Hour of 13 Interview with Chad Davis: Naming the Threes

Posted in Features on August 24th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last year when I conducted an Hour of 13 interview, it was with then-vocalist and Obelisk contributor Ben Hogg about having landed the singer spot as a replacement for Connecticut-based Phil Swanson. What changes a year can bring. This time, speaking with North Carolinian multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Chad Davis, it was about the band splitting with Hogg following a tour with Kylesa last summer and eventually having Swanson come back on board for the recording of the band’s appropriately named third album, 333.

Also Hour of 13‘s Earache Records debut, 333 marks the third time Swanson has joined the band — once for their 2007 self-titled debut and again for 2010’s The Ritualist before now — but Davis seems to take the tumult in stride. He’s uncomfortable talking about the situation with Hogg, I think the interview transcript shows that, but gives some sense of what led to the dissolution of Hour of 13 as a touring act. The live lineup also featured bassist John Mode and guitarist Brandon Munday, who’ll do a smattering of shows this October with the Swanson-fronted incarnation rounded out by a new drummer, but as to larger touring, Davis makes his position clear when he says, “To me, it’s not really a necessity.”

Nonetheless, the band has joined the growing roster of acts playing Roadburn 2013, and their cult-minded traditional doom continues to resonate with audiences around the world, who’ve responded with suitable clamor to 333, which Davis reveals was written both before going into Epiphonic Studios to record and after he got there, songs like “Who’s to Blame?” and the righteous closer “Lucky Bones” — also released on a limited Svart Records vinyl with Hour of 13’s earlier Razorrock Tapes recordings — given a sense of spontaneity for how freshly composed they were. The first two albums, Davis notes, took three days each. 333 took two weeks.

And maybe that’s the last of the three threes in the title. One for it being the band’s third album, one for it being Swanson‘s third return, and one for the three days it used to take Hour of 13 to make a record. Whatever the case, Davis‘ commitment to Hour of 13‘s bleak musical and conceptual aesthetic remains firm, and in the interview that follows, he discusses not only lineup shifts and live gigs, but what drives the project and the processes at work in Hour of 13 as opposed to his black metal outfits Anu and Set or the psychedelically jamming Tasha-Yar, who’ll reportedly add the recently-streamed “Casting Lots” to a series of other improv recordings for a new CD in the next month or so.

Including what got him into Epiphonic earlier than he intended and working long-distance with Swanson, Davis illuminates on a range of topics. You’ll find the complete Q&A after the jump.

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Sleep’ing in on a Saturday Morning

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 31st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

If Sleep had more of a discography and I could say for certain I’d always be awake on a Saturday morning to post videos of them, I’d totally make this a weekly thing. But frankly, I don’t even want to be up now, I just am and have been since about 6:30AM. Pain in the ass week, as far as sleeping goes. The only night I slept through was Wednesday. Nonetheless, last night was so killer that I had to break out Sleep’s Holy Mountain to honor it. And then, having found the clip above with all the space footage — well, it was just too damn good to not post, even this morning.

Today is the last day of March. Next Thursday, I get on a plane and fly out to London in anticipation of Desertfest starting up on Friday. That will be excellent, and I’m looking forward to seeing the likes of Stubb, Stone Axe, Asteroid, Ancestors, Trippy Wicked, Grifter, Alunah and others I might not otherwise have the chance to see. The more I think about it, the more I want to take that approach. I mean, Church of Misery is playing Roadburn too, so I can always see them there (and I do mean always — it seems like they do Roadburn every year; not a complaint), and it makes more sense to me to catch bands like Serpent Venom and Dopefight, who I have less of a chance of catching otherwise. I don’t know, I ‘ll get it worked out, and wherever I end up, I’ll bring the camera and the keyboard along.

Before I go, however, the first part of this week coming I anticipate will be pure madness. Nonetheless, I’ve still got a bunch of stuff coming up, like the March numbers, a stream of the new album from Mangoo, the second “Spine of Overkill” column from Chris “Woody High” MacDermott, and more. I want to get a review up of the new Ufomammut record before I leave, but with work, I don’t know if I’ll have time to give it its due attention and I don’t want to half-ass it. Hopefully that comes together Monday or Tuesday. Wednesdays are pretty much a wash lately at the office as far as actually getting anything done goes.

But among the kickass elements that made yesterday so righteous was an interview conducted with Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus about their recently-reviewed new album, Lillie: F-65, and I want to get that posted at some point reasonably soon — maybe while I’m away, depending on my time and travel trajectory between Desertfest and Roadburn. In any case, it’s something to look forward to for April coming up. We’ll talk more about the month when the March numbers go up on Monday.

Until then, thanks to everyone for checking in this week, and thanks especially to the 136 commenters who entered the High on Fire giveaway. So far I’ve got two of the three winners who’ve emailed me back. If I don’t hear from the third by Monday, I’ll probably just pick someone else, so if you haven’t gotten a note from me, there’s still a shot before next week starts up. For now, though, I’m heading back to bed, or at least to the couch, to try and rest up on this rainy as hell Saturday. Maybe later I’ll watch some Star Trek and check in on the forum about it, but otherwise, I wish you a great and safe weekend. Enjoy, and we’ll see you back here Monday for the busiest week ever.

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Hour of 13 Interview with Ben Hogg: “Who the fuck gets their big break at age 39 in rock and roll?”

Posted in Features on April 21st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

A little while back, this site premiered three demo tracks from North Carolinian doomers Hour of 13 with their new singer, whose identity was then a mystery. In the comments section of that post, you’ll find word from members of The Might Could that it was, in fact, Beaten Back to Pure, Birds of Prey and Plague the Suffering vocalist Ben Hogg filling the shoes vacated by Phil Swanson, and as a show at the Cake Shop in NYC proved early in March, they were right.

Hogg was a surprise to take that role, as Hour of 13‘s vocals have heretofore been clean exclusively and through his work in his other bands, Hogg has always proved to be almost entirely a growler/screamer, but as the demos demonstrated, he’s more than capable of matching key for key with Hour of 13‘s material, adding elements of his own personality to the songwriting of guitarist Chad Davis. The band has already started work on new material, it seems, and though there isn’t a release set for anything yet — Hour of 13‘s second album with Swanson, The Ritualist, was recently reissued by EaracheHogg assures good things are afoot.

Even today, that’s proven to be the case, as it was announced Hour of 13 will join Kylesa for a week-long tour of the Southern US at the end of May into June, and in our interview, Ben Hogg leaked some info about more road time to come in July. Hour of 13, apparently, are about to become a full-on touring act, and as Hogg says several times over, that suits him just fine.

We spoke on opening day of baseball season (March 31) as the Cardinals were in extra innings, but Hogg was nonetheless forthcoming about how he came to be involved with Hour of 13, the nervousness he felt before making his debut with the band at the Cake Shop, the trials of owning your own wedge monitor, the band’s plans writing, touring, and much, much more. There were some phone-line issues, but I got everything transcribed the best I could, and the ensuing conversation was over 4,100 words, so there should be plenty to work with.

On a personal note, before I turn it over to the interview proper, I want to underscore my previous congratulations to Ben Hogg on landing this vocalist spot. The dude’s a lifer if there ever was one, and in this scene, that’s not easy. We’ve been in touch periodically over the years and he’s never been anything but cool to me and if the excitement he shows here is any indication, he’s genuinely glad to be a part of Hour of 13, and I wish both him and the band all the best going forward. Can’t wait to hear how it all comes together on the next record.

Complete Q&A with Ben Hogg is after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Congratulations to Ben Hogg for Joining Hour of 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

The news has spread far and wide at this point, but I just wanted to take a second to personally offer heartfelt congratulations to vocalist Ben Hogg on the occasion of his joining Hour of 13. I got word ahead of time (as did everyone who checked out the comments section of the demo tracks post), but everything I’ve heard about the band’s first show this past Saturday at the Cake Shop in NYC has been really positive, and I know Ben‘s a lifer if ever there was one. All the best to him, guitarist Chad Davis and the rest of the band. Here’s to Hogg of 13!

Earache sent out the following press release about it:

North Carolina doom metallers Hour of 13 were pleased to introduce veteran vocalist, Ben Hogg (Birds of Prey, Beaten Back to Pure) into the fold this past Saturday night in New York City. He and the band played a powerful set  to a packed NYC crowd all there to celebrate the band’s recent reissue of The Ritualist, a modern classic of doom metal. Ben performed superbly and gave the band a stronger presence that will no doubt make the band a force to be reckoned with as widespread touring plans are falling into place in 2011.

Hour of 13 guitarist and founder Chad Davis recently had this to say about Ben Hogg: “Hour of 13 could not be more pleased with the dedication and amount of work Ben has shown. He is a valuable talent to have in the band. He is a vital presence that we were needing in the fold and thanks to him, we are stronger and more focused than ever.”

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audiObelisk EXCLUSIVE: Hour of 13 – New Singer Demos Now Available for Streaming

Posted in audiObelisk on February 14th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

No one seems to be at liberty yet to discuss who this mysterious new singer for Hour of 13 is, but if you want to make your best guesses, go for it in the comments. If not before, I guess we’ll all find out when the trad-doom forerunners come back to New York on March 5 for a show at the Cake Shop.

Until then, 313 Inc. Artist Management granted permission for The Obelisk to host the following rehearsal demos featuring said nameless figure, who, as you can hear on the three tracks below, sounds killer. Whoever he is, he’s giving these songs their due.

Dig it:

Hour of 13, “The Gathering/Call to Satan”

The Gathering/Call to Satan

Hour of 13, “Submissive to Evil”

Submissive to Evil

Hour of 13, “Grim Reality”

Grim Reality

The second Hour of 13 album, The Ritualist, has been reissued and is now available on Earache Records.

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audiObelisk: Stream Hour of 13’s The Ritualist in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk on February 3rd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Although they recently lost vocalist Phil Swanson to… um… not being in the band, cult doom purveyors Hour of 13 will nonetheless see the re-release of their epic second album, The Ritualist, on Earache Records Feb. 26. The band, now fronted by guitarist Chad Davis, has said they’ll continue on unabated with their mission of musical despair, and while the word’s still out on whether or not they’ll have a new full-length this year, the reissue is still a great excuse to revisit The Ritualist and celebrate Hour of 13 at their to-date peak.

Out of the kindness of their blackened hearts, Earache has granted The Obelisk permission (exclusive permission, so far as I know) to host The Ritualist in its entirety for your streaming enjoyment. Have at it on the player below, and doom on:

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Phil Swanson Leaves Hour of 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Score one for the era of immediate accessibility to information. According to Facebook posts from Hour of 13 guitarist Chad Davis and vocalist Phil Swanson, the latter is no longer with the band. Hour of 13, who just recently signed to Earache Records and will re-release their second album, The Ritualist, next month via the legendary metal imprint, will continue with Davis filling singing duties until they find someone new.

Here are the posts, greedily cut and pasted:

Phil Swanson: “I have decided once again on leaving the ranks of Hour of 13 as I cannot commit to live touring duties at the level the fans, the label and the band would expect.”

Chad Davis: “Phil Swanson has once again decided to step down from Hour of 13. We hope his path will find him all the best in his musical fulfillment. The band will continue with Chad Davis taking over vocal duties for the upcoming shows we have booked. We plan to deliver the same caliber of occult heavy metal we have created for the past 3 years, and we will continue. Hour of 13 thank all of the supporters and fans worldwide.”

Thanks to Damocles74 for posting this notice in the news forum.

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Some New (Not Really New) Godflesh and Crowbar

Posted in Buried Treasure on November 8th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

A quick reissue roundup for anyone who may have missed these:

Godflesh‘s 1989 über-classic, Streetcleaner, has recently been given a two-disc reissue by Earache Records that may or may not be timed to coincide with the announcement that the band will reunite for next year’s Roadburn festival in The Netherlands. Earache, who are the last of the “metal majors” to habitually send out physical promos of albums to press, have been on a spree for the last year or two in repressing landmarks from their back catalog, and Godflesh has been no exception, as the recipient of several boxed editions and multi-album compilations. Streetcleaner is Streetcleaner, though, so it stands on its own.

With the second disc offering unreleased mixes, live tracks from 1989-1990 and rehearsal and studio demos — all of which may or may not have been heard before — the 2010 Streetcleaner is as biting as ever, and shows why over 20 years later, the band are still a much-wanted commodity. It’s one of those albums that, if you don’t have it, you probably should, so I thought it was worth a look.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the sludgy spectrum, three Crowbar records just got reissued by E1, making them more widely available than ever before thanks to the label’s far-reaching distribution. Crowbar, Live +1 and Time Heals Nothing cover the venerable New Orleans slingers’ work from 1993-1995, and though I’m not sure why E1 would go after the rights to the second album, a live EP and the third album without also reissuing 1991’s Obedience Thru Suffering debut, I’m sure they have their reasons, as they’ve been pretty on the ball since deciding it was okay to like metal again in 2008/2009.

All three discs are bare-bones, and by that I mean no bonus material, but honestly, I’m so desperate as for any Crowbar release at this point I might consider picking these up just for the sake of their being newly issued. With the band allegedly beginning a new period of activity that involved touring last month down south, heading north next month and supposedly even recording a new album, there’s plenty to hope for, and of course, guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein has been plenty busy in Kingdom of Sorrow and Down (neither of which is as good as Crowbar), but man, it’s time for some new Crowbar. Today.

Until then, this is as good as it’s going to get, and in the case of Godflesh — who I’m actively hoping won’t release a new album — it may be as good as it’s ever going to get. Sure we can sit here and complain about rehashing the same records over and over, but when you find a better way to spend time than listening to Crowbar again, you let me know.

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Where to Start: Post-Metal

Posted in Where to Start on October 20th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

At this point, the subgenre’s trend level has crested and most of what the specific style of music has to offer has likely been explored, but although it gets the ol’ eye-roll “not this again” treatment these days, it’s worth remembering that post-metal has produced some great, landmark albums, and that the bands who came after had solid reasoning behind being influenced as they were.

Blending post-rock elements with heavier, often crushing guitar work, the classification post-metal is as amorphous as any genre term. I’ve heard everyone from High on Fire to Ulver referred to under its umbrella, but I want to be clear that when I talk about post-metal, I’m thinking of what’s also commonly called “metalgaze,” the specific branch of metal heavily inspired by the bands below.

I wanted to do this Where to Start post not just for those looking to expose themselves to the genre, but also in case anyone who maybe is tired of hearing bands that sound like this has forgotten how killer these records were. Here’s my starting five essential post-metal albums, ordered by year of release:

1. Godflesh, Godflesh (1988): I saw the album art on hoodies for years before I knew what it was. 1989’s Streetcleaner was better received critically at the time for its industrial leanings, but Justin Broadrick‘s first outing after leaving Napalm Death has grown over time to be the more influential album. At just 30 minutes long in its original form (subsequent reissues would add bonus material), it’s a pivotal moment in understanding modern post-metal that predates most of the genre’s major contributions by over a decade.

2. Neurosis, A Sun That Never Sets (2001): Take a listen to A Sun That Never Sets closer “Stones from the Sky,” then go put on just about any post-metal record, and you’ll see many of them trying to capture the same feel and progression — if not just blatantly transposing that riff onto their own material. Say what you want about Neurosis‘ earlier material, I think if everyone was honest about it, it would be A Sun That Never Sets mentioned even more. An awful lot of the modern wave of post-metal bands formed in 2001 and 2002, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

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Live Review: Hour of 13 Live in Brooklyn, 10.16.10

Posted in Reviews on October 18th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

The last time I decided it was a good idea to drive down from Connecticut to a show in New York, I wound up in sitting traffic for twice as long as it should have taken, only to get to an overcrowded Webster Hall and stand in the back while the Melvins stormed through a set I could barely see. How long for the lesson to be forgotten? Just under four months, apparently.

Fortunately, the ride this time wasn’t that bad at all. Two hours in the car is perfectly acceptable as far as I’m concerned; the trip has taken me that long from Jersey plenty of times, and hey, I go where the shows go. Nowadays, they go to Union Pool, so that’s where I go.

I’d never been there before, but it was Hour of 13‘s first show in the US, and I wasn’t about to miss that, remembering how much ass their 2007 self-titled CD kicked and hoping to pick up a copy of this year’s The Ritualist on Eyes Like Snow. They didn’t wind up having any for sale, but their set, which they played to a packed house of faces both familiar among the NYC doom faithful and not, was worth the trip anyway.

They opened with “Call to Satan” from the self-titled, and it was an appropriately ritualistic beginning to a set of occult doom worship. I knew that Hour of 13‘s core duo of guitarist Chad Davis and vocalist Phil Swanson had assembled a band around them, but I was a little surprised to see a second guitarist sharing the stage, as amiable a job as the neck-tatted Brandon Munday did. I guess something in me just always pictured Hour of 13 as a single guitar band, bringing out more of the desolate, abandoned feel. Killer tones all around, and I’d hardly call it a disappointment (hell, Judas Priest did it), it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

The rhythm section of bassist John Mode and drummer Dave Easter filled their roles suitably, not really breaking out into anything special, but not giving any sense they should have been, either. Hour of 13 evoke a very specific atmosphere, and if any one player, Swanson and Davis included, really stuck out and started doing rock star turns or showing off, it just wouldn’t work. Nobody takes a six minute solo, everybody dooms out. It’s a solid ethic to live by if you’re playing this kind of music.

It was certainly enough to win over the crowd. Approvals ranged from slow, matched-to-snare nods to full-on headbanging, and I’m sure I saw The Gates of Slumber guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon throw a claw or two down in front of the stage. It was hard to argue with any of it, as Hour of 13 pretty much killed it for the whole set, Davis checking in on the audience every now and again and smiling as Swanson kept an eerie presence behind the mic.

The Gates of Slumber closed the show, and as much as I wanted to see them with their new drummer, it was already midnight and I still had the two hours back to Connecticut to think about. I’ve little doubt they kicked ass, as that seems to be their thing, but as I got off exit 59 at quarter to two in the morning, it was still Hour of 13 I was thinking about, wondering if now that they’re signed to Earache and have gotten the first one out of the way, they’ll be playing more shows. Here’s hoping, because if there were, I don’t know, 16 or 17 more rounds of that on offer, I think I’d have to go for it every time.

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Hour of 13 Sign to Earache

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Congratulations to North Carolinian (?) traditional doomers Hour of 13, who it was announced today have signed with Earache Records. One wonders if Earache — having already long since cornered the market on re-thrash with the likes of Municipal Waste and Bonded by Blood — decided to take their retro obsession into new realms. If so, have I got a couple bands for you.

Hour of 13, apparently just back from Ireland, make their US live debut on Oct. 16 at Brooklyn‘s Union Pool alongside The Gates of Slumber. See you there. Meantime, here’s this off the PR wire:

Earache Records is proud to announce the signing of North Carolina‘s Hour of 13 to a worldwide recording deal.

Hour of 13 have built up a formidable reputation in underground circles for their potent brand of occult-inspired doom-laden metal. The band recently performed their debut show at the Dublin Doom Day festival in Ireland, to rapturous response.

Guitarist and founder Chad Davis commented on the deal:

“We, Hour of 13, are proud to have become part of the Earache Records legacy. The support the label has shown to a host of influential bands over the years has been essential to the growth of real, original music, and we could not be more pleased to have become one of those bands. This is a monumental step for Hour of 13, and we’re glad to have Earache on our side.”

Earache will re-release the band’s last album, The Ritualist, in early 2011, which will be supported by further live appearances throughout the year.

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Cathedral: Another Look into the Ethereal Mirror

Posted in Reviews on October 16th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

Statik Majik is around back.Though I?ve come over the years to appreciate the massive influence and impact long-running UK doom lords Cathedral have had on the international scene, they?re not really a band I listen to every day. Not so say I?m not a fan — ?twould be heresy — but I came late to the party and missed what?s widely regarded as their best era.

That era might be best presented in 1993?s The Ethereal Mirror, on which they kept holy the Black Sabbath while bringing more rock elements to their sound than there had been on the 1991 debut, Forest of Equilibrium. Frontman Lee Dorrian?s voice growled less (?disco supernova!?), the riffs were higher in the mix and the band, all around, seemed to have more focus. It?s an album well-deserving the reissue treatment Earache has already given Forest of Equilibrium and 1995?s follow-up, The Carnival Bizarre.

In a way, The Ethereal Mirror delivers the best and worst of the reissue process. Like Forest of Equilibrium, there?s a DVD included with a 40-minute interview about the album (actually, I think it was filmed the same day at the Forest of Equilibrium one — if not that, definitely the same bar), and even includes 1994?s Statik Majik EP, which is nearly 35 minutes of extra music. Would have been over 40, but ?Midnight Mountain,? originally the opener, is nowhere to be found.

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Iron Monkey Still Causing Problems

Posted in Reviews on August 10th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

The box.Fuckin? Iron Monkey. From their mid-?90s inception to their late-?90s end, they were always a litmus band, testing the scientific proposition, ?How much abuse can the human ear take?? Plenty of people out there say they like Eyehategod. A few of them might even mean it. But if you?re walking around with an Iron Monkey backpatch, that?s a different level entirely. You?d best be on board the whole way, lest the gods of sludgy justice deliver a boot-stomp ass-whooping from on high. Because that?s how they roll.

In their wisdom and might, Earache Records has seen fit to compile and reissue the two full-length documents of the UK outfit?s audio cruelty, taking the individual 1997 self-titled and 1998?s Our Problem and boxing them together with their final We?ve Learned Nothing EP (put out on its own and as a split with Japan?s Church of Misery by Man?s Ruin in 1999) and the cover ?Cornucopia? taken from Earache?s 1997 Black Sabbath tribute, Masters of Misery — which, if you don?t own, you should. Even over a decade later, the two-plus Iron Monkey albums are vicious and unfriendly, unbridled in their disgust and contempt for, well, whatya got?

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Late Night Review: Cult of Luna, Eternal Kingdom Limited Edition CD/DVD

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

This is the limited edition cover. It rules.Start 1:10AM: There are almost no practical reasons for anyone to get involved in the trade inaccurately called “music journalism” despite having very little to do with either. The money (when you get any) sucks, and contrary to popular belief, finding out the vast majority of your rock heroes are morons, resentful assholes or both isn’t glamorous or enticing. It’s disappointing. The music industry, such as it is, doesn’t give a shit about you. People use you for what they can and are done with you, and you, if you’re good at it, are done with them too. There are good people and you make some friends, but mostly you exist in a cordial symbiosis. I need you and you need me. Until they don’t or you don’t, whichever comes first.

I’ve been thinking a lot about career lately. I’ve had time. The only reason I can come up with for doing this — aside from the “Aw man, do it for the love” line which is bullshit no matter what anyone tells you — is free goo. CDs and concert tickets. I’m 27 years old with a lifestyle and attitude unhealthy for me on almost every level and the realization I’ve been forced to come to is my entire professional life has been geared toward getting me free CDs and concert tickets. My mother used to tell me I had the potential to be anything I wanted, to do anything I wanted. Clearly she was lying.

The point here isn’t to moan, only to point out facts. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be doing it (likewise, if I didn’t love being miserable, I wouldn’t be), but in the words of someone wiser than myself, it is what it is. Usually it’s Can you find all eight???complacence. At least I’m not in the city every fucking day.

But on the topic of free CDs. Most of the “metal majors” don’t send out physical promos anymore. It’s all mp3s and album streams. So even that purpose is gone. Century Media used to ship their albums in cardboard sleeves, ditto for Nuclear Blast. Both have stopped, though the occasional care package from the latter is most welcome. Metal Blade sent liner notes, tray cards and CDs without cases, but that stopped. I don’t know what Roadrunner does these days. Relapse does streamers and sleeves, though they’re not always complete. If it’s a digipak, you get the disc and the liner notes. That’s how it was with the Voivod and Dysrhythmia records, anyway. I used to ask for the real deal retail versions from everyone when I didn’t get them automatically, as though I was entitled. Not anymore. Earache, on the other hand, just sent me a full copy — double disc jewel case and cardboard outer cover — of the limited CD/DVD reissue of Cult of Luna‘s last album, 2008’s Eternal Kingdom.

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Cathedral Go Back into the Forest

Posted in Reviews on June 24th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

I made sure to get the one with the sticker. Definitely the reissue. See how thorough I am? I can't believe nobody reads this site.Usually when an allegedly limited edition reissue comes out and it’s packing a bonus DVD, it’s a completely skip worthy live set shot on one or two cameras with crappy sound that’s boring as hell. That, or like in the case of Earache‘s tackling last year of Cathedral‘s 1995 classic, The Carnival Bizarre, it’s all previously released. Review-wise, the second disc obliges a mention and little else. For their remaster of the seminal UK doomers’ 1991 I don't even know if this is the right lineup, but there's five of them, so I'm rolling with it.debut, Forest of Equilibrium, however, the label has included a new 40-minute interview with the band about their career and making this album. Previously unreleased and relevant.

Granted, it’s shot mostly on one camera — other footage is spliced in — and it requires serious attention paid to dig words out of those Coventry accents, but it was enough for me to at least check it out before doing the review, hoping I’d learn something. I learned the “Ebony Tears” video (also included) kicks ass.

The audio portion of the release includes 1992’s Soul Sacrifice EP as another bonus and is a landmark in doom. Vocalist Lee Dorrian (blah blah Napalm Death, blah blah Rise Above Records), guitarists Gaz Jennings and Adam Lehan, bassist Mark Griffiths and drummer Mike Smail created a seven-track classic that’s morose by any standard you want to apply — even in comparing it to what was happening doom-wise in the UK at the time with My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema. Put it next to Cathedral‘s last release, 2005’s The Garden of Unearthly Delights, and it almost sounds like a completely different band (Lehan, Griffiths and Smail being long gone might also have something to do with that).

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