear things, I guess — and I don’t know if it’s because I play drums (occasionally) or if I chose to play that instrument because it’s something I pay a lot of attention to.

In either case, the drumming in each of these bands’ genres is one of the main things that attracts me to those particular styles. So, it only seemed natural for me to talk to the two bands’ drummers. Here, then, are the questions and answers from Molasses Barge’s Wayne Massey and Vulture’s Kelly Gabany

 

 

 
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