This week’s blog features an interview with Corporate Death of Macabre, who released their new album Grimm Scary Tales last month. Get your old school serial killer, mass murder or just plain weirdo fetish on and check out the bands tales of notorious characters done in only the way Macabre can. Also check out the run down of upcoming shows and CD reviews of new albums from Lifelover and W.A.I.L.
Tonight the Genitorturers’ “Sexx U 2 Death” North American tour rolls into Club Vegas with opener Hanzel und Gretyl and locals Arsenic Addiction. Tickets are $20, tunes get underway around 8 p.m.
Go get your mosh-aerobics workout tonight at the Complex with deathcore galore. Whitechapel headlines with The Acacia Strain, Veil of Maya, Chelsea Grin and I Declare War. $16 gets you into the all-ages show and music gets underway around 6:30 p.m.
On Friday night, locals A Balance of Power, Live in Prequil, Massacre at the Wake, Bully the Kid and Of What May Come play Club Vegas. $5 cover, music underway at 8 p.m.
Get your sludge shoes on Saturday night, March 5, because there’s going to be a hell of a lot of it with Weedeater hitting Salt Lake in support of their newest gritty, groovy, whiskey-laden offering Jason... The Dragon. National touring support comes from Zoroaster with locals Oldtimer and Muckraker kicking it off at Burt’s Tiki Lounge. $10 gets you in, music to make your eardrums bleed begins around 8:30
Sunday March 6, Salt Lake Recording Services hosts Brooklyn based black metal crew Mutilation Rites with locals Doomed to Extinction, Incendiant and Old Timer. $5 gets you in, tunes get underway around 6:30 p.m.
Because it’s so badass, I’m blogging about it well in advance so you can put your most brutal mark on your calendar. Sunday March 13, Raunch Records hosts Singapore grinders Wormrot, whose album Abuse I picked as the best grindcore record of last year. Local madness comes from Doomed to Extinction and IX Zealot. $5 donations helps get more killer bands to town and to play at Raunch. Music gets underway at 6 p.m.
SLUG: So it’s been 25 years and Macabre still seems to be lingering in the metal underground, even though some credit has been given to the band with influencing death metal and such. Is the word “underrated” brought up much to Macabre or is it something you think or even care about?
Corporate Death: I don't think too much about things like that, although I’ve heard fans say it or heard it in interviews. We just do our own thing, and if people don't like it that doesn't bother me. Fortunately enough people do like it enough to motivate me to keep on doing it. If nobody liked it I don't think I would be to inspired to keep doing it.
SLUG: After being a band for 25-years with the same line-up, was there ever a point in where you thought it was time to hang up your gruesome hats or times where any of the three of you really didn’t get along? Corporate Death: Sure, we’ve have had plenty of fights and some were pretty serious. We've all had our times when we said, “That's it, I quit.” But when the whiskey wears off and we come to our senses, we shake hands and apologize but it's still amazing that we've been together all these years.
SLUG: I remember in 2000 when I first heard your Dahmer album—Initially it was one of those “wtf” moments, but then it just turned into a “this is damned awesome” feeling and had me going back and picking up every piece of previous material I could get my hands on. In any regard, I really consider Dahmer a sort of culmination of your early flat-out grindcore or thrash days into the weird, quirky, more humorous and just flat out oddball land that Macabre exists in now. What brought about the musical change then and kept the band embracing it throughout the years?
Corporate Death: As people get older a lot of times their musical taste will change, and in my case they expanded. On the Dahmer album I started to go for a more diverse musical and vocal sound, which evolved into the sound on Grim Scary Tales. I like variety and get bored doing the same vocal and musical style all the time. I always liked to create different vocal styles and musical styles, including classical guitar and jazz-fusion. At karaoke bars I'm a microphone hog—I can do over 100 songs, a lot of old stuff like Beatles, Elvis and Johnny Cash. Singing and playing different styles is fun for me, and not everyone will like it but a lot of people do. You can't please everyone, but I'm happy doing what I do.
SLUG: Speaking of Dahmer, out of all the infamous serial killers, why is he the only guy you decided to do an entire album out of?
Corporate Death: Well he is the first, but probably not the last. It has to be a pretty sick individual to warrant me writing a whole album about them. Dahmer was very infamous at the time everyone knew about him, so I figured I'd do a musical on him. But years before, I started writing a musical about Albert Fish called FISH TALES and that's where the Dahmer idea came from. I will do a part 2 to GRIM SCARY TALES, which will be about more recent killers. Then comes FISH TALES !!!
SLUG: How would you describe what Macabre is to a metal fan that hasn’t heard the band before?
Corporate Death: In the past we described our music as Murder Metal, but I don't want to be limited by that title. These days I would call it Murder Music. We can go any direction we want (except for rap) as long as I write about killers, but we will always have a lot of fast crazy stuff for metal heads.
SLUG: Your songwriting has always intrigued me because the songs are so centered around the stories of these killers and mass murderers. I’ve always wondered what came first: lyrics and song themes or the music. Macabre have never followed a direct verse-chorus-melody structured path (which sets Macabre apart from all the other fools). Why is that?
Corporate Death: Why thank you. After Murder Metal, I took a break from reading and writing about killers to clear my head and keep my sanity. I came back to writing with a fresh perspective and did a lot of research. I usually do the lyrics first, but I have no rules when it comes to writing. I sometimes come up with a melody in my head when I'm doing lyrics, hum it in a little recorder and figure it out later on guitar. Other times I write music and fit my lyrics to it later, but most of the time it's lyrics first.
SLUG: There have been a few death metal bands, probably the most notorious being Cannibal Corpse, that have gotten their music banned in other countries because of cover art or lyrical content. Has Macabre ever been banned anywhere?
Corporate Death: One show on the 1994 Pungent Stench/Macabre/Brutal Truth tour, they only let Brutal Truth play. I don't remember the country, but they said our lyrics weren't politically correct. So much for freedom of speech.
SLUG: Has the band ever been accused of glorifying the infamous killers that you vocalize about?
Corporate Death: Yes, that's happened a few times but this is history like it or not. I'm just bringing back an old artform done by traveling minstrels hundred of years ago doing poetry and music about killers, we just do it in modern times.
SLUG: Your new album Grim Scary Tales musically remains a bit all over the place in a good way, but noticeably in the more grinding realms, which I fully appreciate. What inspired the musical output of the new record?
Corporate Death: Everything I've listened to since I was a kid. I'm like a sponge with music—I try to emulate what I like, and as I said before, variety is my passion. And ye.s I will try to get more versatile on our future albums but still very Macabre.
SLUG: The lyrical content has songs about the notoriously infamous Dracula, Lizzie Borden and Countess Bathory, but also much more obscure characters—one of the more disturbing ones is Gilles De Rais, whom I had never heard of before. What made you chose the pleasant individuals you did for Grim Scary Tales?
Corporate Death: Well I studied the history of killers from the earliest recorded ones to modern times—that's where part two will take us. These were just the ones that stood out in my mind.
Blog exclusive CD reviews:
Lifelover = Hypothermia + Alcest + Bethlehem
The crazed, manic, beautiful, painfully depressed and pain inducing band that is Sweden’s Lifelover have returned after three years to deliver their next full-length, Sjukdom. This is a depraved look at some beautiful and transfixing melodies, mutating them into brain busting psychedelic trips, continuously toying and mocking your emotional state from bliss to complete peril. Sjukdom has a depraved ability to abrasively rip your face off and then lull you with sweet and pleasant melodies that will have you envisioning sunshine and flowers. Then, the madness, like a school bully, stomps in out of nowhere, pulverizing the pretty flowers into oblivion. Sjukdom is a great but much more heavy-handed (see the song “Karma”) follow-up to the acclaimed Konkurs, which offered more of a dark and atmospheric rock feel. One could complain that the new offering is a bit disjointed as far as song flow goes, but forget that notion—it adds to the already maddening, seizure-inducing or outright headbanging that the album delivers. No question, Sjukdom is one of the best of the year. –Bryer Wharton
Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions
W.A.I.L. = Akercocke + Hooded Menace + Celtic Frost + Funeral Mist
This self-titled album from Finland’s W.A.I.L., or Wisdom through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy, is what I like to call an inciter: it incites a wide array of emotional responses in listeners, from flat out anger to sadness to utter madness. The album is portioned into five parts, each one a monstrous achievement that has not only earned gratuitous repeat listens but will endure many more. There are some massively crushing riffs that are ready to instantaneously break your neck because of spontaneous head banging. W.A.I.L. encompass death, doom black and the flat out obscure in a mix of guitar picking and strumming, psychotic drumming and even more deranged vocals ranging in to otherworldly chanting to harrowing growls and lunatic shrieks. If not stunned by the brutality of the song offerings, you’ll be stunned by strange melodies or harrowing doom and dirge passages, monotony never sets in and the album is really over before you want it to be. There’s a concept behind it all, but I’m not going to splay it out—it’s like giving away the ending of a good book or movie, you just don’t do it. –Bryer Wharton