Stellar Descent – Fading (2015)

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Stellar DescentFading (Dusktone, 15 September 2015)

 

Coming back to work after a holiday weekend is always rough. It’s like struggling through the Monday after a regular weekend, but twice as bad — at least. Especially when, despite having an extra-long weekend, it didn’t actually feel more relaxing at any point, because each day was filled with stupid family obligations.

This past weekend was like that, plus one day was about eight hundred degrees with a million percent humidity, while the next day was all windy and rainy, neither of which makes for ideal weather for picnicking and outdoor activities. Probably the least worst part of the weekend was one point where I was able to disappear into the woods for a little while, just to have a change of scenery and to get away from all the people discussing whatever it is that people discuss. Even if I didn’t really see anything interesting besides a bunch of trees, and even if the only sounds were a few random bird noises that were mostly obscured by the ceaseless buzzing of the cicadas (which have really come out in full force around this area), it’s still nice to be able to escape, however temporary it may have been.

I generally feel the same way when I’m at work, which is why I have my headphones on more often than not. To be able to close out all the inane conversations around me, and to be able to immerse myself in what I’m working on, while forgetting (even if only for a few minutes) that there are other people around — this makes each day at least marginally less unpleasant. Today I’d like to share something with you that combines the sounds of nature with a blur of other noises into which you can easily submerge yourself, completely drowning out all of your surroundings.

 

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Bell Witch – Four Phantoms (2015)

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Bell WitchFour Phantoms (Profound Lore Records, 28 April 2015)

 

For those who may have missed the news, I’m very sad to report that yesterday we learned of a monumental loss to the music world, in the passing of Adrian Guerra, co-founder of Seattle doom duo Bell Witch, co-writer of all of that band’s material to date, and former drummer/vocalist (up through summer 2015).

After that time, his position behind the kit had been replaced by Jesse Shreibman, including on the band’s most recent tour where they pulled double duty — playing a full set of their own in addition to serving as the backing band for Wrekmeister Harmonies. But from the band’s inception through its formative years, it was Guerra and bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond from their groundbreaking 2011 demo (incidentally, one of the very first reviews ever published on this website, back in December of that year) up through and including last year’s Profound Lore full-length Four Phantoms.

In honor and in memory of the co-creator of some of the greatest and most moving music to have reached my ears over the past five years, today I’ve decided to present you with a discussion about that latest album, the last one to feature the original Bell Witch line-up. Rest in peace Adrian, and our thoughts and sympathy are with your friends and family, colleagues and former band members.

 

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David Bowie: R.I.P. (1947-2016)

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Just a few hours ago, the Facebook page for David Bowie announced that the iconic performer has succumbed to his long battle with cancer yesterday, just days after his 69th birthday. Waking up to this news — the loss of someone who had had such a profound effect on my life when I was growing up, through both his music and acting — I have decided to delay what I was planning to publish today, to take this moment to say a few words.

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2016: In Which People Apparently Learn How To Math?

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I really don’t recall any fuss having been made back in 1998, which would have been a far more interesting (and concise) thing to share. Of course, at that time we didn’t have memes or Facebooks. We barely had started getting the hang of this whole World Wide Web thing. On the other hand, I do remember the big hubbub over the so-called “Slayer Day” on 06/06/06 (which then became an annual tradition for absolutely no reason that made any kind of sense) — hard to believe it’s been a whole decade since then!

Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone out there. As I write these words, I’m on my way back to work from a nice long weekend, and not quite feeling fully recovered yet. But I did want to say hello, and let you all know that my Top 15 of 2015 list is now online. I’ve placed it alongside the lists from 2011-2014, which have all been collected on this shiny new “Year End Lists” page.

You may notice that almost everything on the 2015 list hasn’t been written about on this website (yet). You may also have noticed that things have been kind of quiet around here for a little while. Both of those things will be changing in the near future, as I’ll gradually be publishing reviews for each of these as time allows. But for now, go enjoy the list. I’ll be checking back with you soon.

Metal Memories: The Time I Discovered Faith No More and My Life Was Forever Altered

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It had been rumored and speculated about ever since the band first announced that they were reuniting several years ago, but early last month it became 100% official: for the second time in less than a year, one of my favorite bands ever will be releasing a new album for the first time since I was in high school. Of course this is exciting news (that, until about five or six years ago, I would never have guessed would ever be happening again), and — with some amount of trepidation — I’m really trying to be optimistic about it. But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about.

By this point, I’m assuming any of you who would care at all about this band’s upcoming seventh album have already seen most of the information currently available — and probably even listened to one of the two pre-released singles that have come out so far. So I’m not really intending (or expecting) to inform anybody here. Instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to share an anecdotal description of my own discovery of the band, dating back multiple decades; perhaps to offer a little bit of insight into myself as a writer and a fan. I don’t know whether anyone will actually care about any of this, but considering how influential this was in my formative music-listening years, I felt like I ought to take the time to write it.

 

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Details of NEW Pink Floyd Album Have Been OFFICIALLY Announced!

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Rumors have been flying around for the past few months, as some details had “accidentally” been released earlier this summer. But today, the legendary psychedelic/classic rock band Pink Floyd has announced that their new album The Endless River will be available for pre-order.

 

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The Secret Dethlehem Code, Deciphered!

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What the hell is Dethlehem up to??

 
I’m sure that is the question that’s foremost on everyone’s mind this week. Recently, the above image — some kind of creepy hypnotic eye thing, with a cryptic numeric code imprinted in front of it — mysteriously surfaced on the internet, leading to a huge flurry of speculation from all over the place.

Some people are hazarding guesses about what these symbols mean and have even gone so far as to speculate that they represent a specific date — on which something new and exciting will be revealed to us. Like, “A new video, perhaps? The first single from the upcoming album? An update on Overlord Brom’s beard growth?”

Not bad, GeekDad. But those are all the sort of things the band probably wants us to think about — anything that will keep us off the scent of their TRUE plot! But through painstaking and fastidious research, I have uncovered the real meaning of the numeric code in the mystical JPEG sigil!

 

Dethlehem at The Foundry (Lakewood, OH) in November 2012.  Photo courtesy The World's Worst Camera Phone Ever.

Dethlehem at The Foundry (Lakewood, OH) in November 2012. Photo courtesy The World’s Worst Camera Phone Ever.

 
As you surely recall from the last time we spoke with the RPG-metal band, following a couple line-up changes and the occasional dragon-slaying quest, they were soon intending to get to work writing and recording their third full-length album, the as-yet-untitled follow-up to The Ghorusalem Codex Vol. 1: Enthroned Upon a Spire and The Ghorusalem Codex Vol. 2: Of Magick & Tyranny.

Well, apparently the writing process has concluded, because over the past month or so the band has started on the actual recording. I know this because their producer/engineer Patrick Lammie began tracking their progress in a studio blog.

BUT SUDDENLY with a blinding flash of TRUTH, it hit me. What is disguised as an innocent commentary on recording gear and microphones and stuff, is actually the solution to the whole mystery! One of the oldest known tricks for encoding information is to write a bunch of nonsense words and hide the REAL message in the middle of it, totally undetected to anyone who doesn’t have the decryption key. OBVIOUSLY the scary green eye holds that answer: the numbers 4, 13, 13 are a key to deciphering the hidden meaning among the (otherwise nonsensical) technical jargon in that studio report!

 
So without any further ado, I give to you:

 

TO HERE ON ALBUM
GHORUSALEM VOL. AS WITH ON ENTER
THIS I BLOG
TO ONLY MAKE COURSE OF REGRET OF MIXERS
SO THAT BE WHAT
IN THAT’S EVERYTHING RECORDING TALK
AND SPEND IT CHOSE
TRY PROVIDE THE DON’T YOU AND SWEETWATER
WANT IF THEM OFFER
NEEDING WOULD TO SCORE

HAVE CAN AT SO
HAVE THIS ENTIRE
WHEN THE UP EVERYTHING DETAILS
THE HAVE XLR
WHAT PATCHES IT WHILE
PLACE THEN OF EQS OUT
TO GO SNAKES ARE SNAKE
NOTHING IF A AROUND AND EITHER
OUT A ANY PROJECT
IF AND MY TEST
TAKE SO REPLACEMENTS TRACKING

 
It goes on and on like that, but I think you get the general idea. Really earth-shattering stuff, huh? I mean, you still have to read between the lines a bit to get the actual meaning they are trying to get across — it’s pretty deep and metaphoric, and requires a bit of extra thought to make it out. But I’ve already done most of the hard work for you, right? That makes everything an awful lot clearer at least, doesn’t it?

 
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Okay, okay. I hate to admit it, but it looks like I was wrong. It seemed like such a brilliant idea, too, but I guess in truth I’m just as clueless as the rest of you. To be honest, I think I wrote the title of this article a bit prematurely, and once that was set in place, I had to really try and sell the concept, to avoid being totally embarrassed. But it looks like it didn’t work out that way.

Anyway, it seems as though we’ll all just have to sit here and wait til the brave warriors of Dethlehem decide to tell us all what they’ve been dropping hints about!

 
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