Happy 2017(?)

2017

 

Well folks, here we are, starting another new year. 2016 was quite an eventful one, both on a personal level (Valley of Steel headquarters has relocated within the past few months! — which is why we’ve been so quiet for a little while; we’ve been hella busy between finding a place to move to, moving there, getting settled in, etc. — although for those who may be worried: we’re still in a valley in a former industrial area outside Pittsburgh, so the website title is still accurate, it just happens to be the valley of a different river than our former location), as well as on a sociocultural level (politics, both domestic and foreign, has really been a mess lately, hasn’t it??).

Of course, like every year, tons of great music got released in 2016 as well — and like every year, I’ve failed to write about everything I’ve wanted to share with you folks (or even half of it). We’ll be diving back into the reviewing and sharing of new (and some fairly not-so-new) music very soon. But today, I’d like to hit a few other items as we briefly glance over the year that was…

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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.

 
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Winter’s Wake Winterview: Vulture

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Good morning, folks! Winter’s Wake 2013 officially starts tonight! Words cannot describe how excited I am. I hope you feel the same way. I’ve still got a few more bands to talk about, so I’ll continue posting these throughout the day.

First up this morning is the “Steel City Sludge” band Vulture! You might remember that I had an interview with their drummer Kelly Gabany a few months back (you can read it here), but I checked in with her once more to find out what’s new in Vulture-land, and here’s what I found out:

 
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GUEST REVIEW: Grisly Amputation – Cannibalistic Tendencies

Dear readers, as you should already know (because I just told you a couple weeks ago!), two Innervenus artists have CDs coming out tomorrow (Tuesday, 12 February 2013)! One of those is the death metal + grind unit called Grisly Amputation, with their debut full-length Cannibalistic Tendencies.

 
GrisAmp_CDcover

 
Considering my professional relationship with the band, as the record label’s PR representative, it didn’t seem appropriate for me to write a review of their album, because it wouldn’t seem objective or unbiased. So I found a neutral outside reviewer who was willing to write about the album and then let me publish it for him. He was a frequent contributor to the “Sign Me To Roadrunner Records” website when I used to spend a lot of time there, and his reviews were always very thoughtful and detailed. Plus, as a musician in a death metal band himself, I’d be inclined to say he’s even more qualified to discuss this album than I am…

 
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Innervenus Music: Two New CDs Coming Next Month!

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Hello, friends. Regular visitors to this website have surely noticed that recently the volume of writing I am putting out there has significantly decreased. I apologize for that. But it hasn’t been the result of laziness, I assure you. I’ve been getting myself involved with a few other things — as I keep alluding to in several new posts over the past few weeks — and finally I want to let you know about one of those.

So, I have been asked to join the Pittsburgh-based record label The Innervenus Music Collective to help out with their PR and publicity. It’s a pretty exciting opportunty for me — first of all, as a writer I’ve been working with a variety of PR people and representatives from other labels, so I understand what’s involved, and it’s cool to be getting some experience from the other direction now. But even more than that, now I get to work directly with a group of people who do so much to support our local music scene — between planning shows and giving away the Iron Atrocity compilations, not to mention releasing albums from some really talented bands (Vulture, Invader, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot — just to name a few examples that I had written about last year)!

And so this new position has been using up a lot of my free time recently, mostly because we’re gearing up to put out two CDs in February: the debut full-length by grindcore/death dealers Grisly Amputation, and a self-titled EP by death-thrash-groove-sludge-core band Lycosa. I’ve been sending out promo materials to a whole slew of websites and magazines, so we should start seeing some reviews trickle in shortly, but I figure I wouldn’t really be doing my job (EITHER job – as a writer OR a publicist!) if I didn’t also inform you about the releases here on Valley of Steel!

 
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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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Get Yourself Some FREE Pittsburgh Metal: Innervenus Music Collective – Iron Atrocity v.2

 

Innervenus Music CollectiveIron Atrocity v.2 (Innervenus Music, 03 August 2012)

 
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past nine months, or have never ever seen a post on this blog before, chances are you’ve heard me talking about the Iron Atrocity project. This is purely a labor of love by the wonderful folks who run the Innervenus Music Collective, and designed as a showcase for the array of high-quality metal (and other related music) we’ve got here in the Pittsburgh area.

It’s been a long time coming, and there have been many trials and tribulations along the way, but the second edition of this compendium of local talent has been completed! Just like volume 1, this new collection will be handed out for free by Innervenus-related bands at shows and other events (beginning with the Iron Atrocity Vol.2 release show, which is scheduled for Friday 03 August 2012), but also just like its predecessor, the compilation can be downloaded for free — and it’s available right now!

The new CD has assembled tracks — some newly recorded, exclusively for the compilation, some taken from recent releases — from sixteen different local bands, all of whom have been mentioned on this website in some form or fashion, at one time or another. Nevertheless, I’ll give you the full rundown on all the songs, about an hour and a quarter in all, that will be yours FREE when you grab this download. All you need to do in return is listen and enjoy, spread the word, and whenever possible, show your support by heading out to some shows (or buying some merchandise)!

 
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