Saturday, January 29, 2011

...of Mantinea

A lot’s changed in American black metal since Krallice formed three years ago. A lot’s changed for Krallice, too. Strange it’s only been three years — feels like they’ve always been around. Maybe because despite Mick Barr, Colin Marston, Lev Weinstein, and Nick McMaster performing in a dozen bands outside their USBM juggernaut, they’ve managed (more or less) to offer a new collection each year: Their sophomore album Dimensional Bleedthrough surfaced at the end of ‘09, they hit the road heavy in 2010, and now, as we start ‘11, we’re getting to sample another blackened whirlpool. The quartet’s third, most ambitious, unrelenting (and heaviest, fullest sounding) album, the Friedrich Hölderlin-referencing Diotima, is out in April. Musically, it’s a sort of combination of 2008’s self-titled debut and Dimensional, but as the group gets more comfortable with smashing formulas they’ve taken on an a darker, weirder, stronger, manlier shade. They’ve shaken off the Weakling references at this point, cool? It’s worth remembering that McMaster, who in 2008 handled “additional vocals” and live bass, has substantially increased his writing role and generally made his presence felt. (It’s also worth noting Barr recently relocated from NYC to the D.C. area — Maybe another factor in the shift?) Conceptually, the guys are still brainy, grim in intelligent real-life ways: We have songs dissecting Hölderlin’s “Ode To Diotima,” online existentialism, the apocalypse, Stéphane Mallarmé, the void, divinity’s mortality, rot, endless mausoleums, etc. Sonically, you get a sense of both sides of the palette via lead track, the 12+ minute “The Clearing,” one of the band’s strongest songs to date (which is saying a lot, but after listening, you’ll realize I could say even more). Lyrically, it features the following mind twister: “All death has eaten itself / so it turns to life.” (It’s also just a fucking twister.) Take a listen and ponder your inevitable demise. It’s alright if you cry: Really, no one else is making music like this right now.

Here’s the Diotima tracklist. The running times are worth noting:

01. “-” (2:07)
02. “Inhume” (6:51)
03. “The Clearing” (12:11)
04. “Diotima” (12:27)
05. “Litany Of Regrets” (13:40)
06. Telluric Rings (12:09)
07. Dust and Light (9:33)

Diotima is out 4/26 via Profound Lore. That’s not the official cover art, it’s a preliminary sample. McMaster’s still finalizing.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Abyssus Magic(k)

Absu's Proscriptor carved some time out of his very full schedule of 16-hour studio sessions and preparing for a tour with Immortal to grant this exclusive interview to Noisecreep. The magic-centric, Texas-based black metal band will release a new album via Candlelight in the autumn season.

The other two members, Vis and Ezezu, don't reside in Dallas with Proscriptor; they're in Philadelphia and Lubbock, Texas, respectively. So it's crunch time for Absu, who will begin recording when they get back from their short showcase trek with Immortal. Proscriptor gave Noisecreep the scoop on the long hours, starting every day with a 10-tarot-card spread, magic, the next two albums in a trilogy based on their name and how to avoid the burn out.

How deep are you into the new album?

We are working on the final touches. It's composed and arranged. We are prepping for a small showcase tour February 19 through the 26, and depending on preparation, we enter the studio one to two weeks immediately after to track the album. We're looking for a September release date and to play some festivals.

That's a lot of activity in a short amount of time. How are you managing the stress?

It's a new experience, and I cannot speak for the other two members, but the songwriting process for this album has been nothing more than file transferring and phone conversations ping ponged and mirrored back and forth to one another. It is stressful, but -- ironically speaking, at the same time -- it has been the fastest paced album as far as songwriting completion.

Both members of the band have come up with splendid songwriting ideas, and I am zealous and satisfied. So it's stressful, but optimistic stress. With this new album and the Immortal tour, it's been a double dose of activity versus trying to complete the album.

What details can you reveal about the new album?

It'll be called 'Abzu, which is Mesopotamian spelling. The last album was self-titled, and the album after this will be called 'Apsu,' which is the Sumerian spelling. It's the trilogy of the Absu name.

It's the most maniacal collection of songs under the name -- lyrically and theme-wise. It will include the standard topics I've discussed: Sumerian magic and mythology. But we're test driving a new kind of musical theme. Lyric-wise, it's about Enochian magic, which is a system of ceremonial magic based on evocation and commanding of spirits and is planet-oriented.

Sounds intense.

We always go for diversity, which is the most important element of Absu's work.

Do you think you've achieved that diversity with 'Abzu'?

Personally, I am a fan and follower of diversity and incorporating non-metal influences into extreme metal music. It makes it fresh and invigorating. I am getting near the age of 40, and I feel that the fans of Absu are becoming younger and younger, and I want to express my different influences and turn them on to different types of music, implementing those styles. I could be wrong.

Is there a connecting theme?

The origin behind the name, which derives from Assyrian, Mesopotamian and Sumerian origins, is the abyss -- the never-ending, endless void and dark chasm. It's the companion to Tiamat [an ocean goddess who mated with Abzu] within those mythologies. The basic and key origin behind last album and next two is about the abyss, what it is about, how it channels souls into a dark void.

Where did your interest in magic stem from?

I have been a student and follower since the age of 12. I met a few people that were influenced by esotericism and magic and mythology. And by the time I reached 12 and started to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs, it became a pastime and hobby to escape mortal manifestation of planet Earth. Magic is a way to mentally escape of it all.

How extensively do you practice magic?

Every day. I start every morning with a 10-card-tarot spread, which will forecast my day and how my day will pan out.

How accurate is the daily 10-card-tarot spread?

I had not mastered it at the beginning, but with enough practice and projecting daily, you can master it. Like with music, practice makes perfect.

What can we expect during the Immortal tour?

We are looking forward to being direct support for Immortal. We were once labelmates with them on Osmose Productions. I do like the fact that we are able to tour with them. They do not bring direct support.

With these 16-hour studio days, are you hooked up to an IV of coffee, Red Bull or some form of caffeine?

These long days are kicking my ass -- but no, there's nothing like that. The secret to keeping the momentum going is by hour seven or eight, when the burn-out factor kicks in, to take a 15-minute break on the hour, every hour. That helps us avoid the burnout factor.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Filth and The Fury

I got this wax last year along with the Southern Lord vinyl subscription and recently got the limited CD version. I've been spinning Trap Them since my friend and artist, Justin Bartlett (who has graced the cover of two TT releases, including this one and has designed several of their t-shirts, too) got me to check them out and I have to say that the direction taken on this release is one that's brought a great deal of excitement along with it. Track 3, "Day Forty: Dead Fathers Wading In the Bodyground" is a long, slow screw that makes the short 14+ minutes of this EP worth every penny for every second. There are still some copies of the CD available at Southern Lord as well as a few vinyl subscriptions for the trve.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


For almost 20 years, Absu has put out albums that resemble ancient documents that transport us to the worlds of Sumerian, Mesopotamian, and Celtic mythology. The fact that the band began in Plano, TX attests to the capability of the United States to bring forth some of the most thematically exciting and original-sounding black metal ever. Crafting a burger that lives up to the Absu name is quite a task, but Kuma’s Corner is successful at it.

The Absu burger is a cultural exchange of American and Mexican flavors. The colors are a rich saturation of shades of green, similar to the Tara and self-titled albums. The pretzel bun and 10 oz. beef patty are the foundation for a temple of complex flavors. Pepperjack cheese provides a soft carpet of gooeyness over a thin layer of tomatillo salsa. The tomatillo salsa could benefit from more flavor, but the avocado/onion relish more than compensates for that. The avocados, which complement the chopped onions well, are plump and fresh. A liberal sprinkling of crumbled queso fresco helps prepare the tongue for a triumvirate of deep fried chiles comprised of habanero, jalapeño, and fresno peppers. Deep-frying these peppers magnifies the spiciness a few notches. These are no pillars of mercy for those who cannot handle spicy food. I would’ve preferred to pair this burger with Mexican hot chocolate, but the Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout proved to be a worthy companion. The twists and turns within the palate from this burger are like Proscriptor McGovern’s vocal-and-drum attack.

Absu will be touring next February with Norwegian blizzard beasts Immortal. Until then, this burger should temper the craving for black thrashing fire in the sub-zero temperatures of the Midwestern winter.

Carmelo Española


Gator Country

A grandiose find at the Movie Trading Company in Hurst (and it was only $5.99). I have been looking for this on CD for a great number of years. I remember my dad buying it back in '85 and it got played day and night and for any and all visitors to the house. I had everything memorized... songs, between-song banter, even crowd noises. It was recorded in Dallas at Reunion Arena which no longer exists and will forever live on as one of my favorite live albums of all time. LONG LIVE DANNY JOE!!!


Monday, January 24, 2011


FZ: 1976


Playlist 01.24.11

...straight off of the player:

DEATHSPELL OMEGA - "Apokatastasis Pantôn" - Paracletus
TRAP THEM - "Day Forty: Dead Fathers Wading In the Bodyground" - Filth Rations
MOGWAI - "Hunted by a Freak" - Special Moves
DOOM - "Fear of the Future" - War Crimes (Inhuman Beings)
MINUTEMEN - "Little Man With A Gun In His Hand" - Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat
JESU - "Dethroned" - Metal Swim
OCRILIM - "Part 1" - Annwn
VON - "Devil Pig" - Satanic Blood
EARTH - "Father Midnight" - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1
KEN MODE - "Obeying the Iron Will" - Venerable
NADJA - "Clinodactyl" - Bodycage
GRAVE - "In Love" - Into the Grave
SIEGE - "Cold War" - Cleanse The Bacteria
GRIDLINK - "Amber Grey" - Phoning it In
Miserere" - Summon
ABSU - "Vorago (Spell 182)" - Tara
Calibus Frontem Tumeo Acidus Abcessus" - Evil Genius
SARCOFAGO - "Nightmare" - INRI
CARNAGE - "Aftermath" - The Day Man Lost
POISON IDEA - "Typical" - Cleanse The Bacteria
WEAKLING - "This Entire Fucking Battlefield" - Dead as Dreams
CRAFT - "Assassin 333" - Fuck The Universe
STARGAZER - "Passing Stone" - A Great Work of Ages
URGEHAL - "Dodelagt" - Ikonoklast
SODOM - "Sepulchral Voice" - In The Sign of Evil
NOCTURNUS - "Droid Sector" - The Key
MORBID ANGEL - "Sworn to the Black (remix)" - Liabach Remixes
PELICAN - "Angel Tears (JK Broadrick remix)" - March into the Sea
AUTOPSY - "Destined to Fester" - Mental Funeral
GOATSNAKE - "Easy Greasy" - Flower of Disease
VIO-LENCE - "Calling In The Coroner" - Eternal Nightmare
NAILS - "Suffering Soul" - Unsilent Death
PALE SKETCHER - "Can I Go Now (Gone Version) (Donnacha Costello remix)" - Can I Go Now (Gone Version)
CATHEDRAL - "Hypnos 164" - Cosmic Requiem
D.R.I. - "Go Die" - Crossover
BROKEN BONES - "Problem" - Decapitated


Friday, January 21, 2011

O)))n the way...


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NEUROSIS Prepare For Souls At Zero Reissue And Upcoming Live Performances

For Oakland, California’s NEUROSIS, their entire catalog can be considered brilliant not only for its sonic merit but also for its need to wander from the beaten path. Rare is it that a band can make you feel the cold and hard texture of concrete while allowing you to smell the growing vine in the confines of one song. Perhaps this is the reason why so many have looked to and borrowed from their table.

NEUROSIS is pure emotion, in every positive or negative form. Souls At Zero is NEUROSIS’ first flash of true brilliance. Never before were they able to show their passions and exploratory needs so eloquently, while still keeping their musical hearth concussive and visceral. Synthesizers, acoustic guitars and other non-traditional instruments came into play, as did tribal chants and an ethereal smokescreen which enabled the band to shapeshift from one musical being to another. NEUROSIS’ expansion into the uncompromising and groundbreaking act that they are now began here, making the importance of Souls At Zero larger than even the band could ever know at the time. This album is the glint that never leaves your aural vision, no matter how hard you try to escape it. A catastrophic tinnitus that you hope won’t go away.

Neurot Recordings is proud to reissue this perpetual flame of a release while celebrating the band’s 25 years of brilliance. With demo version additions of “Zero” and the title track along with a bonus live cut “Cleanse III”, this updated release is the perfect portal to witness the development of underground music’s titan force. Artwork by the revered Josh Graham completes an awesome package worthy of timeless worship, which Neurot will officially release on February 15th, 2011.

Souls At Zero Reissue Track Listing:
1. To Crawl Under One’s Skin
2. Souls At Zero
3. Zero
4. Flight
5. The Web
6. Sterile Vision
7. A Chronology for Survival
8. Stripped
9. Takeahnase
10. Empty
11. Souls (Demo Version)
12. Zero (Demo Version)
13. Cleanse III (Live in London)

Following NEUROSIS’ recent live appearances in the UK in early December, as well as their year-end double-header in Seattle last week, the band will invade the Bay Area next week for two shows in San Francisco; their first shows in their native stomping grounds since 2008! NEUROSIS will also headline the first night of this year’s installment of the Maryland Death Fest in May, with support from Corrosion Of Conformity, Exhumed, Aura Noir, Marduk, Goatsnake and countless more that night.

Confirmed NEUROSIS Live Appearances:

1/15/2010 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA w/ YOB, U.S. Christmas
1/16/2010 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA w/ Saviours, U.S. Christmas
5/27-29/2010 Maryland Deathfest 2011 – Baltimore, MD


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

011111 (The Return in Binary)

It's been a long while since TorqueZine has been active. For that, I apologize. I am back, though, and will be reviewing albums, updating you on shows around the world and giving you a front row seat to my musical opinions. So stay tuned world and thanks a million to The One True Patchie and to Proscriptor McGovern for pushing and believing in me.

Music or Die!!!


photo by: Cassiopeia Hale (L to R: Proscriptor (Absu), James Delgado (Kill the Client), Dave Ybanez (Dross), Jason Hans (ex- Torment Defined) and me, in the middle of the mayhem, New Years 2010-2011 (Missing is Dave Powell (Dross) who had passed out.)