Lord Mantis Interviewed By Slaves BC!!

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Lord Mantis interviewed by Slaves BC

 

So tomorrow — Friday the 29th — the new Lord Mantis EP NTW will be released, the band’s first recorded material since their big line-up shakeup (and merger with Indian) last year. You can read all about those changes, and take a look at that new EP as well as their previous album, 2014’s Death Mask, all right here. But beyond just reading about my thoughts and reactions to this new and old material, perhaps you might be interested in learning more about what’s been going on with the band — in their own words?

 

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Slaves BC – All is Dust and I am Nothing (2016)

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Slaves BCAll is Dust and I am Nothing (Veritas Vinyl, 16 February 2016)

 


 
Whoops, I guess I forgot to say “Spoiler Alert”…

Seriously, though, that was my initial reaction on hearing this full album for the first time. I know it’s still very early in the year, and there will be plenty of high-quality releases yet to come (and I’ve even heard a few good ones already), so it’s ridiculous to make such a proclamation at this point. But I can assure you this record will definitely end up in my Top 16 list, probably very close to the top of that list. Because it’s that good.

 

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Slaves BC / Grace & Thieves – Cursed Breath / Innocent Blood (2014)

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Slaves BC / Grace & ThievesCursed Breath / Innocent Blood (Veritas Vinyl, 04 August 2014)

 

The split record is an interesting concept in the music industry. The vinyl EP or LP or cassette with (usually) one band on each side, or the more modern CD or digital release with tracks contributed by two (or occasionally more) bands — these frequently fall into a couple different categories. Sometimes bands will be such kindred spirits, sharing all the same influences and each representing a similar approach to their particular genre, that it seems completely natural for them to work together; in these cases the bands probably already have a huge overlap in their fan bases, but the split will surely be a treat for those people who already like both bands. On the other hand, many joint releases are the result of bands who are close friends — perhaps they live in the same city and play shows together all the time — but who actually have little else in common; the result here is that die-hard “completist” fans of either band will end up buying the record, but probably few of them will listen to the flip side more than once (if at all).

In most other cases, two bands are brought together by songs third party: perhaps they share management or PR representation, or belong to the same record label’s roster. These could be marketed to fans of each band or just people who may have been familiar with some of the other output from that label (or whatever); it becomes an efficient way for listeners to “test drive” bands, without having to take a chance investing in a full length from someone unfamiliar. Ideally, the person putting together the release will have done some homework (or just have good instincts) and pair up artists who are different enough to attract a wide range of listeners, yet share enough of a common bond for both sides to appeal (at least to some degree) to that whole audience.

And if you ask me (and technically, by clicking on this review and reading these words I wrote, you did ask me — at least implicitly), the Veritas Vinyl label has accomplished this successfully with their Cursed Breath / Innocent Blood 12″ which officially comes out today. This split brings together bands that employ two rather disparate styles of metal (one leaning in a blackened direction, the other sticking with a more old-school doom and traditional heavy metal sound), but they each combine their respective patois with a foundation heavily influenced by hardcore/noise and/or hardcore punk.

 

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The List of 2013 Year-End Lists

Photo Collage - 2013 Shows - by Asya Yanyo

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Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!

But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…

 

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Deathcrawl – Accelerated Rate of Decay

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DeathcrawlAccelerated Rate of Decay (self-released, 16 October 2012)

 
Okay, true story: earlier this month, I had a cookout for a handful of friends (mostly musicians or music-related folks, just because that’s how I roll). At some point in the evening, as we were standing around the fire and socializing, I remember talking to someone about a song that was playing (I’d hooked up my MP3 player and set it to shuffle); during that conversation, the song ended and the next one began — and on hearing the grimey riffs that were pouring out of the speakers, I then remarked, “Oh, and this is Deathcrawl.”

Well. Standing nearby just happened to be Josh Thieler, vocalist for Slaves BC. You may recall that his band creates some awesome music, and so it’s no surprise that he’d generally have pretty good taste in stuff to listen to. Anyway, I could see that his eyes were all lit up. “I was just about to ask you what this is,” he told me, “because it’s really good. This is Deathcrawl?” I nodded, and he added (I’m paraphrasing here; this was a couple weeks ago), “So, my band is playing with this band at the end of the month??” I nodded again, and his face lit up even more.

Because yes, I’m pleased to say, the Ohioan sludge factory that is Deathcrawl is finally playing a show in Pittsburgh, and that show is tomorrow night!! In addition to Slaves BC, that line-up will also feature Meth Quarry and (coming back to the city for the first time since last summer) The Osedax from Virginia. More details on that show coming up soon, but first, I’d like to bring you up to speed on a band and an album that you really need to be listening to (if you haven’t already)!

 
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Slaves BC / Cousin Sleaze – Split 7″

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Slaves BC / Cousin SleazeSplit 7″ (self-released, 11 April 2013)

 
 
Several months ago, I wrote about a new EP from the Pittsburgh-based dark, caustic hardcore/metal band Slaves BC, which was titled we mean nothing. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you could look it up if you searched for it, but I’m not linking to it here. Because honestly, it was among the worst articles I’ve written, and I wouldn’t advise taking the time to read it. Instead, just listen to the songs and download the EP, which you can do it you follow the Bandcamp link at the end of this page.

About that review — I’ve noticed sometimes when I really like something or really connect with a piece of music on some level, I feel inadequate to convey that in words, and so I end up rambling about some other nonsense that isn’t related to the actual music. In this case, we mean nothing. centers around the concept of someone struggling and perhaps questioning the validity or value of religion — and I sort of ran with that idea, focusing more on people who place too much value on religious principles, at the expense of common sense and moral decency.

Sort of lost in all of that was my opinion of the actual music — dark and caustic, as I just said; abrasive, ultra-heavy. Some music is described as “doom metal” which usually seems to foretell a bleak, dire outcome; some music is “post-apocalyptic,” representing that tragic new reality. What Slaves BC bring is more like DURING the apocalypse: there isn’t doom coming, it’s happening RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Anyway, one thing I did point out in that review was that the sound had improved dramatically over their first release, the demo album This World Shall Pass Away. With that in mind, the appearance of any new Slaves material should be really exciting. And GUESS WHAT — today we have exactly that! Two new songs, to be exact, coupled with a pair from the band’s comrades from New York, Cousin Sleaze.

The four-song split is available as of today on CD (if you come to the bands’ joint release show TONIGHT at The Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh — see below for details), and the 7″ vinyl version (in three different colors) can be ordered now, and will be out in the very near future!

 
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Person or Persons Unknown: Six Questions with Slaves BC Bassist Jason Cantu

Hey there, folks! I hope your week is going well. If it’s not, I guess you can be glad that it’s almost over! Personally, I’m just about totally recovered from last weekend’s Winter’s Wake festival, and sometime soon I’ll probably even start writing again.

In the meantime, please enjoy this BRAND NEW feature which will be running periodically here on Valley of Steel — courtesy of the lovely and wonderful person to whom I am fortunate enough to be married!

 
Person or Persons Unknown

Six Questions with Slaves BC Bassist Jason Cantu

by Asya Yanyo

 
Greetings and salutations! Many of you know me, or have met me, or at least know of me. My name is Asya (aka “Mrs. Valley of Steel“). I’ve been married to Eric (aka “Mr. Valley of Steel“) for about five years now — tomorrow [01 March] is our five-year anniversary, in fact.

I’m sure most of you have seen Eric‘s many posts about shows that are occurring in the Pittsburgh area. Well, he doesn’t just post about them; he actually attends — we both do, actually. [Editor’s note: at least, as frequently as physically possible!] Well, through the course of attending these shows, we’ve met some great people and it occurred to me that you (the general public) might like to hear a little bit more about these interesting people, the bands that they are currently in, and what brought them to the musical path that they are traveling down.

I will be doing these on occasion: they will always be six questions, just enough to give you a sense of the person and their tastes (as opposed to the same old stale band questions you’re always reading). So I hope that you will join me on this new journey in getting to know these wonderful and unique people, and — who knows — maybe you’ll find a new band that may change your life, too!

My first “Person or Persons Unknown” interview is with Jason Cantu, the bassist for Slaves BC, whom Eric and I have already seen three times this year. Jason, while just one part of this great band, has an infectious enthusiasm that really enhances their live show. His love and support of music in general is also infectious, and it has inspired me to do these interviews.

Everyone should have a friend like this: someone who’s always posting about records you’ve forgotten about, or wearing t-shirts you would kill for (specifically, I am referring to the Ten Years After shirt he sometimes wears), and someone who is supportive of not only his own band but all local and non-local bands. He is the type of fan that makes you want to be a better fan, too.

Check out his band Slaves BC on Bandcamp, and then come out to see them FOR FREE this weekend [Saturday, 02 March] at Kopec’s Bar. You will not be disappointed.

 
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