Sunday, November 27, 2011

Iapetus - rehearsal update

Recently I traveled to the Rhythm Room to watch local band Iapetus take part in a rehearsal. They recently made some internal changes and wrote a handful of new songs. So I was extremely interested to hear what they have been working on. Needless to say, I was pretty damn impressed. They combined the raw simplicity of early Bathory with some really cool melodies. Definitely a first wave of black metal style mixed with a traditional rock approach.

I was a fan of their earlier material, but the new outlook helped them rise to another level. The songs alternated quite a bit between tempo changes. While listening I was envisioning the songs in a live setting and seeing the crowd going off to the catchy riffs. Each song was memorable and not just a blur of noise. That is a key element in a black metal band. No one, well at least I don’t, wants to listen to a band that sounds as if they are playing the same song over and over. That can become boring in a short period of time.

I was delighted to be informed that Iapetus will be recording in a studio soon. Their debut demo will definitely be something to look forward to. I feel this band has great chemistry and sure it will reflect in the studio.
For the practice, I planned to bring my video camera for some footage. I had it all packed, charged and ready to go. Right before leaving I watched the UFC fight Velasquez vs. Dos Santos. Upon its conclusion I raced out the door….without the video camera. That mistake really angers me, because I really wish there was some footage to include here. Well that will have to wait for next time.
As for their rehearsal, it was complete a little before 11 pm. In theory I had planned to arrive back at home before midnight. Well that did not happen. We talked outside the practice space until about 2 am. Very important topics were being discussed such as Charles Bronson’s filmography and zombie movies. Those are two imperative things in my life.

***Update - Iapetus will begin their studio sessions today. When complete, expect a full report.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Humut Tabal Video shoot update.

To start this passage off, I want to announce a zine that is in the works. It will be an actual printed format, not the usual web blogspot that has become quite popular. More details will be posted in the future. The publication will also include a DVD full of band footage. With that being said, it sets the tone for the following.

A few weeks ago we headed up to Austin to meet with Humut Tabal for a video shoot. The band kindly agreed to have us out to their compound for some filming. Obviously the footage will be used for the aforementioned DVD.

The journey started around 11am and concluded around 3pm when hitting Austin’s city limits. Well at least we thought it was coming to an end. After a few more hours of vegetating in some ridiculous traffic, we finally arrived.
Exiting off the main road, we were taken down a long, winding path. The thoughts of a horror movie setting were hard to ignore. I was waiting for a horde of deformed hillbilly ghouls to ravage the car.
After a little more driving, we passed through a final fortress of trees to come upon the home of Humut Tabal. The compound was rooted on a barren, yet scenic acreage.
After our lengthy journey, we exited the car to be greeted by the band. Next we were brought inside to see where all their great sounds have been summoned. Their practice space was quite impressive. It was definitely a fertile ground to conjuring some epic music. The walls were liberally admonished with past accomplishments of the band: gig flyers, posters, etc. Although it was somewhat small, the structure played a valid role in the band’s creativity. At least in my eyes I saw it that way.
After our initial pleasantries, the band set up and we prepared for filming. The song chosen for the promo was “Ode to Misanthropy – This I Swear”, taken off the Plutonian Shore split. An epic song with some fast, thrashy elements, I feel they made the right choice in that regard.
Once the filming began, there were several takes from different angles. Although the setting was in a practice space, their performance was still in full form. They definitely understood the intensity I was trying to create for the video. The footage taken definitely reflects that.
Some additional shots were taken around area…I wanted to add an extra dimension in the video, plus with all countryside available, it would have been criminal to not use.
To finish things off, we shot a brief interview with the band, basically giving some insight into the world of Humut Tabal.

All the footage will be edited and included on the DVD/zine, which is planned to be released in January. Well providing that I receive all materials from other bands in a timely manner.

The next day was another long adventure. We went to the Fun Fun Fun Fest. The main reason for attending was to see Negative Approach and The Damned. Both were in top form and sounded great. For The Damned, it was a rare US appearance. So their performance was one that I could not miss. Besides battling a raging dust storm, the event was pretty satisfying. We only went on Saturday to see the bands mentioned above. I could not imagine going for all three days. Of course the previous night’s show was the infamous Danzig fiasco. I am sure everyone already knows that story. So I will not waste any time on that. Slayer and Cannibal Corpse played Sunday, but I have seen both bands numerous times. So another viewing was not needed.
As for the “Ode to Misanthropy – This I Swear” promo video, it will be posted soon. After many meticulous hours of editing, the visual assault was complete.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bowel + Insect Warfare interviews

Five years ago I toyed with the idea of printing a zine. Well it never panned out; however I did get a few interviews in the process. Below are two that never saw the light of day, until now. They are with two prominent Houston bands Bowel and Insect Warfare. The content is dated, but still interesting. Take a look.

For a while now, Bowel has been busy destroying the Gulf Coast area with their extremely heavy, down tuned sludge. The band's live performances have a reputation of being loud. Not just in the sense of being deafening, but in the fact that their riffs can vibrate the whole human body. Some of the members sat down to give some band history and what the future has in store.

First off I must ask, is it still a Harsh World?
uh... only when I'm not stoned.

Your debut CD/EP "Ploughers of Land and Sea" is a great piece of pure heaviness! It has everything needed for a great release: a crystal clear recording, a nice digipack format with a full lyric sheet and sick pictures of the band. Have you been getting lots of positive feedback on the record? How has it been working with Skum Records? Alot of people have been stoked on the cd/ep. Craig at Origin Sound is who recorded the cd and he's super easy to work with. We worked with him in a previous band INCISOR. Having the cd mastered by our friend Mark though is what really made it a complete album and heavier than fuckin tank treads. Skum Records was full steam ahead in the beginning and kinda lost interest by the time we actually had the cds in our hands.

Was constipation a key element in naming the band Bowel? Constipation is not a fun place my friend. Actually Jeff named the band from when he used to write BOWEL in marker on the seat of all his pants. Shit or get off the pot!

Your lyrical content seems to cover a variety of depressing topics. Who is the main lyricist? Please give us some more insight on the meaning of the songs. I'm pretty much the main lyricist... most the stuff on the record is kinda old. i had writtin alot of the lyrics years before and aren't necisarlly the way i feel right now. Plus, you know, you can write ten billion songs and there's always something to say... feelings. Hahahaha...

Is the song "Rectal Cyanide" an autobiographical song? Yeah it was an autobiography of my ealier years when i lived off of beef jerkey and pepto bismol... but things are a little bit better now.

From what I have heard, you have quite a bit of material that is waiting to be released. Give us a rundown of what we can expect. Well we have a mound of crap to put out We recently recorded 4 new songs that are all going to be on different demos/splits with BOTE and PiLLCRUSHER and there's also a Texas Doom comp coming out that we'll be on. We can't get our shit recorded and out quick enough. We're constantly writing new material and BOWEL's sound is changing, in a good way.

Bowel seems to be one the hardest working bands in Texas. It seems like you get around quite a bit on the live circuit. How is the crowd response from town to town? We've been on a bunch of shows all over texas and the response is usually pretty good. We played with our bros in this band from Houston called the Jon Benet and they have a predominantly younger crowd. You know, sideways elevator hair cuts and fuckin shirts 2 sized to small n shit. One kid that was at the show said this "I feel really sorry for anyone that has to listen to you practice. Who plays feedback for 2 whole minutes? I looked around the room when you were playing and no one was liking it at all" HAHAHahaha. The best feedback ever! So, it really depends what kind of bill it is.

Any immediate plans to tour outside of Texas? Not immediately but not soon enough.

Is it true that the band moonlights at Glam/Hair Metal clubs as Midnight Circus? Yeah, like the ripcord club is a favorite... get some apparel from Magick Cauldron and let it all hang out. Hair is really important to us as well. Midnight Circus has been a pet project that really gets us all the guys.

I would consider your sound as a Sludge/Doom influenced Eyehategod style. Correct me if I am wrong. Uhh... yeah i don't know. I've heard us compared to alot of differen't bands. All of our influences are pretty broad. It's hard to nail it down. This kid in San Antonio pegged us as "ROWDY DOOM" and i think that's a pretty fair description.

Do you know the whereabouts of the notorious L-O-G? The last time I saw him he was blowin up a toilet at Baskin Robbins!

Your members are veterans of the Texas music scene. Could you share with us any interesting stories from the past? What past bands were you in? Well I was in Krullur in the 90's and played a shitload of badass shows that came through Houston. Jeff that plays drums played bass in a Houston band called SPUNK and toured the US. Jason our other guitarist plays guitar in a hardcore outfit called PRIDE KILLS. I'm sure if Jason were here right now he could tell ALL kinds of stories!!!

Since you have been around the extreme music scene for over 15 years, what changes have you seen? How do the old days of the Axiom and Vatican (for you Houstonians) compare to the present? Dude new school is waaay more disjointed than it was back then. Nowadays you got all diff kinds of different genre's in the heavy spectrum of things. Death metalers hate anything that isn't death metal, hardcore kids hate anything that isn't hardcore and so on... Back then everyone went to the show to fucking have a blast. If DEAD HORSE was playing you just fuckin went to the show you know? Who cares who's opening!

Is Nelson still driving the Desecrator? haha hahah hah...OH GOD... straight to hell! With Bob Seger blastin on the eight track!!!

What ever happened to that wino that puked and shit all over your rehearsal space? Hahhahah... we preserved him in a keg of wiskey and he's in our practice space. Pickeled, i guess you could say.

Thanks for taking time out to do this interview. Please give any contact information on how the readers may obtain your merchandise.
Gotta myspace : contact us there for merch info.
A real website is under construction.

So what is the meaning behind the name Insect Warfare? Rahi picked the name. We started as an international terrorist network and we were going to use moths and slugs to kill George Bush. We were too lazy though so we just started a shitty grindcore band instead.
What initially attracted you to extreme music? Was it your first Stryper cassette?
Look dude, just because the Yellow and Black attack had a huge impact on your life doesn’t mean it affected everyone else the same way. I was attracted to extreme music because I felt that getting laid was a waste of time and what better way to be unattractive to females than listening to awful music. In regards to Stryper: fuck Christian death and thrash metal. How can that possibly be taken seriously?
I think it is great that your band seems to bring back the spirit of late 80s, early 90s death grind. When I listen to your music it reminds me of being a teen during those years. What are your memories of that era?
I don’t know, Ninja Turtles action figures and Kurt Russel movies? I was a little kid. I didn’t get into grindcore til the sixth grade. Up until that point I was busy listening to things like Metallica and trying to stay out of detention. I do remember the 90s though. I began going to shows at the Abyss. I was trying to check out the most extreme death metal I could find at the time. Here we are a decade and a half later and I’m still doing the same thing. The only difference is there is just no Abyss now.

I understand that you are currently writing material for a new full length. What can we expect? Will that be released by 625?
The new full length is entitled “World Extermination”. 625 thrashcore will be doing the US version and RSR out of Germany will be doing the Euro version. We just finished a 10 song demo for the LP entitled “Evolved Into Obliteration”. I am very happy with the new songs. They are getting faster and the heavier parts are getting heavier. Also expect side B to be a full on experimental free jazz piece. I pulled out my saxophone and Rahi is playing the timbales. We expanded our minds.
You just released a great split 7” with the Japanese band Boltstein. How did you come in contact with them? About a 2 years ago I got the Unholy Grave/Bolt Stein split 7” on Awesome Mosh Power records. I was totally stoked because I couldn’t believe there was a Japanese grindcore band that was as heavily into Bolt Thrower as we were. I began writing letters with them and exchanging packages and we eventually decided to do a record together. Anyone who does not like Bolt Thrower is a poser.
On the Boltstein split there is a song called “Fucked Up On PCP”. Is that based on a true story? Yeah, the song is about Rahi doing PCP and crashing his Trans Am into a police station. Actually, the song was inspired by the 90s Los Angeles grind band EXCRUCIATING TERROR. The song was about that whole west coast gangster grind thing.
All your releases have a great brutal raw sound yet clean enough to keep a professional edge. Has all of your material been recorded in the same studio? All of our recordings up to the Carcass Grinder split have been recorded with Eric and Chris of Gods Temple Of Family Deliverance. That is the name of their church with a satanic recording studio in the back. Our drummer Dobber has built a studio called Red Room and we are doing all of our recordings there because he lets us snort cocaine off the mixing table. That is the only reason.

Does the same artist illustrate all of your releases? I believe you had said he also does art for children’s books.
Daniel Shaw does all of the art for Insect Warfare. We all get together, drink Busch Tallboys, listen to thrash metal, and come up with record cover ideas. I don’t know if Daniel wants the details of his other job discussed. I don’t want to piss him off because when he gets mad he turns into a thrashmetal caveman hell bent on violence.
Any plans in the immediate future to go to Japan and play an entire set of SOB covers?
Yeah, but we are only playing songs from their Dub LPs. We are working on Japan touring plans for 2008. Some of ours buddies over there are trying to smuggle us into the country.
Out of your discography what is no longer in print? Every record is now of print at this point. The only thing that is not out of print is the Discography CD on 625/RSR. To be honest, we just got all of the records, through them into a big fire, and then used the wax to make art deco house furniture. Only 5 copies of each record are actually in existence. That is why they are all out of print.
You have gone out on a few tours. What is the scene like around the country? Any new bands coming up with the potential to capture the imagination of sick people?
The scene around the country at this point is pretty awesome. We always get to play with Endless Blockade from Canada are they are one of my favorite North American bands at this point. They play powerviolence the correct way, not the wrong way like all these other posers. Los Angeles has some great bands as well. I dunno, I was too fucked up on drugs to remember anything.
You recently played a gig in the record store Vinyl Edge. Did the audio turn out good enough for a proposed live 7” release of the show? Actually, it didn’t. I am extremely happy that we got to play Vinal Edge. That place is fucking legendary and Sam, Chris, and Chuck are the shit for letting us do it there. The only problem was we were so cramped for space that we kept knocking the microphones all over the place. We also suck really bad live so that doesn’t help either. Oh well, it was a fun idea at least.
Do you have any other split releases on the horizon? If so, with what bands?
After our LP we will be doing splits with Brutal Death from California and Blaspherian from Houston. Blaspherian is Daniel Shaws band and they sound like old Incantation mixed with Immolation. We have a bunch of international splits lined up for 2008. I have lots of writing to do.
On the “Endless Execution..” EP you paid tribute to the classic Canadian thrash band Razor. I take it that you draw lots of your influences from mid 80s thrash bands.
Thrash metal is the shit. I was just jamming “Darkness Descends” this morning. I like listening to thrash metal for the killer riffage and also for the Trans Ams. Thrash metal and Trans Ams go hand in hand.
Your preference in Napalm Death: Nick Bullen, Lee Dorrian or Barney? Well, it would have to be a tie between Dorrian and Bullen. I like how Bullen’s vocals are just scatterbrained and all over the place. They are very sloppy but also very intense sounding. Lee Dorrian’s vocals on “From Enslavement” are some of the best grind vocals of all time. His lows are punishing and his highs are ear piercing. Not a huge Barney fan but when I had dinner with him last time he was in town we talked about No Comment and Infest so that’s kind of cool. Plus, his big bleached blonde dog haircut is the funniest man!
In Cannibal Corpse: Corpsegrinder or Chris Barnes? Chris Barnes. Next question.
Autopsy or Impetigo?
Dude, that’s a tough one. That’s like apples and oranges. Impetigo did that weird early raw grind thing but also had a great sense of humor. Autopsy was fucking punishing and sludgy. I enjoy both. I was jamming Chris Reifert’s other band Doomed the other day. Total ENT crust worship from death metal vets. It came out in the 90s and is highly recommended.
Do you rock out to Celtic Frost’s “Cold Lake”? You should of covered “Cherry Orchards”.
Well, we were going to cover that song but we figured we could never make it as heavy as they did. We just settled for the wimpier song “Into Crypts Of Rays”. It is not as heavy as “Cherry Orchards” but its got a couple of heavy parts in it.
What was your thought of when Entombed changed their style to an almost rock & roll sound on the “Hollow Man EP” and “Wolverine Blues”LP?
Totally fucking weak! When it comes to Entombed all you need it the “Left Hand Path” record and the Nihilist demos. Fuck Wolverine Blues! I tried to listen to that again the other day and I got so mad I through it out of my car window. Then I threw it in reverse and backed over it again.
Is there any truth to the rumor that you have been contacted to record the new theme song for the wrestler Kamala? No, that is not true. We got contacted to get into a time machine and become the house band for the 80’s G.L.O.W. federation. Were going to play grindcore while girls beat the shit out of each other. BEWARE OF MOUNT FUJI!
In your words, what is false grind?
Stupid haircuts and highwater pants.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Please give the readers some info on how to contact the band and purchase merchandise.
No, thank you. Always a pleasure! We are always interested in trades and talking with other bands.