Straight Shooting: Extreme Metal Artists are Good People

Throughout my years of going to shows and meeting extreme metal bands to just say “hello” and “thanks” or to conduct an interview or hang out as colleagues, I have always found these artists to be very humble, down to earth, and hardworking people. Playing extreme metal is often a thankless and perilous endeavor that regularly tests just how much these artist are dedicated to their art.

Specifically, the legendary bands tend to be the most approachable and appreciative. They are more than happy to shake your hand, pose for photos, autograph all your merchandise, thank you for your support, and speak with you for a little bit. They may not have the most time in the world or be in the mood to do so, but they often try their best. Even strong and intimidating personalities such as David Vincent, Trey Azagthoth, Glen Benton, and Chris Barnes are all nice dudes. On the other hand, there are also exceptions to this but they shall remain nameless.

The brothers in KRISIUN are some of the coolest guys you can meet. They are so grateful when you compliment them on their performance or music. And if you’ve been a diehard for a long time, that makes their day. They never brag about their musicianship even though it’s totally insane, especially given the fact that they perform flawlessly every night. Whole notes don’t really exist in their songs. Hell, if you have the opportunity to party with them, they’ll share their whiskey or herb with you without hesitation.

Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna from IMMOLATION are awesome guys. I’ve seen them in various cities across the U.S. and they are always the same. Zero egos. Zero gimmicks. They’ve always been underdogs in terms of popularity despite the fact that they are legends but they never complain about anything ever. They just work hard and try their best.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Andreas Kisser twice throughout the years and he is just as, if not cooler, than what you see in SEPULTURA home videos or elsewhere. He’s just a really cool and friendly person ready to laugh and is always positive. No shit talking from him. Andreas is probably one of the most open-minded people you can meet as well.

If you’ve ever seen SUFFOCATION live, then you’ve seen just how down to earth Frank Mullen is with the crowd. He never tries to act like the toughest guy on earth. He just speaks to the crowd like he would with people that he knows in his personal life. Offstage, the man is the same. Just a cool, honest, and passionate person. Frank appreciates any fans whether they be long time or brand new ones.

At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of extreme metal bands that tour all over the world don’t really make much money. And yes, many of them have families and day jobs to take care of back home. It can be a meager existence. Thus, you can’t blame them for having tours with VIP packages.

Without their dedication and immense talents, there wouldn’t be much of a scene. So next time you’re at a show and you see a band member walking around or just hanging out, it will never hurt to just say “hello” and show appreciation for their hard work. Trust me, they will appreciate it.

IMMOLATION Headlining Tour Coming October 2011

New York death metal legends, IMMOLATION, are proud to announce their second headlining run in support of their critically acclaimed release Majesty and Decay. Support will come from long running Wisconsin based death metallers JUNGLE ROT and experimental death grinders GIGAN.

“We are once again hitting the road here in the US in October and are really excited to have both JUNGLE ROT and GIGAN join us for this tour,” commented bassist/vocalist Ross Dolan. “We have some new material in the works and will be making a more formal announcement about this in the next few weeks. We look forward to seeing everyone again and hope to see some new faces as well as old at these shows.”

IMMOLATION, JUNGLE ROT,GIGAN U.S. Tour 2011:
10/05/11- Wreck Room, Toronto, Ontario
10/07/11- The Basement, Kingston, NY
10/08/11- Montage Music Hall, Rochester ,NY
10/09/11- Broadway Joe’s, Buffalo, NY
10/10/11- The Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY
10/11/11- Bogie’s, Albany, NY
10/12/11- Championship Bar and Grill, Trenton, NJ
10/13/11- Peabody’s, Cleveland, OH
10/14/11- Al Rosa Villa, Columbus, OH
10/15/11- Blondie’s, Detroit, MI
10/16/11- Reggie Rock Club, Chicago, ILL
10/17/11- Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines, IA
10/19/11- Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
10/20/11- The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT
10/21/11- Cheyenne Saloon, Las Vegas, NV
10/22/11- Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA
10/23/11- Clubhouse, Tempe, AZ
10/25/11- Backstage Live, San Antonio, TX
10/26/11- Scout Bar, Houston, TX

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2010

December is here, so it is time for us, the APESHIT goons, to share with you our list of metal albums that made an impression on us in 2010. Meaningful and meaningless, but sharing is caring. Bang your head and enjoy!
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IMMOLATION’s Most Devastating Song

For any true underground metal warrior, it’s a given that IMMOLATION is a mandatory band. They’ve never been the flavor of the month or been given the praise they deserve by the media in general but the true motherfuckers know what’s up. As one of death metal’s pioneers (starting out in the late 1980’s), they’ve created a large body of quality music to enjoy. However, one song stands out from all the rest…

While the studio version of “No Jesus, No Beast” is surely devastating, nothing beats watching the song being performed live. When vocalist/bassist Ross Dolan proclaims, “Can you hear us? Death to Jesus,” it’s just an awesome moment. Unfortunately, there will be some tours when the band doesn’t play this song and it’s just a damn shame.

IMMOLATION with ARSIS and DISMA @ The Studio at Webster Hall, New York City (07/28/10)

Webster Hall has long been known for bringing in mainstream acts and hosting lavish dance parties, but fortunately for the metal faithful, who crammed in to the small darkened recesses of the joint (The Studio) there would be none of that as one of New York’s longest standing underground legends IMMOLATION played a rare NYC club date as the band prepares for their tour with VADER.

Upon arriving in the dark basement of Webster Hall, I witnessed openers DISMA, a last second addition to the show. Featuring ex-members of INCANTATION, and members from a slew of veteran underground bands, I had high expectations for the band, but sadly the performance and overall delivery was a bit bland. The sound didn’t help matters as it was pretty blurry and wasn’t particularly powerful. The band offered slow, plodding material much in the vein of INCANTATION and our evening’s headliners, but the songs weren’t especially memorable, and the heat of the venue only made the performance that much more sluggish.

Following up after DISMA came the sleek, polished sounds of ARSIS. Upon graduating from delivering DEATH-inspired material, Jim Malone and company have since opted to lift the shredding skills of CHILDREN OF BODOM, (as heard on their new album Starve for the Devil) making them an oddball choice for this show. After nearly dozing off several times during the previous set, the band’s hyper active noodling and busy fret work actually lifted the energy mode a bit. They had several of their fans out there pumping their fists with great enthusiasm as the band delivered several of their numerous crowd motivating anthems. IMMOLATION fans weren’t as easily sold, but begrudgingly declined to taunt the band of fret burners. The sound was also bad for them making it difficult for their songs to really cut through, but the band soldiered on well enough.

Finally the hometown (by way of Yonkers) heroes arrived unleashing “The Purge” from their latest effort, Majesty and Decay, before releasing spot on renditions of Unholy Cult and World Agony. Fortunately, the sound was finally crystal clear and cut through with great clarity as Bob Vigna‘s guitar acrobatics, disjointed, dissonant riffs and leads squeezed the life of any Christian foolish enough to venture in the vicinity. Bill Taylor‘s riffage perfectly complemented Vigna‘s organized chaos with an underlying crunching drive, and octopus-like drummer Steve Shalaty‘s intricate complex drum patterns kept the rhythm alive and pounding. Let’s not forget Ross Dolan‘s bludgeoning bass lines and throat scraping growls eithe, as the frontman was menacing throughout the set, but equally humble when expressing gratitude towards the fans for their 25 years of support. IMMOLATION focused a decent amount of time on tracks from their killer new Majesty and Decay album, delivering the title track as well as “A Glorious Epoch.” Classics from the band’s substantial catalog were brought out for the occasion as well, including “Burial Ground” from their debut, and “Father You’re Not a Father” from Close to a World Below. The band mixed and matched various tracks from their extensive discography before closing it out with a blistering version of “Passion Kill.” Another convincing performance from these death metal greats, easily wiping away much of the shred-first songs later mentality of most of the new death metal acts out these days in one quick and deadly blow. If you couldn’t make it out for this one, make sure to catch them on their tour with label mates VADER later on in the Fall for a textbook performance in death metal ass-kicking.

IMMOLATION – Majesty and Decay

For over 20 years, IMMOLATION has continued to raise the bar for quality underground metal and on their eighth full-length, Majesty and Decay, the Yonkers NY quartet shows no signs of softening up or slowing down. “The Purge” sets the stage for the onslaught to come, taking the listener through a labyrinth of twisted, convoluted riffs and blasting drum patterns. But to the band’s credit, they allow plenty of room for the riffs to breathe and the listener to absorb them which makes the onslaught a little easier to digest. The pace continues with urgency throughout most of Majesty and Decay. However, the band’s subtle use of dynamics and ability to pull back on the aggression speaks volumes of the band’s maturity as they are able to interject plenty of atmosphere into the proceedings that balances out the audio beating the listener experiences. The band also benefits from an overall clearer, fuller mix courtesy of Zach Ohren (DECREPIT BIRTH, ALL SHALL PERISH) then on previous releases, allowing the album’s more intricate details to come to the forefront. Majesty and Decay’s greatest strength maybe the overall feeling of dread and doom throughout the album, punctuated by the band’s continuous ominous atmosphere throughout. Perhaps their strongest, most mature effort to date, yet nonetheless as vicious and relentless as when the first unleashed Dawn of Possession on an unsuspecting public so many years ago. It should go without saying, but if you are a fan of quality death metal, you need to pick this up right now. (Nuclear Blast Records)

IMMOLATION Announce Headline Tour with VADER

IMMOLATION will be heading out on a headlining tour with support from VADER, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, LECHEROUS NOCTURNE, and PATHOLOGY.

Tour dates:

9/29 Baltimore, MD – Sonar
9/30 Farmingdale , NY – Crazy Donkey
10/1 Providence, RI – Club Hell
10/2 Manchester , NH – Rocko’s
10/3 Montreal, ON – Foufounes Electriques
10/4 Toronto, ON – MOD Club
10/5 Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
10/6 Detroit, MI – Blondie’s
10/7 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
10/8 St Paul , MN – Station4
10/10 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
10/11 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theater
10/12 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
10/13 San Francisco, CA – DNA Lounge
10/14 West Hollywood, CA – The Whiskey
10/15 Santa Ana ,CA – The Galaxy
10/16 Ramona , CA – Ramona Mainstage
10/17 Mesa, AZ – U.B.’s
10/18 Tucson, AZ – The Rock
10/20 Austin, TX – Emo’s
10/21 Houston, TX – The Warsaw
10/22 Tulsa, OK – Marquee
10/23 Louisville, KY – Uncle Pleasants
10/24 Raleigh, NC – Volume 11
10/25 Springfield, VA – Jaxx
10/26 Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall
10/27 Indianapolis, IN – Emerson Theatre
10/28 Chicago, IL – Reggie’s Rock Club

IMMOLATION: New Album Details Revealed

New York death-metal legends IMMOLATION have chosen Majesty and Decay as the title of their eighth full length album. Majesty and Decay will be released on March 9th in North America via Nuclear Blast Records. Cover art will be revealed on December 25th on the bands Myspace page (www.myspace.com/Immolation).

Track listing:

1. “Intro
2. “The Purge
3. “A Token Of Malice
4. “Majesty And Decay
5. “Divine Code
6. “In Human Form
7. “A Glorious Epoch
8. “Intro
9. “A Thunderous Consequence
10. “The Rapture of Ghosts
11. “Power And Shame
12. “The Comfort of Cowards

Read the bands online blog chronicling their recording sessions at DecibelMagazine.com.

Footage of IMMOLATION drummer Steve Shalaty recording several new tracks for the bands upcoming album has been uploaded to SickDrummerMagazine.com.