Mortals – Cursed to See the Future (2014)

PromoImage

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.

 

Continue reading

Two New Splits From Tankcrimes!

cannabis-corpse-ghoul-cover

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

 

exhumed-iron-reagan-cover

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

 

*******

 

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.

Continue reading

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

psychonaut cover image

 

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.

 
Continue reading

VOS Interview: Travesty Reunion Edition

travesty-cover

 
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…

 
Continue reading

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

  
Person or Persons Unknown

 

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.

 
Continue reading

Vermithrax – Vol. 1 Sampler (FREE Download!)

vermithrax-volume-1

 

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”:

 
Continue reading

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

 

 

 
Continue reading

Coming Soon: Titans Eve – Life Apocalypse (Free T-Shirt with Pre-Order!)

 

Titans EveLife Apocalypse (13 July 2012, Self-Released)

 
Good morning, readers!

You may have noticed that I don’t normally publish album reviews before the official release dates. Part of the reason might be because I want to share things with you when they’re actually available for you to get your hands on them, because I know how short people’s attention spans can be sometimes — myself included! Sometimes when I read about something several months before it comes out, I might think to myself, “Oh that sounds great, I’ll have to check that out” and then I completely forget about it a few days later.

More than that, though, it’s mostly because I usually just don’t get around to it. I hear about loads of great music and I want to write about all of it, because I want to make sure the bands get the exposure they deserve, and I want to make sure YOU have every opportunity to hear about the new music you want. Besides that, I try to spend as much time as possible with something before I start writing — albums usually get numerous listens on several different days, so that I feel familiar enough with the material to be able to describe it adequately AND so that I can be sure I wasn’t hearing something wrong just because I was grumpy or preoccupied on a particular day.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an unlimited amount of time for writing, which means I’m perpetually running behind. I’ve still got a bunch of albums from 2011 I haven’t even listened to yet, not to mention how much stuff I haven’t had the chance to write about!

When I heard this album full of killer thrash music by Vancouver’s Titans Eve, I knew I would want to write about it and share it with you, but then when I found out that they have pre-order packages (either the digital or CD versions) where they are throwing in a FREE t-shirt, I decided I needed to bring this to your attention sooner rather than later! This Friday (the 13th of July) is the official release date, so hurry up and finish reading, then at the end of this post you’ll get the chance to hear the album for yourself, and I’ll give you all the links you need to take advantage of this special pre-order deal.

For my Canadian friends, I’ve also provided the dates for the band’s July/August tour of western Canada with Anvil, as well as a list of stops when they will be heading east across the rest of the country with Kill Devil Hill.

 

Continue reading

Contest Alert: Fatality Seeking the Silliest Silly Walk!

 
Happy Friday, readers! Just a few more hours left ’til quitting time, which means no more work until next week… You have no idea how nice it feels to say that. I think I’ll say it again: HAPPY FRIDAY!!

 
It has turned out to be kind of a dreary day, and of course it’s made all the more dreary simply from being at work. Feels like it’s about time for something to lighten the mood a bit, and I’ve found something perfect for that! If you’re as big of a Monty Python fan as I am, or if you’re as big of a thrash metal fan, or especially, if you’re heavily into both, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to this…

 
One of the most famous Monty Python’s Flying Circus segments of all time was the wildly popular “Ministry of Silly Walks” sketch. It seems this is exactly what came to mind when guitarists Spencer Le Von and Eytan Gordon of Canadian thrash quartet Fatality were really bored one night and tried to think of a way to amuse themselves. As Spencer (who is also the band’s vocalist, and writer of the band’s official blog) wrote in a blog post earlier this month:

 

…It took a while for me to realize how astonishingly important killing time is as a musician. It is a vital component of what we do. Whether it is mind bending travel time to a gig or waiting to perform, metal musicians have killing time down to a delicate science, and a band that laughs together stays together.
 
To better illustrate this point we have devised a CONTEST based on our latest “weekly challenge” video. The video involves Eytan and I acting like complete assholes in public, because that is what makes us laugh and that’s what we find funny.
 
For this video we decided to pay tribute to Monty Python and the Ministry of Silly Walks. In this clip you can see me and Eytan going for a swift jaunt in our local Metro to purchase some late night munchies.

 

 
For their contest, the band want you to take a video of the silliest walk you can come up with, and then submit the video to their Facebook page.

The person who submits the silliest video (as judged by the band themselves) will win a cool prize pack including the following:

  • Free Fatality T-Shirt
  • Free CD
  • Free patch, beer cozie or 3 pins
  • 2 free tickets to our next local show (if applicable)

 
This contest was first announced about two weeks ago — there was an update on the band’s Facebook page earlier this week stating that they’re still looking for submissions, but I haven’t heard any official word about a deadline. It seems like the contest is pretty informal, but you won’t want to miss out on these great prizes so you’d better get stepping… as silly as you can!

 
Oh, and just in case you aren’t already familiar with Fatality’s material, and you want to get a better idea of what you’d be winning, I’ve got some stuff here for you to hear — including several tracks you can download for FREE…

 
Continue reading

Coming Soon: A Band of Orcs’ New Album on Vinyl Picture Disc – Pre-Order Now to Help Fund the Pressing!

 
California’s A Band of Orcs would love to release their forthcoming self-titled album in the huge, full-color glory that is a double-LP picture disc vinyl format. They would also love to come to your house and slay you and your family, then steal all your gold and eat all your food. They don’t seem too particular about which of those things takes place, but I suspect you might have strong feelings about one or the other.

Fortunately, the band has decided to give you the opportunity to help ensure the first outcome can happen — which would also ensure that you are spared during the orcs’ eventual quest for world domination. If that sounds appealing to you, here’s how it works…

Continue reading