Cthulhu fhtagn, beautiful star-spawns! Dead But Dreaming is glad to have you on this rainy spring day as we have a spot of tea (and brutality) with local spotlight artists Arsenic Addiction! Success is hot on the heels of this funeral metal band, and I find out from their lovely lead banshee, Lady Arsenic, how the band is coming up in the world and what message they’re out to bring the masses. As always I’ve got some web-exclusive reviews for you, including some additions by my fellow SLUG writers Bryer Wharton and Ricky Vigil. You don’t want to miss it!
This week in the Valley:
Rocky Mountain Hardcore presents Hemlock, A Balance of Power, featured band Arsenic Addiction and Incidious at the South Shore Sports Bar and Grill tonight, May 11th. The Show starts at 8 PM. $8 gets you in, but you must 21+.
Also tonight, Club Vegas will be hosting Holy Grail, Cauldron and Visigoth. The show starts at 7:30 and $10 tickets are available through the bands or at the door. This show is also 21+.
Progressive-metal band Drifen returns this week to Bar Deluxe this Thursday, May 12th! Show starts at 9pm, and it’s going to be epic.
May 13th brings a Metal Showcase to The Avalon. This is an all-ages event, only $10 presale tickets, and it starts at 6:30! Featured bands include Arsenic Addiction, Unthinkable Thoughts, Freedom Before Dying, Scarlet Risk and Ember Eyes.
Saturday May 14th, Speitre, ToxicDose and Muckracker will be playing at Burt’s Tiki Lounge. Tickets are only $5 and the show stars at 9pm.
And this coming Sabbath, May 15th, Polkadot Cadaver (read on for a review of their new album) is bringing their “All Our Friends Are Dead” tour to Club Vegas! Local band Visions of Decay (and others TBD) will be opening this show. The band has presale tix at $8 a pop, show stars at 8 PM.
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT with ARSENIC ADDICTION
SLUG: How would you best describe the sound of your band to someone who has never heard it before?
Lady Arsenic: Victorian Funeral Metal, bringing an air of elegance to the genre, and in a constant state of mourning. Our music is dedicated to the dead from the living. Metal tends to dwell on the darker side of things, as it is well known for evil, aggression and death. We embrace this as much as any other metal band does, but we try to bring a more refined and sorrowful/eerie sound to the genre, since death is as frightening as it is beautiful.
SLUG: Do you have any recorded material available to buy/purchase/listen to? If so where can people pick it up/hear it? Do you have any recording plans?
Lady Arsenic: We do! We currently have our EP “Requiem of the Fallen” and our first full length “An Undertaker’s Lament” for sale at Salt Lake City’s own Heavy Metal Shop. Both albums are also available for download via iTunes or via PayPal on www.arsenicaddiction.com, and of course at every Arsenic Addiction tea time (show).
If you happen to be counting your pennies, you can listen to AA music free on any of the networking sites below:
You can also catch/request us Sunday nights on KAOS w/ Darby 94.9FM or Wednesday nights 90.9 FM KRCL’s MAXIMUM DISTORTION.
We are currently postponing recording a new album and wish to tour “An Undertaker’s Lament” as it is still a fairly young album.
SLUG: What is the mental mindset of your band? Basically, what is your band trying to convey to listeners?
Lady Arsenic: The mental mindset of the band is in a constant state of mourning, but finding the beautiful within the sadness or anger. We only write about our personal experiences, trials, and tribulations. We are trying to convey that the world even through the darkness can still hold light, and death ultimately leads to life. Sounds silly or strange for a metal band to say such a thing, as metal is not known for its uplifting message, nor is our message entirely positive, but it’s letting whoever wants to hear the message know they are not alone, and it is not strange to think the way they do, nor is it wrong.
SLUG: How do you feel about being part of the metal scene of Utah? If there’s anything you’d like to see change in the local “scene” what would it be?
Lady Arsenic: It’s a bittersweet feeling all around. Utah’s metal scene is one of the most supportive we’ve seen as well as the most unsupportive. Let’s say it’s selective in who and what it chooses to support. We feel there are more politics in the scene than needs be, and we’ve lost sight of what’s really important: the music. Even in the underground if you’re not what’s “in” or putting your support behind who or what’s “in”, there is little if no support to be found for you, on a positive note, those who genuinely support the scene go and above and beyond in their efforts. There are numerous bands, venues, and promoters alike who want nothing but to keep the music/metal alive. These people are why the scene still exists at all, and why we will keep pushing forward and doing our best to help.
SLUG: What do you think makes your band unique not just to locals, but the metal scene entirely?
Lady Arsenic: We feel it's sort of cliché to say that we are completely original. We aren't doing anything new but we are doing things that people aren't doing a lot of anymore. Few and far between are the bands with a full stage production, but to be fair these things cost money and even more of your time on top of the time spent on the music. Our stage show is small, but we do what we can afford now, and hope it will grow and be more elaborate as we grow. We want to give people something to visually connect to, to "see" the music.
Our music itself is also as sad and pretty as it is angry and aggressive. This we’ve come to find intrigues or confuses those who hear it. This is because lately in the world of metal you are either melodic or you are brutal and rarely do the two collide. We feel because we have sort of a “beauty and the beast” approach to metal this separates us from the rest of the genre. We’re not saying this approach to the genre hasn’t already been done, but is something you hardly see anymore.
SLUG: If there is anything else you’d like to add? Xonsider this question a free-for-all, soapbox or whatever else you’d like to say.
Lady Arsenic: We would just like to add a thank you to those of you who have supported and are supporting not only Arsenic Addiction, but music in general. Our dreams cannot come true without you, and we are grateful for all the opportunities we’ve been given as a band and individual musicians. Thank you, thank you. Please continue to support music, buy CD’s, attend shows, buy merchandise, or even just spread the word. Your support is invaluable and the music, scene, and musicians themselves are kept alive and breathing because of its fans. We love to hear from you, and we don’t feel we hear from you enough. Send us a message, an e-mail, a comment, a tweet, a text message, or whatever your chosen form of communication, but keep in touch regardless. We like to keep in touch with each of you, because we owe everything to you!
Arsonists Get All The Girls
Century Media Records
Arsonists Get All The Girls = The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza + Horse The Band
In the mood for some unique cohesive chaos? Motherland will satisfy the craving. California experimental deathcore act Arsonists Get All The Girls have hit the mark on their newest release, stitching together synth and brutality in a structured yet surprising record that grows on you with each listen. “Gooseknuckle” has some insanely tight drumming over modest, dancing synth, and ends with an upbeat multilayered chanting that gets your blood going. The riff about a third through “Dr. Teeth” is a memorable beaut, the fast strumming drawing parallels with atmospheric bands. Instrumental interludes “West Cliffs” and “It Was A Memoir” provide thoughtful breathers for the listener, and showcase the band’s extensive range in the genre. “Will Someone Please Turn Down The Ocean?” is thick and sludgy, one of the more traditional-sounding tracks, excepting the jazz-smooth breakdowns that sneak in like a delightful surprise between blast beats. And it may sound strange, but this band has an extraordinary talent for closing songs out with unforgettable power. Motherland will keep you guessing about what’s coming next, but whatever it is, it won’t disappoint. – Megan Kennedy
Under Saturn Retrograde
Forgotten Tomb = Katatonia + Amorphis + Agalloch
Italy’s depressive black/doom quartet Forgotten Tomb’s fifth full-length is probably their most accessible to fans across all genres. Its accessibility is not attributed to catering to easily comprehensible songwriting or music that doesn’t provoke thought - it just means they’re breaking out of their niche. Under Saturn Retrograde really reminds me of a black metal version of Sweden’s Katatonia’s mid-career. The band known for more of a depressive black metal side, hits more on the doom edge with their new offering with hints of gothic metal. The emotions are mixed, from the pissed off “Shutter” to the flat-out rocking of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” to the gothic crooning of “Joyless.” The latter half of the album begins with “Under Saturn Retrograde Part II,” hitting in melodic and depressive tones. There are plenty of different musical formats to drench yourself in with Under Saturn Retrograde—just try not to drown in it. –Bryer Wharton
The Gates of Slumber
The Gates of Slumber = Saint Vitus + Grand Magus + Black Sabbath
Masterful doom trio The Gates of Slumber continue to solidify theire position as definite doom-bringers. The formula for The Wretch and past albums is relatively the same: big,—and I mean big—riffs, bellowing bass and a vocal performance that just makes you want to shake your fist in the air to revel in the epic fortitude of it all. The Wretch’s songwriting does play out more interestingly than the band’s 2009 album Hymns of Blood and Thunder, going from grooving mid-tempo songs to faster paced songs to a bunch of slow beasts. “Castle of the Devil” is a fine stewing-and-slow tune, playing out like molten steel disintegrating brain cells. “To the Rack with Them” offers the greatest riffing of the record all wrapped up in a velvety-tinged sandpaper bass blanket. TGOS deliver mood music, but you need to be in a doom or chill n’ groove minded state to get full satisfaction. Seekers of anything fast won’t find it, but that’s the full appeal of The Gates of Slumber. –Bryer Wharton
Jesuit = Converge + Nails + Kiss It Goodbye
Virginia’s Jesuit have become something of a mythic band since their demise over a decade ago. Former members Nate Newton and Brian Benoit have since joined Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan, respectively, and the relative scarcity of Jesuit’s recorded material further added to their legend. Thanks to Magic Bullet Records, the entirety of Jesuit’s discography is now available on CD and an amazingly pacakged LP+7” set. Straying away from the increasingly PC vegan/pacifist/boring hardcore scene of the late ‘90s, Jesuit played chaotic hardcore with a heavy sludge influence and the kind of swagger Newton later displayed in his hard-rocking side project Doomriders. The liner notes feature various stories of how big of an asshole Newton was (on purpose) and paints a picture of just how invigorating Jesuit was during their existence. Highlights of the release include “Canonize” from the band’s demo, the super heavy, super noisy, super sludgy “Cop Glasses” and the band’s killer take on Black Sabbath’s “Hole in the Sky.” The cover art by Florian Bertmer and the aformentioned liner notes make this an incredbile package and a definite necessity in the collections of not only Converge and Dillinger fans, but all fans of the style. –Ricky Vigil
Polkadot Cadaver = Dog Fashion Disco + Mr. Bungle + System of a Down
The singer and guitarist of the now defunct Dog Fashion Disco tread on with some new blood as Polkadot Cadaver. Unfortunately, this is as about as interesting as watching a brick wall. The band’s attempts to be quirky or offensive are mild upon bland, and the musical nuances of keyboards, jazzy/bouncy bass lines and different vocal approaches just feel like mimicry of just about everything Mike Patton has done. The songs are cookie cutter with heavy riffs tossed in a la nu-metal. If you’re a DFD fan this should appease, but the only thing that kept me going on Sex Offender was the skip track button. Don’t get me wrong—I did listen too the entire album. Thankfully I don’t have to hear one chord of it again. –Bryer Wharton
Zombi = Giorgio Moroder + Nue + Harmonia
“Why a review of electronic act Zombi in the metal blog?” you may ask. I say why the hell not. Zombi first hit the seen in early 2000, paying homage to Italian horror soundtracks and composers such as the Goblins, who scored plenty of Argento and Fulci films which are now considered classics. Escape Velocity is very much in the realm of metal, particularly the prog style. Synths are a big feature of what Zombi offers, but there’s also driving bass and drumming from an actual person. The Pittsburgh based duo explores spaced out themes on Escape Velocity and its five cuts, each a beautifully layered transcendence upon one another—the title track is almost danceable and nicely beat driven. “Shrunken Heads” sounds psychedelic and is filled with mid 70s synth-pop fun and some pleasing dark undertones. I missed out on Zombi’s last full-length Spirit Animal and this has me definitely reaching back because Cosmos and Surface to Air were staunch feats, laughing at conventional musical boundaries. Considering the fact that Zombi’s has toured with straight forward heavy and extreme acts to rock acts, forget genre tagging these guys and just enjoy their rich and lavish music. –Bryer Wharton