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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: E.S. Day
Canada’s Counter Culture
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Behind the cover Rest in power, E.S Day 1968-2011 My first impressions of E.S. Day were shared with a lot of other people as well. A rough around the edges, no nonsense type of guy with an extreme case of “I’ll say whatever the fuck I want to anyone.” Scott was however, most content running the show from behind the scenes, playing the Wizard of Oz role during his time as Editor in Chief of the only non-profit counter-culture magazine in Canada. To those who never know the wizard behind the curtain, he was a simple man. Intelligent beyond his years and quite humble, although those who knew him might call bullshit on that one. In all honesty, he WAS selfless. Offering more of himself to everyone who needed encouragement, than anything he ever asked for in return. The scales were definitely tipped in our favour simply for knowing him. Lately, I am reminded of one of the first shows I ever attended with Scott personally. RZA was in town promoting his alterego Bobby Digital at the now demolished posh-condo site Richards on Richards. Having an audience with the Rzarector himself had Scott bursting at the seams, with a clipboard of tough questions aimed at the genius behind Wu-Tang. How awesome was it that he wanted to talk to ABORT!? Didn’t turn out as awesome as we had hoped. A little “wizzle wuzzle” and “guzzle guzzle” later, an inebriated, incoherent, and utterly insane RZA simply dropped his head and mumbled something in a mix of... Yiddish and Elvish... We knew it was time to go. It wasn’t until roughly two years later when Scott had the opportunity to meet a sober RZA backstage at Rock The Bells and bring up the event. RZA promptly apologized, even though he had no memory of that night two years back. (A bottle of vodka and several shots of hard liquor will make you forget things, I suppose) If he wasn’t stealing JUNO awards from Sarah McLachlan, talking about Stephen King’s writing style with Lemmy fucking Killmister of Motorhead, or bringing Snoop Dogg some A1 grade BC weed, having the DOGG miss his flight from YVR to LAX, he was spending time nose-deep in the magazine. Creating a legacy that will continue many more years to come, always in his honour. Wherever you are, you’re at peace. With love in my heart and tears in my eyes. Scott Alexander Managing Editor | Photography Editor | Head Photographer
Managing Editors: Grimm Culhane, Scott Alexander Photo Editor: Scott Alexander Hip-Hop Editor: Dave “Corvid” McCallum Metal Editor: Alxs Ness Art Director/Layout: Taiyo Greenaway Additional Layout: Daniel Bacharach Staff Writers: Grimm Culhane, Dave “Corvid” McCallum, Arceon (Europe), Alxs Ness, Kassandra Guagliardi, Joel “ninjoelspy” Parent, Keith Durocher, John Norby (UK), E.S. Day, Nigel Mojica, Taylor Ell, Sean Cowie, Karla “Khaos” McLeod, Kevvy Mental, Matt Snow, Fierce Kitty, Jimmy Lynch, Bill Taylor, Jamie Sands Staff Photographers: Scott Alexander, Jamie Sands, Chris McKibbin, Chris Webber, Tyler Simpson, Dustin Wood, Ajani Charles (Toronto), Sarah Hamilton, Arceon (Europe), Taylor Ell, Eva Vulgar Web Design/Graphics: John Allan (www.johnallan.ca) Contributors: Jonathan Parsons, Daniel Bacharach, Justin Critch, Shaun Roberts, Byron Dauncey, Linda Lockwood, Charlene Tupper, Shayla McKinney, Bryan Mollett, Alina Roberts Transcribing: Alxs Ness, Jonathan Parsons, Dave McCallum, Nigel Mojica, Scott Alexander, Alexandria Lee Cover Artwork: Scott Alexander, Jamie Sands, Chris McKibbin ABORT Logo by Ara Shimoon ABORT MAGAZINE is owned and operated by: Abort Media Publishing Corporation (AMP Corp.) 1122 Bute St. Ste 1, Vancouver, BC Canada,V6E 1Z4 604.893.8480 Fuck The Fax
Marketing/Promotions: firstname.lastname@example.org Employment Opportunities: (email@example.com) ABORT TV: www.abort.tv | firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions/E-Newsletter: email@example.com (We DO NOT give out your e-mail address) CD’s, DVD’s, Books, Art, Murals, Cash, Drugs, Garter Belts, Guns, Fur Coats, Trans-fatty/deep-fried foods and Cigarettes to be considered for review: firstname.lastname@example.org To submit words, photos, art, video and filth: Submissions@abortmag.com NOTE: ABORT Magazine/ABORT TV and its copyright holders, accept no responsibility for and will not necessarily respond to unsolicited art, manuscripts or any form of media Including photo, video, audio and film footage. Such material will not be returned unless accompanied by a SASE. Tales From The Eastside™ contains pictures of people who have given consent and/or been compensated by ABORT™ Magazine, AbortCast™, ABORT TV ™ and AMP Corp for use of their likeness and comments. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Abort Media Publishing Corporation (AMP Corp.) ISSN 1918-0594 | ABORT Magazine is a Canadian Publication (Not a Vancouver one)
EDW ARD SCOTT DAY
Feb 3, 1968 – Nov 14, 2011
It is with great sorrow and heaviness of heart that we announce the passing of our dear friend, mentor, and Editor In Chief of Abort Magazine, Edward Scott Day. He was found at home in his bed on Tuesday morning, and likely passed on Monday evening of multiple health complications. E.S., Scott, or Scotty to his close friends, was quite simply a force of nature, a man whose personality was so large that even a casual meeting left a permanent impression. For those of us lucky enough to spend time with Scott, whether as staff for the most honest and up front magazine online, or as friends just chilling like villains in the batcave, his presence was, and still is like a constant ringing in our ears. For most of us, Scott was the guy who not only gave us the tools and contacts to take our creative efforts higher, he was the nagging editor who just wanted to light a fire under the collective asses of Vancouver, Canada, and beyond… Scott’s inimitable and often ragged-edged voice was like a skeleton key that could unlock any door, whether with sweetened eloquence or venomous vitriol, and his razor sharp wit was always ready to flip the tables and turn rage into hilarity. Abort Magazine is truly a testament to Scott’s incredible energy and drive. He coped with many health problems through the years with a tenacity, bravery, and refusal to admit defeat that still astounds his friends, and knowing that his time would be brief he focused his energies on creating a legacy, not just for himself, but for everyone he guided and inspired. As a friend, he was one of the kindest, most generous and caring people you could ever meet…beneath an exterior so brutally honest it could peel paint! His wide ranging talents and tastes shine through the pages of Abort – he was a drummer, DJ, and lover of all types of music, as well as one of the greatest interviewers and music journalists that Canada has ever seen. Scott’s life, while brief, was so full of events and stories that it would fill several books, and in the near future, some of us will be compiling these anecdotes into a more full tribute to our dear friend. As for myself, I just want to say that for almost six years now, Scott has been my best friend. We have laughed, cried, fought, made up, worked like madmen, relished in our triumphs and commiserated our failures. I have seen him through long stays in the hospital and nights when I would leave thinking I’d never see him again, only for him to bounce right back with renewed vision and unstoppable force. I regard Scott as family, which may not be too much of a stretch as my Great-Grandmother was a Day. Scott was proud of his Irish Newfoundlander roots, and it was always funny to hear the accent come out when he was talking to family…or extremely pissed off! Dear Scott, the number of people whose lives you touched is uncountable, and for those of us close to you, You will be forever in our hearts, and minds, and ears. I will miss the sound of your voice, the sharp edge of your mind, and your warm friendship more than I can say, and most of all I’ll miss the rainy afternoons spent laughing over roast chicken and good sativa. I love you bro, I know you’re in a beautiful place now where you can interview whoever you want and eat fried chicken by the bucket load, and I know your spirit will be here to keep us all on track for the rest of our lives. Rest In Peace Scott, you deserve it. By Dave ‘Corvid’ McCallum
Behind the Boards
Fierce Kitty: I’m here with producer, musician, collaborator, and recent Grammy winner Chin Injeti, all set for another ‘episode’ of Behind the Boards. Chin, how are you? CHIN INJETI: Great thanks! ABORT: While researching for the interview, I noticed your big break with music was with your group Bass is Base in Toronto. Is that also where your role as a producer started? CI: Yeah, it started with that group, but without really knowing it. You know? I didn’t really know what I was doing technically, but we were doing it anyway because a) we didn’t have the money, and b) we didn’t know how to how to approach someone to help us do it, so I just kinda learned on my own. We felt it out. ABORT: Was your first produced song with Bass is Base? Or was there another first? CI: The first thing I ever did that had any sort of commercial success was with Bass is Base, it was a song called ‘Funk mobile’ and it was a fun little song [laughs]. We did a neat video for it, and I think it made it to number one or two on Much Music. It did really well all over the country. It started my career ABORT: Will we be able to find it online? CI: Easily. ABORT: You’ve stated in the past that you have a preference towards the bass - is this preference seen in your production style, do you produce more bass heavy songs? CI: What I mean by that isn’t about the frequency. The bass is a very grounded instrument. It is the foundation of everything. So while I play all other instruments, I play them from that mind set. You know what I mean? I don’t try to over-do things, I mean, at one point I was probably like that, but the more I was in tune with the bass, the more I was in tune with everything else. If you want to play a guitar, play it so it facili-
tates the drums, the keyboards and everything else so the singer can keep it grounded. ABORT: What is your most favorite song/album that you produced? Why was this one the most memorable? CI: For commercial success, and just the pure enjoyment, had to be Recovery with Eminem. I performed and contributed to production on the song ‘Talking to myself’ and I love that. When production on that was finished, we looked at each other, and knew this would be perfect for Em’ and At some point later, Kahlil came to me “Chin, Em just cut that track” Can you imagine that?! One the flip side, just for pure love, I would say Zaki Ibrahim. I just love what she does. Those two you met just outside the studio, Sophia Denai and Omar Khan, I’ve been working with them lately. I just feel I’m working with the people I am supposed to be working with, and I am making the best music of my life right now. ABORT: Is there anything from your recording past that given today’s advancements in technology you’d like to re-record? CI: Yeah, that first Bass is Base record. ABORT: Back to DJ Kahlil. Aside from the production partnership, you two have a group called The New Royales (With Liz Rodrigues and Erik Alcock) With such a great partnership, do you mainly work with him, or tend to do more solo work? CI: All the stuff in the States has gone through him. Him and I have this thing where we sit in a room and he does what he does, and I do what I do. Its amazing, because he is from Los Angeles, he grew up in that cultural scene, and I am from Toronto, and I contribute what I grew up with, and it all just comes together. ABORT: In terms of expectations, has winning a Grammy changed the way you look at producing or who you will produce for? CI: No. But the phone-calls are cooler
[laughs] you know? The gigs I am supposed to be getting are pretty neat, but I don’t know - I still believe in talent in the city. In fact today, its official, I am the new A&R liaison at Universal Music. I’m going to continue what I do, and Universal has allowed me to do the job from the west coast. I believe in the talent here, and I want to nurture it. Here in Vancouver, specifically. So no, it hasn’t changed that much, but the Grammy does bear weight. The next day the phone-calls just changed, and so did my rates. ABORT: Like any ‘industrial engineer’ - sometimes knowing how a machine works will change how you use it. As an engineer of music for others, has it affected how you approach your own music? CI: Absolutely. Well, I did this record called “Detach”… ABORT: Which is amazing. CI: Thank you. I think maybe you’re the only person who has heard it. [both laugh] At the time I was recording ‘Detach’ I was also working on “Detox” for Dr. Dre, and some stuff for Nas and The New Royales, and everything we did on the other side of the border was HUGE! The biggest drum sounds, the biggest bass sounds, the biggest everything. Everything was about BIG. And when I came home, I literally picked up my acoustic guitar and just put a piece of paper on this couch right here in the studio, and just started singing songs. At that time, I was going through so much stuff. My dad was dying, I was going through stuff emotionally, and that’s what that was. I was recording where I was at that moment, and it just worked. Working with those people taught me how to strip back, but now my next record might be fully produced, because I have been really empowered in the studio. ABORT: That’s really amazing, and really inspiring as well. CI: Thank you ABORT: How has musical production
Fresh off his recent Grammy win, Producer Chin Injeti perhaps now best known for his contribution to Eminem’s recent hit album ‘Recovery’ takes time out from his busy schedule recording to sit down and talk with ABORT Magazine about his recent successes, the music industry, and his love of “Base” at his downtown Vancouver Studio.
changed the way you listen to music? Is it possible for you to just enjoy music without thinking about it from a producer’s POV? CI: Yes. I don’t know how everybody else is, but for me, what makes it work is the people. I am such a big fan of people and musicians. I listen to say, Arcade Fire, and I’m like, wow. It still makes me feel like when I first listened to Talking Heads, The Smiths, you know? Like when I first experienced Pink Floyd or Radiohead, good music makes you dream, it takes you to another place, so as a musician, it makes me wonder ‘how do they do that?!’ You want to be a fan of that. So I am definitely still a fan of things. I think maybe I lost sight of the question though. ABORT: No, No, versus looking at something completely technical, or… CI: Yeah, I am able to separate it. ABORT: Have you ever considered moving into live-performance production? Would the process be similar on stage and out of the studio? CI: No. I don’t endeavor into that because I am NOT an engineer. I don’t mix my records. I don’t know the first thing about compression, and how it works. I mean, I do, but not in theory. I ‘play’ everything in my studio as an instrument, even the mixing board. It becomes sort of like a planet. The studio becomes a living breathing entity almost ABORT: I remember seeing a video of you mixing and just the way you look while doing what you do, it looks like you’re swimming in the music. CI: Yeah, I definitely was. I am always. The mixing board just becomes my instrument, everything is pulsing, coming out, dynamics – soft loud, everything. ABORT: Do you have a favorite piece of equipment that is now obsolete, but you still use (or would like to use) because nothing sounds better? CI: Yeah, the Roland JV-2080 Voice Synthesizer. It was the successor to the very popular JV-1080. Which was the
industry-standard studio expander of the ‘90s. ABORT: What advice would your producer self say to your artist self? Vice versa? CI: I would say what I have been saying to myself. Keep it sincere, keep it simple, keep it authentic. ABORT: Same advice from artist to producer? CI: Yeah. I would say don’t try to facilitate the need. Don’t try to overpower the music with your opinion. It’s a terrible thing to rob someone of their dream, and that’s what I do, I create the space for their dream to happen.
“ I am such a big fan of people and musicians. I listen to say, Arcade Fire, and I’m like, wow. It still makes me feel like when I first listened to Talking Heads, The Smiths, you know? Like when I first experienced Pink Floyd or Radiohead, good music makes you dream, it takes you to another place”
AM: Bringing it back to something you’re doing right now, you’re doing some work with a local Vancouver Jay-Kin and Japan Earthquake relief, as well as a show at Fortune Sound Club? CI: I recorded a single last weekend. It is so beautiful. I’ll also be performing at the event. If you don’t give back, what’s the point? A lot of people will talk about it, post on twitter and raise awareness, but at the end of the day, what else are you doing? I just want to be one of those people who is always doing something, it’s important to me. ABORT: What is on your iPod lately? Anything local, or any up and coming bands you want to promote? CI: Locally, I listen to Sophia Denai, and since I am working with both her and Omar Khan, I take their music home with me, but I listen to Hot Hot Heat, some of their new stuff that no one outside the production have heard,
they’re really good friends of mine. I listen to U-Tern– he’s a great producer. I also check out groups like the [Aaron Nazru and the] Boom Boom’s, they’re from around here, a little Vancouver thing that is not happening everywhere else. I love to take that in. Erica Dee is also a good friend of mine. ABORT: Your recommendation for a ‘must have’ piece of technology for amateurs intent on making the most of their recording sessions? CI: Definitely the latest version of Apple’s Logic Studio. (Logic Studio 9) ABORT: What does NIMBUS (School of Recording Arts) mean for Vancouver? CI: Nimbus to me is the future of music, period. The reason I say that, is because right now the music industry has kinda turned on its side, it’s like an open wound, and everyone is trying to get in there and infect it, get everything
they can out of it and Nimbus is trying to nurture talent. They’re close with their students, and are really particular about who gets in there. Not only do they train, teach and nurture you, but when you leave, you don’t really leave, they give you a job. Like if I wanted a marketing team, I can go to a marketing class there and they can help me put my record together and sell it. If I want an engineer, I can find someone there who is relevant. Its because they are lead by people who are relevant, Garth Richardson (interview in issue 9), Bob Ezrin, who have done everything from Pink Floyd to Rage Against the Machine and now I am teaching there as well. I don’t teach them stuff that I don’t know. I teach my experiences. Sometimes these other technical schools charge kids so much money to come out with nothing, and I want to be able to give kids something that they can use if they want to do music, and I sometimes wish I had that, I
wish I had a mentor, someone like me. I know that sounds kinda egotistical, but I actually care about the betterment of the future of the music business, because it’s going to be dead otherwise. ABORT: Do you have any active mentors right now? CI: Oh yeah, Garth Richardson, Michael McCarty, the pastor at my church, Colin Griffith, the artists that I work with. Everyone I work with in some way or another. [local artist] Indigo is huge HUGE for me. ABORT: Do you think it’s the responsibility of the artist and producer to get world events and disasters into the minds of the people who listen to their music? CI: Only if they’re interested. It has got to come from a real place, but Yeah, I do. I just twittered this the other day, actually last night - “Our job is to inspire the world.” And as corny as that
sounds, it is true. Any kind of artist, you provoke thought and emotion. I think K’naan does a wonderful job at it. So as long as it is real, and you’re not just trying to make money of it I think it is. ABORT: Last question for today. What advice do you have for up and coming producers, mixers, and sound engineers trying to make it in this vicious game of rock and roll? CI: Just stay focused. Don’t look to the past, look to the future. ABORT: Thank you very much for your time Chin, congratulations again on the Grammy win. chininjeti.wordpress.com By Fierce Kitty All Photos - Scott Alexander
21 & Under With...
Jonas P. Renkse, the founder and the unmistakable front-man of Katatonia was kind enough to find time during their world tour to talk to ABORT Magazine’s European Editort Arceon, about the departure of Norman brothers, the collaboration with Long Distance Calling and the deep dark forest of the human soul. Arceon: First of all, congratulations on the new album and more recently, you brilliant new EP! It’s been four years since The Great Cold Distance”. What does it feel like to be back with new releases yet again? Jonas Renske: It feels just great. Finally we can add new songs live which is a spark for us. The reception to the new album has been nothing but fantastic so it’s all-good. ABORT: What’s the concept of the album? What is the embedded philosophy in it? Bleak outlook on the future? J.R.: Kind of, yeah. It’s not a concept album but many of the songs have a red thread going through them. Life and future at its bleakest. ABORT: It seem that this year you have the biggest tour in the history of the band. Shows are sold-out. How do you deal with all this action and popularity? Aren’t you afraid of becoming a trendy band?
audience. We also try to have an extra look around when we come to anew country, try some local beer and those kind of things. ABORT: What do you attribute to your relatively mainstream success? In an interview you mentioned that you are number one on your label. Is the promotion that good? J.R.: Peaceville is doing great work for us . I think they have seen the full capacity of the band now and we are very happy with how things a proceeding. As I said before, mainstream success is not a priority for us, but expanding the fanbase is. I am very humble and feel grateful when I see more people show up at our gigs. It’s what makes it worthwhile these days. ABORT: There are many new web goodies from Katatonia: new site, polls, commentaries, notes on Facebook, tour blog. Who’s doing all this? Why did you decide to communicate more with fans? J.R.: Today, I think people expect you to be more in touch with the fans, as there are loads of more mediums to use to reach out. I think it might take away some of the mysteriousness a band/artist could have back in the day. But it also feels good to be able to give fast and reliable information about anything happening with the band.
Katatonia is a truly amazing Swedish doom/progressive/depressive-rock band, which are probably one of the few (if not the only) in the genre to have memorable albums that do stand apart and singles that are equally as good or better. Their transition from death-doom in the early days to an arcane alchemical substance that thousands adore and love is unique and even though the trend in the genre isn’t unheard of, Katatonia does it their own mindgrabbing way. Their last album Night is The New Day and the following single and EP “The Longest Year” is another step in their evolution and a surprising jump in popularity.
ABORT: Considering the fact that the Norrman brothers left J.R.: For me it’s an achievement. To be able to expand the fan- the band, will it affect your future records and if yes, how? base without compromising with the sound of the band, that’s We will have to wait and see. Muthe way it should be. I think the new It’s not a concept album, but many of the J.R.: sically, I’m not sure that people will be album is even a little more difficult to get into compared to the previous songs have a red thread going through them. able to hear it, but on a personal level Life and future at its bleakest. it’s going to feel as weird being in the album, so I’m not afraid to become “trendy” at all. We will keep doing the same kind of music de- studio without them as it was in the beginning of the tour. They have been members for such a long time, they were expected to spite what’s “hot” at the moment. be there, but they weren’t. It felt kind of bleak at times. ABORT: True fans have undoubtedly noticed your compelling collaboration with Long Distance Calling. Was it interesting to ABORT: Why is Anders Nystrom a more frequent interview work with a post-rock band? How did you decide to take them partaker? It also looks like he’s the only one overseeing the tour blog. Does he have more free time or is he just more comtouring with you? municative? J.R.: It was interesting to do it because they are an instrumental band, I’d say. I had to take that into consideration. I wanted J.R.: He really likes to interact and he also is the person in the the vocals to add another dimension but still let their own mu- band with all the accurate info. He’s just that kind of person. sic to be the main ingredient. I didn’t want to overdo it just Myself, I am more withdrawn I guess. because I had the chance. Yes, Jan (their bass player) told me they were interested in the support slot and since I know him ABORT: I see Katatonia fans sitting in complete solitude in the from before, and they are a great band it was an easy choice for darkness, listening to your music in moments when it seems that night will never end and the day will never come and nothus to bring them along. ing can save them. Do you have a message for these people? ABORT: Are you planning to visit countries, where you’ve What would you like to say to them? never been before on this tour? Is there anything special that Katatonia and you personally do when you are playing some- J.R.: I hope our music can be a good companion in those times. It is made that way. where for the first time? J.R.: We played a couple of places that we hadn’t played before, like Israel. It’s always extra fun (and sometimes it makes me nervous) because you don’t know what to expect from the katatonia.com peaceville.com By Arceon
21 & Under With
ABORT Magazine’s E.S. Day caught up with Keith for a quick 21 & Under session to discuss the new album, HipHop, Haiti and more. E.S. Day: Def Squad reunion: Are you still in touch with Redman and Erick Sermon - any updates? Keith Murray: Yes I'm in touch with Erick and Red, I live down the street from Erick right now and I talk to Red on the phone and text once a week. We’re talking about doing a new D.S. album but we have to get in the studio and do it. Our lives have taking different paths right now, but it’s in the mind so I hope it will happen. ABORT: Your recent trip to Mozambique has to be an eyeopening experience, what prompted you to do that at that time as opposed to earlier? KM: Yes, my trip to Mozambique has been an eye-opener. I went there because the opportunity came to me at the time. I did 2 shows and went to visit orphan kids and kids with HIV who nobody goes to see. I walked around the town to the stores and the people knew who I was and took pictures, so I was thankful to see they knew me.
KM: My new album is called THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL.I named it that to give myself room to touch many different topics. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful in life, with all types of cutting edge sounds and unconventional formats. As far as producers I got the RZA, a producer from Boston named The Sultan, a producer from over seas named M-Phazes and Erick Sermon. Right now its half way done (at time of interview - Ed)I got the RZA rapping on there, Redman and my younger brother D.Murray so far. ABORT: Last great Canadian artist you listened to? KM: The last great Canadian artist I listened to was The Rascalz. We had the same beat for my song “Candi Bar”. I didn't know they had the beat when Kevin from Def Jam at the time gave it to me, but I like them. ABORT: How did you and Canibus come together for the Undergods project? KM: I got with Canibus from a friend we both know by the name of M80. ABORT: Any other outside ventures or collabos coming up? KM: My outside ventures include a set of headphones and movie parts in the works.
ABORT: How come the Hip-Hop community has rarely done anything for HIV/ AIDS and why is there still such an ignorant attitude towards it? (And by the way props to you for taking a stand) KM: I feel the Hip-Hop community is doing all it can at the time for awareness, but a lot of people don't want to talk about it because its a scary thing and its real so they don't want to talk about it, but its a lot of other things killing people as well. ABORT: Do you think certain artists are in fact profiting off the situation in Haiti via shows and royalty donations that are (apparently) going toward the cause? As we have already seen/heard about benefit shows where the money went right into the promoters pockets? KM: with the Haiti situation I don't thing artist are lining their pockets. I think they’re really trying to help, but the government over there is in control and from the looks of things they’re the real problem why the people are not being helped. As far as the promoters taking the money, that’s just not right and they will have to answer to God for that. ABORT: New album: when and who is on board as far as producers?
“The last great Canadian artist I listened to was The Rascalz”
ABORT: How is the European response so far on these dates, have you found Europe appreciates Keith Murray more than North America? KM: My European dates are going well they all know and love Keith Murray. As far as Europe appreciating me more than America I feel it’s the same love. They all like what I've done and what I'm doing. ABORT: Next up and coming MC to break out in your hometown (unsigned), your recommendation? KM: the next emcee to break out from my hometown is my younger brother D FISH GREASE MURRAY not because he’s my brother, but because he’s a talented rapper and has a way with words. ABORT: Thanks for your time Keith. KM: Thanks for your time; people can hit me at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace under the name Keith Murray. Peace. By E.S. Day
With his 8th studio album about to be released, Long Island, NY rapper Keith Murray is set to bring his latest brand of sharp-tongued lyricism to the Hip-Hop masses. Murray, a member of the elite Def Squad trio that includes Redman and EPMD’s Erick Sermon, has been in the studio putting the finishing touches on his latest opus: The Beauty Of It All
The ABORT Interview
Words Joel Parent | Photo Conor Clarke
System of a Down’s
JOEL PARENT: You were approached by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to do collaboration, and the result is the Elect the Dead Symphony. You were involved in much of the composition and arrangement for a number of the instruments, with help from Kiwi Orchestrator John Psathas. Many pop and metal musicians are not classically trained with regard to sheet music etc. Tell us about your background in classical music training and how it helped you in the rearrangement process. SERJ TANKIAN: Sure, I have zero classical training in music! (Laughs). However I do find it compelling and enjoyable to write for orchestra. I use sampled strings and midi to write all of the different parts that I envision, and then I convert that into files to print out, then I work with an orchestrator or conductor to double check the work. Test it out with an orchestra, or rehearse, and once everything is great we go ahead and do it. ABORT: That’s great, the technology they have these days really helps people like you and me out for sure. SERJ: Absolutely, yeah. ABORT:There are summer dates planned across Europe for the Elect The Dead Symphony, and possibly some US dates as well. Have you considered bringing the show to Canada? SERJ: I have and, you know, I have my agents fielding offers from different orchestras around the world, Canada inclusive. So if something comes up we will definitely look at the offer. But it’s really hard to get an orchestra with a short period of time trying to, you know, book orchestras since they’re usually booked up about a year or year and a half in advance. ABORT: Yeah they usually have their programs well in hand. So I guess you haven’t had any word from Bramwell Tovey at the VSO in Vancouver? SERJ: No I guess not! (Laughs) The agents are fielding all the offers right now, if something comes up then that would be great.
ABORT: I’ve seen the VSO do a couple of really good things. It would be awesome to hear them branch out a little bit more than they normally do and get into this. I’ve definitely heard them do some cool stuff before though, some really interesting arrangements. SERJ: That’s cool. And we’ve been using the DVD to send out to different orchestras to kind of give them an idea of what we did with the Auckland Philharmonia, so if they’re interested then they’ll see what they’re getting into kind of thing so that’s been really helpful. ABORT: Looking forward to that. So now, in light of all this, you’ve been working on a new album with some material that is going to incorporate a healthy dose of jazz-orchestral arrangement drawing from your experience with the Elect The Dead Symphony, and you are also working on a musical. With the melodic strength and complexity of your work, especially involving vocals, have you considered doing any extensive choral arrangements? SERJ: I have, I have! That’s a whole different field you know? It’s like writing for orchestra but with voices instead of string instruments and brass. I do definitely want to get into to that. If I ever had a giant choir at my disposal I would definitely dive into it and write a piece for them. That’s another thing, having something like that at your disposal is not easy. It’s a lot of people, especially a nice professional choir. So until then I’ll be relegated to using sampled choirs, melo-tron choirs and what not to fill in some of the spaces in my pieces. But one day I would love that opportunity to write for a choir. ABORT: That would be amazing, I’ve seen some really great collaborations, even just in town here between the VSO and the Elektra Women’s Choir and other ones here. It’s just amazing when you get everyone up on a huge stage all together, like you said, to have that opportunity would be great. SERJ: It’s amazing all those voices at the same time. I was just listening to a beautiful choir, an old Armenian choir.
And I love the Bulgarian choir sound as well, the Bulgarian women’s choir and the really interesting and intricate harmonies that they apply. So yeah that would be awesome. ABORT: Have you ever toyed with the idea of a metal choir? SERJ: (Laughs) ABORT: For instance, where the deep growlers or the death metal singers are the basses and baritones, and the more tonal or hardcore screamers are the tenors and altos, and you get Dani Filth or Devin Townsend in there to do the black metal soprano lines? With a healthy dose of melody do you think such a choir could function? SERJ: What an interesting concept bro! Yeah I think that’s a new one, I’ve never thought of that! That’s pretty wild! Yeah sure, why not, you know? ABORT: Or maybe just as a chamber choir, just a smaller one to start and see if you can make it work? SERJ: THE DARK CHAMBER CHOIR!! (Serj speaks in evil voice… and laughs) That’s cool! What an interesting concept. ABORT: Yeah I’ve been tossing it around for a while but I’ve never found enough singers to try it out. But that’d be a lot of fun I think. SERJ: You need a lot of growlers, you gotta go to northern Europe, you know? ABORT: Yeah I was just gonna say let’s take this idea to Scandinavia for sure. SERJ: Totally, yeah! Yeah, that’s where it’ll work. ABORT: You started the label, Serjical Strike, to give bands outside the mainstream a chance at success. What was it like for you with System of a Down being the odd band out on tours like Ozzfest amongst so many straight up heavy bands? Do you have any advice for the weird young bands out there discouraged and misunderstood by the industry or the public?
With the Music Industry being forced to endure a nosedive every couple of months, you can always count on the artists and musicians to stick to their guns and bring their craft to the masses at any cost. A perfect example of this is System of A Down. The band’s multi-talented vocalist/ poet Serj Tankian, known for his outspoken political views, checks in with Ninjaspy guitarist/ vocalist Joel Parent, to discuss Serj’s most recent recording Elect The Dead Symphony, death metal choirs, animal rights and more.
SERJ: It’s really quite interesting. The more the industry starts to fade away in terms of distribution and investment into new bands, the more they want you to, you know, kind of fill into the cookie cutter type of music. Same with films, actually, in Hollywood, as far as production. But you know, you’ve got to stick to your guns. You’ve got to do what’s in your heart, what’s in your vision. Because that’s the only way you can speak honestly through your music. That’s really it, there’s no other way of doing it. And work hard to get at it, you know? There’s always going to be naysayers. It’s always harder working something that’s way more to the left of what’s out there. But you know, that’s the beauty of it as well. That’s the beauty of art and music. Otherwise you’re not really adding anything to the world, you’re just recreating something. ABORT: Yeah, for sure. I think if you’re not putting yourself 110% behind something, people can see through it too. And you wont float if you don’t stick to your guns for sure. SERJ: Absolutely, man, ABORT: I want to talk a little bit about something that’s been weighing heavily on my heart lately. As an animal rights activist, have you always been a vegetarian or was there some specific event in your life that inspired you to make the shift? What brought this awareness about for you? SERJ: For me it was just a personal change in what I felt like eating, to put it simply. When I started touring that was a part of it. Touring and not having steady, quality food at your disposal, you know? Made it harder to eat all types of foods. I felt my body changing. I first gave up beef, and then I gave up chicken, and then fish. And I was veggie for about ten years. I eat fish now actually for the last year and a half, two years. But I don’t eat any other meat. There were times I gave up dairy for short periods of time but got back on it. I think it all depends on your blood type, it depends on your body type, and where you live in the world and what’s available. There’s definitely something
to be said about the carcinogens that are found in processed farming, the industrial farming world. That really turned me off as well, definitely. ABORT: Where you live in the world and what’s available to you locally is important. We’ve made this sort of huge semiotic shift from agriculture to agribusiness. So in order to feed the amount of people that are in the world and to maintain this meat diet everything has been industrialized. So it is good to try and eat local. And like you said, listen to your body and listen to what your body feels like it needs to eat to feel good too. SERJ: Absolutely on a personal level that’s the most important thing. You have to listen to your body and see what it needs. But you’re right in terms of industrial agriculture. We are raising certain types of animals to be eaten by human beings in large quantities and that is a weird shift in the balance of the ecosystem because those animals produce waste and it kind of changes things. It’s important to pay attention to what you really need. ABORT: You’ve done some work with the organization PETA, and I’ve seen a lot of musician getting involved with them… SERJ: They’re pretty radical, they’re out there. (Laughs) ABORT: For sure! And they’re pitching their message in a number of dif-
ferent ways. But it seems that people tend not to find empathy for animals that aren’t furry and cute. “I’m an otter, I’m cute, I play with the ball and do cute little human things with my hands. YOU’RE FREE TO GO,” to quote Denis Leary. Or “I’m a cow. YOU’RE A BASEBALL GLOVE, GET ON THE TRUCK!” SERJ: Right. ABORT: But suffering in the eyes of an animal seems more universal, and you can see the same suffering in a person’s eyes also. So when you’ve been working with different people to get this message out, have you found any more effective ways of communicating this message to people? SERJ: I don’t know if I’ve found any more effective ways of communicating the message. I just tell them what I feel when I’m asked. But I agree with you, I think that we humanize the animals that are domesticated and then leave the others out in the open to starve. There are a lot of coyotes around my house, for example. You’ve got domesticated dogs at home, but the coyotes are starving out there because they’re a different breed of dog really, ultimately. And it probably started early on with agriculture and certain animals being more attracted to chickens and food that was really important for human subsistence. We excommunicated those animals from our lives and our spheres. That’s kind of changed the whole balance of animals on the planet in a way, based on our preferences of food and our preferences of domestication. ABORT: Many people are overwhelmed with the unfortunate state of our world and tune it out. As a long time activist on many fronts dwelling in a world of distraction and apathy, do you ever lose hope and feel discouraged or have your victories awarded you with a renewed and adamant perseverance in your activist endeavors?
SERJ: I think anytime that you do anything that you feel is worth your time and while, if it stems from your vision and your heart, then that’s what you have to do irrespective of the results. You never really do things like that because of the results, you do them because you’re meant to do them and that’s part of your vision. If you just wait for results and just do things for results you’ll just end up NOT doing most of what you’re supposed to be doing!! (Laughs) And that’s the way that I would answer that question. I’ve never ever paid attention to results. I’ve just paid attention to what I have to do. ABORT: Each day, each moment for sure. SERJ: Otherwise it would be quite depressing on a lot of levels, politically, ecologically and whatnot. ABORT: And I think that’s what I was getting at, that a lot of people do tend to get depressed when they think about things and so they choose not to think about them, which is unfortunate as well. SERJ: (Pensive Hmm…) ABORT: But as you said, just stick to your guns. Just do what feels good for you, what feels right. And know it. SERJ: Yeah, well, stick to your passion more than guns. Guns are scary! (Laughs) ABORT: Ha! Sorry. Yeah, guns is a really, really bad allegory! (Laughs) SERJ: No I used it first so I don’t blame you! (Laughs) ABORT: Well thanks so much for your time Serj. SERJ: Thank my pleasure. you Joel, it was
The whirlwind of non-stop productivity, otherwise known as Fuck the Facts are at it again. 2010 has seen the Ottawabased, grindcore band release their unnamed EP ‘Unnamed EP’, Disgorge Mexico the DVD, Live in Whitby (limited edition cassette and download) and most recently the completion of their Canada/US East “Unnamed East Coast Tour”. Despite it all, somehow FTF founder/guitarist Topon Das managed to pull himself away temporarily to speak with ABORT Magazine’s Alxs Ness.
Alxs Ness: You were working with David Hall for “‘Disgorge, Mexico: The Movie’, did you collaborate with him on the concept for the film or did he just work straight from the album? Topon Das: He really just did his own thing. I told him I basically wanted a video for the entire album and he came back at me with the crazy story that ended up being ‘Disgorge Mexico: The Movie’. He sent us a couple of updates before the entire thing was finished and we gave him a bit of feedback, but nothing much. He had a vision and we let him run with it. ABORT: Is the music video “Kelowna” a scene from “Disgorge, Mexico: The Movie” or was that a separate project? TD: Same project, but it was the very first thing that was completed that we saw. I think it’s one of the songs that work best on its own as a video. ABORT: Any chance for a “Disgorge Mexico: The Movie” screener coupled with a live FTF performance? TD: Most likely not; our ‘Disgorge Mexico’ days are pretty much behind us. Even now we try and focus more on our ‘Unnamed’ EP and once we start doing shows again in 2011 we hope to have a new album, and that will be our focus. It would have been a neat idea, but it would have had to of happened at least a year ago. Even the DVD we wished it would have been released much sooner, but it just wasn’t ready and it’s not something we wanted to release until we were totally happy with it. We’re always trying to move onto the next project and idea; we don’t want to live in the past. ABORT: For a band signed to a relatively large label, Fuck the Facts seems to have maintained a strong DIY attitude; often releasing albums independently. Do you have any advice for bands still under the impression that a record deal equals instant success? wall to see if they stick, I would guess that if you do stick, meaning people grab onto what you’re doing and you start selling records, a label will be able to help you move up the ladder of music business success. But I really wouldn’t know, because we don’t stick very well. ABORT: What are your views on 360 record deals? TD: Marc is the only one with an active other band at the moment. Its 2-piece band called Greber, they just recorded some shit and it should be out soon and they’ll be touring next year. I’ve done a recording project called ‘Time Kills Everything’ with guys from Culted and Malefaction, we released a couple of CDs. I also did a band called ‘Lauderdale’ with David Hall (Disgorge Mexico: The Movie), and we released a CD a few years back. But neither of these projects is currently active. ABORT: Any up and coming, unsigned bands that you could recommend to our readers? TD: We’re always surprised by some of the awesome bands that we play with &; have never heard of before; it’s impossible to keep track of all of them. But we played with a band called Chien in France and they killed it; crazy tight old school grind. Also a band from Texas called Barring Teeth got some wicked Gorguts style shit going on, and we just played with band called Fight Amp from New Jersey. They were a really good band and good drinkers too. www.myspace.com/fuckthefacts By Alxs Ness
TD: Again, it’s not something that I’m extremely familiar with, so I have no way of giving a really valid opinion on it. I can see it being to bands We’re very hands on and even though appealing that are perhaps TD: I didn’t start playing music it’s a lot of work we’re able to manage too busy or rather with the dream of signing a big have someone else ourselves fine independently. record deal or becoming rich and handle every aspect famous. These aren’t things that of the band besides are important to me. I would have to be a complete idiot to start playing music, and from a label stand point it seems like a a band called Fuck the Facts, play the music we do and expect smart idea with the decline of music sales. But for us it’s nothto be rich & famous. For me all that matters is making ing we’ve ever been approached with and I can’t really see us music that excites me and always pushing myself to play better really being interested in something like this. We’re very hands and try new ideas. So I would have no advice for people that on and even though it’s a lot of work we’re able to manage ourare playing music with the purpose of signing a record deal, selves fine independently. because I just can’t relate to these folks. Maybe when you’ll sign to a label it’ll lead to success and maybe it won’t. Most ABORT: Do any of the FTF members have side-projects? bands that get signed to a bigger label just get thrown against a
It’s been a long couple of years for fans since HellYeah’s ﬁrst self-titled album hit stores, but at long last the wait is over. Fresh off the release of their newest studio album, Stampede, the Hellyeah crew is running wild all over North America supporting Disturbed on this year’s Rockstar Uproar Festival. Guitarists Tom Maxwell and Greg Tribbett take a moment before the Vancouver show to sit and Talk with ABORT Magazine’s Matt Snow about the new album, life and “The Cowboy Way”. Matt Snow: So I’m here with Tom and Greg from Hellyeah. How you guys doing today? Tom Maxwell: Doin’ very well thank you. ABORT: Awesome, Awesome. So just going to start off talking about the new album; Stampede. It’s great. Now since your ﬁrst release, self titled in 2007, it seems like you’re getting a more deﬁned kind of heavier sound going. Was this a real plan or was this just the way the song writing progressed having been with the guys for a while now. Greg Tribbett: No I think it’s from us playing together you know. Even from the ﬁrst record. To get back together. It was easier to come together and this record kind of, you know, Stampede is where basically the ﬁrst record left off. We just kind of continued it. I mean, and the production
is better on this record. You know, we did it a Vinnie’s (Drummer Vinne Paul) house. We had different guitar rigs set up you know, we just took a lot more time on this record feelinit, production wise. Otherwise the recording process was pretty simple man. Tom: Pretty Simple man. A lot more organic because we did record at Vinnie’s house, but over to dime’s (Dimebag Darrell) house, took us about 25 minutes to get there, gotta get motivated to go, once you get there, you gotta get motivated to get started ya know what I mean? This was a bit more like ya wake up, eat, drink, go. ABORT and just start jamming? Cool, that’s awesome. a great way to do it. Now one of the big tunes on this album is Cowboy way; I mean this seems like more than a song it’s like a real philosophy with the band right? How has this developed over the years? Where did this start and how does it pertain to yourself as artists? Tom: Whatta ya mean like the mentality? ABORT:Yeah it seems like more of a philosophy for the band. Tom: I think it’s just a Friday night every night mentality. Like we don’t give a fuck ya know. Like Chad (Gray, Hellyeah vocalist) says it’s like we do this every day. Call us al-
coholics, call us fucking white trash mother fuckers and he’s like you know I’m ok with that. It’s the cowboy fucking way ABORT It’s just fun? Tom: It’s just fun. Gregg: ya, it’s fun. We’re just doin what we’re doing. And nobody gives a fuck. We’re just out to party, have a good time with our fans, put on a good show, rock our records and get visible. Tom: we do this for ourselves. Know what I mean. I mean obviously the fans are, that’s what makes you, but you gotta be happy ﬁrst. ABORT: Exactly, and that’s awesome. Now, this is one I wanted to get on a little bit. You’ve all got your own projects and you’ve all got your own deﬁned sounds. When you get in Hellyeah, there are certain things that are really just Hellyeah, but there are lots of things that ring true for the musicians that you were before. Is this something you’re really trying to preserve, you’re trying to keep those unique features or is it just Hellyeah. Tom: I think it’s who we are. You know we can’t really shapeshift. I mean this band is, it does have its identity. It does have that sound, but we can’t really change the way that we are as guitar players. You kinda pull the harness back and do what’s appropriate for what we’re din, but we’re still gonna bring out the same nuances that we developed over the years and carried with us. ABORT a chance to spread your wings in a different musical environment? Tom: It’s like a football player shifting teams, know what I mean? It’s a different team, the plays are different, but it’s st:ill that guy. He’s still got his star quality about him. Know what I mean? ABORT: Now this one is about the show here now. There’s a real eclectic mix of metal that’s being offered here today. How does being part of a larger festival compare to when you went out with Korn and a smaller group of bands. How does that compare to the all day nine band kind of thing? Gregg: Well that’s the thing. It’s all day. (laughs) It’s all day, all night you know. Going out with Korn, it was us, I think it was just two bands going out with korn.. Tom: Five Finger (Five ﬁnger death punch) road with? Tom: I really like Lamb of God a lot, you know, I’d love to do some shows with those guys. We’re gonna be doinit with avenged and stone sour next month when we get off of this tour. We’re gointo Japan, U.K. and Europe with those guys. That’s a very powerful line up right there. Gregg: Mastodon Tom: Mastodon deﬁnitely. Gregg: We just seen those guys in Atlanta. We’re good friends with those guys. They’re a great band ABORT: Yeah, they just came through and they were awesome Tom: yeah, it was ridiculous ABORT: Cool. I’m sure you hear this all the time, but there’s a lot of what people are calling super groups, and I know that’s a terrible moniker. So you guys are really out to deﬁne yourselves as Hellyeah. Do you ﬁnd that there’s any pres sure to push the fact that you’re all from these big bands, or are you just running on your own steam ﬂat out?
Gregg: and that didn’t start till 7 o clock. This starts at 3 o clock in the afternoon sometimes. You know so, it’s an all day festival. Especially out with this lineup, this is a pretty big lineup to be out with. Disturbed, Avenged (Sevenfold), stone sour. Plus everybody’s got new records out, new music out, so it’s a good tour man. Tom: Plus everybody on tour has got a single on radio. You know, it’s not like bands that are unheard off. Every band on the jagermeister stage, the second stage and they’ve got a single on the radio. So it’s pretty cool man. ABORT: Awesome! And it is a huge lineup and it’s really nice that everyone has a brand new album that they’re pushing. It’s really bringing people out. Tom: Yeah Gregg: Totally ABORT: Quick question about touring. Has there been any bands that you’ve been listening to lately or you met that you really want to go on the
Tom: in a restaurant cookin’ probably. Gregg: Fishing. ABORT: ﬁshin’. Gregg: ya know I’d be on bass masters. (all laugh) Tom: I could see myself doing it. I’m more of a crabber. I live in Chesapeake bay Maryland. Gregg: tonnes of crabs. Tom: I love crabs. I got tons of crabs ! (laughs) ABORT: So that’s it, we got the mighty Hell yeah on tour now. Their latest Epic/Sony release “Stampede” is in stores now and on iTunes, so go do yourselves a favour and grab a copy. By the way, where’s the best place to ﬁnd you guys on the web? Tom: well obviously you got the hellyeahband.com and the myspace, which is MySpace/hellyeah1.com I think and the Facebook page which is the mass social network. I stay away from all that social networking stuff. ABORT: it’s tangy at best. Well thanks very much for your time guys, have a great rest of your tour. I appreciate it.
Tom: We just run on our own man. This band holds it’s own ground. Even from the very ﬁrst show we ever played. People were there to see Hellyeah. There was no chance for Nothingface, Mudvayne or Pantera. It was Hellyeah from the beginning and it’s been that way and we’re very thankful for that cause a lot of bands do break off and do other projects and stuff like that and people wanna hear some of their older catalogue you know, but not with us. We’re really fortunate about that. People come to see Hellyeah ABORT: That’s awesome, always a great party wherever you go right? Gregg: Oh yeah. And like that super group saying. We just got tagged it. ABORT: There’s a name for everything. Gregg; Right. Tom: Like Vinnie says, we’re like the world’s biggest garage band!.
ABORT: That’s a great way of putting it. Are there any other ventures that you guys are doing, like clothing lines, I know Vinnie has got his cookbook coming out I hear and stuff like this. Is there anything you guys are doing outside of music that is getting on the go? Tom: There’s lot’s of branding stuff we’re gonna do. It’d be nice to do the Hell yeah bar and grill barbeque Gregg: The Hell yeah beer. Tom: Hell yeah beer, hot sauces and barbeque sauces. Hell yeah strip clubs. ABORT: Vince’s got one already eh? And you got your pole rider song on the album kinda heating that up too. Tom: Well “Pole Rider” is one of the songs (laughs) ABORT: and it’s a great one too. So a little question in closing. If you weren’t in Hell yeah, what would you be don?
Nigel Mojica: One theme that reoccurs a lot in your work, and again in “Gutter Rainbows”, is the idea of ﬁnding beauty in unusual places and difﬁcult experiences. Are you an optimistic guy? How and why did you begin noticing the rainbows in the gutter and how important has this outlook been for you personally and professionally? Talib Kweli: It’s the aware artists job to paint pictures of what can be, rather than what is. The gutter rainbow is an image that stayed with me since childhood. It the inner city that has inspired much of my lyrical content, so this album is dedicated to that sort of living.
about that? TK: Prisoner Of Conscious is actually the album I’ve been working on since Eardrum. I put to the side to record the new Reﬂection Eternal album, and Gutter Rainbows comes from the POC sessions, but I am now focusing back on that album. It is in its infant stages. ABORT: Why do you think challeng-
Jean Grae right now? Can we expect new Jean Grizzy in 2011? How about that new Strong Arm Steady while we’re on the topic of Blacksmith? “On Point” is...well, on point. TK: .Jean Grae’s beautiful album Cake or Death will be available in spring 2011 on Blacksmith/EMI. Strong Arm Steady’s album Arms and Hammers is great, and it will be out Feb 22 on Blacksmith/Element 9/ Fontana. It features production from Jelly Roll, Terrace Martin, Madlib, DJ Khalil, Nottz, and guest appearances from myself, KRS One, Too Short, Kurupt, and Marsha from Floetry. ABORT: Who’s the most unexpected person to approach you for a collaboration up to this point in your career? TK: Gucci Mane. ABORT: What if any social institution or apparatus would you create if you could- and of course, what one(s) would you wipe out? TK: Deﬁnitely a school, and I would wipe out the TSA. If someone is going to search me and protect borders, I want people trained in safety. ABORT: Who do you think people who like your lyrics should read to learn more about some of the topics you touch on? TK: Paulo Coelho, Haki Madhabuti, Cornel West, Jay Z Decoded is great. ABORT: Thanks for your time Talib, and best of luck with the album.
"With music, I pay attention to the trends without following them"
ing or “intellectual” big-word-using MC’s are so seldom embraced in the hip hop mainstream? Also, to what do you accredit your popularity with more commercial or mainstream artists and audiences, being that your music is lyrically dense and at often times very critical? TK: In order to have “smart” art affect mainstream culture, it must respect the sensibility of the mainstream. Too often edgy artists are dismissive of mainstream sensibilities. [The ﬁlm] Glee, which I’ve never watched, seems to be one of the smartest shows on TV. From a distance, it seems to make fun of the mainstream, but embrace the very mainstream principle of glee clubs. With music, I pay attention to the trends without following them. If you haven’t been to a nightclub in 5 years, you will not have a clue why younger years are not attuned to your musical sensibility. But if you know, you can navigate in the business better, whether you trying to keep up with trends or not. The knowledge is still key. ABORT: What’s the good word with
ABORT: “Cold Rain” has a gospel feel to it and seems to evoke some nostalgia and reﬂection; can you tell us a bit about the sound you and the production team were going for on Gutter Rainbows and how you approached this album as an author? TK: Gutter Rainbows has many producers, all of them with an extra passionate boom bap hip hop style. They come from all over the world, and I think the sound of the album reﬂects the differences and similarities in styles. The Ski produced Cold Rain had been sitting in my computer for years. I wrote many songs to it. It’s a beast of a track. I was determined to ﬁn lyrics for it. Once I did, the lyrics were so timely and urgent, that I felt the song needed to be heard now, and this sort of catapulted me into releasing Gutter Rainbows. ABORT: In addition to Gutter Rainbows, which drops digitally on January 25, I understand you’ve got another album on the way entitled Prisoners of Conscious. What can you tell folks
Brooklyn’s Talib Kweli is, in the eyes of many, on a very short list of artists at the top of the rap food chain. Author and co author of a growing stack of classic albums, the BK MC continues to set the lyrical bar, both on solo projects and with the inﬂuential groups Black Star and Reﬂection Eternal. His
latest release, titled Gutter Rainbows, will be available January 25 for online purchase and promises to be a beautiful dose of bittersweet realness. Recently, Talib was kind enough to share his thoughts on “smart” art, what to read, Blacksmith in 2011, and more with ABORT’s Nigel Mojica.
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lease of their highly successful Worlds Collide, Finnish metal band Apocalyptica are back with their seventh full length album 7th Symphony. Known for their groundbreaking use of the cello in a metal music context, Apocalyptica have been steadily pushing the boundaries of both classical composition and thrash music. In this interview cellist Perttu Kivilaasko speaks with ABORT’s Alxs Ness about the artwork and musical direction of the new album, the dynamics of collaborarecent success with Worlds Collide. Alxs Ness: So you guys are set to release 7th Symphony August 23rd. Now the album cover seems to be an adaptation from the tions album covers. Can you tell us a little bit about the concept behind this one? Perttu Kivilaasko: All the artwork and things, pictures… we were thinking
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question in there is the fact that music is talking about the same human emotions that you can basically reach things. For our band it’s really important to have this feeling that we are trying to create emotions and pictures to our listeners’ mind make this possible. As listeners we don’t like to septoo much because it’s the coolest thing to be an open minded listener and give ent music world. For our album we followed a similar way of thinking that we want to have songs that our somehow connected- their melodies or chords, they might have similarities but the way how we represent the tracks, they might tains even wider spread of classical moments are even more pure and the powerful metal is once again maybe further on in the harshness.
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that they have to have a connection with the music. I think all the colors; they come basically from how the music is telling something for us. In the album cover work we have always had the feeling of a cello and bringing the cello in the picture in a little twistthe picture was some meteor or whatever hit the earth making the cello shape. Worlds Collide introduced this strange cello creature and actually this time the creature turned out to be a woman or something like this ghost creature thing… something which I don’t know what it is (laughs) but cool and beautiful creawanted to have the feeling of our album artwork in the videos and basically this cello-thingy-girl from our album cover is the main character of the videos and the videos are connected to each other so they are telling basically a continuous story and it’s something like evolution of this creature.
“I Don’t Care” video as well, when the women turn into cellos… that seems to be the recurring theme. PK: Yeah because of course it has been clear always that the way how you keep the cello, how you play it and tender it, caress it, it’s kind of like a relation and feels like a woman. Of course we are treating our instruments in our live concerts pretty badly and that’s not the way to treat a woman. of course. (Laughs) ABORT: I’ve been listening to 7th Symphony quite a bit and as I was listening I had remembered something that you had said in an interview where you were talking about how, to create heaviness in music you don’t necessarily have to have the volume maxed to 10 or the intensity nonstop, that sometimes having contrast can actually work to emphasize the heaviness of a song. P: I think that the general
ABORT: It’s interesting that you say that because that’s how it reads- where even [with] the singles, there doesn’t seem to be a disconnect of them from the rest of the album, it seems like all the songs are rooted to the album as a whole. where we got and that’s also one of the main reasons why we wanted to name this one as a symphony because even its not in the form of a typical, traditional classical symphony, the emotion and the journey of the mind, what happens from the 0 seconds until the end –how long is it, 51 minutes or something like this- there is a connection and I think it’s an exciting story. It was really impororder for the tracks and we were really spending a lot of time in thinking of those. Only part where we were totally fooling around was naming the tracks because we wanted to give such a name to some particular tracks that nobody understands what they
mean and that there would be stories to tell that yes, this and this means.. For example “On the Roof with Quasimodo.” (Laughs) We are not ashamed because we are from Finland and that means that we are allowed to do basically almost whatever. Sounds very liberating. P: (laughs) ABORT: Can you tell us a little bit about your collab-
oration with Joe Duplantier from Gojira for the “Bring was already actually composed 4 years ago and we were considering the track to Worlds Collide already but when we had all the other Worlds Collide songs But was was and this time our process interesting because it changing all the time we were not actually
songs, what we still had
we got in such strong songs that determined the entire thing, that turned out to be maybe stronger and more pure album and in this new picture, what we got last year, December, it felt clear that this is the right time to bring Joe in because we wanted to still boost the harder side of the album. We are so happy with Joe’s work because he’s so cool: cool vocalist in his own style and absolutely one of the greatest voices on powerful thrash music. It is my
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favorite track on the album, at least at the moment. ABORT: Did he contribute strictly for the vocals or, being a songwriter himself, all in the end result? P: Actually he is partly the song together with Eicca and he wrote the lyrics. It’s really like there is a big the track but also the version that we now made, it’s demo of 4 years and it only got better I think. We got a stronger middle section; it got a lot slower and I think actually the main kind of chorus line of the song is also cool because its way, how it is now arranged and played, its like pure thrash metal music but the chord line is strictly like Handel or something- really old classical music- and therefore I think its really refreshing kind of song because it truly adds those two worlds together I think better than ever what we have done. ABORT: I gotta ask, you’ve just released the “Making
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contacts and everything like this and of course with Worlds Collide now we’ve got some little grip out of US music business and therefore it’s maybe easier to approach US vocalists too and that’s probably the result why we have all these wonderful artists on this album. I think we have been always lucky to get these people that we truly respect and appreciate their works or are even fans of the bands. We’ve had a possibility to work with great artists and this time it continued just the way how we liked it and wanted and I’m so happy with the singles. For example, “Not Strong Enough” with Brent, it’s brilliant because he’s…if I would be a woman, I would fall in love with him. Even that I am a man; I still fall in love with him. revealed. Brent if you’re available, give Perttu a call. thank you so much for your time Perttu.
of ” video for the “End of Me” music video, can we expect any corset-girl lap dance sequence like we saw in the video for “I Don’t Care”? PK: Um no, there is no lap dances unfortunately. ABORT: Not this time, no? PK: No, at least they didn’t end up into that. We gave all lap dances to each other. Mikko was dancing up on Paavo. Well maybe you can have a blooper video for the fans to catch that. PK: Like XXX video. safe to say that Worlds Collide was your breakthrough album at least as far as North America is concerned; did you guys cess of the album changed anything for you? PK: Of course it changed, at least it opened the market for us and now we have a great possibility to visit the US more often and
we have this already growsummer we already played a couple festivals there, having cool slots in front of big audiences and its just amazing because we are of course from out of nowhere, a little country fareast, a surprisingly small country and it just feels so cool to be in the USA, what cult place to have a footstep when you come from such a place like Finland. Now we have this possibility to have the releases there, we see that there is a lot of similar minded people who like the same kind of music that we do. It’s just of course an incredible chance and we are really thankful for it and USA already is like our biggest market in record sales for us. ABORT: Have you found too that maybe the opportunities for collaborations, have they opened up as well. Maybe people that you had tried to get before weren’t available and now suddenly they’re all interested? P: Of course that helps. When you get your name somewhere it helps to get
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TRIPTYKON is a band that unjustly stands in the shadow of a legend- that of Celtic Frost. Formed in 2008 by Tom G. Warrior after he left the genre-deﬁning band he created in 1984, Triptykon has delivered on all promises made – particularly that as an entity, it would be darker and more experimental than that produced by Celtic Frost prior to its dissolution. The debut Triptykon album, Eparistera Daimones, is a crushing juggernaut of blackened doom/death metal. ABORT Magazine’s Keith Durocher was fortunate enough to catch up with the band just before their show in Seattle at El Corazon, on their coheadlining tour with 1349.
Keith Durocher: Tom, ﬁll us in on how the current lineup of Triptykon came to be? Where did you ﬁnd your crew? Tom G. Warrior: They paid me a lot of money to take them in the band, and I was desperate. (laughs) No, these are my friends. Vanja and Victor have been among my closest friends, and I wanted to have a band of friends after my experiences with Celtic Frost which was exactly the opposite. The only person I didn’t know beforehand was Norman, he was recommended by our management. Our manager has known me for 25 years, had witnessed what happened with Celtic Frost, and she knew exactly what I was looking for. Her recommendation was spot on, we played a session of like, 30 seconds and we kind of knew it had to happen.
ABORT: How have you found the audience reception between North America and Europe? TW: Awesome. Victor: American crowds are overwhelmingly awesome. I don’t know if there is such a huge difference in fact between European crowds and American crowds. I think it’s very different from show to show. You can’t say there is “one” kind of European crowd- you have lots of different countries with lots of different cultural backgrounds. In some countries you have an audience that is completely enthusiastic, and other countries the audience is more quiet. That’s also true state-to-state. For example, I dunno, Chicago, Pittsburgh was really amazing, and then you have places where it’s a bit more quiet. Norman Lonhard: It’s hard to generalize like that though. TW: I agree. What puzzles me personally after all these years is that in the old days there used to be far more women in the audience in America versus Europe, now I think it’s actually the other way around. I think now in Europe you have more mixed crowd and here it’s slightly more male. It’s not a big difference but I’ve noticed that. ABORT: Currently there seems to be a fair number of bands from the ‘old school’ putting out new material that is just as good, if not usually better, than their ‘heyday’… TW: Oh yeah? Name one… ABORT: Hmm… Killing Joke, Destruction, Sacriﬁce, Believer, Death Angel, Testament, Exodus, and you?
TW: I would exclude Destruction, but other than that, yeah OK… Victor- I would at least deﬁnitely agree with Testament… ABORT: The question primarily though is… TW: This is going to be a disaster, this interview, isn’t it? (laughs) (that rests in your hands “Tommy Boy” – Ed) ABORT- Nah, it’s ﬁne so far… Anyways, do you guys have any ideas on what it might be that’s bringing out such a surge of creative drive with the earlier waves of extreme music, who so many bands are doing so well when general consensus might be that they’re “over the hill”, as it were? Tom- Quite frankly, I mean I can’t speak for the others, but I think a lot of those bands –are- over the hill. When we released Celtic Frosts ‘comeback’ album, Monotheist, journalists came to me consistently saying that it was one of the few comeback albums that actually had some class, versus some others… For example, there’s a German band, quite a prominent German band, who came to me backstage at a festival and said, “we only reformed for the money”, they told me that straight out. The difference was that we –didn’treform for the money, we reformed for the music, and we didn’t take anybody’s cheques- quite the opposite. We formed our own record company and invested our own money to make the album the way it had to be. That’s the difference. There are quite a lot of reunions that I don’t enjoy,
but that’s just my personal opinion, these guys might think differently. ABORT: Any plans for a followup to Are You Morbid? I’m sure many of the die-hards would be very interested in Tom G. Warriors version of Rollins ‘Get in the Van’… TW: Well, you have the diary of my blog, basically. ABORT: To rest of band- Any thoughts? Victor: I think Tom pretty much said what… Norman, Vanja: (laughing) TW: They’re all scared of me. I have a huge paddle on the bus, and if they say something I don’t like… ABORT: Nice- sweet hazing ritual. OK, what bands, metal or otherwise, have you been taking in lately that are helping shape your outlook on music? Norman: Everything. Victor: That’s a good question. Everybody in the band has a large variety of musical tastes. It’s always hard to say what really inspires or inﬂuences you when you write your own music. In a way everything and in a way nothing. I would try not to copy something when I’m writing but of course in a way everything you listen to forms your understanding of music, and of course you always try to write music that you would probably also listen to… TW: I think Norman was spot on, we lis-
ten to everything. The difference between this band and some other metal bands that I know is that we have a hugely vast horizon of music that we like; we’re not narrowed down to heavy metal. We listen to everything from classical to jazz to old hard rock to psychedelic- whatever you have. Norman: I think you have to be that way if you’re a musician. ABORT: Any newer metal projects on the scene that’s been blowing your mind? Anything we might not have heard on North American shores? TW: Zoroaster. Norman: Yakuza. Vanja: Agalloch. TW: Victor is still thinking. There’s such a ﬂood of bands, even if you want ﬁnd out the good bands it’s almost impossible there’s such a ﬂood of bands, how can you keep up with everything? It’s impossible. ABORT: Going back for a moment to your band prior to Triptykon- you did the cover art for Apocalyptic Raids... Have you been keeping up with your visual arts? TW: I paint, I do my death masks. I draw occasionally. If I had more time, I would draw much more often. I don’t really view my stupid creations as art. There are real artists in the world who actually deserve that term; I’m just a hobbyist. ABORT: Well, some of us still really want to see your works, so is there anywhere we can see your creations? TW: Well, most astonishingly to me, I’m
having an exhibition next year of my death masks. No one is more surprised than me. The ﬁrst will be in Switzerland, and there will be another showing in Europe as well. They’re a little too heavy to ship to the States though. ABORT: Vincent Castiglia has been featured several times in the ‘pages’ of ABORT Magazine. We’re all fans of his, so we’re all curious as to how you came into contact with him for the work he put into Eparistera Daimones. Was his contribution to your album a collaborative effort, or was he simply inspired by your material and volunteered his creation? TW: Vincent is one of my, by far, closest friends in my life. We share various very difﬁcult things in our individual youth, which has bonded us tremendously. I met him through H.R. Giger’s American agent. I initially went to his workshop not knowing what to expect and I came in there and there were these paintings, like six foot and higher painted in his own blood. If you stand in front of those in person, it’s overwhelming. When I ﬁrst talked to him, we bonded almost immediately. He had a show in Switzerland at HR Giger’s gallery, and during this time we discovered the similarities in each other’s background. Since then we’ve become very close. The painting for Eparistera Daimones was collaborative; it was a very organic process and came from both sides equally. The whole band was very honoured that an artist such as him has worked with us. To me, he is a genius in many more ways than just his paintings. ABORT: Aside from H.R. Giger and Vincent Castiglia, what visual artists (contemporary or classic) do you ﬁnd inspire you the most?
setup. Very simple. But I have had very proﬁcient guitar players play though this exact setup and sound completely different. It’s the way you play that makes half of your sound, so any technical specifics won’t help you at all. You need to manhandle your guitar, otherwise you aren’t going to get that sound. ABORT: You’ve authored a book, and you’re well on record for your writing style when keeping fans up to speed- with that in mind, what have you been taking in for reading lately? TW: Well, if nobody says anything… I like Juan Miro for example, I like Hieronymus Bosch, I like Bruegel the Elder, there are a million medieval painters who were far ahead of their time, which fascinates me to no end. ABORT: Eparistera Daimones has an exceptionally satanic bent to the lyrical content… TW: No it doesn’t. That’s fucking bullshit. ABORT: …SEEMINGLY more so than prior offerings. Is this indicative of… TW:Name one. Name one track, before I answer this question. That’s fucking bullshit. Name ONE fucking satanic aspect on this album. ABORT:- Aren’t the opening lyrics to Goethals satanic? TW: No, they’re not. The song is completely against religion, in any kind of form, whether it’s positive Christian or satanic or whatever you have, Islamic… It’s a song that makes fun of the pathetic human need for religion. Read the lyrics- they’re so pathetically sarcastic. You really think I would go out onstage every night saying ‘Satan, father, savior’? How helpless would I be? ABORT: OK, so this is a case of the interviewer completely misunderstanding the intent. Fair play to the author of the lyrics. Moving on then- here’s a tech question for the fans of the monolithic Triptykon guitar tone- what’s your current rig setup? TW: I will tell you my current rig, but it’s not going to help anybody with anything. What’s completely underestimated in this world… Technical proﬁciency is completely over-rated. It’s the attitude of the player makes half of the sound. That sounds like 70’s, or psychedelic, but it’s actually the truth. I’m playing a Marshall JCM 800 100watt head with everything cranked basically open, I play a tube screamer everything basically cranked open, and I play an Iceman guitar by Ibanez with the tone closed. That’s my technical zines? TW: Um… Airplane maga[o] Scott Alexander 2
ABORT: No novels? TW:- I hate novels, and I never read ﬁction. I’m into fact only. Why would I waste the little time I have on this planet with reading ﬁction when this world is ﬁlled with a gazillion amazing stories from reality? The world is ﬁlled with drama and events, in my lifetime is not enough to learn even a fraction of this. Why would I read ﬁction? I mean, if you read about Babylonian times, or the Roman Empire, the things that happened there are so dramatic, no ﬁction author can even match that. ABORT: How about you guys? Vanja: I’ve been reading Salinger. Others: ..... TW: I’m so proud of my band. (laughs) ABORT: OK thanks Tom.
[o] Scott Alexander 1. Alcohol and interviews don’t mix. Scott is not impressed with RZA.
2. Buddies again, RZA and Scott backstage at Rock The bells. The two chatted about love, life and samurais.
Toronto-based hardcore outﬁt Cancer Bats are back this month with their new album Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones, new video, new tours and continue to break down the genre barriers that separate heavy music as a whole. Hardcore, punk and metal are all combined to give this band a nasty yet uplifting and vibrant take on a scene that has been dominated by radio-friendly, label-crafted ﬂuff acts who look better than they sound. Not these guys, ugly as fuck and an even meaner stage presence, these gents possess the chops and songwriting skills to make Canada proud to be diagnosed with this terminal Rock & Roll disease.
ABORT Magazine’s Karla “Khaos” McLeod went one on one with vocalist Liam Cormier in a needle-littered alley on Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside, for a quick update on the band’s current tour, their new album and why they chose to cover a classic Beastie Boys track. Karla “Khaos” McLeod: You just ﬁnished playing on a US tour with Anti-Flag and
Aiden. Now you are begin beginning your tour across Canada Talent, with Billy T alent, AlexisonAlexison ﬁre and Against Me and after that you begin a tour in the UK. Do you ﬁnd that the UK audience is more receptive compared to a more laid back Canadian audience? Liam Cormier: Uh…I ﬁnd I would actually say that the UK and Canada are very similar in terms of a gnarly, gnarly, crazy crowd. If anything, the United States is a little bit more subdued in some areas because they see so many shows. ABORT: ABORT : I know what you mean. know, Liam: You kno w, when you go to a small town in Canada, it’s off, it ’s like, kids are going of f, but we don’t don’t have too many Toronto, of those cities like T oronto, Vancouver, Montreal, maybe V ancouver, where they get a lot of shows and they get off you know? They almost get too many exshows that they’re not ex cited anymore. Whereas the US still has that too; you go to Montana and the kids are stoked. You go to small town Ohio and kids are stoked, so I guess that’s universal. ABORT: alABORT : You recorded the al bum “Bears, Mayors, Scraps
& Bones” at Vespa Studios and worked alongside producers Eric Ratz and Kenny Luong (Billy Talent). How much of a role did you and the band play in the production of this album considering Billy Talent’s sound is a little more pop-radio friendly? Liam: Well I mean that’s the thing. It all depends on what band it is that they’re working on, like they’ve done Three Days Grace and stuff like that. They’re all over the place, but I think they’re all old school metal fans. They come from listening to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and stuff like that, so for them, they’re just as stoked to be working on something heavy like us. But I think it’s cool to have tons of different vibes like that in the mix; they appreciate what makes – you know, a rad record. Like, you know Billy Talent and what tricks they use on that, and that kind of production and it’s not just making a straight-forward hardcore record or a metal record, you know what I mean? I ﬁnd a lot of times you just want to make something that’s close to your peers where we have these two guys that aren’t even involved in hardcore or aren’t even involved in any of that stuff, where they’re
thinking completely outside of the box. ABORT: They’re just trying to make a good album. Liam: Yeah, exactly. They just wanna make it sound amazing. That’s all they care about, so it’s deﬁnitely awesome working with those dudes. ABORT: I really enjoy the production quality of the album. The album comes off sounding not too overproduced and raw. Overall it has a very live feeling to it. Can you tell me a bit about the recording process you went through and was it a “less is more” attitude? Liam: Um, yeah, I mean deﬁnitely, the live aspect was what we wanted to go for with this album for sure. ABORT: You got it! Liam: Yeah, thank you. It took a lot of work. It was basically our reaction to, you know, a lot of over produced things or realizing how easy it is to make up for mistakes in the studio, but for us we pride ourselves on being a live band and how much we tour. We want this record to represent exactly what peo-
ple are going to come see, so for us when we’re writing the songs we were just rehearsing and practicing and jamming and just playing it over and over and over and over again, so we could do these full passes and we could play you know, essentially like a live band. With a recording, it doesn’t work exactly like that. You still need to have cleaner channels for guitar so you can get that crunch, but while Mike was playing drums, we were all playing along with him. I was doing
And for Scott, we could’ve kept those maybe as one of the tracks, but since we’re getting a whole completely different set up we might as well just have this. It worked because instead of having a guide track that we had recorded, like a guide guitar, you have this live guitar that you’re playing along with and you’re vibing on it as it’s going down. It’s just keeping that energy there. It’s like we have this building block that’s this amazing, huge sounding, essentially live drum take
We want this record to represent exactly what people are going to come see, Please!!
vocal takes while Mike was doing his drum tracks, so he had the live feeling while he’s doing his drums to keep that energy there. ABORT: So you pretty much did it live off the ﬂoor then? Liam: We did do it live off the ﬂoor, but we didn’t keep, well, we kept some of my vocals, but it was like Jaye’s bass, they were like, “you’re a rock, ya know? Like, you’re going to be able to play this exactly the same when we go into the studio”. that then we’re able to build everything else on top of it and from there it’s like stepping it up each time. ABORT: Yeah, it’s awesome. Liam: Thank you, I’m glad. Having a recording background you know probably what goes into it where maybe some kids who are just like, oh cool, the drums sound big and you’re like, you know what? Getting those drum sounds big isn’t as easy as it sounds. (laughs)
ABORT: Exactly! Liam: It’s like you actually have to kind of be on your game in order to do that and that was the one thing that was rad about Eric and Kenny, was that they were like, “you know what? Black Sabbath sounds like Black Sabbath because they recorded in two days live. Led Zeppelin sounds like Led Zeppelin cuz they recorded those tracks live. You wanna sound like these big huge metal bands that deﬁne this shit, you need to play this live”, and it’s like, let’s step up our game, let’s you know, be that band. ABORT: This being your heaviest hitting album to date, how do you see the band progressing in future projects? Liam: Um….I don’t even know. (laughs) I feel like just because we’re, you know, just ﬁnishing this record right now, and putting it out…. ABORT: It’s too soon. Liam: Yeah I guess so, cuz I mean in a sense, if we were to keep writing I wonder if it would keep getting heavier, you know? We seem to keep wanting to always out do ourselves, and every time those guys get a new piece of gear they want to get it even dirtier and even more insane than they could before, so yeah… (horn honks in the
background, engine starts) It’s constantly going that way; we’re always gonna try and just make the ugliest record that we possibly can. So, as a side note, right now we’re outside of Jaguar Love’s van who have driven over a parking block. ABORT: The van is stuck on a cement cinderblock. Liam: Yeah, it’s like a parking barricade. (tires squeal) ABORT: I wonder how that happened, we missed that one. So, speaking of the UK again, it seems a lot of Canadian bands still have to succeed elsewhere to get some love on their home turf, has Raw Power Management found you a wider audience overseas compared to your hometown? Liam: Yeah deﬁnitely this situation that we’re in with Raw Power is that we have a European and UK management company, but than we also have a US one, so we have two separate companies that are working together on our behalf. So basically we have people that are constantly working both markets, so it’s been awesome. They’ve helped us get our music to as many people as possible. This is gonna be the ﬁrst record that they’re working as a crew. They came on halfway through “Hail Destroyer” so it deﬁnitely helped us out a ton, but now they’re really
getting behind it and just really trying to blow it up you know? It’s awesome for us. ABORT: As a cover, “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys, isn’t one that I would even think of trying to cover just because it’s The Beastie Boys. Everyone knows exactly how it sounds. By the way, it rawked, but what possessed you to try and make good on this one? Liam: (Laughs) I don’t know, I mean with us we deﬁnitely didn’t get too worried. I think because the nature of punk rock is to do covers and it’s just a fun thing to put in your set, you know what I mean? It’s just like, let’s get this party going you know, and we wanted to do that to just kind of give something to kids who have seen us so many different times and this is something new and kind of special. But really for us, we all grew up being huge Beastie Boys fans from when we were kids and like, that’s the thing, I’m thirty you know what I mean? I remember being eleven years old and buying “Check Your Head” on cassette and that was the fucking best thing ever. So from there, that band was so important in all of our lives that it’s like when we were thinking of all the big bands that you want to cover; we could do Led Zeppelin, we can do Black Sabbath or something like that but it’s kind of cool to also have a different spin
on it, so let’s do more of a heavy version. ABORT: Oh yeah, it rawked! Liam: Well that’s why I was stoked because it doesn’t come out like we’re being a rap metal band. I was stoked at how it turned out and that was why it kept kind of snow balling from us doing it. People kept getting more and more stoked. We were doing it at these festivals in England and Japan, and wherever we went. Obviously, the Beastie Boys are one of the biggest bands in the world so people knew it, but they also respected the way that we were covering it or they appreciated that we were covering it, so I think that’s why it ended up working and that’s why we decided to keep going with this and keep having fun. ABORT: I know when I ﬁrst heard it I said, “oh my god, they are NOT doing this song”, but it was brilliant. Okay, well that’s all the questions that I have unless you want to throw anything else in. Liam: Nope, I mean, the record is coming out and hopefully tons of people check it. ABORT: Well, thank you very much and good luck on your tour. Liam: Thank you! CancerBats.com
[o] Scott Alexander A contemplative E.S Day backstage at Warped Tour before interviewing Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman
a near-ﬂawless example of the entire spectrum of Killing Jokes output over the years. Did you guys intentionally set out to craft songs that nodded to your back catalogue, or was the entire process just an intuitive outpouring of creativity? Geordie- “B”. (Everyone laughs) Jaz, to Geordie- You dick! (More laughs) ABORT: Ok then, so much for my attempt at poetic asskissing. Killing Joke has been around for some time. Are you guys ﬁnding your material as relevant to the youth of today as it was in the days of Killing Joke/Fire Dances, etc? Are the faces in the crowd getting younger, or are your fans aging with you? Geordie: There are more 18 year old girls in the crowd now than there ever were in the old days. Jaz: At this point, most of our audience weren’t even born until after our ﬁrst ten albums were out. ABORT: Killing Joke are unarguably inﬂuential, cited as the creative spark behind bands that themselves have become near-legendary (for example, Godﬂesh). Is there ever a point where you hear a band and think, “Meh… Sounds like us.”? Jaz: Yeah… At this point it’s happened so often that we don’t even keep track anymore. ABORT: Like most successful bands, Killing Joke has always understood the essential link between visual iconography and music. With that in mind, what visual artists (contemporary or classic) do you ﬁnd inspire you the most? Jaz: That’s a good question.
Geordie- Hmn… Austin Osman Spare. Jaz: Yeah, Spare for sure. I love surrealists, you know Dali, of course. I also really love [Yves] Tanguy, a French surrealist painter. He was obsessive, Tanguy- he would sleepdeprive himself in order to achieve a different reality, and apply that to his art. Really though, my favorite work of art is the Pyramids of Giza. It’s simply majestic; it’s designed from the ground up to confound us, to defy reality and possibility. When we recorded in the Kings Chamber thereABORT: Wait, you recorded in the Pyramids of Giza? Jaz: Yeah, we did the vocals for Pandemonium there, and it’s so surreal… The energy ﬁelds are so intense inside. We’d bring in battery packs with nine hours charge on them, and they’d be completely drained in 15 minutes. We’d have to crawl out, recharge, go back in, and again- 15 minutes, drained. On every level the pyramids are meant to defy reality. Think of it, you have the base blocks for these things… They weigh as much as 400 jumbo jets! To this day there aren’t cranes that can deal with that. The pyramids are easily the best works of surreal art I’ve ever seen. ABORT: Most bands with your track record have long since started the ‘looking back at the golden years’ phase of their careers, recording Christmas albums and the like. How do guys keep yourselves looking forward not back? Jaz: I don’t think any of us spend an awful lot of time looking back unless we’re forced to by other people. I think everybody’s –always- looking forward, like… We’ve done this record [Absolute Dissent] that you’re listening to, and now everyone’s focusing on the summer, when we’re going to do our 2012 album. So, what’s done is done, and I think we always get onto the next thing straight away. You know, it’s like… There’s not a lot of nostalgia, with all of us I’d say, except when we’re all together and laughing at a memory of something or someone. Over the last couple of months we’ve been forced by external circumstances to contemplate on the last 32 years, you know… We were presented with an award by Jimmy Page for innovation and… and lots of things, getting decorated by the French Government ABORT: The French government decorated the whole band?
Jaz: No, just me. It was the same time [as the Jimmy Page award], I was doing a gig that day, and… Yeah… [Jaz drifts away into selfreﬂection for a moment] It’s a long ways from the squat. ABORT: Ahhh, squat-life… Recently I’ve been reading ‘American Hardcore- a Tribal History’, which chronicles the rise and fall of the American punk scene as it evolved from your own UK scene. One thing that seems to stand out in this book is how, even to this day, many of these bands are still at each other’s throats. I guess that old saying about the pursuit of wisdom being a low priority compared to fame, fortune, and fornication holds true even for the underground, no? Jaz: for me, when I get the opportunity to look into other bands, and see the dynamics between people in those bands and of course compare them to Killing Joke… Ugh…. They are so disappointing. I couldn’t last 10 minutes with most bands; I wouldn’t have anything to talk about. I ﬁnd musicians, generally speaking, really… very stupid people, dull people, for the best part And I don’t ﬁnd that really within this band, I ﬁnd that generally speaking we talk about everything –but- music. ABORT: Well it leads one to wonder about the reasons a lot of bands form- if a lot of bands form strictly to get famous, then it means everyone is going to be self absorbed, it’s the “me” show. Whereas I never got the impression that was Killing Joke’s intention, to be ‘famous’. Jaz: Well I can only really speak for myself, but I never really had expectations, really. I mean I never really thought we would, or should, become a ‘stadium’ band. ABORT: So you never ﬁnd yourself looking at the long list of bands that you’ve inﬂuenced clearly, and their success, and thinking, “why isn’t that me?” Jaz: No, I don’t. I see so many people who’ve got an incredible amount of wealth, but they have no freedom. For me, mobility is everything, and I have that, so…. I just want access to things. The idea of ownership to me is ridiculous, owning anything is ridiculous. I think people want access to things, I mean… It’s –nice- stay in a castle, but you don’t want to –own- it. ABORT: I’ve never been in a castle; I would
imagine it would be very cold. Jaz: Yeah. ABORT: So, after 30 years of non-stop creative production, are we looking at caffeine or alcohol as the culprit? Jaz: Well, alcohol didn’t really become a major force for me until between the years of 2003 and 2005, and then it was fucking insane. Now I think, sometimes I harbor a cup of tea and a spliff. ABORT: You should try Yuangyang sometime, if you’re a fan of tea. Its Hong Kong coffee and tea mixedJaz: Oh yeah? ABORT: Yeah, there’s something about the way they boil their coffee and tea though, its fucking jet fuel, I’m telling you. There is just no physical way to drink 2 cups of the stuff back to back. Jaz: Is that right? ABORT: You get through one cup and you can feel it, right in the spine, like someone is just squeezing. It places caffeine on a whole new level insofar as it being a ‘drug’. Jaz: You know, we’ve gone through different phases, but we’ve never been into that… passé drugs. I stopped drinking, this Christmas, it’ll have been ﬁve years ago. I just had to stop, it was getting ridiculous.
ABORT: Did you ﬁnd it hard to do? Jaz: No, I didn’t ﬁnd it hard to stop. I just made a decision. I didn’t do any of that AA shit, and I kept going to pubs and cafes. ABORT: That’s one thing I’m envious of with the UK… We don’t really have a pub culture here in North America, and I think I would very much appreciate if we did. Jaz: Well, there not pub culture so much in Europe, it’s more of a café culture, which is a similar thing- well, it’s a different thing, a better thing. ABORT: We don’t have that here either… It’s all Starbucks here, you know, get in, get your drink, now fuck off. It’s very anti-social. It’s all about product, it’s not about encouraging people to get togetherJaz: I love cafés. I love cafés that double as art galleries. I love anarchist cafés, with all these different ideas and notice boards, you can smoke… you know, anything you want, loud music playing, I love these kinds of places. ABORT: Well it seems that sound check is probably not too far off here, so I’ll leave you to the rest of your downtime before the show. Thank you very much for the conversation. Jaz: No problem.
The ABORT Interview
Killing Joke. To some, a band of profoundly mythical depth and energy. To others, a great big question mark. Few, if any, bands have managed to have the far-reaching impact on music that this band has, while at the same time managing to maintain that pseudo-elitist ‘underground’ chic. Fronting this powerhouse of alternative/industrial/metal/post-punk is Jaz Coleman.
This man is as unique as the band he leads- he started out in squats in the late 1970’s, moved up to apocalypse prophet in the 1980’s, and continued on to be the Composer-in-Residence for the entire European Union. Just before their most recent show here in Vancouver, B.C., we here at ABORT Magazine managed to squeeze in a relatively informal chat with Jaz. Also present for some of the discussion was Geordie Walker, the bemused guitar player of Killing Joke. Keith Durocher: Let’s start this all off with some shameless sycophantery. It cannot be stressed enough how dynamic and vital sounding Absolute Dissent is. It’s sound is
2 1 a n d U n d e r W i t h . . .
New Wave legend and the godfather of electronic music’s humble beginning, Gary Numan has taken a few breaks, but never stopped his mission to keep creating unique and diverse electronic music. Thirty-one years later he has strapped on the gear, loaded up the bus and has once again hit the road to give die-hard fans a complete live version of the classic album “The Pleasure Principle”, played in it’s entirety. ABORT Magazine’s E.S. Day spoke with Gary from Toronto to get an update on his current activities and on the recent incident where he lost his voice while playing in Atlanta. 1. ABORT: We heard that you recently lost your voice, what’s the situation with that right now? GARY NUMAN: It’s okay now. It vanished entirely on day two of the tour. I couldn’t even talk let alone sing anything. We had to cancel the Atlanta show, which was a real bummer for me. That’s the only show I’ve cancelled for health reasons in 31 years of touring, so it was a huge disappointment. For the next three shows I had to ask the audience to sing a few of the higher pitched songs that I still couldn’t get to, but since last week’s New York show it’s been okay. 2. ABORT: “The Pleasure Principle Tour 2010” sees you going to Mexico for a few dates, any particular reason you chose Mexico rather than doing a string of South American dates? GN: I don’t like being away from my children for too long. I usually limit touring to two-week segments these days for that reason. This tour is around three weeks, so I’m already pushing that limit some way. We had the option to extend the tour and go all across South America, but it would have been way too long away from them. They are only young and it’s not good to be away from them for too long, not for them or me. We intend to come back to South America next year. 3. ABORT: Can we see Gary Numan doing any more appearances as you did when you performed “Metal” with Trent Reznor or maybe some surprise guests to appear on your current tour? GN: It’s not something I plan for to be honest, but I’m happy if people want to come and join us for a song or two. The Nine Inch Nails thing evolved from a single guest appearance when they played London last year into also playing at the ﬁnal four NIN shows in Los Angeles. That was an amazing experience. On this tour, we had Nash The Slash join us on stage in Toronto, which was very cool. 4. ABORT: You will be heading back to the U.K. for a few dates, do you still ﬁnd years later that a North American crowd are less or more receptive? GN: I think they are pretty similar actually. A good crowd in North America makes the same kind of noise as a good crowd at home. Haven’t had any bad ones yet, so I guess I’ve been lucky. 5. ABORT: Next studio album: When are we looking at as far as a release date and can we get a few producers names that are involved? GN: It’s likely to be called Splinter and I’m working on it with Ade Fenton again, who worked on the last album Jagged. I hope to have it out by spring 2011 or soon after. We also have another album called Dead Son Rising that we have nearly ﬁnished. We are still unsure whether to release that as an album or move that music over into two ﬁlm projects that are being put together at the moment. 6. ABORT: This tour seems to be a solidiﬁed line-up of musicians, are you going to keep this troupe for recording as well? GN: I don’t really use musicians much on the albums, as I tend to play most things myself, along with Ade these days. Having said that, Tim Muddiman and Steve Harris have already contributed some great guitar and bass parts for some of the songs, but it’s not really a studio band, it’s a live band. 7. ABORT: With the exception of the track listing, how does The Pleasure Principle 2009 DVD differ both visually and musically when compared to let’s say Jagged or Cold Warning DVD’s? GN: The Pleasure Principle 2009 DVD and Jagged are not so different. Obviously the PP DVD has all the old PP songs on it, played in a very similar style to the 1979 originals, but the rest of the show is along the lines of the Jagged DVD. A few changes in band lineup perhaps and the lights are obviously different, but overall you can see it’s from a closer point in the band’s history than the Cold Warning DVD. That goes back to 1984, different look entirely, different sound entirely, different band entirely. 8. ABORT: Best date on this tour so far and will we ever see Gary Numan doing a full or condensed Canadian tour? GN: Best show so far has probably been Chicago. We played there with Recoil, Alan Wilder’s band, and had a great time. Sold out, fantastic crowd, amazing atmosphere. To be honest though, we haven’t had a bad night on the entire tour. It’s been the most enjoyable tour that I’ve played in North America for a very long time for a number of reasons. I do seem to have a problem with Canadian promoters, however. With the exception of Toronto, and even then their offer was the lowest on the tour by far and barely covered my costs for going there, no other Canadian promoter was interested. It is a bit frustrating because we sold out Toronto, and we have sold out shows in the majority of the other cities we have visited as well. To not be able to ﬁnd a promoter in Montreal or Vancouver for example, historically two cities I would play in, that was interested in having me was very disappointing. Perhaps they will think again next time when they look at how well this tour has sold. From my point of view, I would love to play more shows in Canada. ABORT: Thanks for your time Gary.
by Scott Alexander
by Jamie Sands
Who: Eran Cantrell What: Illustrator Where: Calgary, Alberta Canada Why: For me, art was always a way to make a connection between ideas and reality, to bridge the gap between one mind and another. When I was very young, I began drawing to bring my ideas into the real world; I continued when I realized that I could do much more than that. I could reach people. For commissions, contact via email@example.com http://eranfolio.com http://pyxelated.deviantart.com/store
Who: Eran Cantrell What: Illustrator Where: Calgary, Alberta Canada Why: For me, art was always a way to make a connection between ideas and reality, to bridge the gap between one mind and another. When I was very young, I began drawing to bring my ideas into the real world; I continued when I realized that I could do much more than that. I could reach people. http://eranfolio.com/ http://pyxelated.deviantart.com/store/ For commissions, contact via firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: Jeremy Russell What: Photoshop/pencil artist Where: Norton, New Brunswick, Canada When: On the Google machine at www.rusthate.com all of the time Why: As a kid, I always was involved with creating something, be it simple art projects in school, or painting my skateboards. As I grew and became older and more aware of the various mediums available to me, my horizons vastly opened up to me. Being that I gave myself such a foundation in the basics of art, the rest came naturally to me.
Having never attended art school other then what was offered in public schools, I was always watching and listening to artists, reading what they had to say about their techniques. Bob Ross in the Joy of painting, or the massive books put out by Robert Bateman, I absorbed as much as I could. It wasn’t until I met friends in the Photoshop world that my work really became...my own. It allowed me the tools to convey my ideas on a larger scale with more gory detail. I feel it still hinges on the fringe of what my work will become, BUT it’s a great beginning for me. Purchase/Commission: On the web: rusthate.com To shop: etsy.com/shop/Rusthate
Who: Jeremy Russell What: Social reporter Where: Settimo S. pietro (CA) Italy When: Next showing /gallery etc... Why: Born in 1971, Pier studied arts at the high school and Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. He showed his works in Italy and worked for the Stanford Univer. press. He published in many international art magazines. “I believe in a kind of art which aims, day by day, to undertake a revolutionary perspective towards the established order and the authoritarism of the artistic market. It is a kind of art with a human and a social content, and
which is able to reveal all sort of contradictions present in daily life. This class of art is deprived of every romantic connotations – according to a fundamental commitment in the field of expressive reality and expressive sincerity». I believe in the artist’s evolution from a V.I.P., as he is in truth today, into a cynic narrator of what he is forced to see and observe. http://pierk.deviantart.com
Children of Bodom
Coheed and Cambria
Trouble In The Camera Club - A Photographic Narrative of Toronto’s Punk History, 1976-1980 By Don Pyle ECW Press The music, style and attitude of Punk may not have come out of a vacuum, but its appearance on the Toronto scene was like a brick in a box of Timbits... Lamb of God: New American Gospel By Chris Adler Adler Publishing It’s no exaggeration to say that Lamb of God was largely responsible for changing the face of metal music over the last decade. After debuting under their new moniker in 2000 –having previously gone under the name Burn the PriestLOG released the game-changing New American Gospel. It’s arguably not their strongest album to date, their sophomore release As the Palaces Burn, would prove to be a more focused synthesis of the ideas they were cultivating at the time. Nonetheless, New American Gospel set the foundation for all subsequent releases and is thus held in high regard when looking back over their discography. The Lamb of God: New American Gospel drum tablature book is an interesting venture in its own right. On top of the self-explanatory drum tabs transcribed by Chris Adler and Travis Orbin (ex-Periphery), Adler took things one step further by including personal reflections on writing and recording the album. These reflections which preface each song’s tablature, offer insight into Chris Adler’s creative process as well as some of the struggles he’s had with his chosen craft. While not going into great detail, they also indicate some of the personal conflicts within the band, specifically between Randy Blythe and the rest. While aimed specifically at drummers (it is a drum tab book after all) Lamb of God: New American Gospel makes for an interesting read for non-drummers as well. Particularly interesting is Adler’s admission of a “repetitive mental drum injury” that occurred after many years of playing the same material. For a man that’s been at the forefront of technical drumming since Lamb of God broke onto the scene, hearing about his insecurities is surprising. As it turns out, studying tab late in his career helped to jumpstart his drive for drumming once again. Perhaps this book will have the same effect on creatively blocked readers. Be sure to keep an ear out for Chris Adler on select tracks of Testament’s The Dark Roots of Earth set to be released in October 2011. www.chris-adler.com By Alxs Ness “Canada was in its earliest days of cultural transformation from colonial outpost to whatever you might describe it as today...” - this casual observation perfectly encapsulates the essence of this entire book in one succinct phrase. To anyone born in urban Canada after 1980, it might seem that this country was always a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural and urbane society, and not the backwater of mostly white, working class church-goers who made up the majority of the population even in cities. Another poignant image is the photo of the iconic CN tower, just barely completed and surrounded by the original desolate rail yards and warehouses that it displaced. As Pyle wryly comments, “There is no convention center, no domed stadium, only this new structure that couldn’t help but be closely attached to the psyche of the citizens it loomed over.”. A mad combination of phallic symbol and syringe that still defines the city, it seemed to have dropped from outer space, but the mid 1970’s in Toronto were a time of total change, to both the physical and psychic landscape. This was a time when a mother would weep for a son coming home in a leather jacket, nevermind the subsequent tornado of hairstyles and body modification that are now commonplace. A time when “punk” still meant what it means in prison, and when those who identified with the image and lifestyle numbered in the thousands and not millions. Really, this book is Don Pyle’s coming of age story in words and pictures, as we see an awkward and recognizably universal “good Canadian kid” (as Don Cherry would say...) experience for the first time the thrill of real, live, subversive music. For those of us born in the wake of Punk’s all-encompassing influence, Pyle’s photos are a window into our own innocence, when Canadian society as a whole was first confronted with unfettered anger and youthful vitality set to music, untempered by the Hippies who the Middle Class felt they had finally gotten rid of. This was a movement that was deliberately threatening, not in a focused and intentional way but chaotic and persistent, defining itself as anti rather than pro. Not to dwell too long on the whole social analysis aspect either, but these photos are anthropological documents as well, like Edward Curtis’ pictures of Native Americans in the 1800’s. They preserve not only the costumes and settings of the time, but the natural expressions of the subjects involved without pretense, and it is in the faces, and especially the eyes that Punk shines forth. This is not a fashion statement, and it’s not even merely Punk Rock, it is a burst of fury from the hearts, minds and bodies of a generation caught between the smugness of the 60’s and the fakeness of the 80’s. A generation that chose to define itself, at all costs, as the antithesis of all that came before and all that was to come.
From world icons like The Ramones, The Runaways, The Dead Boys and The Viletones, to Canadian heroes like Teenage Head and the Diodes, to touchingly casual portraits of various friends, musicians, and hangers on, “Trouble In The Camera Club” carefully treads the fine line of personal revelation and universal experience. These are faces anyone would recognize caught in the eye of a typical youth. Pyle’s narrative style is eminently readable, warm and nostalgic but without sentimentality, dryly dropping dimes about backstage shenanigans without gloating. Honestly, I’m surprised that this isn’t a hardcover, as it’s a great coffee-table book for repeated viewing, the kind that draws a reader into another world, but at $29.95 US or Canada (http://www.troubleinthecameraclub.com/buy-now/), Pyle’s clearly chosen to stick to his roots. Anytime you need a dose of the pre-irony, in it for the minute, bright and briefly burning world of early Punk, step inside...just mind the broken glass. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum True Norwegian Black Metal (Hardcover Edition) By Peter Beste PowerHouse Just as the title suggests, True Norwegian Black Metal focuses on the Norwegian Black Metal subculture mainly through photographic form. What’s interesting about this collection of photographs is that while they primarily feature members of bands from the early Norwegian Black metal scene (AKA. 2nd wave of black metal), they were all taken nearly a decade after the scene was fully developed. These photos feature not only key players in the development and dissemination of the philosophies behind the early scene but also survivors of the chaos, madness and bloodshed that followed in its wake. The absence of those who helped form the scene but were permanently or temporarily eliminated as a result of being murdered or committing murder (or various other criminal acts) is poignant. In their absence, Beste captures some of the history; Mayhem’s first jam space, Euronymous’ front door, the Elm Street Rock Café and various landscape scenes of Norway. The beauty of True Norwegian Black Metal is that it can be appreciated on many different levels. Firstly the scale of the images (11.25” X 14.25”) and their quality make for a visually stunning and aesthetically pleasing collection. The diversity of subject matter-bands, individuals, fans and natural landscape- are captured sometimes in an obviously staged manner and sometimes very candidly. The care that Beste has put towards capturing the moment and feeling of each subject seems worthy of a subculture in which style and “self-expression” are extremely important. Beste is able to capture the human elements – humor, isolation, despair, introversion, teenage angst, backstage antics and the people behind the alter-egos- as well as the larger-than-
life aura that emanates from the black metal personas and the scene in general. What’s great about this book is that the images are allowed to stand on their own without categorization or any specific explanation. There is a sparse array of quotes from black metal musicians and European philosophers throughout, but since these are given special treatment as well –each placed on its own black page- they don’t speak specifically to their adjacent image but rather to the philosophy and beliefs of those depicted. The lack of page numbers encourages the reader to go through each image carefully, allowing them to process the visuals in a more subjective rather then anthropological way. This format gives the reader the option to make their own conclusions and to experience the photographs in their own way. Of course, since this is documentary photography, it is Beste who has selected these images, edited and framed them in a specific manner to tell a particular story in the way he sees fit. However, since the presentation of this story is open ended, Beste coaxes rather then forces us to travel the path he has laid forward visually. Another highlight is the contributions made by Metalion, founder of the influential Norwegian metal magazine Slayer. A book dedicated to Norwegian Black Metal, featuring relatively current photographs of its most significant figures would not be complete without some representation of the past. These pages, comprised of photographs, letters, show posters and interviews are largely a tribute to the fallen, namely Dead (ex-Mayhem vocalist) and Euronymous (ex-Mayhem guitarist). In a way they put a real face to the condensed biography and black metal timeline located at the start of the book. While many of the photos found in this section are fairly common, the letter written by Euronymous to Metalion after Dead’s suicide is morbidly intriguing. Equally intriguing and at times entertaining are the interviews conducted by Metalion with Euronymous and Dead, Varg Vikernes and Demonaz (Immortal) respectively. The gargantuan True Norwegian Black Metal will surely find its way onto the coffee tables of the disciples as well as the curious. No matter what the viewer has invested into the story behind the images, the photographs themselves are captivating and reason enough to warrant a look-through. While there is much depth here, there are also humorous and pathetic moments throughout. One obvious conclusion one can draw after spending some time with this book, is the fascinating way the fundamentals of rock music –sex, drugs and rock and rollhave managed to carry over throughout the history of heavy music; even bleeding into one of its most extreme sub-genres - True Norwegian Black Metal. www.powerhousebooks.com By Alxs Ness
The Ultimate Metallica Photographs By Ross Halfin Chronicle Books It is certainly no stretch to put the word ‘Ultimate’ in front of anything Metallica (St. Anger album aside) and several of the photographs in this massive black tome with no page numbers definitely deserve that title. However, as Lars Ulrich wrote jokingly in his in-depth foreword, this is just “the 147th useless Metallica photo book.” Lars may have hit the nail on the head there, somewhat. While the book boasts more photos per square inch than a Google search for ‘porn’, the one thing it is greatly lacking in, is any sort of descriptions on all but a few of the choice shots. With the majority of images arranged in chronological order, it’s easy to flip through to your favorite metallic-era and study the images over tea, but again, with the lack of any story to accompany these “epic” frames, the meaning is all but lost. It just becomes Metallica against some wall, somewhere, at some point in time. Another great disappointment is the lack of photos during the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when the band and Ross went their separate ways, leaving a large gap in the photo history of the band, as far as this book was concerned. If it is true, that picture is worth a thousand words, we are short about two million words here, since at this point, aging Metallica fans aren’t looking for posters to put on their bedroom walls anymore. The Ultimate Metallica Photographs is still an extraordinary look at one of Rock ‘n’ Rolls powerhouses, including some very old, and very exclusive frames made while Ross toured extensively with the band that will no doubt go down in history with other legendary photos that have come before them. With a price sticker at a mere thirty-five US dollars, The Ultimate Metallica is nonetheless a worthy addition to the hardcore fans bookshelf, alongside the other 146 “useless books”. www.rosshalfin.com www.chroniclebooks.com By Scott Alexander
You Can’t Always Get What You Want By Sam Cutler ECW Press Legendary doesn’t even begin to describe it. The perfect example of a grizzled rock veteran with a thousand stories to tell, former Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead tour manager Sam Cutler tells a few of them in his new book You Can’t Always Get What You Want, a tell-all recounting of his years with the Stones and the Dead. The book starts out very slowly as Cutler lays a bit of groundwork talking about his childhood growing up as a foster child in a fervently socialist household, his early memories and the angst of his teen years. The book quickly kicks into gear, though, and becomes thoroughly impossible to put down. Starting with Cutler putting on a show for the Stones in Hyde Park in 1969 the action ramps up significantly as Cutler is suddenly swept off his feet and into the Stones’ camp, leading them on their big upcoming American tour. Cutler very easily draws you in with his frank and honest account of the life of a tour manager on the road during rock and roll’s golden age and his inordinate number of anecdotes on just about every great musician one can think of. Syd Barrett, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin among many others all take their turns making appearances, not to mention Keith Richards, Jerry Garcia et al. Cutler’s stories draw you in completely because of their extreme legitimacy; Cutler was really there and he really saw those things and he doesn’t exaggerate or build it up, he just tells it like it was. While You Can’t Always Get What You Want mostly serves as a memoir to his days as a tour manager and it does cover a lot of his time with the Rolling Stones as well as the Grateful Dead a large chunk of the book is taken up in Cutler’s explanation and interpretation of the events at and leading up to the Altamont Speedway free concert in 1969. He explains his involvement starting at the beginning, from being there when the Grateful Dead’s quasi-manager Rock Scully first brought up the subject of the Stones doing a concert with the west coast scene bands to being on stage when Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death, from Jerry Garcia and the boys showing up and instantly bailing when they saw how nasty the crowd was to witnessing the acid victims as they were brought into the infirmary by the dozen to be dosed with Thorazine. In fact, LSD is one of the most recurrent subjects in the book, as practically everyone in the book is tripping balls and any square that gets in Sam Cutler’s way quickly gets a dose of purple haze. Sex, a shitload of drugs, plus a hell of a lot of rock and roll, You Can’t Always Get What You Want has it all in spades and isn’t shy about dishing it out, shelling out stories of musical debauchery at a stunning pace and with a deft hand until sadly, suddenly coming to an end. www.gimmecutler.com By A.W. Reid
Def Leppard: The Definitive Visual History By Ross Halfin Chronicle Books No stranger to producing heavy semi-gloss photo books, Ross Halfin, having already made a name for himself in the photography world has now made a name for himself in the book-world with the seemingly endless archive of epic rock and roll photographs he has collected over the years. Still touring and shooting today, Halfins’ collection of photos continues to grow, and the recently released “Def Leppard’s Definitive Visual History” adds a new level to the shooters impressive library. A far cry from 2010’s so-so release “Ultimate Metallica” which was a mishmash of completely random photos (review here), Leppard’s visual history is just that, an extraordinary time line of one of the greatest British Hard Rock bands of all time. A must have for the shelves of each and every Def Leppard fan. With more than just a few great shots to his credit, Ross was able to pull from negative, slide and digital file photos that fans will recognize, as well as a bunch that even the band has never seen, as front man Joe Elliot remarks in the book’s forward, the words of which are dedicated to Ross’s ability to make photos, a little potty humour, or more literally, some sink humour. The biggest selling point of this massive photo album is not just the fact that you’re able to flip through it over and over, or discovering a passed-over photo with some new minute detail that makes an average photo legendary. It’s chock-full of the image descriptions, back stories, and a few band member ‘letters’ which put the photos in the context the FAN wants, and needs. Now it’s just up to deciding whether to display it in the Union Jack dust jacket or the sleek black hardcover sporting that famous logo underneath. www.rosshalfin.com www.chroniclebooks.com By Scott Alexander
Talk-Action=0: An Illustrated History of D.O.A By Joe Keithley Arsenal Pulp Press You would think 33 years of touring the world in a beer-swilling, shit-disturbing, hardcore punk band would result in a supreme loss of brain cells and memory. This does not seem to be the case for Joe Keithley, notorious frontman of Vancouver’s own D.O.A. Seven years after the release of his auto-biography I, Shithead: A Life in Punk, he follows up with TalkAction=0: An Illustrated History of D.O.A. Where I, Shithead is a detailed, in-depth look at Keithley’s early years, the formation of D.O.A, the countless tours, numerous line-up changes, the rise to fame and the struggles throughout, Talk-Action=0 reads like a picture book of the same story. The ultimate road story after Hard Core Logo, Keithley literally illustrates through a myriad of high quality photographs, tour/show posters, album covers and miscellaneous visual aids, the real-life contexts that inspired Michael Turner’s novel, not to mention several other books and films. Staying true to it’s name, Talk-Action=0 stands as visual proof of the band’s tireless touring schedules, its dedication to standing up for worthwhile causes and its “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality. Being clocking in at over 300 pages long, this one’s a light read. This is due to Keithley’s conversational writing style; he is a true a story-teller (in the non-fictional sense) whose specialty is telling it like it is in a straight-forward, compelling and entertaining way. Certainly not short on material, Keithley none-the-less keeps it short and lets the images do most of the talking. As the ‘pre-introduction’, Thirty-Three Years of D.O.A foreshadows --through a summary of the band’s statistics over the years-- the documentation of a great deal of the band’s approximate 3,500 shows and near two million miles traveled speaks for itself. One of the highlight’s of Talk-Action=0 is the subjective view of changing histories in both political and musical landscapes. Keithley’s viewpoint is only one but it comes from a person who has traveled the world and remained engaged in significant changes within it. Talk-Action=0: An Illustrated History of D.O.A, is not only relevant for punk fans but for anyone interested in what it’s like to see the world from a tour bus, or in this case, the Reid Fleming. By Alxs Ness
American Hardcore: A Tribal History By Steven Blush Feral House Once upon a time, in our Western Pop Culture, each generation was defined by a youth movement that captured a very special energy. Like sparks that flare into flame, then descend into long-burning embers, these movement are nearly impossible to explain- you just had to be there. From the beat poets of the late 50’s, through the summer of love generation in the 60’s, up to the desperately antisocial stylings of the UK punk scene in the 70’s, these eras were each unique and powerful. The 1980’s saw a brutally brief music-based subculture that re-defined what passion and dedication could mean. That scene came to be known as American Hardcore, and it could be argued that this was the last great subcultural movement. Today we look at a book that attempts to cover the history of that time: “American Hardcore- A Tribal History” by Steven Blush. So what is “hardcore”? It’s surprising how hard it is to actually answer that question. Is hardcore a style of music? Yes, and no. Is hardcore a fashion? Yes, and no. Is hardcore a violent asskicking at a show? Yes, and no. Is hardcore the ultimate expression of do-it-yourself? Yes, and no. Hardcore is all of these things and more, but it is also none of these things. It’s a philosophy, a way of living in the extreme moment, a form of divisive unity underscored by radical socio-political points of viewall to a howling, blisteringly fast, eardrum-shattering soundtrack, and from 1980 to 1986, it was the most important culture in the world. Steven Blush has crafted a spectacular collection of stories and images in this book. The narrative of ‘the scene’ is broken down by city, with every page is punctuated by images of show posters and the chaos of hardcore shows. This tome is relentlessly honest- as any attempt to explain this time in history should be. It’s a visceral read, but not without its drawbacks. Where this book fails lies within the narrative. Namely, it tends to be dry to the point of eye-glazingly boring. Clearly, this is important information, but after pages and pages (and pages) of what amounts to little more than lists of names, well- this is hardly gripping prose. As a compendium of data, American Hardcore tends to read like a dictionary more than a story. Those times where the tale actually does unfold, and events carry the reader momentarily to that specific place and time, it’s informative, it’s entertaining- and disappointing. For example, the opinions offered on Henry Rollins- one gets the idea that the man is an iconic figurehead behind which the hardcore movement rallied. Reading this book, it’s quickly made clear that everyone in hardcore actually almost universally reviled him outside of the DC scene. Equally shocking is the revelation that the Bad Brains were a gang of misogynist homophobes. From the hypocrisy of the straight-edge movement through to the willfully ignorant misuse of Minor Threat tracks as white-power theme songs, this book isn’t afraid to tell the reader exactly as it wasnot how we perceive it to be after many years of ‘the good ol’ days’ media editing.
So, should you buy this book? The answer is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, yes. Despite its somewhat dry narrative, it is still the definitive work covering an extremely important moment in music history. Regardless of what particular subculture you resonate with, this book should still be in your collection, as a testament to the extremes one should constantly aspire to in all aspects of life. Anything worth doing is worth doing right- and every person who can legitimately claim to have been part of the American hardcore scene was certainly doing it right. In this day and age, the brutal zeal and dedication to ones principles that typified the hardcore movement… These are lessons more important than ever. www.americanhardcorebook.com By Keith Durocher Cover Story, Volume Two: Odd, Obscure, and Outrageous Album Art Wax Poetics Most coffee table album art books make the decision to publish the covers of classic albums by household name musicians. They focus on keeping it classy, the most subversive thing in the whole book being the infant endowment on 1991′s Nevermind by Nirvana. Wax Poetics goes an entirely different route with their new book Cover Story, which would rather showcase the concept of a deranged lunatic shoving his own brains through a meat grinder (First Rush by Chris Rush) than give you your umpteenth look at a gaggle of British fucks in fruity pseudo military garb. Not to say the book isn’t classy in it’s presentation, because it is. It’s would sit nicely on your table in the living room next to the fireplace, but it would do better next to your copy of Larry Flynt’s biography than the big book of water color paintings your aloof relative got you for your bat mitzvah. Yes, I’m saying there is a fair amount of naked women here. Within it’s pages, the book gives you a look at almost-famous artists such as John Zorn, and Placebo, but mostly you’ve not heard of these people or their records, and that’s the brilliance of the book. It supplies you with other people’s nostalgia, right down to some of the LP’s still having a price tag on their sleeve for 20 cents. The artwork seems to be categorized into sections of artwork style. There is a blaxpoitation section. There is an airbrushed unicorn on the side of a hippies van artwork section. There is a tasteless cartoon section. The book is kinda like if Jackie Brown, Foxy Brown and the white guy with the afro who painted waterfalls and shit on cable tv got down with Rollergirl while Burt Reynolds filmed it. Want to buy the book yet? Yeah, I thought so. By Kevvy Mental
[o] Scott Alexander 2
[o] Scott Alexander 1. Scott and Snoop throw tradition out the window, and pass the Kouchie to the right hand side. 2. Roger, DJ and Sergii outside of The Fall Tattoo with everyones favourite big-mouth editor.
Jane’s Addiction Live Voodoo Eagle Rock Bring the spooky magic of theatrical hard rock lore to your living room with the glowing performance of Jane’s Addiction– Live Voodoo. It was All Hallow’s Eve in New Orleans, 2009. The band’s original line-up of Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Eric Avery and Stephen Perkins reunited at the Voodoo Experience to bring back a long lost spectacle that tickles the tender memories that live in the hearts of those who remember what rock was like when rock was still great. The stage set is murky and rustic but with a fashionable flare that is the perfect platter for the costumed and charismatic Farrell in his gleaming raiment. The tracks blend seamlessly into one another until one is haphazardly found phasing in and out of a dream trip featuring scantily but stylistically dressed maidens of burlesque fantasy. Farrell runs wild with maracas as Navarro shreds spasmodically through the epic climax of “Three Days.” But as “Whores pushes forward with the Jane’s agenda of rad, one starts to sober and realize the poor quality of Farrell’s pitch. Fortunately his technicians and audio engineers are aware of his lack of piping prowess and they mix him a little low to take the edge off of his high tenor shrill. Farrell then drinks wine from the bottle and toasts the crowd to death. Navarro smokes a cigarette and plays the mellow prelude to “Then She Did”. Avery’s plaid pants clash with the drama of the backdrop. Perkins hammers with his half shaven head down to glue the glory together as he rotates his way through a variety of ghoulish masks. In short, the performance is a beautiful testament to the days when rock still had something to offer people that really left a lasting impression on their lives and memories. It is a joyous memento for a group of individuals who beyond the trials of time managed to come together to recreate a feeling decades after it was first conceived. The track listing is primarily picked from the first and second Jane’s albums and will not disappoint anyone who remembers how great alternative rock really was in its glory days. www.eagle-rock.com By ninjoelspy
Stones in Exile Directed by Stephen Kijak Eagle Rock Entertainment Stones in Exile, produced by Jagger, Richards, and Watts’ and released by Eagle Rock Entertainment is a 60-minute documentary that candidly captures the lives of The Rolling Stones during their exile in the South of France. During this infamous interlude, they were able to produce enough raw material to generate the epic double album Exile on Main St. which is hailed by the industry, musicologists, and fans alike as one of the most influential albums of all times. The documentary chronicles the epoch in time when the legendary rockers were forced to leave England, emigrating to the South of France due to overwhelming tax issues. After finally settling for the convenience of Keith Richards’ rented villa, Villa Nellcote in Villefranchesur-mer, The Stones set up in the basement and used a mobile studio which they parked in the driveway next to the house and began recording. Actual vintage film footage, images and sound bytes were used in the production of this film which makes this project quite unique. Throughout the film Director Stephen Kijak manages to capture the essence of “the making of ” Exile in an artistically intrinsic way. He does this by using a mass of black & white images fused together with vintage film while narration occurs in the background, accompanied by original audio recording clips of the band. It is clear to see that the experiences they shared in effect shaped the classic album. Although sometimes appearing fragmented and random, the documentary gives it’s viewers an explicit view into the band during this time; the excessive lifestyle certainly, but also the creativity and the musical fortitude that kept them moving forward as a band. A rare gem included in the footage is a seldom-heard tune, “Cocksucker Blues”. The film and out takes for this segment were directed by Robert Frank. Frank recorded the film with a small Super 8mm Canon camera which lent itself well to the artistic dimension of the piece. The DVD packaging includes a tri-fold with photos of the band; highly disappointing is the absence of liner notes. There are however, about 85 minutes worth of bonus material, which help to make the documentary a more cohesive whole. There are extended interviews with the band, as well as Jagger and Watts’ return to Stargroves and Olympic Studios. Another bonus feature includes Exile celebrity fans such as Martin Scorsese, Jack White, Sheryl Crow, and Liz Phair, to name a few, recounting how the album impacted their lives. An interview with the producer of Exile’s re-release Don Was is an added plus. As a collector, this DVD will make a perfect companion to your copy of Exile on Main St.; as a Stones fan, you will appreciate seeing what went into the making of one of the best albums of all time. By Karla “KHAOS” McLeod
Immortal Live at Wacken 2007- The Seventh Date of Blashyrkh Nuclear Blast Immortal’s latest release The Seventh Date of Blashyrkh documents the band’s epic performance at the Wacken Open Air festival back in 2007. Having temporarily called it quits in 2003 due to personal issues, their Seven Dates of Blashyrkh mini-tour in 2007 was an important comeback; reasserting the band’s dominance in a genre that has had a strong resurgence with an increase in media attention and various documentaries over the past 5 years. This package is pretty straightforward- live performance on the DVD, live audio on the CD, no bonus features, just straight-up Norwegian Black metal the way the legendary Immortal’s been doing it since 1990. The current line-up consisting of Abbath (Vocals/guitars), Apollyon (bass) and Horgh (drums) stormed the stage to greet the 70,000 + fans in attendance. Though they had most likely suspected it from the start, those present were in for a treat. With the exception of Blizzard Beasts, Immortal played at least one track from every album in their discography including favorites such as “At the Heart of Winter,””Wrath From Above,””One by One” and “Blashyrk (Mighty Ravendark).” To top it all off, the pyrotechnics and lights added a nice touch and coupled with the high sound quality of the recording made for an entertaining and seamless audio/visual combination. Just like the CD/DVD package, their performance was pretty bare bones, no surprises here. Realistically this is for the best-fans attended the performance with certain expectations in mind and while Immortal didn’t make history here, they met those expectations without letting anyone down. One of the highlights on stage was Abbath’s showmanship which always somehow contains brief moments of hilarity- need I mention his infamous ‘crab walk’? It’s nice to see a band kick ass on stage all the while not taking themselves too seriously. www.immortalofficial.com www.nuclearblastusa.com By Alxs Ness
Down Diary of a Mad Band: Europe in the Year of VI Down Records Despite legal issues that prevented the band from keeping with the anticipated release date of their first DVD Diary of a Mad Band, Down has prevailed. This 130 min DVD is an important one for the New-Orleans based quintet as it chronicles their 2006 return after a four year hiatus. Considering their super group status –attributed to the fact that each member has been or is currently in another successful metal band- its no surprise that they would go all out to mark the occasion; in this case embarking on their first ever European tour. With the camera in tow for each date on the tour, Diary of a Mad Band, presents a set full of hits (including “Lifer”, “Ghosts Along the Mississippi” and “Hail the Leaf ” to name a few) performed in venues across Europe. An added bonus is the behind the scenes footage, titled “Tyrades and Shananigans” that documents the lighter side of the band with some hilarious backstage moments. For those who have not yet had the good fortune to catch Down’s live show, Diary of a Mad Band is a prime opportunity to witness at least in a detached, third-party observer kind of way, the blood, sweat and pure energy that they bring to every performance. Of course there really is nothing that compares to actually being there and this DVD will, above all, encourage fans to check out a live show next time the band’s in town, if they haven’t seen them yet. For those of us who last saw Down in 2009 sans Rex Brown (ex-Pantera), who had to sit the bench due to acute pancreatitis, this DVD is an anticipatory omen of what’s to come now that he’s healthy again and back in action. To drive the point home, in one backstage scene infamous front man Phil Anselmo (exPantera) confirms that they’re not through yet, declaring himself and the other members lifers; playing metal is what they do best and they’re not giving up on it any time soon. www.down-nola.com By Alxs Ness
80 Blocks From Tiffany’s Directed by Gary Weis Five-Day Weekend/Traffic Entertainment
over and over, both to witness the roots of the sociopathology endemic in the modern urban experience, and of the nascent roots of the Hip Hop culture that would transform desolation into inspiration, through the irrepressible spirit of the people. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Gary Weis started his career as an in-house filmmaker for Saturday Night Live, and in 1977 after reading an article in Esquire Magazine by journalist John Bradshaw entitled “Savage Skulls” decided to make a film about the already legendary NYC street gang of the same name. After meeting and befriending Bradshaw, Weis and Director of Photography Joan Churchill, took the perilous trip to the notorious South Bronx to meet the contacts that were made riding with cops on the beat while researching the Esquire article. Through these contacts, Weis and crew managed to meet, interact with and interview members of both the Savage Skulls and Savage Nomads gangs, as well as former gang members, cops, community activists and others who simply lived in a community where violence and retaliation were fast becoming routine. This is truly a document of a lost world, a New York City that would soon be forever transformed by the power of Hip Hop culture, whose hallmarks are already apparent in the styles, slang, fashions and music of 1977 South Bronx. Hip Hop’s Godfather Afrika Bambaataa was once a Black Spade gang member himself, and much of the organizational structure and sense of camaraderie of the gangs was directly transferred to the emerging Hip Hop ethos. “Fly” of the Nomads is innately Hip Hop in his manner, and represents for the gang member as G - a man to be admired and respected for his service to the community and ability to deal with “problem” situations. The fact that what this amounts to in reality is a whole lot of violence, and the maintenance of his own personal “jail” is part and parcel of the paradox of ghetto culture. And while reformed gangsters like Apache and Comanche can smugly smile in recollection of their past indiscretions, the boys in the Savage Skulls clubhouse are not playing around, proudly displaying their neo-nazi regalia (which seems utterly bizarre when worn by Latino and Black American youth), and the “flags” from their “conquered enemies”. The opening quote from the NYPD rings throughout the whole film - “these guys think they’re really doing something, but I think they’re just bums!!!” - perhaps through the eyes of privileged white men, but given their environment one wonders. While Fly excitedly catalogues the extensive list of guns he has personally seen in the ‘hood, it’s important to remember that these guys are not “gangbangers” in the modern sense, that most of the violence is hand to hand combat, and the crack epidemic has not yet turned gangsters into hustlers with lined pockets. While the violence that people of this era faced was a direct result of the desolation and abandonment of whole neighbourhoods, what was to come with the 80’s would make the 70’s look like the 50’s. As a document of a lost age where the seeds of our modern reality were sown, “80 Blocks From Tiffany’s” is a priceless film worth watching
GG Allin & The Aids Brigade Live In Boston, 1989 MVD Folklore can do a lot to inflate the legend of an artist. It’s a question of a rumour’s dichotomy next to hyperbole. Kurt Cobain didn’t really live underneath a bridge. GG Allin, however, did smash his teeth out on stage with a microphone and shit in his hand to then throw into the crowd. Looking like Axl Rose if he gave up crimping his crimson mane and bathing, GG Allin and the Aids Brigade are first seen rehearsing for their now famous Boston show, where they had to dress in drag disguise to sneak into the bar they’d been banned from in order to play. Unsurprisingly, the band cleverly titled the Aids Brigade, weren’t aloud in any venue in the Boston area.The DVD also takes a look at things one would want to see off the stage. One gets a good look at actual personalities as the boys are made up for the show, and discuss lyrical content, as well as thoughts about the upcoming show. The band actually comes of as....human. Once they hit the stage, though, humanity is far from present. “We’re the prettiest girls in Boston, I’d say...” says Allin. “And we fuck.” The band then launches into the Ramones-tinged “Cunt on the Loose” to properly set the tone of the bands performance, followed by slimy renditions of “Hanging out with Jim”, “I Wanna Fuck Myself ”, “Kill the Police”, and about 18 others. The music is not really the point of the DVD, though. The interesting part of this release is seeing an infamous figure who stubbornly stood for nothing, and would die for it. The man was actually very charismatic, and while most people wouldn’t be able to identify with the depths of his self-destruction, it’s interesting to watch from a distance, and this is the attraction. Included as bonus content are two full concerts, one in Seattle and one in Portland in ‘93. This is the perfect companion piece to ‘Hated’, the GG Allin documentary that came out a few years past, and gives more perspective on the man and the band than a cd would. This should be educational material handed out to any kids sporting Hot Topic-brand Green Day. By Kevvy Mental
pay for, and it’s nice and short too. It doesn’t drag on with superfluous, verbose, presumptuous, redundant, flagrantly biased social commentary, unlike some self-involved know-it-all-smart-ass-counter-culture magazine reviews I’ve read. I hate those. www.DriveAngry3D.com By ninjoelspy
ly keeps you spellbound, and, while sometimes too violent for most people, certainly feels neccessary in a tale like this, But the direction, story, and whatnot couldn’t be possible without someone to pull off portraying Latif Yahia and Uday Hussein masterfully. In what could be the performance of the year, and certainly one of which I would hope will be recognized during Oscar time, Dominic Cooper pulls off both roles brilliantly. This is no easy task, because while the doubles looked like each other, each had far different personalities. Truly, a performance to behold, and amazing to watch. www.thedevilsdouble.com
Grinder, timeless metal-encased assassins capable of neither fear, nor mercy. The fate of the city comes down to just one thing. www.magnetreleasing.com/hobowithashotgun By Scott Alexander Rise of The Planet of The Apes Directed by Rupert Wyatt 20th Century Fox I guess you could call “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” a reboot of “Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes”, which was the fourth film in the original POTA series. That film essentially tells how the Planet Of The Apes came to be, (caused by the Apes uprising against their Human masters). Although this film does have some elements from the original series (and absolutely zero from Tim Burton’s failed remake of the original), this new film takes the origins into a new (and yes, more plausible) reasoning of how the apes came to be. We start, just like the original, with the wonder chimp Caesar, who is the offspring of a chimp who received a experimental drug to help with Alzheimer’s. The drugs rejuvenate the monkey’s brains, making them super monkeys. The Mother passes this on to her son, and when Mom dies, the scientist heading this project (played rather blandly by James Franco) decides to keep the monkey instead of having it euthanized. Because of it’s super genes, Caesar becomes super smart, and almost too much to handle. Franco decides to hand off Caesar to a facility that houses other apes. Uh-Oh, bad idea, as Caesar, super-ape that he is, meets the other apes, and teaches them that the human bad. After that, for the last half hour or so, the apes revolt! And we are subject to amusing shots of monkeys running rampant (in Downtown Vancouver). The ending of this doesn’t really resolve much, and there is a bit of a side-plot in this about the much different effects of this drug on humans that doesn’t go anywhere really. Plot aside though; this movie is really quite the spectacle on what can be done with stop-motion effects nowadays. The ape effects are remarkable. Each ape, whether in close up or action shots appear to be almost the real thing, It also helps that the actor who provided most of the movement of Caesar is Andy Serkis, who played the mysterious Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings movies. Along with the apes effects, the shots of Ape Escape – Must Attack San Fransisco! are well done and do provide some silly tense moments for the filmgoer. Well worth your time if you have interest in any of the series, or even if you’ve never seen them at all. www.apeswillrise.com By Bill Taylor
Drive Angry (3D) Dir. By Patrick Lussier Maple Pictures A car chase is a car chase, but when you throw in accountants from hell, satanic cults and gratuitous tits you get DRIVE ANGRY. For anyone who read the name of the film and thought it was going to be one endless mobile pursuit for the glorification of road rage, you are in for a devilish surprise. The movie veers often away from the road and into a gnarly subterranean world of devil worshiping in-breeders and metaphysical repo men. John Milton (Nicolas Cage), has escaped from hell to avenge his daughters death and rescue his granddaughter from a cult led by a southern psycho played by Billy Burke. While Nic chases the cult across the Midwest, he is pursued by Satan’s hitman (William Fichtner) who aims to bring him forcefully back to the netherworld. Also thrown into the mix is greasy spoon waitress Piper (Amber Heard) who plays the no bullshit, sexy sidekick to Nic and successfully avoids the damsel in distress stigma by shooting a cop in the face and jumping headlong out of a speeding motor home. The movie has some stunts that are clearly not humanly possible, and utilizes painfully obvious CGI for a fuel truck crash, which is disappointing considering the fact that the movie’s entire premise is car chases. You would think they would have had the budget to at least do live action stunts considering that the strength of the film is all spectacle. But they did spend some good money on the 3D aspect, which was used well enough to make the audience flinch and cringe as bullets and exploding objects repeatedly flew towards their faces. There were also some outstanding laugh-out-loud one liners delivered impeccably by William Fichtner. And Nicolas Cage’s soulless performance fits the bill perfectly considering his character had already had his soul committed to eternal damnation. This also made it convenient for his character to recover miraculously from being shot in the face. Other notable moments include Amber Heard’s severe beating of a naked wanton women, an exploding skull that gets used as a beer goblet, and a sex scene in which Nic kills an entire room full of cult followers without taking his undead dick out of the biz. DRIVE ANGRY is a good laugh for the depraved, a feast for the flesh hungry, and a thrill for the easily amused. You get what you
The Devil’s Double Dir. by Lee Tamahori Maple Pictures Although the Iraqi War hasn’t produced a lot in terms of cinematic fare (the best known being Katherine Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” from a number of years ago) there is certainly subjects just waiting to be explored upon. The always iffy director Lee Tamahori (Yeah, he directed “Once Were Warriors”, but then again, he last directed the Nicholas Cage stinkeroo “Next”) certainly has gone in an interesting direction with the subject with “The Devil’s Double”, a film not about the war itself, but about the characters, more specifically, the minor characters that could be found during the conflict. Case in point, Saddam Hussein’s sons. During Saddam’s regime, as you may have heard, Saddam and his sons regularily used body doubles for the purposes of using them during any appearances that involved some risk. The doubles were made up so well, this included make up, prosthetics, and even plastic surgery, that even members of the royal family could not tell them apart, Although the story of Latif Yahia is mostly taken from second hand sources, it is fascinatingly told. Yahia knew of Uday Hussein, one of Saddam’s sons, only casually. Uday thought Yahia would make a great double for him, and pursued the matter with him. Uday didn’t think this was such a great idea, and refused at first. After finding out the hard way that, well, you don’t cross a Hussein, especially one that has the military and harsh prisons at his disposal, and pretty much makes him an offer he can’t refuse. After Yahia agrees to this, he goes through the process of becoming a Hussein, not just in appearance, but in mannerisms, voice, and all aspects in between. Soon, Yahia sees a side of Iraq and what else being the son of the ruler in power can bring you. All the money, drugs, girls and god knows what else you want. Yahia is amazed at all this, but unfortunately, Uday Hussein is a bit of a monster, since there’s no law that can stop him from rape, theft, and even murder. Yahia soon realizes he needs to get out of this job that he didn’t want in the first place. But how can he escape from someone that can track his every move? Amazing replacing the tropical climate of Malta into Iraq, Tamahori does an excellent job of putting us into a world of wealth, power and corruption, his tight direction of the interesting subject matter certain-
By Bill Taylor Hobo With A Shotgun Directed by Jason Eisener Magnet/Alliance Films When approaching a studio looking to get funding for such a ridiculous (even by grindhouse standards) concept for a movie, it’s always best to have at least two of the oddest and most successful directors behind you. Hobo with a Shotgun was originally only slated to be a fake trailer for the 2007 Tarantino/Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse, but like its fellow fake trailer-turned-feature film predecessor Machete, there was no denying Eisener already had an interested market for a
movie that didn’t exist.
Casting ‘The Dutch Paul Newman’ Rutger Hauer, for the title role of Hobo, was a home run for Eisener. Allowing the veteran actor to show his versatility and dedication to his perfected craft. Perhaps best known for his brilliant portrayal as Blade Runner’s sociopath Nexus-6 replicate leader Roy Batty, Rutgers’ forty-plus years in the business have allowed him to seamlessly portray in realistic B-movie acting fashion, an over the top hero, intent on cleaning up the city with an inexhaustible supply of shells and a 20-gauge shotgun. Our Hobo-hero dreams of a better life as he hops off a freight car at the end of the line ‘Scum town.’ A vicious place, run-down and lorded over by the Drake and his two adolescent and violent sons Ivan and Slick. After a confrontation with the latter and a young street-walking damsel in distress named Abby (Molly Dunsworth), Hobo learns the hard way, that in a city swimming in blood, the cops are bound to be as dirty as the rest, hanging him out to dry with the letters S C U M carved into his chest. As the devastation continues, the hardheaded Hobo heads to the streets. It soon becomes clear that his dream of a carefree life with a nice used lawnmower and a landscaping business are only going to be found at the end of a bargain shotgun. With the young Abby in tow, vengeance is brought down upon the corrupt, lecherous, pedophile Santas’ like a blow from Thor’s mighty hammer. As the bodies pile up around Drake and his boys, they are left with no choice but to call in The Plague and
Sucker Punch Directed by Zack Snyder Warner Brothers Films Director Zack Snyder knows the perfect recipe for an awesome live action movie: An artistic combination of kick-ass choreography, main character motivation, excellent set dressing and a heavy dose of visual effect filters that are quite pleasing to the eye. No stranger to box office blockbusters, veteran director Snyder packs a low blow with his most recent creation Sucker Punch, which follows closely on the heels of his previous successes ‘300’ and ‘Watchmen’. When pre-release buzz is vibrant for up and coming movies, there is a distinct possibility that the visual direction or character placement will not sustain the hype. Sucker Punch sustains every first blow and delivers an even deadlier counter-attack. However, do not be led astray: this movie had every classic characteristic of a typically terrible movie. The expectations were not high that this decent movie would have recommendations spreading based on merit, ideology or even performance. The brilliance of Suckerpunch is that it rides the wave of self-defined cult films, spreading its momentum before it even has to try too hard. The storyline reads like a delusional storybook for wayward young girls: young Babydoll (Emily Browning) is sent to a mental hospital where she decides to escape with her fellow hospital mates Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) by using their imaginations. A group of struggling young women join forces to destroy the bad guys in their imagination? Sounds like a lost episode of Sailor Moon. This is where Director Zack Snyder swoops in with his brilliant vision and saves the movie from being a horrible/horrible mixture into a horrible/terrible feat of visual resistance. The dynamic storyline within the contextual vision of the girls’ imaginations runs the gambit of pretty much every awesome thing in every movie ever created. This includes dragons, fighter planes, robot samurais, sword fights, steam-punk Nazi soldiers, strange creatures that resemble orcs, stripper shoes and glittery latex outfits. When mixing that many amazingly awesome fantasies into one imaginative two hour fight scene, the overall effect can be slightly daunting for the audience to digest in a timely manner. Before you can understand that you just saw five kick-ass females fighting a series of dragons you are scattered to understand why they are suddenly defusing a bomb on a post-apocalyptic train. The below-the-belt move of the movie storyline was when it began to layer an imaginative dream within an imaginative dream within reality, which has unfortunately similar repercussions to its godfather Inception. Distortion of reality is totally understandable when creating a fantasy-like world of crazy ass kicking. When it is layered with a displaced reality of burlesque brothels, it is much harder to understand the connection that Snyder wants you to make with a sensual performance, a dragon slaying and a lobotomy. All of this confusion was lessened greatly by the stunning corset work, by Vancouver corsetiere
Melanie Talkington, in many of the burlesque brothel scenes. Some day Suckerpunch will be most of the most amazing drinking game movies of all time instead of that live-action thriller that lacked the luster to make us forget that one of its main stars was that girl from the ‘acclaimed’ High School Musical series. www.suckerpunchmovie.warnerbros.com By Fierce Kitty The Mechanic Directed by Simon West Alliance Films Do you know what a mechanic is? Jason Statham takes a step outside of his comfort zone as a badass mercenary with a mysterious past into the role of Arthur Bishop; A badass mercenary… with a… mysterious past… Ok, so maybe Statham is being typecast a little, but the half shaved Brit thug does it well. Why mess with a good thing? The film steps into the story of an aging ‘CIA type’ Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), and Statham as his elite protégé Arthur Bishop. Bishop is an always-depressed James Bond type assassin eternally trying to live up to the man his father was, and looks to Harry for advice, information, and constantly trying to learn something about his fathers past. Harry constantly fires back with cryptic responses to these questions during their short coffee meetings. After Bishop receives a kill notice for his mentor and old friend Harry, he regretfully fulfils his assignment after learning that his old friend was involved with some traitorous dealings. Driven by guilt, Bishop graduates into the role of teacher to his late friend’s troubled, and very angry son Steve McKenna (Ben Foster), who seems intent on getting revenge for his father’s murder, with, or without the help of the ‘mechanic’ who was more of a son to Harry than he ever was. A thrilling psychological plot unfolds as teacher and student play off each others similarities, taking down mark after mark, before Bishop discovers that his old friend Harry was only hitlisted because he knew too much about ‘the people he worked for’ and he was just a pawn in his murder, which doesn’t sit well with Bishop, and the two ‘brothers’ set their sights on taking out the people responsible. Director Simon West has obviously taken a lesson from the legions of directors from years past who have given the death-touch to remakes of classic action flicks, and has created a fast paced, and intelligent remake, stripping down a slow and boring 39 year old film, and piecing it back together with great success. www.themechanicmovie.com By Scott Alexander
X-Men: First Class Directed by Matthew Vaughn Twentieth Century Fox Tossing out the idea for a prequel or sequel in this day and age is like playing catch with a Faberge egg. Chances are, you’re going to break the damn thing, and only the slightest of touches will save it from harm. Too many times to count in the past, legions of diehard fans have been let down by the bumbling inadequacies of once great directors and epic story lines, so much so that the running joke is now unavoidable. ‘X-Men: First Class’ breaks the film industries prequel curse, with a refreshing take on a franchise that has remained solid despite so many reasons it shouldn’t be any good. Casting two powerhouse actors, namely James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as polar opposites, yet kindred spirits Charles ‘Professor X’ Xavier and Erik ‘Magneto’ Lehnsherr respectively, worked extremely well to reinforce their back/front-story, as well as acting as the perfect conduit for the audience to experience the emotion and tension between the two characters as their friendship develops, both intent on taking out, though for entirely different reasons, the devilish Arch Villain, and ex-nazi Sebastian Shaw. Played by the equally devilish, and exceptional Kevin Bacon. Portraying one of the most realistically evil bad-guys since Hannibal Lecter. Several other well-known mutants firm up an already very strong cast. Most of which are resigned to supporting roles, yet remain integral to the edge-of-your-seat plot. We delve briefly into the back-story of Hank ‘Beast’ McCoy’s (Nicholas Hoult). A life spent proud of his mutant abilities, yet ashamed of the physical deformities they leave him with as he finds a kindred spirit in blue skinned shape-shifter Raven, better known through the series as the simply ravishing death-angel ‘Mystique’ (Jennifer Lawrence). The two characters play exceptionally well off each other emotionally, often mirroring Xavier and Magneto’s strained friendship. The only real drawback of the film, albeit a small one, is the inevitability of what will come. The well known facts that Erik and Charles will fall apart, that the ‘humans’ are going to turn out to be jerks, that Xavier needs to end up in a wheelchair, not to mention many other story lines that need to mesh up for continuities sake. It takes an exceptional director and an even more exceptional cast to keep the audience glued in their chairs for one hundred and thirtythree minutes, especially with foresight of events to come. With XMen: First Class, it is all about the journey, and not the destination. A journey well fought. And a franchise still as strong as the day it was dreamed up. www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com By Scott Alexander
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Binary Park – World’s Collide Metropolis Lets face it- most of what’s coming down the line in the electro-industrial genre is pretty tired. As a style of music, it’s showing a remarkable lack of inspiration and passion these days. That doesn’t mean the occasional new project doesn’t come along and surprise us jaded old queens, shocking us out of our armchairs and onto the floor for a track or two. Such a band is Binary Park, and with their newest offering, ‘Worlds Collide’, they prove that there is still life in realm of Electronic Body Music. The introduction is standard ‘mood’ fare- ominous soundscape stuff that is meant to be a portent of things to come. It’s the second track on this album, ‘Welcome Home’, that really sets the standard. Extremely reminiscent of Haujobb’s “Vertical Theory”, both in the stuttering electro-glitches that accent the material as well as the breathy, whispering vocal delivery. It’s perfectly captured that cyberpunk aesthetic that Daniel Myer and crew had mastered before running off to join Covenant. Unlike that last Haujobb release though, ‘Worlds Collide’ is more than a collection of introspective tracks paying tribute to sci-fi film-noir. No, this album tends to sprout claws here and there. It can be tricky writing the perfect club hit, more so than most people believe. Binary Park have it down though- ‘Wiretripped’ is flawless. Not too fast, not too slow, not too distorted- it just kicks the spine apart. It is quite reminiscent of earlier Crocodile Shop material, and that is a complimentary comparison indeed. This isn’t the only example of electro on this album that will feed straight into what club kids want. ‘Fight Son’ is also a superlative example of what Front 242 meant when they coined the term ‘EBM’- it has a driving beat, rapidfire bass synth, and the requisite samples of a fire-n-brimstone minister raving about some guy named Jesus. Slam this on a dancefloor and watch the rivetheads go epileptic. Electro-industrial is one of those genres that is hard to judge based on production. Basically, one has to really put effort into screwing up the audio quality of sequenced music these days. That said, Binary Park actually stand a little ahead of the pack simply due to the volume of sound effect accents they’ve crammed into every nook and cranny on this album- but the listener can still discern all of it. ‘Silence Is Speaking’, the 4th track, is a spectacular array of organized digital chaos, and a ton of fun to hear through noise-cancelling ear buds. This album is sure to please anyone who loves the ‘old school’ is European electro. It’s not quite a studied creation, clearly its more than just a paint-by-numbers effort- but its mastery of the form is so elegant that one can’t help but feel this is music made by fans, for fans, and for that it is most welcome. http://metropolis-records.com/artist/binary-park By Keith Durocher
ohGr – unDeveloped Metropolis Records Nivek Ogre is part of the legendary Vancouver-based duo Skinny Puppy, a forerunner of industrial as a genre and a genius musician. More recently, he’s the man behind ohGr an electro-industrial/ IDM outfit from LA. Setting the dry facts aside, ohGr is creating a distinct flavour of electronica and reviving it in the age of it’s general mediocrity. In its 10 year history the band delivered music that you want to turn on whenever you’re tired of everything else, which most often happens to be immediately. A grandmaster of industrial experimentation ohGr is back in 2011 with a new album unDeveloped. From a strictly semantic point of view, the name is highly ironic because it would be very difficult to find an album more “developed”. Compared to 2008’s Devils in my Details, the new release is packed with darker, more ambient sound and is full of conceptual intricacy. Nevertheless, straight after the intro you get the harsh and catchy “101”, which will soon be appearing on play-lists everywhere. The intro to the next song “Crash”, and this is a well-known fact, actually contains the emergency call for Michael Jackson’s death. “Crash” has industrialrock and electro-industrial mixed together in a way the only ohGr can do: you know it’s there but it’s still ohGr, distinct and clear and undeniably unique. In general the vocals on the album are much more clear than usual, yet still very deep and exactly in the right spot at the right time. Notice how the style moves from the distorted embrace on the “Comedown”, to the anticipation-building “Typer” intermezzo, all the way through to “screwMe”, “Bellew” and “Hollow”. “Hollow” in particular will keep playing in your head till it hurts, confirmed. Not to spoil anything it must be said that even though the tracks are in contrast, “unDeveloped” is very even overall and goes in smoothly, only to stay in and hold your conscience captive. If you are a fan of anything that Nivek Ogre ever done, go and by this album, you won’t regret it. www.myspace.com/bigohgr By arceon
And One – Tanzomat Metropolis A few years ago, a well-known “future-pop” band played here in Vancouver, and their opening act was the well-known German project called And One. The reason for this anecdote is this- they absolutely blew the headliners off the stage. There was only the two guys- one on keyboards, one on vocals, and a ton of backing tracks- but it didn’t matter. The passion and enthusiasm of And One was such that you just couldn’t help but enjoy what they were doing. It created a ton of good will towards the band. With that in mind, expectations were high for their latest album, ‘Tanzomat’. What a dreadful squandering of credit. This album is a tepid affair at best, rife with uninspired and plodding “bodypop” songs. Even the tracks designed to ignite the dancefloor fall flat, lacking punch and energy. All of the manic drive shown by these guys in a live setting is entirely absent on this album. The vocals are the worst offender. It honestly sounds as though Steve Naghavi is just phoning it in- his voice is strong, he has clearly maintained his singing chops, but his performance just sits on top of the material. Much like latter-day Iron Maiden, the overall effect is an awkward, out of place dough-ball that certainly falls short of ‘ear-worm’. The only track on the album that stands out in any way is ‘Dancing in the Factory’, and it stands out only because it shamelessly rips off the intro synth riff from ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode. Its no secret that And One were formed based off of a love for the house that Dave Gahan built, so it seems likely that this is intentional- from the point of view of the casual listener though, it just seems like a cheap rip-off gimmick. Like a car manufacturer who can’t get legal clearance to use a well known song, so they change the legal minimum of notes for a rip-off that they know the proles will think is the original anyways. Long time readers of ABORT may have noticed repeated mention in recent reviews of how the current state of electro-industrial is in such total disarray. This album, by a project considered by most to be one of the “name” acts in the scene, is a frown-inducing example of everything wrong with industrial music today. It’s boring. It’s repetitive. It’s uninspired. This is supposed to be the state of the art? You’re better off spending your money on the new Binary Park album. www.andone.de By Keith Durocher
All Shall Perish – This Is Where It Ends Nuclear Blast Beginning the name and ending with impeccable musical ability, Oakland’s All Shall Perish are ragingly astounding with their meticulous ingenuity and blasting performances. After some deadly serious touring (consider Siberia for a moment) in support of 2008’s Awaken the Dreamers, they were keeping busy writing new material. And now, apart from a dick up society’s ass, they are back to conquer and mutilate with one of their strongest arguments yet: This Is Where It Ends Indeed, it may just be the end for your ear membranes when you get to listen to this live, but for now you will be spared by your volume control. To be fully immersed in the experience though, you should turn this as loud as possible, if only to hear Hernan Hermidado his magic. He’s clearly mocking everybody and making it look like he’s giving private vocal lessons. His output is as usually nothing short of perfect, all the way from low to high. The tier changes that All Shall Perishwent through are for the better: Francesco Artusato on lead guitar is doing a great job and blends in well. Still, some of the solos stand out and seem to belong to a “softer” genre. They don’t spoil the impression, but are nonetheless noticeable. Following a good tradition of making heavy viscous tracks that are at the same time 100% deathcore, All Shall Perish are at their best on “The Procession of Ashes”. Recorded and mixed in<strong> Castle Ultimae Studios and produced by Zack Ohren, This Is Where It Ends is a melodic wall of sound and one of the most interesting albums of the year. www.allshallperish.com By Arceon
Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions Century Media A troop of five robotic, skullfaced soldiers burst forth from an apocalyptic landscape. With fierce intent in their glowing red eyes, they each raise a tattered flag boldly into the air. The leader –her ranking indicated by her position in the image- raises her flag above the rest. This is the epic album cover for Arch Enemy’s latest release Khaos Legions. As the cover suggests, Khaos Legions is a battle
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 EMI The wait has been long, so long in fact since the release of “To The Five Boroughs” that a whole new generation of kids have come of clubbing age, relatively unaware of the Beasties and their profound impact on popular culture from the 80’s through the early 2000’s. Not only were they the first all Caucasian rap crew to achieve media dominance and respect from the heads at the same time, they managed to remain on the cutting edge of sound through the Grunge years with “Check Your Head” and “Ill Communication”, integrating live instrumentation with dirty Old School raps. They even managed to age gracefully, with MCA’s committment to Tibetan liberation leading to some high profile benefit shows. Always pushing the boundaries of their well-defined sound, Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D’s musical palette has stretched from their Hardcore Punk Rock beginnings, through jammed out space funk, stadium status electro-bangers, and contemplative pieces of personal poetry. With the release of “Hot Sauce Committe Part 2”, the boys have chosen to make an album purely for the Old School Beasties fans, those whose parents first hated (and inspired) “Fight For Your Right To Party”, and who eagerly dove off stage for the first time to a coverband’s version of “Gratitude”. MCA’s gravelly voice and gut rumbling bass kick off the festivities with the ragged psycho-funk of “Non Stop Disco Powerpack”. Nas drops by for the swampy grime of “Too Many Rappers”, and even NYC darling Santigold kills a spliffed out ragga dub chorus on “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”. Throughout the feel is of a group of seasoned vets flexing for fun, yet with a more serious undertone, perhaps the product of maturity and life’s struggle. Especially notable is the ever dope MCA, whose well documented battle with and recovery from throat cancer undershadows the entire album, and who is in fine form throughout. Tracks like “Funky Donkey” take it all the way back to ‘82, or is that forward to 3000? It is pure electrified nerd-funk that instantly calls to mind the Beastie’s in their hardhats and factory worker outfits running madly around the stage. This is an abstract world of bleeps and rumbles that slowly coalesces into intelligible and well-disciplined compositions, like the elegantly insane prelude to “The Larry Routine”. While the rhyme patterns are generally predictably Old School, given the current state of rappers’ cadences it compares well to a Gucci Mane or Waka Flocka flow, proving once again that Old School is not simple, just precise. There’s even a classic Beastiecore jam on “Lee Majors Come Back” where the boys get to really rock out. It may not be “Heart Attack Man”, but it does the trick. The young kids may like it and they may not, but who cares? “Hot Sauce Committee Part 2” is for the fans first and foremost, with all the elements of a tasty tray of Beastie treats. It may not have the youthful insouciance of “License To Ill” or the sparkling spontaneity of “Ill Communication”, but for the dynamic trio to be producing music of this calibre over 25 years into their career (let alone to remain together as a group at all...), is remarkable, and to think that the zit-faced teens that wrote “Brass Monkey” would create a track as subtly nuanced and
utterly dope as the instrumental “Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament” should be enough to make a nation of rappers pick up a P-Bass, a Crybaby Wah Wah, and a Moog synth. Sixteen tracks deep and not a dog among them, “Hot Sauce Committee Part 2” could well be the summer soundtrack for thirty-something stoners this year. Well done boys!!! www.beastieboys.com www.hotsaucecommittee.com By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
basement wannabe Nine Inch Nails, all pathetic pre-fab teenage emogoth angst and “please pity me” self deprecation. What is most galling has to be the track ‘Scrape the Bullets from your Eyes’. Sure, our society tends to desensitize fairly quickly, but has enough time truly passed for the Columbine shootings to be something one glorifies? With lyrics like “They’re in Hell, I’m in Heaven, and they’ll never hurt me now”, its pretty clear this is a declaration of support for that massacre. Even for electro-industrial, this track is in poor taste, especially in that its so shameless in its purpose- Dismantled want to desperately to shock, but there’s nothing shocking about this song. It’s just pathetic and unpleasant. Inspiration is getting harder and harder to track down within this genre. It doesn’t help that labels are still putting what little money they have left behind such atrocious feces as ‘The War Inside Me’. The best answer to this terrible album is to just ignore it. Eventually it will go away. One hopes. www.dismantled.org By Keith “Losing all faith in Industrial” Durocher
Dismantled – The War Inside Me Metropolis How many negative electro-industrial cliches can one project possibly cram into a single release? Let’s go down the list4-on-the-floor rhythms? Check. Bass-synth arpeggios? Check. (admittedly, these aren’t actually that bad, insofar as EBM tropes are concerned...) Whispery, over-processed vocals? Check. Maddeningly repetitious lyrics? Oh yes, check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Etc., ad nauseum, so forth... Porn samples used out of context? Check. Petulant overuse of profanity? Check. Samples from media coverage of the Columbine shootings? Wait, seriously? *sigh* Yes, check. What album could possibly be this crass, tasteless, tactless, and worse of all –boring-? The answer, and presumably the 2-slice toaster prize winner, is Dismantled, with their latest abomination “The War Inside Me”. This is a project that have never been consistently inspired, but time was you could rely on them to put at least a couple of catchy, memorable tracks on each album to make the filler more palatable, but this is NOT the case here. This is 11 tracks of distaste-inducing tripe. There simply isn’t a single good song to be had. In the song ‘Kill or be Killed’, the line “How many times do I have to kill to get on top of this ugly hill” is repeated 22 times. Twenty. Two. That doesn’t count the other lyric repetitions in the song either. Or how about ‘Disease’? That word is repeated 36 times through this song, and thats not counting the long-decay delay that actually repeats the word another 4 or so times each time its uttered. This phone-it-in approach to the lyrics repeats (HAW!) throughout every song on this album. It’s excruciating. There was a time when Dismantled were thought of as a latter-day Front Line Assembly, but this album comes across as more of a bargain
cry for the oncoming revolution.
Though the artwork, designed by Brent Elliott White (Death Angel, Whitechapel, Carnifex) has a science-fiction feel to it, Arch Enemy’s manifesto speaks directly to our current situation. Lyrically most of the tracks serve the purpose of empowerment: motivation to stand against that which oppresses us, with fearless defiance. Clearly this is not a thematic leap for the band –Anthems of Rebellion, Doomsday Machine, have similar ‘triumph over the odds’ implications. The difference with Khaos Legions is a cohesive focus from beginning to end. You could almost call it a concept album. Another aspect of Khaos Legions that separates it from the rest of the AE discography is an increase in musical risk and exploration. The poster child for this type of newfound risk taking is the standout track Through the Eyes of a Raven. This song starts off with a heavy-as-fuck groove riff that quickly tips the heavy-scale with some juicy blast beats, before trudging into familiar, more melodic terrain. Just when you think you’ve got the track pegged, Mikkel Sandager (ex-Mercenary) makes a surprise appearance on the chorus with his larger then life, Rob Halford style vocals. His melodic yet powerful style, beautifully compliment Angela Gossow’s vicious growls. With one listen to Khaos Legions it is immediately evident that Arch Enemy set out to deliver something that highlights what they do best all the while introducing elements previously unexplored by the band. For some purists (or the anal-retentive), these new elements might be too shocking to bear. For the open-minded however, this more experimental direction is a tantalizing step into uncharted territory. www.archenemy.net www.centurymedia.com By Alxs Ness
Friends with The Help – S/T Stoop Fam Prod. Canadian pride has been taken to a whole new level with the Vancouver-based rap group Friends with the Help. Mix in two friends from East Vancouver, one solid DJ producer (K-REC) (of the 5-man clique Stoop Family: FWTH, DJ K-Rec, Corvid, Joose Justis from Killawatt) and a whole life time of smoking weed and you have the perfect recipe for the birth of their newest self-titled mixtape Friends
with The Help.
Fortunately as a listener it is not required to be completely stoned off your rocker to enjoy the carefree rhymes of these two emcees (which is free to download off the internet). Musically, this partnership is fronted by emcees Young Nige and Low Lux two individuals who visually scream East Vancouver but for better or worse lack the rough & tumble vibe of some Vancouver rappers. Their styles are extremely different with Young Nige having a smoother flow with cadences that run back and forth in waves while Low Lux is adorably grating with a high nasally acoustic that is distinctive and otherwise enjoyable. The blend of their voices over the almost too long whooping seventeen-track album is a cross between early Outkast and Dose 1. It is a refreshing situation when you can throw on a mixtape from an unknown artist and find a summer groove almost immediately. The second track of the tape is titled East Van Shit and its laid back melodies mixed with tongue-in-cheek references recognizable by any
Vancouver resident is perfect for the kick back nature of summer times This tends to be the theme throughout the entire mixtape: good times, just cutting the superficial surface of hard-time realities with the perfect beat backbone to bop your head to. It almost makes me one to light up for a job well done for Friends with The Help. http://friendswiththehelp.com target By Fierce “Reppin’ NYC Now” Kitty
Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter IV Cash Money/Young Money/UMG Lil’ Wayne is seemingly everywhere. Although a brief trip to Rikers Island put him outta the game for a minute, Weezy made sure that even though he was gone, he was not forgotten. From his frequent mix-tapes to his countless features on other rappers tracks there has been no shortage of the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive”. Threatening to release his conclusion to Tha Carter series for more than a year now and even releasing numerous singles prematurely, the heavily anticipated C4 has finally arrived. Creating enough hype to fill a Rolls, the Young Money captain partly fills Tha Carter IV with club worthy bangers saturated with his usual razor sharp word play and guest appearances including Rick Ross, Drake and John Legend to name a few. Drake holds his own on “She Will” that has Wayne spitting in typical filthy form, “I like my girl thick/ Not just kinda fine/ Eat her till she cry/ I call that wine and dine” while tracks like “6 Foot, 7 Foot” ft. Cory Gunz and “John” ft. Rick Ross also fail to disappoint. Although these previously released singles may be some of the best C4 has to offer, “How To Hate” ft. T-Pain and “So Special” lack the same spark and originality. On Jay-Z and Kayne West’s Watch The Throne a little Birdman beef was brought to the surface. “You got Baby money/ You ain’t got my lady’s money” spits Jay-Z on H.A.M and well, nobody puts Baby in the corner. So Wayne teams up with Jadakiss and Drake and fires back on “It’s Good” to hit Hova exactly where it hurts. His woman and his dough. “Talkin’ ‘bout Baby money?/ I gotcha baby money/ Kidnap ya bitch/ Get that “How much you love ya lady?” money” Fair enough. You can’t fuck with Poppa B and get off easy. Wayne is so confident in his rapping that he doesn’t need to write a track. He just spits, records and perfects. “Outro” ft. Bun B, Nas, Shyne and Busta Rhymes is proof of that tenacity where Weezy adds to his album a track he doesn’t even rhyme on. He just wants you to know that he’s so good that it’s not necessary for him to rap. So the one question that begs to be answered: Is the head heavy that wears the crown? I think not. http://lilwayne-online.com By Kassandra Guagliardi
Jay-Z and Kayne West – Watch The Throne Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Def Jam It’s no surprise that the highprofile collab between Jay-Z and Kanye West has gathered more hype than the resurrection of Jesus himself, and with two Grammy-winning artists - Jay with 15, Kanye 14 - you might expect an ego clash of sorts, but that is not the case with Throne. The treacherous two put it down as strong and powerful as ever while barely ever stepping on or overshadowing one another. Actually they complement each other quite nicely. Throne kicks off with a banger. The production and features throughout seem to have been brilliantly and precisely chosen, and Frank Ocean’s hook on the ferocious “No Church in the Wild” is certainly no exception: if you didn’t know about Frankie, now you do. Jay preaches godliness like “Jesus was a carpenter/ Yeezy he laid beats/ Hova flow the holy ghost/ Get the hell up out your seats” while Ye begins his verse with a little auto-tune. Whoa, hold up. Jay how you gonna let that shit slide? Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop the two from boasting equally as heavy on “Lift Off ” and if their showoff lyrics aren’t enough, Queen B takes the Throne delivering a supercharged Beyonce-style hook. As if bragging on the money tip wasn’t enough, “Otis” has Jay and Ye spitting dirty verses over Redding’s sweet and soulful “Try a Little Tenderness”. Really though, how much you think that sample cost? Swizz Beats, RZA and Q-Tip lend their production hand with tracks “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Gotta Have It” and “That’s My Bitch” (your new bad-boy anthem) while The Neptunes get dirty on the ridiculously sick “Gotta Have It”. Throughout the whole album the boys move like a gritty tag team. When Jay’s in the ring, he proves his excellence by throwing down sharp, smooth blows while Kanye takes his customary cocky jabs, quick and often painful. West and Jay-Z don’t need you to like them. They know you already do. Watch the Throne isn’t about gaining respect or proving their greatness, it’s simply keeping you up to date. watchthethrone.com By Kassandra Guagliardi
Peter Tosh – Legalize It (Legacy Edition) Legacy/Sony Music Canada Originally released in 1976, Peter Tosh’s first solo album was immediately iconic - the cover image still goes farther than any record since in repping unabashedly for the herb, and the entire project was itself funded by ganja sales, the benefactor initially opposed to the title as he thought it would “put him out of business”. Weighing in at a mere nine tracks, “Legalize It” still packs more pound for pound than your average twenty track album these days, each song a finely polished gem and a world unto itself. With the unquestionable rhythmic authority of the Barrett brothers backing Tosh’s impeccable guitar and keyboard work, no two songs are alike in essence or production. There is just so much to be learned here for the serious student, from the chord changes to the lyrics, and really the question is whether or not the deluxe, two CD set contributes anything further to the appreciation of such a timeless work. The Legacy Edition adds a full twenty-three more tracks to the conversation, including demo versions of most songs, dub versions, and the entire “Original Jamaican Mix”. The result manages to live up to the producer’s stated intentions - that the process of writing, editing and recording these songs be laid bare and Tosh’s genius be more fully appreciated. The Jamaican mix favours the Island’s bass heavy, spacy style, while the demo versions show songs slowly coalescing out of clouds of ganja smoke while lightning bolts of inspiration fly like prophetic visions. As loose as the band sounds, they are also clearly working in a very structured and disciplined order, responding to cues from Tosh like a machine. The booklet includes great photos from the cover session, featuring Tosh lounging in a massive ganja plantation (and sporting some serious socks!), as well as noteworthy comments from Roger Steffens and photographer Lee Jaffe. Peter Tosh was assassinated on September 11, 1987, after a lifetime of musical, spiritual and social struggle. In his life he faced poverty, prejudice and brutality, having been beaten nearly to death by police and surviving stronger and more focused. By the time they finally killed him, his music had already become immortal, and his messages of strength, justice, and hope continue to inspire the world. Widely respected as a guitar player alone, he was once asked to join Eric Clapton’s band, and to others he is seen as a prototype for the coming Hip Hop movement - politically and rhythmically charged ghetto music where lyrics are foremost. There is just so much complexity to his life and work, that “Legalize It” is literally just the beginning, and the Legacy Edition adds some great material to the mix. www.petertosh.com www.legacyrecordings.com By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra Flip/Interscope Fluffy white biscuits straight out the oven?, nah, more like the same ‘ol burnt bizkits from the cobwebinfested desk of Fred Dursts’ office at Interscope. This “Golden Cobra” is not spitting venom whatsoever, considering the time we have waited (or have we?) for the latest opus from the rapcore kings, the boys should leave this genre up to the originators, Gravediggaz, The Goats, New Kingdom, Proper
Funny. Durst sounds like 98% of all white rappers here in Vancouver; maybe we’ll hold a Durst Sound -A-Like contest where everyone wins! With the enlistment of a now skinny Paul Wall, there are no “guest Emcees” a la Travis Barker, we think that Freddie might have thought he really pulled it off on this one. Tracks like “Shark Attack” “Douchebag” and “Loser” all carrying the same BPM and lyrical prowess of a 3-year old, we had to skip through most of the album to get on with our day… a really bad day now that this was injected into our ears. We’ll just assume he is fulfilling his commitment to the label and delivering what he promised. Unfortunately, with ‘Gold Cobra’ what he delivered was not the goods. Toss this in the delete bin…oh wait – there’s no CD stores left. Oh well I guess nothing stays the same. www.Limpbizkit.com By E.S. Day
The first day began at 12:00 with [X]-RX and their sheer aggression woke everybody up from the rainy slumber. The band gave a massive jolt to those lucky enough to go through the entrance line quickly. Following them were Staubkind and a complete change of audience. Amphi traditionally features a variety of genres and attracts people coming from very different backgrounds. Staubkind’s gothic rock sank in very well and provided living proof that no one would get bored in hours to come. At about the same time, the closed stage (Staatenhaus) featured Mind. in.a.box, complete with two live guitars. Bearing in mind that their last album was predominantly 8-bit, the festival set was something different. Tracks from older albums sounded really heavy and the synths filled the venue to provide an immersing experience. If you are talking about dark festivals, Germany has always been the ultimate place to go. Looking at industrial history one can’t help but notice the importance and the contribution made by local bands to the genre. For decades they have been defining the music and turning the movement into what it is right now. Out of over 300 festivals that take place in Europe during summer alone (!), Germany presents the most interesting industrial variety. Amphi Festival’s first installment happened in 2005 and since [o] Alina Roberts then it has been steadily growing and reaching into the realm of the best that the dark scene has to offer. This year’s Amphi Festival was again traditionally held in Tanzbrunnen, Cologne on the bank of the Rhein River. The seventh gathering of Amphi sported one of the most interesting line-up’s in the event’s’ history and an overwhelming 16,000 visitors from all over the world, all-in-all sold out long before the beginning. The programme was so interesting that you literally had to run between the two stages, barely having enough time to drink the fantastic local beer and observe the most advanced outfits out there, ranging from cyber and steam punk to conservative goth and old school EBM. People sure know how to dress here and that doesn’t come as a huge surprise: stores, which had just about enough merchandise to last a lifetime, occupied half the territory. The most interesting of course were the Queen of Darkness and Out of Line label shop. At Amphi, chances to see an icon were in the vicinity of 100% even if you completely missed the signing sessions. Bumping into Johan Van Roy from Suicide Commando or Bon Harris from Nitzer Ebb was a completely natural thing. And then, if you got bored with that, you had talks, book and art presentations and countless other little activities. All of that was squeezed into two days and hard choices had to be made, but it was the live bands that prevailed. Day 1 Highlights: The first truly serious strike on the head came from Grendel, who experimented with softer sound on 2009’s Chemicals and Circuitry but still stayed completely true to their core while playing live. The Danish non-compromising trio: VLRK, M4R and S42H have shown what aggrotech is all about with tracks from Harsh Generation. As the daylight was still nowhere near to be gone, heavy artillery began taking the stage of Amphi Festival. In Strict Confidence presented a fantastic one-hour set featuring the return of their vocalist Nina de Lianin. Not only did she revive their live output, but also together with the Antje Schultz they arranged a stunningly beautiful stage show. With hits like “Promised Land”, “Set me Free” and a fantastic ending with “Zauberschloss”, In Strict Confidence have once again proven their leading status on the electro-industrial scene. Industrial giants Die Krupps and Leæther Strip were playing at the same time, feeling as young and energetic as in the beginning, when they’ve been forming a path for generations to come. Claus Larsen from Leæther Strip gathered close to ten thousand people under one roof and spawned a vortex of emotion attributive only to old school industrial. As you were looking at the veterans, you could almost feel all moods of the time that provoked and disturbed and in the end laid a fertile ground for what we know as electro-industrial music. Without giving anyone a chance to catch breath, Johan Van Roy appeared on the stage of Staatenhaus and the public exploded. The Belgian icon has delivered a mind-grabbing performance, complete with a swiftly formed mosh-pit and greatest hits alongside tracks from 2010’s Implements of Hell. Suicide Commando were ripping the space open with heavy beats while the video reminded us all that one million suicides are committed every year. Those left everybody counting how many were gone by the time Suicide Commando’s set ended (which lasted more than an hour). The public absolutely adores Johan and were singing along in creepy unison: “BIND, TORTURE AND KILL! BIND, TORTURE AND KILL”.While the legendary Deine Lakaien were singing anthems (or rather their long-awaited return with Indicator) to everything goth and synth, the one and only Mexican duo occupied the stage to headline the first day of Amphi Festival. Hocico are and have always been the face of dark electro. To be more precise that face is a goat’s one, stuck on a human body. Hitting the crowd with a mix of solid hits ranging from “Spirals of Time” all the way to “Dog Eat Dog”, Erk Aicrag and Rasco Agroyam stole the day with piercing synths and harsh vocals. Nobody could expect a better ending to the day one of Amphi Festival. With the energy completely sucked out by the live bands some of the
attendants still left to rock with the best dj’s all the way to 4AM. Day 2 Highlights: The first memorable performance of the day was by Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, who are extremely close to being a true martial industrial icon. They have numbed and relaxed the tired bodies and sleepy (or hungover) minds that still have not recuperated from day one. With their highly graphic video stream they touched every little nerve in our dark souls: BDSM, depression, melancholies, love and death were all there, flowing between the video, the music and the voice of Thomas Petterson. Diorama were the first synth-pop band to play at Amphi Festival and Torben Wendt sure lit up the crowd while Dreadful Shadows on the main stage were trying to prove that they are still going strong after all these years. After that it was time to see Clan of Xymox, a legendary band who have been heavily experimenting from day one with genres ranging from electronic rock to darkwave. Having released a new record in 2011, The Darkest Hour, Ronny Moorings and Co are still in great shape and their transcending performance confirmed that. At the same time, DE/VISION have been continuing the synth-pop part of the day trying desperately not to look like one particular band we all know very well. Finally, the crowd began gathering in front of the main stage to see one of most striking and interesting bands on the agro-tech/harsh ebm scene: Agonoize. The brilliant trio gave one of the most intoxicating performances of Amphi Festival: strap-jackets, knives, blood spilling on the audience and shots fired on the stage. Fictional of course, yet deadly for the lead singer Chris L. who minutes ago was screaming “Staatsfeind” along with thousands of people and hitting himself on the head with a microphone so hard, that a couple devices actually broke. Absolutely fucking awesome! Coming next were Saltatio Mortis, who were representatives of folk metal at Amphi. To be fair, their wild blend wasn’t out of line but still nowhere near industrial. Quite unlike the Das Ich, the German duo, who have a unique ability to stick in your head, be it their musical experiments, the face of Stefan Ackermann or their live performances. Going forward, the so very much awaited performance of Nitzer Ebb proved to be a minor disappointment. One would expect more from the “big guns”, but that may be attributed to the long hiatus in the past. While Subway to Sally are often headlining festivals in Europe, they don’t ever seem to surprise anyone, playing well-rehearsed professional sets. For people who wanted something a bit more intense, Staatenhaus held Feindflug, the industrial mad men, or so it seems. Featuring four people on percussion they left a mark with their sound and we are not forgetting about guitars either. There is so much content behind their music that no vocals are required to slap you in the face. Images of wars in Afghanistan, Soviet horrors and the past but not forgotten homeland history flashed and made your intestines turn. Take that and a wall of sound and you’d be lying flat on your back. Feindflug are fucking massive! Finishing the evening were two very well known synth bands, as if rounding up the festival and making everything even. Kirlian Camera are the first and most famous Italian synth-pop band. Their lead singer, Elena Fossi’s voice went through every single person in Staatenhaus leaving nobody partial with “Eclipse” and “Nightglory”.
The last to play at Amphi Festival 2011 were Covenant, who have recently added Daniel Myer to their line-up and released the new album Modern Ruin. That night they were the champions in the quality of light and sound. Playing new hits like “Judge of my Domain”, “Worlds Collide” and classics like “Dead Stars” and “Call the Ships to Port” they have created an atmosphere that will be remembered for months. Covenant’s frontman Eskil Simonsson left everyone with one extremely important piece of thought: “celebrating who we are”. One couldn’t think of more apt thing to say as this is what Amphi Festival is about: celebrating who we are, being content, being wild and different, living a life most people wouldn’t dare to. We were all one big united entity on that July night in Cologne and we have to thank Covenant, all the bands that performed for us and of course the organizers and crew of Amphi Festival. It was perfect! amphi-festival.de By arceon
Amphi Festival VII July 16-17, 2011 Cologne, Germany
Rockstar Uproar Festival Molson Canadian Amphitheatre Toronto, ON. Sept. 14, 2011 The Rockstar energy drink Uproar Festival set up shop in Toronto, Canada for an extravaganza of heavy metal offerings. Eager fans across North America have been snapping up tickets for this epic, interactive event. An available free Uproar 2011 iPhone app contains a wealth of information, including (an and band) uploads of photos, videos, and comments. Creative ticket packages offered die-hard fans the opportunity to purchase VIP passes complete with meet-and-greet autograph sessions, band merchandise, [o] Eva Vulgar snacks, premium ticket, and exclusive lounge access. On site activities available include video games, guitar test-drives, simulated weightlessness, and the predictably popular Miss Uproar contest. The day’s festivities kicked off at 2:00pm with local battle of the bands winner, then Hell or High Water, Protest The Hero, Art of Dying, and Black Tide playing on the ‘Jagermeister’ stage. These artists were treated to a steady stream of rowdy fans that appreciated their strong effort. A standout performance from the energetic Black Tide symbolized their intention to prove they belong on the much larger ‘main stage’ next time this tour is around. Mission accomplished. Polished acts Escape the Fate and Bullet For My Valentine plowed through their solid, yet abbreviated sets while the sound techs alternated between slowly inching up the volume, and cautiously peering at the dark, foreboding sky. (No doubt still soaked from yesterday’s stormy show in Montreal, which turned into a mud-soaked spectacle) And let’s not forget about the infamous Mansfield, Massachusetts show
in the back) heralded the arrival of Avenged Sevenfold. They kicked off their set with the title track off their latest Warner Brothers release ‘Nightmare’. The power emitted from this song instantaneously elevated the vibe of the evening to a whole other level. Twin riffmeister’s Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance perfectly executed guitar work was staggeringly sick. The apparent ease of the tandem’s blindingly fast solo’s, was enough to make amateur and professional guitarists abandon their axes altogether, for fear of never achieving that level of perfection. ‘Welcome to the family’ showcased the frightening power of frontman M. Shadows’ vocal abilities. One could not help being captivated in the grasp of his astounding command performance. Sounding like a cross between the raspy tone of Alice in Chains’ late vocalist Lane Staley, and the soaring range of Queen’s Freddy Mercury, M. Shadows established himself as the most dominant singer in heavy metal music today. Bar none. Further cementing Avenged Sevenfold’s stamp of approval was the killer rhythm section. Starring; relentlessly hypersonic drummer Arin Ilejay, and Mohawk adorned bass ace Johnny Christ. This evening, they laid down as solid a foundation as you could possibly ask for. They were the unwitting enablers of the energetic cross stage antics of the other band members, who playfully teased the crowd by occasionally tossing souvenir guitar picks and monogrammed towels their way. Standout tracks “Almost Easy” and the beloved anthem “Afterlife” rounded out a set list created by an ongoing fan participation contest. Fans vote online for which songs they want to hear the most; the songs that have the most votes make it on the evening’s set list. The list is then given to the band just before show time, resulting in a fresh experience each night.The backdrop of their signature skull and bat wings was complimented by a stunning light show, which was accentuated with a symphony of fire, explosions and smoke. The mood produced from the songs blended seamlessly with the presentation, at times feeling almost like an opera, or a Broadway musical. Avenged Sevenfold have set the standard of which all others should aspire to become, but cannot. When the bar is set so impossibly high, it is quite simply out of reach for all of us who are but mere mortals. Deliciously futile. rockstaruproar.com By Jimmy “Grinch” Lynch
De La Soul w/ Chin Injeti Saturday, September 24th, 2011 Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, B.C.
Thievery Corporation and Los Amigos Invisibles Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Malkin Bowl, Vancouver B.C
Arch Enemy with DevilDriver, Skeletonwitch & Chthonic Thursday September 22, 2011 Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, B.C First up, all the way from Taipei, Taiwan, the black metal act Chthonic. Despite having seen this band once before, Chthonic did not fail to surprise. With the very recent release of new album Takasago Army, the band members have given up their previous corpse-paint laden, demon-like appearances for military styled costumes. This change in image coincides with the album’s lyrical themes which focus on the Taiwanese experience of World War II. Though this album also marks a departure from composing mu[o] Chris McKibbin sic in a Western vein- the music is now inspired instead by Taiwanese folk songs- Chthonic’s delivery remains the same; a tight-stage show, energetic performance and all-around brutal set. Next, Ohio’s Skeletonwitch. Largely under the radar until as late as 2007’s Beyond the Permafrost, this band is a force to be reckoned with. Definitely getting my vote for performance of the night, Skeletonwitch slayed with a non-stop barrage of thrashy goodness. Vocalist and Cam Pipes (3 Inches of Blood) look-a-like Chance Garnette killed it with a highly energetic performance that combined humour, near tragic mic spins and unabashed begging for some B.C bud. While the rest of the band remained more or less stationary (save drummer Dustin Boltjes who was a fucking animal) Garnette made sure the crowd was entertained the whole way through. The much anticipated DevilDriver hit the stage next. In hindsight these guys rounded out the already quite varied bill with an arguably more mainstream sound then the rest. Their accessibility clearly played out in the mosh pit, which all but exploded the moment, the band started their first track. Though their energy couldn’t match that of Skeletonwitch, bassist Aaron Patrick held down the fort, making his mark on all corners of the stage and spicing things up with some antics that included almost drowning when a roadie/tech-guy poured water down his throat during a bass riff. All things considered, DevilDriver lived up to their reputation for delivering an impressive live show and will surely bring the legion out again next time they come through. Finally, the featured band of the evening, Arch Enemy. With the insanely talented Amott brothers and the powerful Angela Gossow at the helm, AE has always managed to enthrall metal heads and destroy skeptics. While it’s a pleasure each time the band rolls into town, gracing us with its unique brand of Swedish melodic death metal, what made last night stand out was the arsenal of fresh tunes gleaned from the latest album Khaos Legions. Besides the new tracks, AE were in top form and as usual performed like a well-oiled machine. It turns out the crowd had not, as it seemed, blown their load with DevilDriver; evidenced in the violent mosh pit and flying bodies throughout AE’s set. archenemy.net | devildriver.com | skeletonwitch.com | chthonic.org By Alxs Ness
[o] Jamie Sands The Commodore Ballroom was host to a muggy Saturday night that had the legendary De La Soul packing in a sold out crowd, filled with hip-hop heads and newcomers a like. With perfect introduction by Chin Injeti and his crew oozing with soul and funk right off the bat. Joined by two band members and 2 upbeat back-up singers, the crew added a higher level of hype that paired well with the beat boxing maniac, Chin himself; even throwing in a little Kool and the Gang for all to “Get Down On It”. De La started things off with a bang. These dudes have been in the rap game for a minute but make no mistakes these old dogs know how to get a crowd in the mood faster than you could say 1989. Maseo made his way to the stage first while demanding the crowd give it up for the DJ. A little self-acknowledgement never hurt nobody and lord knows if you gonna give it up, this is the DJ to give it up for. As the crowd grew wild the boys joined Mase on stage making it known immediately that they would not be satisfied until every hand in the building was in the air. Opening with “Grind Date” the guys took their places and flowed together in perfect hip-hop harmony. This party was bumpin’ before it even began. After everyones favorite “Stakes is High” the guys traded places on stage while Pos took over the DJ booth, Maseo grabbed the mike spitting grimey rap lyrics with managing to keep in tact the same charm the makes De La Soul so unique. Pos and Trugoy dominated opposite sides of the stage commanding a war of hype working the crowd like buoyant puppeteers. “Either you’re hip-hop or you’re bullshit” shouts Trugoy with a giggle while Maseo proceeds to express his appreciation of Vancouver’s finest “black tuna” and “green crack” leading into old favs like “Pot Holes in my Lawn” and “Me, Myself and I” from debut album 3 Feet High and Rising. Playful stage presence and innovative wordplay of “Saturday” had fans blowing the roof off with excitement while Pos had to get his own feeling for the crowd by jumping right in. “Ooh” and “Forever” kept the party going at just the right tempurature. The evenings crowd was more than satisfied and greatly appriciative. These guys truly know how to put on a show for their die-hard fans and make loyal followers out of the new comers. So really, Del La Soul ain’t dead. They’re more alive than ever and kickin’ it the west coast. Well... at least for one night. By Kassandra Guagliardi [o] Jamie Sands With the summer weather dwindling and the fall season lurking ever so close, the Malkin Bowl seemed like the perfect stage for the funky, Brazilian bossa nova, social conscience, Jamaican dub reggae, psychedelic space rock sounds (phew), that make up the duo of Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, better known as Thievery Corporation. A seven o’clock start saw the Venezuelan group Los Amigos Invisibles hit the stage first, the multi award winning group with an abundance of energy, the keyboardist alone was “air-humping” with more enthusiasm then a dog and its stuffed animal. Although the Spanish lyrics may not translate amongst a group of Canadians, their disco funk managed to translate just fine, providing a perfect opening set, not overshadowing - yet not disappointing. It seemed as if, in almost a timely fashion, the final bit of sun disappeared as the lights dimmed on stage, and the bass from the track “A Warning” vibrated through the ground beneath your feet. Anticipation quickly built amongst the excited crowd of screaming fans, the stage remaining empty for what seemed like an eternity (which was probably only half a minute). As the track continued to play an eruption occurred instantaneously as Thievery Corporation finally hit the stage. Although considered a duo, Thievery Corporation is made up of several other highly talented musicians, most of who are frequently recording and touring together. Several of the songs they perform utilize different vocalists, while the musicians switch instruments (or leave the stage altogether) and provide a new sound according to who they had performing in front of them. A great example of the versatility this group has, is evident from songs like “Le Femme Parallel” utilizing another language, this time French (something Canadians are familiar with), but then having the ability to flip the sound and perform “Culture of Fear” where we see Boston rapper Mr. Lif taking the reigns and delivering his own intellectual hip hop styling. After playing close to a solid 2 hours, followed by a three song encore, Thievery Corporation gave their audience more then their money’s worth, leaving enough on stage to satisfy each fan until the next summer concert season finally rolls around. By Jamie Sands
Death Angel with West of Hell, The Villain Avian Symphony and Nylithia Sunday, October 9, 2011 The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, B.C.
to the wall style. Vocalist Mark Osegueda nearly decapitated the front row, headspinning with his insanely long dreadlocks while guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar stirred things up with their seamless technical ability and entertaining live performance. Be sure to check out Death Angel’s latest music video for the track “River of Rapture” and catch the band as main support for the co-headlining Testament/ Anthrax tour this fall. By Alxs Ness
hards waited patiently by the merch table to have their CDs signed before being rushed out the door for the late show. grievesandbudo.com By Jamie Sands
man just bludgeons the listener with his voice. Complementing this perfectly is guitarist Mitch Harris’ accent backing vocal shrieks, which are reminiscent of Alan Dubin of OldLadyDrivers (Remember them?). The twin juggernaught of Embury on bass and Herrera on drums is an intestine-shaking force- it was simply awe-inspiring to witness. Vancouver ate it up too. The crowd at the newly renovated Rickshaw Theater was near capacity, the pit was relentlessly violent, and there was even some crowd surfing (something that seems rare at Vancouver metal shows these days). It was good to see, especially when we were treated to such gems as a Cryptic Slaughter cover (no one ever gives these guys the credit they deserve for their influence on Grindcore music), a Siege cover, and a Dead Kennedys cover, not to mention the sneak peek at the new Napalm Death album, in the form of the new track, “Quarantine”. Judging from this song, it sounds very much like Time Waits For No Slave wasn’t just a one-off fluke in Napalm’s history. A superb show, one that easily eclipses their gig at the New York Theatre with Carcass, Cathedral, and Brutal Truth (the last time this particular reviewer saw them). This is how it should be, bands getting better and better, not peaking and coasting on “they-were-awesomewhen” memories. By Keith Durocher
Grieves and Budo with Together and Prof Friday, September 16, 2011 Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver B.C.
Napalm Death, w/ The Golers, Zukuss and Gross Misconduct Thursday, October 27, 2011 The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, B.C.
[o] Chris McKibbin Nylithia is fast becoming one of Vancouver’s top metal bands. Formed in 2006, Kyle Scott (vocals), Royce Costa (guitar), Nikko Whitworth (bass) and Dan Yakimow (drums) have made a name for themselves tearing up stages across Vancouver and beyond. Despite hitting the stage early last night, their high energy and tight performance drew people in the moment they started playing. This is quite the feat considering the crowd usually doesn’t get warmed up until a couple bands in. Keep a lookout for Nylithia in the near future as they continue to make a name for themselves as up and comers in the progressive metal scene. Next up, The Villain Avian Symphony. Purveyors of hardcore, electronica and thrash, the self-proclaimed glitch metal band offers a unique and varied sound. Unfortunately last night’s crowd didn’t seem receptive to its hybridity. Despite the hostility from the audience however, the band didn’t hold back and, besides a few barbed comments from front-man Dennyss McKnight (ex-Black Halos), rocked out, business as usual. It doesn’t seem that this particular unenthusiastic reception will stop the band’s momentum. Be sure to check out the latest EP Blessed Rust Vultures. Next, the highlight of the night for many, West of Hell. Originally founded in West Auckland, New Zealand as an instrumental act, West of Hell relocated to Vancouver in 2009 and recruited a second leadguitarist Jordy Knute (ex-Theocide) and vocalist Chris ‘’The Heathen’’ Valagao (Zimmer’s Hole, Mechanism). With the completed line-up, West of Hell has been quite active in the local metal scene, making many appearances. As main support last night, they sounded tighter then ever, with an intense performance that included The Heathen taking a grinder to a modified mic stand. West of Hell most definitely stole the show and prepared the crowd for Bay Area thrash legends Death Angel. Though last night’s show was simply an off-night stop on its North American tour with Anthrax and Testament, Death Angel certainly did not hold back on us. Still promoting their most recent release, 2010’s Relentless Retribution, the thrash metal act which has been active for nearly two decades blew the roof off the place with its powerful, balls
[o] Chris McKibbin [o] Jamie Sands Fresh off the Vans Warped Tour, Seattle natives and Rhymesayers artists Grieves and Budo kicked off their Together/Apart Tour, their first headlining tour since 2009, at the Biltmore Cabaret. The opening act accompanying Grieves and Budo was the Minneapolis artist, Prof. With the help of DJ Fundo, they easily captured the crowd’s attention, with a powerful stage presence, Profs witty and humorous lyrics have obviously helped him create a solid fan base as most of the crowd was reciting the lyrics right along with him. Finishing his set with “Yeah Buddy” nearly everyone was ready for the main act. With fists held high in the air, Grieves and Budos’ dedicated fans (most of which were looking too young to drink) fought for the front of the stage spilling their beers and standing on bar stools just to get a glimpse of the artists as they stepped beneath the red and blue lights at the Biltmore. Budo (appearing first on stage), performs live with instruments such as guitar and trumpet, adding a significant value to their live performance, allowing the producer to share the stage with his energetic counterpart without being left in the shadows. At one point in the set, Grieves brought out a large stuffed bass fish (later named Gary Busey) before doing a cover of Westside Connections “Bow Down”. Their set consisted of several new tracks like “Lightspeed” and “Pressure Cracks” but it was the old tracks that finished the set, closing the night with Gwenevieve, and performing an encore consisting of “Smile for the Blade”. With the lights on and the crowd slowly filing out the door, eager dieThe opening bands were a fairly standard array of local talent. The first band, Gross Misconduct performed a solid set of thrash, but lacked in conviction or presence. They need to remedy their charisma deficit. Second on the bill was Zuckuss, who played a blistering blast of grind that suffers that common grind flaw: none of their material is memorable in the least, buried as it is in speed and short songs. There isn’t enough time to get a Zuckuss riff stuck in your head. Then The Golers came on and actually warmed up the crowd. This is a band that honestly deserves to be much more of a name on the global metal scene. Their blend of thrash, speed, and death metal is as rare as it is skillfully executed. Simply put, The Golers are far more than just a local metal band- they kill at what they do. Even a band as passionate and energetic as The Golers had nothing on the headliners though. Napalm Death hit the stage like a bomb, and delivered a relentless set of death/grindcore comprised of new material from their most recent album (the absolutely skull-crushing Time Waits For No Slave), classics from across their career and a few cover tracks. Grindcore is an odd genre. In a twist of irony so severe it’s basically straight up hypocrisy, this most brutal of metal styles takes an extremely delicate touch to get right. Too fast and too short, no one will remember anything and it becomes disposable. Too slow and too long, it’s not grindcore anymore. The balance point is rarely achieved, but Napalm Death has long mastered the exact mix- and they showed their dominance in style. Vocally, Barney is at the top of his game. He’s achieved a horrifying degree of vicious passion, and lately his range has improved as well. The
Vreid, Kamfar, Necromonicon and Scythia Monday, September 5, 2011 Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, B.C. Here we were, a small number of dedicated Vancouver metalheads, gathered at the Rickshaw Theatre on a Monday night to see bands from both our home country as well as Norway. Though the theatre could have fit three times the capacity of people who attended that night that did not stop the devoted few from rocking out as each band executed their metal upon us. Scythia played catchy riffs and melodies. Their use of Middle Eastern scales as well as keyboard and oboe harmonies displayed [o] Chris McKibbin their song writing proficiency. Lead vocals were sometimes inaudible, but eventually improved with a different microphone. Poor sound mix may have caused a lack of guitar presence and heaviness, which could have improved, had there been two guitarists. While I would have preferred a distorted lead guitar to some of the clean rhythm passages, drummer Celine Derval was creative with toms and adaptive to stylistic changes. NecronomicoN was guitar-heavy with only one guitarist. Deep growled vocals from Rob “The Witch”, coupled with heavy riffing and lead, reminded me of Vader. Drummer Rick dazzled with offbeat cymbal work during triple time signatures. NecronomicoN used backing samples, one being a sample of traditional First Nations music with vocals and
drum. The entire band would sometimes surprise me with short bouts of silence in songs. Rob’s tremolo guitar riffs sounded like black metal, except with low instead of high guttural vocals. Despite similarly styled songs, NecronomicoN still delivered. Kampfar’s vocalist, Dolk, performed with good stage presence and audience communication/ engagement. Drummer Ask flawlessly shifted between tempo changes and smoothly executed blast beats. Jon Bakker’s bass tremolo picking had good timing. Kampfar’s instrumentally busy music contained chord progression-based riffs. Oddly enough, some riffs were fun yet heavy, being energetic and almost danceable! While the band builds their intros by grabbing people’s attention and getting them into the song, I would have liked to hear more guitar lead and solos, and maybe a more melodically flowing bass line. Headliners Vreid were abundant in technical lead guitar work. A passage with clean guitars and a busy bass line displayed hints of a progressive sound. At one point, they had lead guitar melody over rhythm guitar during a verse with vocals on top. Melodic guitar solos were also present as well as distorted lead over clean arpeggiated guitar. Sture (vocals/guitar) and Storm (guitar), even had a harmonized guitar duet break. The drummer, Jørn “Steingrim” Holen, breezed through the tempo changes. Blast beats were steady and fills were fast and smooth. Great vocalist as well. Sture had a sense of humour about the “lazy motherfuckers at the back” and even dedicated a song to them! When he announced the songs, it was almost like telling a story. By Linda Lockwood
Bay Area Thrash veterans (and Metallica predecessors) Exodus opened the evening’s festivities with their signature brand of high-energy Metal, and while not many in the crowd would remember “Bonded By Blood”, they tore through classic tracks with a vengeance, obviously eager to make new fans. As the crowd slowly filtered in, Exodus did manage to get a proper circle pit started. When Slayer were still a semi-underground phenomenon, to be a true fan meant hating poser Metal on principle, and back then it was in no way possible to like Slayer and White Zombie without being called on it. Fast forward twenty years and Metal fans are somewhat more tolerant, even if Rob Zombie’s overall method and aesthetic have not changed one iota. Shallow and repetitive, if this band were an unknown hitting a talent show, they wouldn’t even make the first cut. Visually arresting, Zombie’s stage show came with an overabundance of pyro and titillating images of 60’s titties and giant pentagrams, which could not compensate for a lack of musical quality. Obviously the songs are meant to be primal and simplistic, but with the band sporting Canadian flag lab coats and Zombie’s endless entreaties for crowd response falling on deaf ears the effect was nearly ludicrous. The very long guitar solo could have been topped by many a thirteen-year-old shredder, and the trailer for Zombie’s film “She Werewolves of the SS” had the crowd wondering just who the hell funds all this. As for the main event, how could they disappoint? Slayer is the best Metal band on Earth, period. Dave Lombardo is the best Metal drummer on Earth, period. With a sparse stage setup featuring two giant eagles, a wall of amps and the occasional projector, Slayer do not need baroque theatrics and canned visuals to invoke the unholy terror only they can create. Beginning with the relatively new “World Painted Blood”, there was no time for warm-ups as they pummeled the audience with song after legendary song like it was 1991. By the third song, Kerry King was murdering the solo on “War Ensemble” with the rage of a pissed off twenty-something, while Lombardo’s machine-like double kick drums and inhumanly precise tom rolls consistently pushed the rest of the band to greater and greater intensity. Covering at least one track from most of their albums, they nailed “Hell Awaits”, “South Of Heaven”, “Raining Blood”, and even “Black Magic” from their debut record. As for the encore, what else could it be but “Angel of Death”, when they finally rolled out the massive logo projection complete with the pentagram of swords. All in all, the openers only proved once again why Slayer are the best at what they do - no gimmicks or attitude, in fact there’s no time for either when you’re playing that hard and fast for an hour and a half. With all of the members pushing fifty at this point and secure in their position as one of the most respected in the genre, Slayer are certainly not content to rest on their laurels, in fact one audience member was heard saying that they played better than they had twenty-one years ago on the “South Of Heaven” tour, which was well before many in the crowd were born!
● Original album fully remastered, plus the accompanying studio and live B-sides. ● First full release of the pre-Nevermind demos recorded at Butch Vig’s Smart Studios in Wisconsin ● “Boombox recordings” of early band rehearsals, which include early versions of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come As You Are,” “On a Plain” and more. ● The Devonshire Mixes, the full album as produced and mixed by Vig, as opposed to the more polished, commercially released version that was produced by Vig and mixed by Andy Wallace. ● A pair of previously unreleased BBC recordings.
Nevermind 20th Anniversary Reissue
4 CD / 1 DVD Deluxe package includes:
Slayer, Rob Zombie w/ Exodus Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 Rogers Arena, Vancouver, B.C.
● Full concert recorded at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre on Oct. 31, 1991, on both CD and DVD. ● A 90-page book “full of rarely and never before seen photos, documents and various other visual artifacts of the Nevermind era.”
World Wide Rebel Songs
“Troubled times call out for troubled songs. World Wide Rebel Songs is an album of rousing hopelessness and this time The Nightwatchman has brought along his electric guitar to tip the scales. I wanted to capture a vibe midway between Johnny Cash and Che Guevara, murder ballads and Molotov anthems.” - Tom Morello
[o] Scott Alexander As the “Hell On Earth” tour touched down in Vancouver, a mixed bag of Wednesday night Metalheads gathered to bear witness to Heavyness. From the very young to the geriatric, it would seem that the Metal crowd has only gotten more diverse over the years, and where once a Slayer show would draw a testosterone driven crowd of young white males only, twenty years later there are more than enough Metal Femme Fatales to go around, and not all of them scary either!
By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
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