Friday, August 29, 2014
Hi, thanks for taking the time to do this email interview. Great job on “Soul Recall.” That album really captures the essence of old school death metal. Now that the album has been out for a while, what are some of the reactions that you have been receiving from fans? How satisfied are you with the album overall?
Jason: No problem dude! Thanks for the kind words. So far we’ve got almost nothing but praise. We ran into some bumps in the recording process that forced us to rush a bit to make the release date, but overall I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.
I actually saw you guys open for Morbid Angel in SF at Slims. Being my first introduction to Rude, I was impressed by your very old school death metal sound and have to say you were the perfect opener for Morbid Angel. As fans of Morbid Angel, what was the experience like opening them? Do you think that helped get you exposed to a larger audience?
Jason: It was truly an honor. We really couldn’t have asked for a better show to play- it proved that to us that our work was paying off and gave us exactly the exposure we needed. Not only that, but people began to take us very seriously.
I was wondering if you could give the people out there a little background history on Rude. Is this the original line-up? How long has this current line-up been together?
Jason: Far from the original line up. Rude existed in 2008 with different members aside from Yusef. They played different music too, darker and dirtier metal, more primitive to what it is now. My old band played a show with them once which is how I met Yusef. Ended up bumming burgers off of him at his job in Berkeley for years to come... In those years, Rude kind of evolved into a short lived thrashier band called Forsaker, with a new line up including current Rude drummer Tony. When that ended, Yusef joined a band called Scolex, and eventually in 2012 he hit me up to record some new stuff he was working on that didn't quite fit with Scolex. Of course I was surprised how good it was!! That material became the Haunted demo, and since then its been the same drummer Tony and lead guitarist David along with Yusef. I joined the band just before the Morbid Angel show. But you can say I've been there along the way.
Also, what other bands have any of you played in before Rude, and what is different about those bands compared to Rude?
Jason: I also play guitar in a band called Limbs, a pretty looney death/grind band with some powerviolence and noisecore thrown in, so it's different from Rude in that we don't take ourselves very seriously, and the songs are shorter, more frantic. Before that I was in high school, playing guitar in a band called Lobotomizer. That project had a lot of old school death metal influences, but especially more technical bands like Atheist. It had some funky and groovy riffs with a lot of real heavy slap bass. When it comes to Rude, I don't write much of what I play, so the style is different. I like the style the band had before I joined, so I'd rather adapt to it than try to inject my own style and make it all funky and weird. I'll save that for when I get my own project going again.
Of course it does not take a rocket scientist to tell that you guys enjoy death metal. What are some of your favorite bands? Also, what is the one death metal album you could not live without?
Jason: I enjoy the technical and quirky stuff. Atheist is a favorite for sure, along with Gorguts, Ripping Corpse, Demilich, Edge of Sanity. Of course we all worship the classic masters like Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Entombed, etc. The album I could not live without is probably Piece of Time or Unquestionable Presence. It's not often you hear such heavy music played with such depth. And the BASS!!
Time to talk more about what I consider to be one of the best death metal albums of the year. When I first listened to “Soul Recall,” I noticed how all the songs sounded solid and there were absolutely no fillers. How long had you guys worked on those songs? Also, how long did it take to record the album?
Jason: Thanks so much for the regards!! Most of the songs are from the Haunted demo, so they've had plenty of time to develop. Although, newer tracks like Internal Ascension we kind of worked out as we recorded them. So there's really both sides of the spectrum!
To record the album, it took a few months total. The first sessions were done in Yusef's basement and we didn't really get the sound we were hoping for. Later we did everything again in our rehearsal space where everything went smoothly over a few days worth of tracking. By then we were under a lot of pressure from our label, so I spent a week or two mixing it and sent it off with a pretty rushed mastering job. Some things I would have liked to change, but again, pretty satisfied overall.
All the songs on the album are great in my opinion, but if you could only pick three, which would you say are your favorite songs? Also, what song is the most challenging to play?
Jason: My favorites are all the new ones! Soul Recall, Last of Us, Internal Ascension. I recorded the Haunted demo and listened to those songs over and fucking over mixing them. I'm too tired of them to like them so much! Not to say they aren't any good of course. The most challenging one for me is probably Haunted. Those long 16th note sections are tough on bass, using 3 fingers to play notes in groups of 4. Alternate picking is a piece of cake, but that kind of stuff trips me up a bit, and my fingers get pretty tired whenever we play it later in the set.
As much as I keep saying how great the music sounds on “Soul Recall,” I must not forget how amazing the album art work looks. Dan Seagrave did one spectacular job. How pleased are you guys with the album cover art?
Jason: Um, its god damn amazing. Thank you Lord Seagrave. It helps us fit in with the old school classics! Can't wait to see what he might do for us next....!!
Now practice makes perfect, unless you are Allen Inverson, so I was wondering how often do you guys practice together? Do you come up with most of your songs when you all practice together?
Jason: We don't practice enough if you ask me. But its okay, cause the style we play doesn't exactly call for surgical precision or anything. We're only starting to write songs together more recently, after Soul Recall. Before it was mostly Yusef with some input from David. Of course Tony is there laying down the most pummeling rhythm section to support their ideas.
Now, Rude is signed to FDA Rekotz, a great German label specializing in some of the best new extreme bands. How did you guys get in contact with FDA Rekotz? What have you liked most about working with them?
Jason: Man, Yusef sent those tapes everywhere. He is relentless. I guess the demo just ended up in the right hands! It's been nice seeing so much recognition in Europe. They seem to be making great connections for us that we hope to utilize soon. Its awesome, seeing our pictures and interviews in magazines with languages I can't even read, haha.
Recently Rude just finished up a west coast tour with Derogatory and Skelethal. Overall, how did the tour go? What was your favorite venue to play at on the tour?
Jason: It was a lot of fun! The crowds weren't very big, but people really enjoyed the music bought a lot of records. And the West was introduced to Skelethal, who are doing a killer job bringing old Swedish style. My favorite venue was the Metro in Oakland. 3 tours all crossed paths that night making for one hell of a show. Also the biggest and most comfortable stage!
I know touring is becoming extremely difficult for bands. However, do you have any future tour plans in the works, or are you still working the local scene for the time being?
Jason: We are hoping to tour Europe next and reunite with Skelethal over there! It will be nice to play for people that have been waiting to hear us live. The local scene here is pretty apathetic.
Well, I guess that is all the questions I have. Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions. Can’t wait for the next release, and highly recommend everyone reading this who has not yet listened to “Soul Recall,” do so now!
Jason: No problem!! Cheers! If you dig the sound of the album, check out my studio website www.brainsplitterstudios.com - I have killer deals for recordings and I'm happy to travel.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Prepare for massive haunting melodic doom metal that will send chills down your spine. Northern Crown’s, “In the Hands of the Betrayer,” is an album that summons up plenty of dark melodic sounds.
This debut EP features five songs that represent classic sounding melodic doom metal. Northern Crown builds enormous haunting musical atmospheres and comes up with a variety of sinister guitar riffs. Vocally, the singer presents the material with a loud melodic voice that also creates a chilling vibe. As he narrates melodic tales of terror, the band follows along by constructing even darker sounding musical landscapes. One area that really caught my attention on this album, was the band’s use of keyboards. Just imagine if Jon Lord was playing doom metal. Each keyboard progression perfectly compliments the song’s overall atmosphere.
Once the album begins, the growing doom sound washes over like a gigantic wave and drags listeners into a sea of pleasant darkness. The opening song, “In the Hands of the Betrayer,” instantly kicks into a fast past heavy jamming riff. When the singer enters his vocals echo with fierce melodic presence. About midway through the song, the band slows down tempo and creates a cosmic sounding atmosphere. Also, the guitarist unleashes an intense guitar solo that deviates from the slower cosmic like section.
“A Perfectly Realized Torment,” begins with a really slow tempo and throughout the song, the rhythm picks up pace. However, the band never departs too far from that haunting overall tone. I find the slower riffs to be extremely heavy and the sound gives the lyrics an extra emphasis. Song three, “Crystal Ball,” is a Candlemass cover, and works well with the other material on this album. Northern Crown sounds very similar to Candlemass, so the song could be mistaken as an original from Northern Crown.
Now the track, “Approaching, Encroaching Storm,” is a bit bizarre, yet still works with this album’s haunting theme. The track features some fierce wind noises and a short spoken monologue. If anything, the storm piece sets up the final song, “To Thee I Give an Orchid.” This final song is the longest track on the album and continues to present that dream like melodic doom sound. Northern Crown even sounded a bit like Type O Negative with this song, especially during the keyboard parts. Towards the end of the track, the contrast of heavy sounding riffs and rhythms is matched by a soothing piano piece. The finale is magnificent and solemnly fades into the doom horizon.
“In the Hands of the Betrayer,” is highly recommend for all fans of melodic doom metal. Northern Crown constructed this EP with brilliant musicianship and the band faithfully follows the doom metal formula. The music is a great blend of haunting melodic sounds that welcomes all listeners into its dark harmonious realm. Don’t be afraid, and let the band guide you through this amazing five song musical creation.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I don’t think Heaven will be able to handle this Black/ Death Metal assault that Fornicus has to offer up on their debut album.
“Storming Heaven,” is a vicious sounding release with plenty of glorious sinister sounding riffs and of course, blasphemous lyrics that would make an elderly church going woman faint. These Kentucky based extreme music makers deliver the haunting and aggressive goods. The band combines traditional Black Metal with face ripping old school Death Metal. I definitely get a Dark Funeral vibe from these guys and would also say they even sound like a black metal version of Morbid Angel. When approaching a song the band really tries to come up with diverse parts that maintain an extreme aggressive tone.
The opening track on this album is called, “The Pledge,” and is just an audio recording of women pledging their allegiance to Satan. Good choice for a black metal band and soon after the audio clip ends, Fornicus introduces their extreme brand of metal. “We Are Sin,” expresses truly sinister sounding compositions and lyrics. The song has a solid driving rhythm that can be very catchy yet still haunting. The third track on this album, “Pallium Mali,” is definitely more straight forward black metal. There are some minor alterations to the black metal formula and the band even incorporates some splatter thrash riffs in the song. Fornicus’s lead singer sounds gruesome as he changes from deep gutter growls to a tortured shrieking traditional black metal style.
Also to point out, the guitar playing on this album is unbelievable at times and constantly changes. On certain songs you will get the Slayer like random shredding, but then there are songs that feature some melodic minor scale shredding. From intense speed picking black metal riffs to slower sludgy death metal break downs, Fornicus really presents a diverse array of guitar riffs. “Into Obscurity,” was one example where I thought the guitar playing took on many different forms. Another song that I find the band did well on was their cover of Sepultura’s, “Antichrist.” Fornicus applied their own extreme sound to a black/ thrash classic and the overall track continued the band’s aggressive musical tone.
The last two tracks on this album do a smashing job ending a release that was intense, brutal and down right unholy. I really enjoyed the title track, “Storming Heaven,” which was a fierce piece of music. Once the drummer starts blasting away on his kit, the song maintains pure extreme attitude. Towards the end of the song there is this chugging riff section that gets the head banging and sounds very ominous. “The Beckoning,” which is the final song on this album, is about six minutes of sheer musical insanity. Fornicus lays down all they have left for an enormous sounding sinister finale.
For the most part, I have heard this style of black metal meets death metal before. All these guys think Satan is on their side and the lyrics on this album are typical for a black metal band. The overall sound however won me over, because I am a sucker for bands that mix up different genres of extreme sounding metal music. Plus, the guitar playing is solid and there are plenty of tasty extreme distorted riffs. If you enjoy black metal, death metal or a sound track for when Heaven gets attacked by demons, this is the album for you.
Friday, August 8, 2014
Blackened Death Metal band, Vorzug, offers everyone a glimpse into what is soon to come from this extreme Phoenix, Arizona trio.
Vorzug is currently working on their debut album, but has released a single titled, "I am Hell." From what I have heard in this single, these guys mix gritty death metal with vicious black metal to create sheer face ripping music. The band also uses two different extreme vocal styles to narrate the sinister lyrics. I really like guitarist's tone and the sound he is able to make creates this massive wall of sludgy distortion. Musically, I have no complaints and the instrumental composition flows really well. The song definitely has a unique style and should appeal to a wide variety of extreme music fans. Of course, there are plenty of Blackened Death Metal bands singing about hell and other demonic themes, but hopefully Vorzug will find ways in their dark creative minds to separate themselves from the usual suspects. Highly worth checking out if you are a fan of Blackened Death Metal!
Link to the bands Facebook page: