This week we’ve got plenty of local goings on and it’s fit that Napalm Flesh spotlights Salt Lake City’s Stalemate Flesh for our first local artist spotlight in a while. If you’re a local artist reading this and you would like to be featured in a local artist spotlight, hit Napalm Flesh up on our Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on tap are reviews from a re-issue of a re-issue from Cirith Ungol, as well as reviews of the new Desecravity and Psycroptic and your weekly event rundown.
On Friday, Feb. 3, local artists A Balance of Power, Eyes of Damnation, Orion’s Wrath, Dead Vessel and Foreseen Exile play at Liquid Joe’s. Tunes get underway around 8 p.m. You can hit up the bands themselves for a free ticket or pay a whole $5 to get in the door tomorrow night.
On Saturday, Feb. 4, Seventking play at Gino’s, 3445 South State. Tunes at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 5, Scale the Summit plays at Kilby Court with Elitist as a great alternative to watching the Super Bowl. Tickets are $10.
Tuesday, Victory Records’ Dr. Acula (whom I swear got their name from the TV show Scrubs) play Kilby with touring support from The Devestated. Tickets are $10.
Stalemate Flesh Interview
SLUG: How would you best describe the sound of your band to someone who has never heard it before?
Stalemate Flesh: We would classify it as extreme metal, really. It combines elements of thrash, death, and black metal with elements of punk, and some classic riffing. With influences ranging from groups like Strapping Young Lad, Six Feet Under, Slayer, Dead Kennedys, etc. We try to cover the gamut of all the elements from these bands to make a "metal potpourri." Lyrically we center around the things that are affecting everyone on all facets of life: religion and politics. Mostly, they are angry, hate-filled diatribes about the problems we view in the world.
SLUG: Do you have any recorded material available to buy or listen to? If so, where can people pick it up/hear it? Do you have any recording plans?
Stalemate Flesh: We have already finished our first album, titled "Freedom 2020". At the time of this interview, it is being manufactured and should be complete in about 3-4 weeks. If we were to have an official release date, I would speculate Feb 20th. If you want to reserve a copy, e-mail me at email@example.com. We will also try to get it released at the Heavy Metal Shop and other local record stores. We do have all of our music available online to stream at www.soundcloud.com/stalemateflesh. The thing that's great about having the physical copy is the artwork. You can view the cover on my Facebook page (search for Christus Black and you'll find me, our band page specifically on Facebook is being built at this time). It's zombie children in school doing what I call the "Hitler wave" while pledging allegiance to the US flag in which the stars have been replaced by the symbol of fascism. Although we loathe Hitler, bigotry, racism, etc. we have a feeling that with the way the politicians in the country, along with the Supreme Court, have neutered what this country was founded upon, we see that the future of freedom, and this country, is going to be nothing more than a long-ago thought while our children will be raised in a black and white world of key fears and phrases (like socialism, fascism) that will do nothing but remove our liberties for the price of safety and convenience. That and the nuclear blast behind it is really the only way things will be taken back to the lowest denominator.
SLUG: What is the mental mindset of your band? Basically, what is your band trying to convey to listeners?
Stalemate Flesh: We are pissed. We think the world, and specifically our country, has been razed, politically anyway, to where people are nothing more than a liability to the gears of greed and "progress." The Supreme Court ruled that companies are people, thereby overturning the laws and rules of this country that had been in place for decades, which prevented the lobbying system from going crazy and made sure dollar bills will ensure a specific vote on an issue as opposed to constituents and their voices. Although I think it was a terrible idea initially, I do think it's at least a more honest approach to how this country works. I mean, lobbyists have been ensuring special interests groups get their way for years in lawmaking. At least now they don't have to hide behind fundraisers and things like that. Their monetary motivations are at the fore-front for all to see. I'm just waiting now for 2013 to roll around and see how the super-pacs have directly affected the lawmaking process when congress goes into session.
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?
Stalemate Flesh: I like the metal scene in Utah. I think there are some very creative bands and some bands that are making a statement. My two favorites are probably IX Zealot and SubRosa. I think they both have a lot of emotion in their music and the talent/musicianship is pretty top notch. Although we're just starting out, we plan on being the number one spoken about band in the metal music scene as soon as possible. The only change I think is necessary is that more people in bands go support local music. It's like you hear people say, "I'm in a band, come see us." But they don't make the time themselves to go out and watch local shows themselves. I think the community should come together more and support each other more. Not just in words, but in actions.
SLUG: What do you think makes your band unique not just to locals, but the metal scene entirely?
Stalemate Flesh: It's not necessarily that we're unique, we're just more extreme. We do have a stage show which involves a lot of blood, my death, jenkem eating and other surprises. It's not like we're trying to reinvent the wheel, we're just trying to make it more extreme and more entertaining. Musically we have the chops. Most "shock-rock" bands have been more about the show and not necessarily the musicianship. With us we see both as being integral and necessary to being successful. Not only that, but outside of Slipknot, there really aren't any bands out there with a real stage show that plays music at a really high level, and I think that helps separate us as well.
SLUG: If there is anything else you’d like to add, consider this question a free-for-all, soapbox or whatever else you’d like to say.
Stalemate Flesh: Yeah. We're debuting at Burt's Tiki Lounge on Monday, March 5th at 8:30. We encourage anyone and everyone to come out who want to see some serious metal with a seriously violent and entertaining stage show. Our mission, our goal as a band, is to be the ones who drive a stake in the heart of the terrible music that is thought to be so heavy and edgy. Nickelback, Black Veil Brides....they have nothing to offer anyone who likes music with any kind of thought behind it. We find it impossible to live in a world where Lady Gaga is the most controversial artist out there. Metal needs a villain, metal needs to reclaim its right as the form of music that upsets the establishment, that provokes thought, and that kicks the world square in the ass. This is our mission, our goal, and we hope all of you will join us.
Exclusive CD Reviews
Servants of Chaos
Cirith Ungol = Deep Purple + Witchfinder General + Rush + Dianno-era Maiden + Hawkwind - all the awesome space rock druggery
Metal nerds likely recognize the name Cirith Ungol from their astringent appearance on the seminal Metal Massacre compilation in 1982. Nerdier nerds likely know them for their swords and sorcery schtick and their Tolkien-ese moniker (apparently it means "Spider Pass" or "infinite virginity" in some Elvish language). Regardless, Cirith Ungol's began their spotty career in the early seventies, tinkering with hard rock before catching a tip on the nascent New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene in the early 1980s. Fusing Tim Baker's bird squawk vocals, a rudimentary rocka-roll edge and a smattering of synth wash, the group set out to establish themselves as key players in the burgeoning American metal re-awakening. So it's in this spirit of obsessive heavy metal nerdery that Servants of Chaos, thirty tracks of material spanning the group's career, must be taken. For starters, Cirith really toes the "hard rock" edge more than the "metal" one, so expect plenty of bluesy caterwauling, especially in early tracks. "I'm Alive" gushes in a stew of its own bravado, hyper-masculine lyrics and a speed freak solo, while "Frost and Fire" and "Eyes" mark themselves definitive Ungol, perfectly straddling squashy-synths and rollicking riffs. "Obsidian" scraps, high on proto-metal mania, "Obsidian" elegantly fuses arcane digital manipulation with ragged analog soul and "Master of the Pit" is a proto-mosher, heavy and plodding, a spiritual predecessor to the mighty Manowar. So Servants of Chaos is certainly not without its gems. The problem here is with saturation and such volume for digestion, it's really hard to enjoy it. The inclusion of various instrumentals ("Darkness Weaves" begs the audial question "why in the Hell did we record this?"), sluggish demos and oddball B-sides ("Secret Agent Man"? Hmmm) dilute the potency and squeeze all the focus out of Servants, rendering large portions of it a flaccid garage jam-session—I know it's a comp, but still. Even so, its primitive charm prevails, a raucous testament to the band's enthusiasm, chops and ability (bravery) to step into occasionally goofball prog territory while keeping a ham-fisted grip on a traditional hard rock blueprint. With all the fluff and chaff, Servants of Chaos is not an essential listen all the way through, but it's a damn good historical document with real bangers. Casual fans need not apply, but nerds and purists are heartily welcome. -Dylan Chadwick
Desecravity = Origin + Krisiun + Nile
Do you look for groundbreaking, game-changing music in your death metal? If you do, you better stop. Most of the bands trying to do anything groundbreaking these days sound like a sideshow with a wet spot for prog metal or jazz or whatever other non-metallic style they’re trying to toss in with their wank-fest of an album. Yes, Veil of Maya, Born of Osiris, The Faceless and the like, I’m talking to you. What’s my point in all this? Check out this debut from Tokyo Japan’s Desecravity—it’s a great, pure, thoughtful effort towards a cohesive brutal/tech death metal approach. At its core Implicit Obedience is a brutal death metal album more fitting in the modern approach - Origin comes to mind many times while spinning this record but so do many other bands - Hour of Penance, Suffocation, Nile, so on and so forth. Desecravity put forth a good mix of groove with pure speed in mind. There’s also a plethora of tempo changes and “techie” math type guitar leads and soloing, which this record would actually be just fine without—they’re not bad efforts, just feel out of place and like Desecravity are trying to hard to “stand out.” In the end you’re going to remember the core brutal death metal of this album, not the off kilt, mathy leads and time stops and all that other technical mumbo jumbo. “Demonize the Old Enemy,” is a killer of a cut and the bands best success with the tech styles. The debut here shows some promise, on a good day it’s a nice short burst of great guitar playing and a good n’ produced brutal death record - on a bad day it’s annoying and a tad redundant. Overall Desecravity are worth a look for the modern death metal types. - Bryer Wharton
The Inherited Repression
Psycroptic = Necrophagist + The Faceless + Spawn of Possession
Coming from the badass land of Tasmania (seriously, that’s so fucking metal), the newest effort from Psycroptic is a truly infernal ride of grinding, technical death metal with just the right smattering of melody. This album is incredibly complex and unique. As a listener, you are practically helpless against its drawing power, and this is thanks to the serious dedication of the musicians in their writing process; every last note and beat is in its place. Their sound is technically superior to a huge chunk of their genre, given how many more creative stretches they fit so seamlessly into their songs, every one of which feels like dark and sickness, as if you were sleeping under a blanket you borrowed from the Middle Ages. Vocalist Jason Peppiatt has a confident strength in his gravely monotone, a vocal choice that normally disinterests me, but that fits here like tailored suit. Drummer Dave Haley has some serious speed, as he demonstrates in places like the bridge of “Carries of the Plague”. “Becoming The Cult” shows how the band isn’t afraid to travel to groovier places. The echoing vocals in “The Sleepers Have Awoken” are one of many unique theatrical-ish touches that contribute to an overall powerful atmosphere on the album. After being assaulted by the two first tracks, “Euphorinasia” is like a breather on the battlefield with its softly building acoustic guitar intro and thrashy drum accents. I’m calling it now: this is bound to be one of the top metal albums of –Megan Kennedy