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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Out Now: Strong Intention – Razorblade Express

 

Strong IntentionRazorblade Express (02 July 2012, Patac Records)

 
Maybe it’s because of when I was born (after Star Wars but before The Empire Strikes Back) — I just barely missed out on the original genesis of both the punk and heavy metal movements; I was too young to get much exposure to either genre until the late 80s, and when I did start listening to some of the stuff in my pre-teen years and beyond, I didn’t really have any sense of the history behind either scene or the animosity that existed between them…

I don’t know what the explanation is, exactly, but I do know I’ve always had one foot on each side of the line, not really caring about definitions or labels or exactly what separates “punk” from “metal” — and in fact, I tend to gravitate towards stuff that has a little of both flavors (and attitudes) mixed in. I’ve never understood the mindset of people who seem to think they have to pick a side, and refuse to acknowledge anything that the other team has done. To me, if it sounds good, it sounds good — it doesn’t matter what you call it.

That’s why I don’t really get the attitude of the folks who maintain the Encyclopædia Metallum, who (from what I’ve heard) are very particular about genre classifications, and extremely selective about which bands they approve for inclusion in their archives. Almost entirely absent from that compendium of musical knowledge: anyone who would be considered more closely associated with the realms of hardcore or punk (including grindcore or crust) than what they consider “real” metal. Where exactly the line is drawn, though, isn’t always completely clear. For example, it seems Napalm Death qualified as exceptions to the rule, as did Motörhead, yet the Misfits seem to have been overlooked — despite being no less influential in the metal world than either of the others.

Anyway, I could go on rambling about this for the rest of the day (and I’d be glad to hear YOUR thoughts on the subject — just visit the comments section below, or hit the VoS Facebook page, whatever works for you), but I really came here just to share some new music with you. That would be the new EP by Strong Intention, Razorback Express — now available on 7″ vinyl through Patac Records!

 
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Just Released: No Anchor – Rope/Pussyfootin’ 7-Inch

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No AnchorRope/Pussyfootin’ 7-Inch (Self-released, 17 March 2012)

Good morning, readers. It felt like this week was never going to end, but it’s finally Friday! All we need to do is fumble our way through one more day, then the weekend will officially be here. Pretty awesome, huh? Although sometimes even just one eight-hour day still feels like it lasts forever, and besides that, it’s hard to get excited about anything this early in the morning, right?

Well don’t worry, I’ve got something to help you survive one more workday. Go grab a cup of coffee and get your headphones on, and brace yourselves for some grungey noise-rock all the way from Queensland! Brisbane’s No Anchor have just unleashed a brand new 7″ with four songs (three of which are free to download!) over an eight-minute span that should give you just the jolt you need.

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Just Released: Pharaoh – Bury the Light

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PharaohBury the Light (6 March 2012, Cruz del Sur Music)

Good evening, Readers. How’s it going? I’d like to take a quick poll, if you don’t mind. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “power metal”? Is your first impulse to run away screaming? It wouldn’t surprise me much if that were the case, because that would be the reaction of many people — including myself, sometimes.

Why is that? Well, because somewhere along the line power metal got its name blemished pretty badly in the eyes of most listeners. Somehow the genre got associated with bands who, when they heard “Run to the Hills” for the first time, fell in love with the lightning-speed galloping part towards the end, but thought the song would be better if they had cut out all the stuff that builds the tension up to that point, and creates dynamic contrast, and holds the listener’s attention. Bands whose favorite album of all time is Rising Force, but they never realized that their turntable was switched to 78 RPM instead of 33-1/3.

It’s no wonder most people turn their noses up at the thought of this genre, when its most visible representatives are a bunch of over-the-top, ultra-cheeserrific fuckwads whose primary goal seems to be to constantly outdo themselves in terms of speed and wankery, much more than giving any thought to making good quality music.

Of course, this stereotype didn’t just spring into existence overnight; there have been bands that have incorporated cheesy schtick into their repetoires (whether intentionally or not) for decades. It’s almost as if everyone had forgotten it was possible to put together a group of talented musicians and play music that strikes a balance between heavy and powerful but also emotional and melodic; and to tackle lyrical territory that is epic and grand but not corny and overblown. Almost.

A certain group of Philadelphian gentlemen (who, by the way, come from the eastern side of my home state – just a few hundred miles from here) who call themselves Pharaoh haven’t forgotten. And just one listen to their newest album (their fourth full-length, and fifth release overall, dating back nearly ten years) Bury the Light, which is on Cruz del Sur and was released just last week in North America, is all it will take to ensure you don’t forget, either.

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Just Released: Invader – Self-Titled

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InvaderInvader (6 March 2012, Innervenus Music)

Hey!  What are you doing tonight?  If you are anywhere within driving distance of the Southside of Pittsburgh today, cancel those plans now.  You are going to need to get yourself down to The Smiling Moose bar, where they are throwing  a CD release party you will absolutely not want to miss.  More details on that later; first let’s talk about this relatively new (founded in 2009) local band Invader and why you’ll definitely want to check out their self-titled album that has just been released by Innervenus.

Invader first came to my attention when their song “Plow City U.S.A.” was included on the Pittsburgh-area metal compilation Iron Atrocity v.1 (I can’t imagine any reason why you wouldn’t have a copy of it yet, since it’s awesome, and also free to download, but JUST IN CASE, you can grab it from here).  Then, I saw word around town that the band was putting a new record out this week; the official press release had two main points that really caught my eye: first, it listed similar artists “Nicki Minaj, Lady GaGa and The Grateful Dead,” and went on to say the five members of the band’s “goal is to play music that they themselves wanted to hear.”  Now, clearly that first part was a joke, but I did really appreciate the second quotation, because too often people just try to latch onto whatever current trend is out there, instead of playing what is genuine, and I think it really manifests in the sound a band produces.

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