Wolves in the Throne Room, Nommo Ogo, Neck of the Woods at The Venue – July 13th 2014

The Venue – July 13, 2014

Wolves in the Throne Room (WITTR), a Washington black metal duo, released Celestite, an experimental synthesizer album on July 8th and followed with a North American tour. Nommo Ogo, a California psychedelic electronic band and Vancouver’s own Neck of the Woods (NOTW) were also on the bill.

NOTW is a band that showcases many different styles of metal and it is obvious why the were Wacken Metal Battle Canada finalists. Progressive bass rhythms accompanied the double kick and wailing guitar while Jeff Radomsky, a hardcore vocalist, spent most of his time pacing around the audience screaming. “Two Smokes” ended the five-song set and was set ablaze by two guitars and slowly grooved into a fast melodic double kick crusher.

Nommo Ogo walked on stage hidden behind beekeeping hats and their electronic equipment. They created an ambient experience full of crashing high pitch noises among low deep rhythms. Their most recent album, The Sea of Night is aptly named as this music seems to be best suited for staring off into the abyss.

WITTR did not play any songs off their newest album and instead stuck to their black metal. Distortion rang out and it was loud as they played their first song, “Thuja Magus Imperium.” The only light came from lit candles as the stage was dark. The band did not say a word to the audience for the almost hour-and-half set, except for the screeching growls of the singer. Heads were drooped for the popular “Vastness and Sorrow” and Venue filled with atmospheric black metal that Wolves in the Throne Room innately create.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to The Skinny Magazine for publishing this review and thanks also to Beatroute for providing the opportunity to review the show.

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Black metal progenitors Mayhem are the bearers of Satan’s flame

VANCOUVER — Mayhem, the infamous Norwegian black metal band, was formed in Oslo in 1984 by guitarist Oystein Aarseth (“Euronymous”), bassist Jorn Stubberud (“Necrobutcher”), and drummer Kjetil Manheim. Suicides, homicides, and the burning of churches – yes it’s all related quite heavily to Mayhem and will forever be. Although littered with controversy over the years about band members being neo-Nazis, misanthropic and anti-Christian, Mayhem has continued making music, which has been characterized by the band’s revolving door of musicians. The possibility of the music standing for itself was always a question the metal community took to heart. Many a conversation and heated arguments have been had over the years. Regardless, Mayhem has continued on, with the current line up consisting of Necrobutcher, drummer Hellhammer, vocalist Attila Csihar, and guitarists Ghul and Teloch.

Esoteric Warfare, Mayhem’s fifth studio album, was released, with hesitated excitement, in June of 2014 – almost seven years after their last album, Ordo Ad Chao. Teloch, the current rhythm guitarist of almost four years, made some time to answer questions via email.

Teloch explains that the lyrical theme of Esoteric Warfare is about “mind control, secret nazi societies, cold war and flying saucers… Attila (the vocalist and song writer) is really into stuff like this, where as I am not a believer of all these conspiracy theories.”

Attila Csihar, vocalist of Mayhem for over ten years (replacing previous vocalist “Dead” after he committed suicide) and vocalist for the infamous album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, has recorded some of the most eerie and ghoulish ululations produced by a living entity for their new record. Seriously, it’s beautifully horid.

“We are into the more fucked up things in life…instead of flowers and machines for the kitchen,” Teloch explains about creating Esoteric Warfare. “It started with me making a vocal guide for Attila and we built the lyrics and vocal performances around that. He is a dream to work with and is always open to try new things.”

When asked about the musical aspect of the album Teloch confesses that it’s mostly straightforward Mayhem material for the first four songs “but the rest of the album is more experimental… I tried introducing some new elements.” For example the song “Milab” was written “as a very soft song, but it still has that creepy Frankenstein feeling to it that I like,” Teloch explains.

The inspiration for such demonic sounds from the album comes from a Canadian source. “Actually I was trying to make a Voivod-inspired song, but more evil,” Teloch confesses. “I get inspired by everything… a noise from a car parked outside my window… simple things like weird sounds that surround me in my daily life.”

Teloch responded to some controversial questions about Mayhem’s past and the contributions of Dead and Euronymous by simply stating, “This is Mayhem, so the intensity is quite rough sometimes when discussing things. I didn’t know the Euro or Dead, so I don’t speak about them. I hear some of the guys that knew them talk sometimes about them yes, of course. They were a big part of this band’s history… but then again I’m more interested in the future then the past.”

Mayhem just might be around for another 30 years if Teloch has his way, “but it’s not getting easier with this kind of extreme metal. Maybe its time to slow down a little bit for the next couple albums so that we can have some slow songs to play when we hit 70 or 80 years old,” jokes Teloch.

So, perhaps we can expect some slower songs from the next Mayhem album, but for now it’s all about the crude, obscured and maniacal metal.

By Serena Navarro

Mayhem perform at the Rickshaw Theatre January 26.

Thanks to Beatroute for publishing this article.

New Venom album – From the Very Depths

Spinefarm Records

From the Very Depths is the 14th album by legendary extreme metal progenitors Venom. Following in the vein of 2011’s Fallen Angels, Cronos’s bass is present but the guitars take over most of the record. From the Very Depths is riddled with power chords, making the teenage metal fan in us all swoon. Loud, heavy and fast is on the menu for most of the record with only a couple songs slowing down.

“Temptation” delivers the speed metal the band adopted in later years (post Abaddon and Mantas) and the chorus is so catchy you might find yourself dancing around the kitchen to it. “Long Haired Punks” features fist pumping, crowd chanting lyrics that’ll make their fans thrash around, arms raised to the sky. Moving on, “Evil Law” evokes the delivery of the infamous line “Evil, In League with Satan” from Venom’s second full-length, 1982’s Black Metal, as Cronos growls “Evil” with his characteristically snarky smirk and high pitched tone. All told,From the Very Depths delivers what one wants from Venom: it’s dirty, wild, and rude.

By Serena Navarro

Listen to From the Very Depths on YouTube: Grinding Teeth

My favourite and slowest song on the album, Smoke

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Want bizarre, jarring, grind/death psychotic tales?! Cretin – Stranger

Relapse Records

Cretin’s sophomore album is eight long years in the making. It has been well worth the wait.Stranger has numerous musical changes and pummels the soul with crushing buzz-saw guitars, double kick spurts and punkish rhythms. This is grind that worships Repulsion, which comes as no surprise given guitarist Marissa Martinez’s stint in the band and musical history.

Lyrically, Stranger has some strange lyrics. “Mary is Coming” is a guttural screamed tale about a lady who wants to give birth to a Mary (of the Judeo-Christian Bible variety) who actually inserts a doll in her vagina “but it got stuck in there.” The lady ends up in jail.

On “How to Wreck Your Life in Three Days,” Martinez howls a psychotic tale about a boy who “fixes” a crazy three days of mayhem by setting fires to everything, up to and including himself. Ending with an eerie guitar solo that resembles an ambulance siren while blast beats leave the listener gut wrenched, it sums up this bizarre, jarring grind/death album astutely.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Numenorean: What’s in a name, eh?

CALGARY — “In Tolkien’s Middle Earth, The Black Númenóreans were a race of men who eventually died out because they let greed and power ultimately corrupt them. We have destroyed our earth for that very same reason. Our full-length will be based around those themes and on the collapsing human condition.”

Numenorean started as a two-man project by brothers Byron and Brandon Lemley in 2011. They’ve since grown to a quintet and are officially releasing their two-song demo in December, a self-titled affair released by Winnipeg’s Filth Regime Records. Written and played by Byron with all vocals by Brandon (save for a touch of help from Aiden Crossley on track one, “Let Me In”) the release is their first, a cathartic exercise in post-black metal that conveys a grand emotionality. Well-placed acoustic guitars and fast high-pitch electric guitars create a bipolar crux of deep crevices and high summits.

“Working on our first release I was dealing with depression and a longing for something I don’t think even exists,” explains Byron. “The music is written in a way that you feel the different stages of grief and sorrow throughout, be it calm, ethereal clean parts… then into a wall of aggressive melancholy, similar to the ups and downs one must go through after such a devastating change to their life. Both songs end in similar ways, a climatic change of tone and feel that takes you into not necessarily a happy place but a place where you have accepted who you are and what you’ve become.”

Given Calgary’s heavily saturated thrash and death metal scene, finding members to round out their line-up was a difficult task. After two years of passing around demos, they finally cemented one, featuring Roger LeBlanc on guitar, Steven Tillapaugh (Vaalt) on bass, and David Horrocks (Moradin) on drums.

A full-length album is in the works with all members contributing. For now, however, performing live takes precedent.

“[It] can be an exorcism or a baptism through fire, that’s the joy of putting yourself up in front of people, you invite them into your emotional landscape and they will either explore or experience what we have to offer or vandalize and spit on it,” says LeBlanc.

Inevitably, Numenorean’s “baptism through fire” and demo release show will be vulnerable and destructive; don’t miss it.

By Serena Navarro

See Numenorean at the Nite Owl on Friday, December 12th.

Thanks to Beatroute for publishing my article.

Want some chaotic death/doom?! Swallowed – Lunarterial EP

Dark Descent Records

Lunarterial is a filth-encrusted, ethereal, and chaotic death/doom album from Finnish duo Swallowed. It has been four long years since Swallowed released their self-titled EP, and the reason why is obvious within the dense song construction. Lunarterial features rolling, deep, double-kick drums, keeping this album on pace while the guitars, numerous crash cymbals and guttural vocals paint a turbulent picture. The songs sway back and forth, swaying between a chaotic balance of slow rhythm and a pummeling erratic tempo.

It works, it’s weird and it’s a strangely beautiful and morose piece of art. Album highlight “Reverence Through Darkness” crafts another dimension of horror and disorientating sounds that swallow (pun intended) your soul and eardrums. Truly, the album inspires one to drift away into a soundscape filled with complex, melodic structures and blast beats. Meanwhile, your heart pumps madly. The second half of Lunarterial is a murky doom swamp ending with the lengthy “Libations.” Clocking in at 25 minutes, it’s a journey of calculated chaos that aptly concludes an excellent album.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Ogroem: Shit-stained goregrind

CALGARY — Ogroem would like to inform you “no one is safe.” Stop reading this article and continue down the secure and unfettered path if you don’t want to get literally shit on, because this Vancouver band is venturing across Western Canada on the ‘Getting Shitty in Every City’ tour.

“We like playing both genres of music [grind and death metal] and have some material that is straight death metal, some straight grind and others bastardized into multi-genre masterpieces,” explains the band of their musical inclinations.

Ogroem currently consists of Earl Clackston on vocals, Kretin McGormick on guitar and John Grindall on drums. Their former bassist, Taylor Lipton, was present for five months but he evidently “died from tea bagging… and the word on the street is they reanimated his corpse and he plays guitar in some band in town called Abriosis.” As such, they looking for the right candidate to eventually replace this zombified ex-bandmate, but “we can hold our own as a power trio.”

After being born in late 2012, the band’s debut EP PLACENTE.P. was released in October 2013. Alongside conjuring the usual suspects of Dying Fetus, Pig Destroyer and Napalm Death, the recording features sound bites that will most likely make you laugh, question life or maybe both. Similar to Crackwhore, a seriously controversial Vancouver goregrind band whom Clackston is filling in on vocals for (to which Vancouverites responded to so vehemently that it resulted in the cancellation of the Grindcore Pizza Party festival after the band was announced), this is music that pushes the boundaries of taste while bashing your skull in. Expect as much on the follow-up to their debut. Initial tracking is complete and they are just waiting to hear the mixes.

“We are searching for label support and hoping to have the full-length out this fall,” they elaborate.

For now, the focus is on the tour. Ogroem explain they “are all about playing punishing deathgrind, delivered with a live show that will melt your minds and hearts.” Although a “tour is a perpetual anxiety-filled adventure,” they aren’t complaining.

After all, it’s all about the wild parties, going insane from sleep deprivation and “making at least one person hate us everywhere we go.”

By Serena Navarro

See Ogroem with Kataplexis on September 4th at Broken City and on September 5th at the Blarney Stone in Red Deer. 

Thanks to Beatroute for publishing this article.

Ogroem ruined Christmas special.