Tim Yatras is an Australian musician best known for his past work in Austere, Woods of Desolation, Nazxul and Lord. Earlier this year, Tim released Wish, the first album from his solo project Germ. It combines a unique mix of hard-hitting electronica and atmospheric black metal. A major player in the Australian metal scence, we asked Tim about the many different projects he’s worked with over the years and how they culminated in this fascinatingly unique endeavor.
Your resume is quite expansive, but with the recent-ish dissolution of Austere, Grey Waters and you leaving Lord, it looks like you’ve had a bit more time to focus on your own projects. Did this help expedite the release of Wish?
Yeah, I guess it did in a way. I’ve always kinda had my focus elsewhere, with Germ in the background. I guess it only made sense that once those other projects were gone, that Germ would finally move forward! It took a long time, but I’m glad to finally have the material completed and available.
All Photos and Text by Alan Hunter
Last Thursday Portland dosed Seattle with an epic evening of the heavy stuff. On the second day of their “Faustian Spirits” summer tour, bringing along support from fellow Portlanders Taurus and Eight Bells, Agalloch destroyed Seattle’s Crocodile. Eight Bells kicked the evening off with their crushing, psychedelic rock. Featuring members of now disbanded SubArachnoid Space, Eight Bells honors its spacey tradition with beautiful, dissonant soundscapes. Although they stumbled over a few quirks in the beginning, EB’s intricate percussion, looping guitars, and pulverizing bass were a righteous start to the night. Coming out in almost complete darkness and a think fog, Taurus (Stevie Floyd/Dark Castle and Ashley Spungin/Purple Rhinestone Eagle) introduced the crowd to their meditative, psychedelic dooooooom. As always Stevie’s guitar tone was perfect…and perfectly ominous alongside Ashley’s hammering, shamanic drums and dizzying samples to create a truly trance-inducing atmosphere. In my honest opinion, they OWNED the night. I was totally stoked to see them – having wanted to for awhile now – and could not have asked for a better performance. I’m glad those east-coasters are calling the Northwest home now. The ALMIGHTY Agalloch rounded out the evening with a lengthy, 90+ minute set of old (The Mantle!) and new (Faustian Echoes). It has been a couple years since I last saw Agalloch and was excited to be shooting the show, but after failing to find a decent vantage point for my camera I said “fuck it”, and decided to JUST ENJOY one of my favorite bands (i know i know, what a concept!). I should’ve figured the room would fill up quickly as it was an all-ages show and Agalloch have an incredible ability to fringe on many genres – progressive, black/grey metal, folk, etc – and keep it fluid and original. And as much as I appreciate their multi-genre sound I have to say I was excited to see/hear Faustian Echoes because it sounds to me more distinctly black metal than I have heard from them in awhile. Adding ex-Ludicra and Worm Ouroboros drummer Aesop Dekker to the formula was – for lack of a better thought – a fucking great decision. Whether playing new or old Agalloch’s brilliantly dark and brooding sound never disappoints. This is one summer tour your mustn’t miss. Taurus will be with them for the long haul; they’ll be joined by progressive neofolkers Musk Ox and heavyweights Pallbearer later on.
If you are a fan of underground music, depending on where you live, you may not get to see your favorite bands that often. Touring is super expensive, and bands usually aren’t compensated too well at the shows, so a lot of their expenses come out of pocket. It’s hard to scrape together enough cash for a tour when your day job goes mostly to supporting yourself or your family. Sutekh Hexen is about to embark on their first cross-country tour this August, and have started a Kickstarter campaign to fund their tour. They have some amazing giveaways for their backers, ranging from a button/sticker pack for the lowest pledge up to gifts of CDs, LPs, t-shirts, posters and even your name in their liner notes of their upcoming full-length. To support these guys and get some awesome collectables, check out their Kickstarter campaign page. More info about the campaign and gifts, plus tour dates, after the jump…
Both bands made heads turn last year with vinyl releases from Wisconsin-based Gilead Media, and the label is wasting no time nurturing their talents with this highly-anticipated split. While the groups have had short careers and a limited number of shows under their bullet belts, they write music with the confidence and fury of musicians who have been working together for decades.
Only the third track FALSE have ever recorded, “Heavy as a Church Tower” is a monstrous, hate-filled work that churns its way through sensible insanity and features some of the best drumming in black metal today. Vocalist Rachel’s haunting shrieks swirl effortlessly through the madness, each breath more powerful than the last. With their lengthiest offering to date, it’s clear they understand the complexities of long-form tracks and know how to keep the listener’s attention from waning. The band’s relentless, high-speed passages never grow tiresome as the guitars cycle through vicious melodies that either explode and dissipate in an instant, or grow and contort into multi-dimensional beasts. Like their 2011 EP, the keyboards add much with little without straying into symphonic territory. The track is both hauntingly familiar and uniquely original.
Hailing from Baton Rouge, Barghest is everything FALSE is not. The band sticks to a different spectrum of black metal, with their two tracks worshipping influences from the low-fi and underground scenes. They play straightforward, raw grimness that sounds like it was ripped screaming from the bayou, still dripping with soggy filth. Gutteral vocals occasionally make their appearance to add to the overall terror of the band’s ugly sound and the muddy production only adds to their intrigue, forcing you to listen intently for every twisted note and rotten fill. Never-ending tremolo buzzings entangle you in their desiccated grip and don’t let go until you’re gasping for a breath. This is dirt worship in the best possible way.
FALSE tour dates and more news after the jump!
The Howling Wind are as eerie and terrifying as their name suggests. Pushing for the truest and most desperately raw sound they can whilst holding on to tight melodies and deliciously sinister beats, The Howling Wind revel in menacing tones and ominous atmosphere. This third offering from Ryan Lipynsky (ex-Unearthly Trance and Thralldom) and Tim Call (Aldebaran) is a work of intensity and celebrates a pure black metal aesthetic within the incantations and swirling vortexes of doom.
Cries and screams of horror spill forth from Lipynsky (also guitar and bass) as this duo dig for the essence of what makes black metal so primitively obscene. Ritualistic and black magic themes electrify Of Babalon and a deep sense of knowledge and power courses through the unholy veins of the record. The guitar sound is inherently evil, the riffs writhing with a dastardly and malevolent control. Basing their concept on the writings of Aleister Crowley and the mystical system of Thelema, The Howling Wind create an ode to Babalon, or The Scarlet Woman, and speak of her sexuality and desire as well as her consort – Chaos. As an aside, there is much to be learnt from Crowley’s teachings of Thelema and the mystery surrounding this Mother of Abominations is entirely too detailed to truly go into within this text, and as such, a starting point can be found here.
Full review after the jump!
Story via The Atlantic written by Kim Kelly
“Burn the Quran! Burn the fucking Quran!” a woman screams hoarsely, over and over again. Tinny guitars course beneath her howls, sawing away at any semblance of melody. Sampled snippets of fundamentalist Islamic rhetoric filter through, and muffled voices exhort their unseen audience to praise Allah and to destroy the infidel.
To fans of heavy music, the hallmarks are immediately recognizable. This is raw, mid-tempo black metal, a lo-fi example of heavy metal’s most evil subgenre. Black metal feeds upon hatred, nihilism, and anti-human behavior. Extremity is everything. It drinks the blood of Christ, turns upon its own, and takes almost carnal pleasure in the theory and imagery of war. The music from the early days of this scene conjured images of the ashes of burned churches and the dried blood of murder, and yet the genre, in its middle age, often doesn’t shock the way it once did. The hellish noise of this particular song, though, does. There’s something different about it. This is real.
The overall effect is chilling, which is, of course, exactly its creator’s intent. Her name is Anahita, and she is the 28-years-old voice and vitriol behind Janaza, Iraq’s very first female-fronted, black-metal band. Allow that notion—Iraq’s very first female-fronted, black-metal band—to sink in for a moment. Her first recording, Burn the Pages of Quran, boasts five distorted, primitive tracks that altogether run just shy of an unlucky 13 minutes. She, along with a handful of other acts hailing from the Middle East, are repurposing black metal’s historically anti-Christian ferocity to rail against Islam. In doing so, these bands are serving up another example of how art and dissent can intersect in a region where dissent can sometimes have deadly consequences.
Horseback started as a solo project, an intensely personal one at that. Your debut record was, as you’ve described, as a way to deal with you being diagnosed with OCD. It sounds like the sort of thing that one would be hesitant to even release into the world. The music has grown and evolved so much since then, and Horseback has shed the solo drone project tag quickly. Did you ever think that Horseback might become anything more than a bedroom project?
I didn’t intend for it to be more than that while I was recording the first record or two, but things change. I’d say it gained greater potential after The Invisible Mountain was reissued by Relapse in 2010. That brought in some offers from festivals, which allowed us to get out on the road for a bit. Last year, we played the Utech Festival with Locrian, House of Low Culture, Plotkin and Mueller, and William Fowler Collins, among others; the Boomslang Festival with Swans, Pelican, Sir Richard Bishop, and others; and Raleigh’s Hopscotch Festival with dozens of other bands. Still, those opportunities are rare, and since the guys in Horseback’s live lineup are all involved in a bunch of other bands (Caltrop, Airstrip, Hog, and Monsonia, to name a few, and I’m often busy with Mount Moriah), live Horseback shows have become more of a special occasion thing than a regular thing.
So the project remains largely a bedroom project, a creative pursuit that allows me to focus my energy in a daily practice, but sometimes we’re able to mobilize the live band for short tours.
Read the rest of this interview after the jump!
The French Black Metal institution DEATHSPELL OMEGA is a league of its own. Although the attribution to the genre is undoubted, there is no band that is able express its musical visions like DSO does. And it’s not just the excessive use of odd time signatures, weird chord progressions and an overall progressive song writing. Bands like Blut aus Nord or maybe Ulcerate (the latter of course existing within the Death Metal context) avail themselves of similar techniques. But there is hardly any band on this planet that is able to merge musical excellence, an extremely aggressive sound, a deep philosophic, anti-cosmic superstructure and a high grade of mystification like DSO. With their newest output Drought, they prove this once more and leave you like a bloody, worthless wreck.
DSO keep wandering the path they pursued with Paracletus in 2010. The brutal, hectic blast-beaten onslaught is sometimes interrupted by calmer – you could even say melodic – passages. This interplay is highly effective, since it creates a very balanced atmosphere, which is very fetching and leaves you no other chance but keep listening. Of course, when DSO start to cause havoc, there’s nothing left but ashes. In their heavy, furious moments DSO are unmatched – it sounds as if they let mountains crumble and crack skies open to unleash the beast of the apocalypse – just because they can. Really, really outstanding.
Full review + stream after the jump!
“Miséricordes” is a long, exhausting walk through barren darkness. With disturbing rawness and stunning mastery, frenchman Thomas Bel, acting under the pseudonym MISERY, floods the shadowy regions of the ambient sound space. Between dark ambient soundscapes, field recordings and relics of black metal the sound artist unfolds his diffuse-abstract dystopias, creating a 40-minute trip slightly reminiscent of LOCRIAN. In its sophisticated rawness and gloom, this album could well be a dubbing of E. Elias Merhiges classic “Begotten”.
So here it is: Part Two of our coverage of the 305 Fest, captured on film by South Florida Hardcore. Today features unreal full sets from Noothgrush, Shitstorm, House of Lighting,Fistula,Asshole Parade,Bastard Noise, Torche, Church Whip, Heroindod, Failure Face and Nailbiter! Hats off to SFHC for filming this killer fest! Now let’s get down to business – peep all of this footage after the jump!