Party. San Open Air 2013 Review

Despite clashing with Brutal Assault and Bloodstock, Party.San is far from lacking when it comes to a devastating line up and the German airfield is crammed with punters in agreement.

The likes of Bombs of Hades kick off the proceedings with their crusty death metal from Sweden to an acceptable sized crowd and whilst Farsot’s sound is less ferocious, their harrowing post-black metal fills the stage. As the evening continues, the sunset creates the perfect setting for some French aural beauty a-la Alcest.  Their live show is intimate and hypnotising and a far cry from what’s next.

The crowd is probably at its most eager now as black thrashers Destroyer 666 take to the stage. Thankfully the wind settles and every rapid riff can be heard from favourites like ‘Raped’ and the epic ‘I Am The War God’. A tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman is raised in the form of Slayer’s ‘Black Magic’ along with several horns. The definition of black metal is confirmed as the moon glows and Carpathian Forest explode into the limelight. For many, this is the headline set of the day and Nattefrost and co prove they would have deserved it.

Friday sees an earlier start and a grind coupling of Gutalax and Magrudergrind seems like an obvious alarm clock. Others have saved energy for an onslaught from Coffins and it’s a good job they did, as they’re absolutely crushing live, doing each of their albums considerable justice. Vocalist Ryo communicates with sheer brutal vocals and whiskey swigging that complement their doom-riddled death metal.

Here to dampen the mood in the best possible way is Shining. The Swedes lower the tone from the off with their DSBM proving an ultimate contrast from the energy of earlier. The music is faultless and at times you wish the insanity of Kvarfoth the clown will stop so that the sounds created can be truly embraced.

The second stage sees the tent rammed in anticipation for a German occult ritual from Alchemyst, who leak mystery and atmosphere from the start of the set. Their black/death metal is drenched in reverb and the smoke and red lighting creates an incredibly dark aura with several tracks from ‘Nekromanteion’.

Tonight’s headliners Hypocrisy need no introduction. The Swe-death legends’ recent ‘End Of Disclosure’ album was weak, a couple of tracks slot in at the start without losing any oomph and older, tracks such as ‘Left To Rot’ bring out a balance of brutality.

With the last night finishing with three huge bands we need, Hooded Menace to continue the doom death presence of the weekend, with a sound thick enough to sink into and experience a death as slow as their songs.

After 25 years on the scene, Teutonic tormentors Desaster proved they still had it on record with last year’s ‘The Art of Destruction’and fortunately, they’ve still got it live, with a blackened thrash onslaught as bestial as their predecessors would predict.

After an unexpected silence, it is finally announced that Impaled Nazarene have had some car problems and vocalist Slutti666 runs onto the stage, band in toe. Admittedly, the sound is a little off to start but considering the consequences it’s soon forgotten with an onslaught of blackened thrash.

We try to ignore the fact Korpiklaani are on later than thrash titans Destruction but it’s hard when you see what they can do live. With several years under their bullet belts and a discography longer than most of the crowd’s hair, the band create a sound hard to believe is from a trio.

Carcass take their time but when they arrive, its full steam ahead with favourites including ‘Corporal Jigsaw Quandary’, ‘Heartwork’ and ‘Genital Grinder’. We even get a showcase of what to expect from latest offering ‘Surgical Steel’, which slots in with ease and could’ve easily closed the festival.

Luckily for us it doesn’t end there and Party.San manages to find a band that could top the likes of Carcass – Venom. Frequently coined as the founders of this whole scene, the band take the label with pride and prove it with the majority of the set showcasing the ‘Welcome To Hell’ and ‘Black Metal’ albums. He may be half a century in age but Cronos is unstoppable, his shrill cries still as memorable as they were at the beginning and the band sums up perfectly what Party.San is all about.

Review by Lily Randall

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Hellfest 2013

Review by Lily Randall and Siobhan Hogarty


For the last couple of years now, Hellfest has proven itself to be one of the best set ups you could find for a festival, with each of the six stages catering for every need. The weather was as indecisive as we were when our favourite bands clashed but the atmosphere was far from dampened as the array of rusty aesthetics around the arena glistened, rain or shine.

With bands starting at 10.30 in the morning, the heavy Thursday night feels like a silly idea but it isn’t long til Dr Living Dead! knocks the hangover out of you. The Swedish crossover is a perfect hair of the dog in music form, with ridiculous thrash worship fuelled with onstage energy. Tracks from their latest ‘Radioactive Intervention’ are packed with horror B movie themes and by the end of their snappy set, you’re back on the beer with a grin on your face. LR

When Sheffield’s second favourite sons of the weekend Black Spiders storm on to Mainstage 1 and the sun breaks through the clouds, the assembled mass don’t seem to have woken up yet.  They are soon banging their heads though, with new material like ‘Teenage Knife Gang’ and ‘Creatures’ being debuted.  The tracks have the perfect amount of grit and stomp, which is a pleasant addition to the Black Spiders arsenal, slotting in perfectly alongside ‘KISS Tried To Kill Me’ and ‘Stay Down’. Never has the Mainstage crowd chanted for ‘Balls!’ so early in the morning.  Beautiful sights for the first day of a festival. SH

Polish band Hate have been through a hell of a lot in the past year, so it’s an honour for them to step onto the Altar so last minute. Their blackened death may have been compared to Behemoth, but today’s presence certainly stands alone with every blastbeat sounding crisp and this year’s release ‘Solarflesh’ sounding particularly beefy. Although brutal, there is something somewhat beautiful about this afternoon’s set, as we see ex-bassist Mortifer (who passed away earlier this year) replaced by his own wife Varaska. Not only does she blend into the band with ease musically but also physically, as she takes on the stance and corpsepaint of her late husband.  LR

Over on the Temple tent, Hooded Menace are slowing down the tempo with crushing consequences. The Finnish four-piece may only have three full lengths under their belts but with several splits with doom death legends including Asphyx, the equally room-riddled band have picked up all the best habits. The stage is oozing with mystery as the band stay hooded in darkness and the guitars sound as terrifying as boys would hope for as the lyrics prove to be a horror fanboy’s idea of poetic perfection.  LR

Old school Gothenburg boys Hardcore Superstar roll on to Mainstage 1 with a bounce in their step.  They offer us thrash-tinged hard rock with a healthy amount of sleaze and they have the stage presence to boot after a fair few years in this game.  With ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ getting the crowd in fine voice, we see front man Jocke Berg pace the stage to get a bit more energy from them.  ‘Above The Law’ gives the band the reaction they have been craved and they give it back just as good, exuding power and energy.  A solid, successful effort from all involved. SH

Despite seeming slightly out of place on the doom central Valley stage, Black Breath still pull in quite a crowd and perhaps the impossibility of pigeon-holing this band is why they could not decide on a location. The band is as electrifying as they are on record, with last year’s ‘Sentenced to Life’ showcased heavily in all its glory. Their mix of thrash, death and hardcore causes for explosive scenes from the start with ’Feast Of The Damned’ chugging along in crusty style and although the music turns from breakdown to speedy riffage, the set is smooth with angst. LR

The aforementioned Asphyx rule the Temple proving exactly why doom and death may seem juxtaposed but work wonders when blended together into a bitter smoothie of sadism. The veterans are as pummelling when they tone it down as they are when the slightly quicker tracks kick in, with latest anthem ‘Deathhammer’ causing a serious frenzy. The Dutch destroyers manage to exhibit their rawness without being lost within the mix and in their own words; they certainly still kill “the brutal way”. LR

Terror on the new Warzone stage – last year we saw our hardcore bands slamming down in a tent but 2013 sees this baby go outdoors, with considerable effect.  Tracks such as ‘One With The Underdogs’ and ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ fire the crowd into one solid mass of flailing legs, arms & shirts as the pit rages.  The breakdowns reign supreme as Scott Vogel and his merry bunch of musicians dance and bounce their way around the stage.  Terror have slayed it with this high-energy anthem filled set.  Their energy is contagious, leaving a grin on each face in the crowd and that is how it should always be.  SH

It’s no surprise that Kreator go down a storm over on the second Mainstage. With an impeccable live record and three decades of experience in their favour, we expect nothing less than a pure thrash attack from the Teutonic titans. As expected Mille and co raise the ‘Flag of Hate’, blast through ‘Phantom Antichrist’ and ‘Hordes Of Chaos’ and other classics with a mental circle pit to accessorize with. Off all the thrash bands on today, these guys show them how it’s done. LR

Hazy tent filled with thick pungent smoke and a slow continuous head nod en masse?  Check.  That’ll be Sleep crushing The Valley stage then.  ‘Holy Mountain’ is a slice of thundering beauty, with ‘Dragonaut’ flowing through flawlessly in response.  Bongs are held aloft as those gathered lap up the bass driven spectacle.  Sleep put on an intense show and this was a very special experience indeed.  SH

Def Leppard are legends, plain & simple.  We see them onstage tonight, with Viv Campbell proudly standing amongst his band mates, sporting what he described as an “aerodynamic” hairstyle after his monumental news recently regarding his current battling with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  One thing tonight is evident for all to see, Def Leppard know how to put on an incredible rock show and they enjoy doing it.  Time has not altered Joe Elliott’s voice, belting it out in classic form with ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and ‘Foolin’.  This scribe is dancing for the full Hysteria portion of the set, as the 1987 powerhouse of rock is alive and kicking in year of 2013.  Mainstage 1 has been hit by ‘Hysteria’, but the crowd just don’t seem to be all too interested, which is a shame.  A fantastic show as always, proving that the legends can still pull it off live.  SH

It is a tough act to follow a polished and pristine set like that of Def Leppard, but Tobias Sammet has all of the swagger and charm necessary to do just that.  Avantasia are the last band of the day to grace Mainstage 2, in their expectedly unique fashion.  Tobias commands the stage, with a plethora of musicians guesting to entice the crowd as epics such as ‘Twisted Mind’ and ‘The Seven Angels’ captivate.  Who doesn’t love a slab of over the top falsetto filled operatic metal?  Exactly, pretty perfect choice to close Mainstage on the first night.  If only ‘Chalice Of Agony’ had made an appearance, which would have truly made their set first class.  SH




With vocal chords strained and heads pounding its off the the stereotypical breakfast bar for a chocolate crossaint and strong black coffee. There’s nu-metal nostalgia aplenty today, scattered in amongst extremities of all forms. With Immortal and KISS clashing tonight, black and white face paint clutters the campsite as you distinguish your sloppy Genes to the scruffy Abbaths. As Sleep proved last night, there isn’t much going on regarding weed restrictions, so we predict another foggy day over in the Valley. Round two, ding ding!

Dead Congregation have created quite a name for themselves when it comes to live rituals and the Greeks confirm why over on the Temple tent this afternoon. The Incantation-loving death metallers have a gritty approach that finds them attracting fans more likely to be found at the Altar line up, due to a slight inkling of black metal tendencies. The tent is small enough to keep DC’s underground stance, yet their music is bellowing enough to seep out of the openings, terrifying many who pass their set en route for a burger. LR

P.O.D start our nu-metal antics for the day over on Mainstage 2 as Sonny Sandoval bounces along with ‘Set It Off’ and ‘Youth Of The Nation’.  Whilst their set is energetic & entertaining enough for the duration, the song that most of the crowd are undoubtedly here to hear finally slams down, in the shape of ‘Alive’.  The audience instantly springs to life and finds a second wind, with the sing along soaring for all to hear.  Everyone loves a bit of the old school moshing; this set has just proved it. SH

Coal Chamber bring the ‘Big Truck’ to Mainstage 2 and park it firmly to continue the nu-metal moshing anthems.  They flash their attitude from the moment they walk on, with drumsticks, microphone stands and bottles of water being fired around the stage at band members and crew.  A nostalgia trip full of classics like ‘Loco’ fire the crowd up nicely and the band receive a warmer welcome than expected, is there a promising future for Coal Chamber action afterall? SH

The Dutch have never had any particular legacy regarding death metal but if they did it would be Sinister who take the crown. Since the late eighties, the band has spewed out album after album of simple yet effective DM so it was only a matter of time until the band released a compilation. Their set is evidence as to why it was named ‘Years of Massacre’, with every song sounding as pounding and raw as the next, without the drums flooding the sound. From start to finish the crowd are headbanging furiously and it’s hard not to join in. LR

Kata ton Daimona Eaytoy’ could be one of the most hypnotic albums released this year and it would appear many are keen to hear it over on the Altar. Rotting Christ’s mystical, blackened metal loses none of its atmosphere live with every harrowing chant and haunting guitar creating an epic haze of smoke. The Tolis brothers and their live additions may not move around the stage much but then again neither do you, as you’re whisked up in every sing-along chant despite not actually knowing any Greek. LR

They’ve got ‘Legs’ and they are not afraid to use them.  ZZ Top may be older than most of the bands here but they still put on a hell of a show, including breaking out some groovy dance steps.  They treat all of us gathered at Mainstage 1 to an extensive catalogue of songs old, new and not even their own.  Classics like ‘LA Grange’, ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ & ‘Tush’ weld perfectly with newer material, such as the very suitable ‘Chartreuse’.  To make the occasion even more special than usual, we see the suave Texans storm through a slinky cover of Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’.  This set is just laden with style and swagger, whilst the trio look completely at ease and loving every moment of this show.  SH

Unlike last year, the Warzone stage isn’t covered and is tucked away within the woody area of the arena. If you’re lucky, you witness NOFX playing to a rammed area, with people peering through wire fencing just to catch a glimpse. As expected, the band is desperate to hold onto the youthful looks to accompany their youthful anthems of silliness (and some political seriousness) which sound as great as they always have done at festivals. The punk angst is still there and there is something joyful about seeing some forty odd guys with blue hair moaning such immature lyrics. Who likes growing up anyway? LR

KISS are now on the road to becoming a festival staple, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love every minute spent watching them.  With new additions to their flamboyant stage show (platforms which elevate Thayer & Simmons out above the crowd, no less!), KISS show why they are rock legends.  Sadly, it seems to fall a bit flat on a large portion of the crowd who seemingly don’t want to party.  Hearing a classic tune like ‘Love Gun’ get little to no crowd response is fairly heart-breaking, but perhaps their own volume is not enough to elevate fans.  KISS soldier on unaffected by the lack of crowd participation, laying down hits like ‘War Machine’ and ‘Lick It Up’, alongside ‘Hell Or Hellelujah’ from their newest record ‘Monster’.  Mainstage 1 has been rocked and left dazed, covered in glitter confetti and making quite the spectacle.  SH

The Valley tent is absolutely rammed as Cult of Luna immerse themselves in bright lights and fog, ready to mesmerise. The sound is so intense it’s a surprise the tent stays erect, as atmospheric sludge and post-hardcore swirls and plunges into the depths of everyone’s minds. This year’s ‘Vertikal’ is exhibited quite prominently as the early hours of the morning creep in and normally this would be a disappointment but the new material sounds a tenfold more crushing than on record. The Swedes mysterious presence is all that’s required as the music doing the business and it’s likely that after classics such as ‘Owlwood’, most won’t have eardrums left to see the final acts of the night. LR

More nu-metal classics are being blasted this weekend with Korn closing Mainstage 2 in the wee hours of the morning.  The crowd absolutely explode as the band fire straight into ‘Blind’, bodies slam around and arms fly high in the air.  Newer tracks like ‘Narcissistic Cannibal’ fit well with their slick lighting set up, mixing perfectly into a set littered with hits such as ‘Did My Time’ & ‘Here To Stay’.  Something seems different about Korn live and not necessarily in a bad way as Head is back stomping with the troops.  Their set is polished and tight, almost too tight, as if it is missing some of the raw emotion of the tours gone by.  It’s an enjoyable set to bounce around to all the same.  SH

Its 1am and many of us are struggling to stay upright. Despite the travesty that was ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’ it would appear many try to remain upbeat about the chance to see death metal legends Morbid Angel live, as the Temple swells. Thankfully the band opens with legendary ‘Immortal Rites’ and the set continues to please with ‘Rapture’, ‘Maze of Torment’ and other nineties’ favourites. Ideally, David Vincent and co are used to a larger setting and although seeing bands of this status playing a tent should be life changing, it seems Morbid Angel struggle to create an intimate setting. Just as you think you’ve been spared, the infamous ‘Existo Vulgoré kicks in and a unanimous roll of the eyes is felt in the air. Luckily, the un-deathly torture of this and ‘Nevermore’ is short lived and everyone sticks around for the obvious encore of ‘Chapel of Ghouls’, bringing the second night to a brilliant, yet shattering conclusion. LR


Irritatingly enough, Hellfest  decided to put Europe on the Friday, ruining any chances of ‘Final Countdown’ puns. The end however is indeed nigh and suddenly everyone goes into panic mode over returning to reality tomorrow. Due to some line-up changes and set moves the evening turns into quite a magical spectacle, as we soon find out whilst rushing around to gorge on as much musical mayhem as possible.

When Nachtmystium pulled out from playing the Altar, many were saddened but it opened up a slot for French underdogs Svart Crown to show their worth. Their blackened death live onslaught has clearly improved since their last appearance in 2011, as the tent is far fuller despite another early start for the boys. Not only that but this year’s record ‘Profane’ shows a progression of brutality and unlike many bands the several layers of monstrous sound are complimented by a live show. The band windmill in unison with grins on their faces throughout and despite saying it two years ago, we hope the band finally get the recognition they deserve this year. LR

Danko Jones enjoy a bit of action and they want everyone gathered at Mainstage 1 to know that.  They bound through an energetic, face-paced set as ‘Had Enough’ starts the proceedings off in style.  Their sound is slick, with just a touch of beautifully raw vocals as front man Danko Jones shows his skill in fine form.  ‘First Date’ is an absolutely storming tune, dripping with sleaze, leaving the crowd screaming for more.  As ‘Just A Beautiful Day’ roars out, with the sun scorching, everyone has fallen in love with the Canadian rock ‘n’ roll trio.  SH

Ihsahn makes a very welcome return to The Temple stage.  There is a buzz in the air as ‘On The Shores’ absolutely soars; the crowd are feeding off the energy inside the tent.  The beautiful experimental cacophony we have grown accustomed to during Ihsahn set’s falls upon us once again with ‘The Paranoid’, a frantic whirlwind of sound.  Each track sounds mammoth, filling every inch of the tent perfectly as the bass lines rattle your very bones.  Reaching back through his catalogue of epics, Ihsahn flattens all with the crushing ‘Frozen Lakes On Mars’, that signature guitar tone rings through the air with precision.  The soaring chorus’ of the collective body of work sends shivers down the spine, as it does every time this scribe is lucky enough to see these musicians at work.  It all gets a little gloomier as ‘The Grave’ opens & we delve into the murky riff laden territory.  The only improvement that could be suggested would be a live saxophonist, to really expand the overall effect of this unique sound.  As the last few calls ring out, it has been another astonishing set… like we expect any less.  SH

The Temple has taken quite the battering this weekend with stellar death metal and grind and it doesn’t end now, as Krisiun take to the stage to continue the attack. Throughout the set there are the expected blistering blastbeats and horrible growls but there is nothing particularly special about their performance. ‘Blood of Lions’ and ‘Vicious Wrath’ slaughter with ease but compared to some of the surprises that have appeared in the last three days, it’s nothing memorable.  LR

The Main Stage 2 is absolutely rammed before the band comes on to the stage but the backdrop explains the hype in big letters: GOJIRA. Back on home turf, the international favourites come out to a proud roar before rupturing into ‘Explosia’ and as always the French four piece swirl and chug their way through the blistering heat. Although the playing is flawless, with the likes of ‘Flying Whales’ ‘Backbone’ and ‘Remembrance’ glistening in groove, the breeze seems to take away from the usual monolithic sound usually experienced and Joe Duplantier’s snarls are slightly lost by the time it reaches the crowd. ‘Where Dragons Dwell’ concludes the set and although some favourite trackes are removed, there’s no denying how powerful Gojira are as a live entity. LR

Very sadly, Clutch had to pull out of Hellfest for personal reasons.  But never fear, because Down are still here! The Valley is hit by a superset to baffle and amaze those lucky to grab a spot.  The great man himself Phil Anselmo begins the set by saying ‘It may be a one time, it may be an only time, but it is a unique time’ and that it definitely is.  A fully loaded bong is smoked onstage before they launch into ‘Rehab’ & ‘Swan Song’, which absolutely slay.  We are then treated to a series of Eyehategod, Crowbar & Corrosion of Conformity covers.  We see Phil on guitar and Jason Newstead popping onstage to play ‘Clean My Wounds’.  It’s like the coolest jamming session ever witnessed and those there are fully aware of how lucky they are.

When the beautiful Danish men in Volbeat arrive, they are ready to destroy with their personal blend of metal and rockabilly with rock ‘n’ roll.  It kicks off with a bang as they slam straight into ‘Hallelujah Goat’, sounding absolutely flawless.  Poulson and co are on top form, a precision gelled through their extensive schedule no doubt.  Hellfest are treated to a range of tracks old and new, before Barney from Napalm Death makes a very welcome appearance to rock the shit out of ‘Evelyn’.  This wonder is followed by a medley of ‘Breaking The Law’ & ‘Raining Blood’, which is just glorious.  It feels like the party could continue when Volbeat finish up their magnificent set with ‘Pool Of Booze, Booza, Booza’. Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  A more than worthy headliner, let’s do this again soon Volbeat. SH

Ghost have been moved to Mainstage 2, to face their congregation in the dark of the night, after Danzig moved to fill their tent slot earlier in the evening.  It was a magnificent decision, as we see Ghost make their triumphant return to Hellfest in a manner only they can.  Grandeur and grace is on constant display from Papa Emeritus II, as he floats across the stage carrying out his musical service.  The beautiful harmony-filled ‘Stand By Him’ flows perfectly through the night air, as Papa’s voice simply rattles to the bone.  After a strange double desk failure & a resulting power cut on stage, the crowd are conducted through the remaining hymns by the slightest movement of the leather-clad hands of that enigmatic front man.  As the haunting refrain of the beautiful ‘Monstrance Clock’ rings out & the cloaked figures exit, there is a buzz in the air, as we are left questioning why Ghost weren’t on the Mainstage in the first place after that outstanding set. SH


Review by Lily Randall and Siobhan Hogarty

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In the Spotlight with Cattle Decapitation

Bands will forever tell you that the latest album is their best but it’s rare the metal world will agree. Luckily for Cattle Decapitation, ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ is a monument of death metal mayhem and a far cry from 2009’s ‘The Harvest Floor’. When they’re not terrorising the internet with disgusting videos, they’re on tour doing it in the flesh and despite travelling dramas Lily Randall managed to grab Travis Ryan for a catch up.

1. Your latest album ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ has been claimed to be your best yet. How have you dealt with your new found limelight?

Travis: Drugs, alcohol, impregnation of fans, cutting, the occasional overdose… No, seriously, it’s been humbling. Fans in the front rows actually know the lyrics to the songs and “sing along”, which to me is a bizarre concept for a band like us. We’re also pretty stoked that the shit stuck and we weren’t left with an album everyone hated. It was kind of a stretch to get out that far on a limb – we generally make music we want to hear with little consideration for what others might think, so we kind of lucked out that most people liked the new stuff. It could have gone either way, we didn’t know which, so I’m glad the cards fell in our favour.

2. You said previously that the writing process was more rushed than you had hoped. Looking back now, would you have still done it differently despite its success?

Travis: Funny thing is, we had more time to write this one than usual. We took a year off to do it and thought we were gonna have this album finished in six months with another six to hone it down but no. We worked straight that whole time on it. Conflicting work schedules was what made it such a pain in the ass but we made it work.

3. Cattle Decapitation have always been known for their opinions regarding politics, especially animal rights. Have your opinions ever affected how you are treated as a band?

Travis: Well, maybe. I’m sure it turns a lot of fans off. If they only knew us, haha! They’d find we have much more in common with them than they think. The vegetarian/vegan angle probably turns a lot of people off because their judgements are based on how they’ve seen other vegans and vegetarians act in the past regarding their life choice and we just aren’t like that and never have been. I’m vegan, Josh is vegetarian and the other two dudes do what they want. I write the lyrics so I know where I’m coming from. It turned out to be impossible to maintain an all vegetarian band and still get the musicianship we wanted. It was never a criteria. So to answer your question, not really. People make their jokes once in a while and it’s all very old hat now, but I mostly hear people giving us props for having the standpoint the lyrics do and for having the balls to present that in the death metal arena. It all makes perfect sense when you look into it.
4. What are your current pet peeves regarding the world right now? Go on, rant to us!

Travis: Ugh, I’m sick of ranting. Plastic. Plastic really pisses me off. But that’s boring I’m sure. I don’t know, I’ve been ranting all day on stupid ass Facebook so I’m kind of ranted out right now. Meme-based societies are pissing me off, how’s that?
5. What’s life on the road like with Cattle Decapitation?

Travis: Same as any other band. Mild drama, wondering where to eat CONSTANTLY, LOTS of farts, lots of jokes and lots of fart jokes. Same old shit.

6. Where does your lyric inspiration tend to come from?

Travis: Every day bullshit. People. People sucking. Depression. Anxiety. ADHD with mild bipolar disorder perhaps? The news. That kinda thing.

7. Are you like many death metal bands that live for gory horror films?

Travis: Nah. Traces of Death and the internet killed all that for me, the former being when I was young. I’ve always been more into realism, reality based stuff, documentaries etc. Never was much into many cartoons when I was a kid, so I’m not too fond of animation. I like the old horror movies if anything but just for a chuckle. Hellraiser 2 was the shit.
8. When you Google the ‘Forced Gender’ video, the top searches include “bloody disgusting”, “NSFW” and “banned”. I’m guessing this is the response you were after?

Travis: I just wanted to bum some motherfuckers out. It definitely worked. I wanted people to see it and say to themselves, “well, that’s not OK at all”. I wanted people to have to step back and re-evaluate where they are in life, what they have and what matters most in this world to them. “NSFW” was the tag that put on it which means “not safe for work”. It definitely is something that violates all public video sites’ agreements and even the agreements with the hosting company that hosts our website or else we’d just take it. Quite honestly, it’s funny people were so freaked out about the video – all the video is are the lyrics put into play on the screen and acted out. That’s all. And it’s not much different than any of our other songs! It takes doing all that to get people to understand what we’re saying? Sad.

9. The ideas didn’t come from personal fetishes did they?!

Travis: No, I personally think all that stuff is for show. At least people that go around promoting the fact that they love fetishes and all that. Fetishes to me are a very personal thing and people that exploit that all openly are fucking posers.

10. If you were to do any cover at a live show, what would it be?

Travis: I’ve always wanted to do Rigor Mortis’ “Foaming at the Mouth” but also think it’d be hilarious to do Tourniquet’s “Ark of Suffering”. Hilarious, because it’s a Christian band and I have a knack for being able to separate a bands ideology from the actual music and enjoy the music, plus it’s a bad ass song with a great message. I can’t believe I’m saying that about a Christian band but it’s a song against vivisection and using animals to test cosmetics.
11. What’s next for Cattle Decapitation?

Travis: A one-off HUGE festival in Guadalajara, Mexico and then Australia in June as well as the massive Summer Slaughter Tour in the States in July/August.
12. With festival season upon on us, who would be your chosen 3 headliners, dead or alive?

Travis: Carcass, Coroner and Bethlehem.

Interview by Lily Randall

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April album reviews for Iron Fist

C.R.O.W.N – ‘Psychurgy’

Imagine the likes of Isis and Godflesh fighting to the death in a black hole, when all of a sudden one of them comes up from their darkened abyss and grabs you, pulling you into their disturbing brawl. C.R.O.W.N may only have two members to create such a disturbingly beautiful debut, but they do it with ease, each riff as mesmerizingly crushing as the next. The terrifying twosome from France may not have a drummer, but the programmed beats that accompany their gloom-riddled galaxy are heavy enough to push the sludge further and add a slight industrial tinge. The atmosphere created by the juxtaposed droning guitars and melodies is enough to keep the hour long album afloat with tracks such as ‘Psychokinesy II’ confirming that C.R.O.W.N’s own vision of delivering “the sound of a molten universe collapsing” is absolutely spot on.

4 out of 5

Immolation – ‘Kingdom of Conspiracy’

It’s often difficult to construct a truly beastly death metal album without turning to the usual checklist of old school production or technicality overload. Luckily US veterans manage to use their previous experience to create a ninth album that oozes with majestic brutality despite such a pristine production. Although it may seem a simple formula, Immolation’s decathlon of death avoids repetition with each song holding its own and beating the crap out of anything in its way simultaneously. The steady stomp of ‘God Complex’ leaves an unnerving trail, whilst ‘Indoctrinate’ is as pummeling as the topics throughout – a hatred of modern life. Although the themes may seem cliché, Immolation portray them with such ease and authenticity that all is forgiven.

4 out of 5

The Amenta – ‘Flesh is Heir’

Many may have described the latest offering from The Amenta as a more accessible listen but the ‘Flesh is Heir’s is by no means lacking in chaos. A slightly more organised chaos than predecessor ‘nOn’ perhaps but this only heightens the maturity the Australians have embraced. The Amenta still blend an array of genres into a thick, suffocating filth, however this onslaught entwines a few moments that allow you to catch a breath without it losing its unnerving atmosphere. ‘A ‘Womb Stone’ and ‘The Palimpesest’ display how industrial samples can create fear, whilst ‘Teeth’ is the perfect example of their feral ferocity of deathly proportions. Although there are moments that sound like Gojira or Decapitated losing their mind in a mental asylum, there is also a blackened tinge that further hammers your head with speed. ‘Flesh is Heir’ is full of a consistent rawness and although certain parts may please the “core” crowd, there isn’t really anything accessible about this terror.

3 out of 5

Shade Empire – ‘Omega Arcane’

You’d think that a band who describes themselves with four different elements of extremity would create something beautiful yet brutal. Unfortunately for Shade Empire, their symphonic blackened melodeath lacks the latter despite the titbits of death. ‘Omega Arcane’ shows a darker side of the Finnish band with more blackened influences but like many of their fellow Finns, they fall into a desperation for epic sounds. The length of particular songs cause your attention to veer off at times and the lack of ferocity in Shade Empire leaves them trailing behind others attempting this sound, such as Septic Flesh or Fleshgod Apocalypse. Bound to be on the checklist of anyone willing to drift off into a fantasy land of sound, this certainly isn’t for the bloodthirsty despite such a flawless display of musicianship.

2 out of 5

Coffins – ‘The Fleshland’

It may have been five years since Japan’s Coffins released their colossal ‘Buried Death’ full length but the doom/death hybrid of horror they’ve unleashed this time round is certainly worth the wait. With Relapse Records getting behind them for ‘The Fleshland’, the production creates the ideal juxtaposition of pristine, musical filth; the sludgy bass and haunting growls we’ve witnessed before from the band stopping you in your tracks. ‘Hellbringer’ and ‘No Saviour’ embrace the speedier side of the deathly grooves, whilst aptly named ‘The Colossal Hole’ and closer ‘Tormentopia’ engulf you in a slow motion manner of misfortune. ‘The Fleshland’ is certainly not going to be the top tourist attraction this summer, unless like us you have a love for musical masochism from Tokyo.

4 out of 5

 Entrails – ‘Raging Death’

The saying “persistence is futile” springs to mind when the first notes of ‘Raging Death’ hit your lugholes. Despite being around for the majority of the nineties’ Swe-death revolution, Entrails were slow off the mark in releasing a full length and so by 2010, fellow countrymen had been established as pioneers of the genre. Although all three of Entrails’ releases have been full of groove-laden riffs and old school worship, their constant comparison to Entombed continues for ‘Raging Death’. It almost feels as though the band are trying to come off as some form of tribute act with familiar logo font and a sound so uncanny to the ‘Left Hand Path’, it’s a little cringe worthy. This does however, mean that what is displayed on ‘Raging Death’ is vintage rawness through sludgy, mid tempo death, d-beats and phlegm-riddled vocals. ‘In Pieces’ and ‘Carved to the Bone’ exhibit the formula flawlessly but the lack of originality leaves Entrails trailing behind.

3 out of 5

Reviews by Lily Randall

To be published in Iron Fist #5

Sonic Obliteration @ Camden Underworld, May 2013

A 3pm start for an entire day of extreme metal may seem a little extreme in itself and it will be a miracle if everyone leaves with the capability of hearing and walking but fans are eager to accept the challenge. A wide range of local talent is on offer to warm up the crown and provide background drinking music for many with thrashers Axonide starting off the procedures. Grindcore trio Oblivionized get brutal without a bass and slightly more known Brits Bloodshot Dawn bring a more conventional deathly sound into the day.

The slightly manic Unfathomable Ruination blastbeat their way into frenzy, whilst The Last Shot Of War’s deathcore falls on its face with predictable breakdown galore. Rearmed continue the madness with some more brutality but suddenly the break between bands begins to lengthen.

After playing a show in Ireland previously, the remaining three bands are still nowhere to be seen and it develops that their ferry is not going to arrive in time. This unfortunately results in the assaulting sound of Decrepit Birth not being heard tonight, much to our displeasure and many others’ here.

Luckily Cattle Decapitation do a tremendous job of picking up the bad vibes and blasting them out of the venue in a frenzied showdown of death metal done good. Frontman Travis Ryan devours the stage whilst spewing out demented vocals to create the best uneasy listening one could ask for. Latest tracks from ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ get a stellar response and new favourite ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’ causes the biggest mosh pit of the night to explode. Instead of suffering with sea legs, the nastiness is played with a precision so pummelling, they take the band of the night award.

You’d think a band with as much experience as Cryptopsy would be able to follow this performance in their stride but unfortunately their set becomes quite the anti-climax. Despite last year’s self-titled album throwing the band back into the spotlight to some extent, it feels as though the band have lost their bite in general since frontman Lord Worm left. The sound is swamped by double bass and there is an intensity lacking in songs such as ‘Slit Your Guts’ that would normally blow off the roof. Due to this the crowd seem knackered prematurely but its understandable when you take in how much has been displayed today.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

Published at

SYN:DROM – ‘Iconoclasm’ [8]


If the promise of Swedish death metal suddenly sends you onto a journey back in time, then you’ll be in for a surprise when listening to the second onslaught from SYN:DROM. The ashes of bands such as Entombed and Dismember are unearthed to some extent but this quintet manages to put a modern twist on an old classic of a genre.

The follow up from a debut is often deemed the most difficult to write, however ‘Iconoclasm’ showcases a defined evolution that continues to shove SYN:DROM into your face and the metal limelight simultaneously. The pace is as furious and as assisted by blastbeats as one would expect without time for breath, as vocalist Jonny Pettersson growls in a manner as burly as his beard. The album is smothered in technicality that keeps a consistent energy, however not enough to cause a crossover into more widdly realms. ‘Iconoclastic View’ tampers with the usual format by adding slightly robotic vocals and a more industrial groove but do not fear, this is not akin to Morbid Angel’s last attempt, as the brutality is kept throughout. ‘Black Dawn’ is the perfect opener as it storms into your ear cavities with a Nile-esque ferocity and is followed with a similar precision of melting solos and raucous riffs creating forty minutes of enjoyable fury.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Iconoclasm’ is out February 15th on ViciSolum Productions

You’ll like this if…the idea of Behemoth, Nile and Hate Eternal wrestling one another arouses you.

Published at

Suffocation – ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ [7]


Whilst everyone is busy congratulating Cannibal Corpse on their 25th anniversary, they have forgotten that equally influential Suffocation have also reached the milestone; however luckily the band have been celebrating with a stellar release of an album. ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’, the seventh full length from this brutal bunch, may not be a game changer in the death metal scene but is a perfect example of why Suffocation have lasted so long and are still labelled as the big four of American death metal and is bound to be a comparison album for the rest of 2013’s releases.

Many will complain that without former drummer Mike Smith the band wouldn’t cope due to a loss of his technical madness behind the kit, but Dave Culross is more than capable, especially as he was with the band during the ‘Despite The Sun’ EP. From the very beginning the album shoots out of its cannon, with a song so furious it sounds as though you’ve missed an intro track and it’s obvious this could well be their most technical album yet. Frank Mullen sticks to what he knows on the vocal front, helping keep the classic sound of the band via deep growls whilst there are more definitive guitar parts from Terrance Hobbs proving the musicality that is often hidden behind their brutality. The likes of first albums ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’ and ‘Breeding the Spawn were purposely murky and down-tuned but after a bit of a polish new tracks ‘Purgatorial Punishment’ and the album title track glisten with high production and nastiness is not lost from its original form.

The two predecessors of ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ were accepted by most, however this album continues to push Suffocation through the competition of newer bands, with a consistent strength that has been twanged slightly to keep up with the now of death metal demands.

Review by Lily Randall

‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ is out Feb 15th on Nuclear Blast

You’ll like this if… you fancy a wash down after a dip in the death metal swamp but don’t want to lose your evil, scruffy charm.