New Heineken ad features acoustic "Ace of Spades"
UPDATE: Some people who I normally think of as smart have grumbled about Motörhead agreeing to do a commercial. I'll let Henry Rollins (who's done a few ads in his time—posing for photos for the Gap, and doing voiceovers for Chevy—and has appeared in some pretty un-punk-rock movies, but whose own art has never changed as a result) speak to this issue.
Exodus frontman's new band plays their new riff
I don't know what the purpose of this kind of thing is. I can see bands posting in-studio video diaries when they're actually making a record—Amon Amarth did a series documenting the recording of their last album, Twilight of the Thunder God, and that was sort of interesting. But something like this...I'm not so sure. For one thing, they don't seem like particularly appealing people. But I'll let you be the judge. Here's the clip.
Finnish one-woman black metal act
Her voice is extremely high-pitched, more like the shrieks of a stabbing victim than conventional singing, even in an "extreme" metal style. Some reviewers have compared her to Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth, but to me she sounds more like a young Lydia Lunch. Her performance on "Come To Me Satan" is easily comparable to a song like "Orphans" by Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. Her overwrought, highly emotional delivery also has antecedents in the work of Diamanda Galás, though Galás is obviously much more trained and much more in control of her instrument. Possessed Demoness frequently seems to be on the brink of losing control entirely, which gives her take on black metal a resonance her male peers can't match. One-man black metal bands (Xasthur, Leviathan, Nortt, Striborg, Sargeist et al.) frequently retreat into hermetic psychedelia and depressive muttering; Possessed Demoness rages and screams, demanding to be heard. And this occasionally makes Cold difficult to listen to, but real pain should be hard for mere spectators to endure.
The lyrics on the album aren't typical of black metal, either; sure, Satan is mentioned a time or two, but much of it has the desperation of a suicide's diary entries. "But what's the difference, no one cares/Maybe they never did," she shrieks on the album's opening cut, "These Gray Days." "I chose this way so I can't blame anyone else for my mistakes/Are they mistakes?/Mistakes or not, I've lost my will to carry on here/Everything that happens around [me] feels so pointless."
Somewhat surprisingly, this ultra-alienating, rejectionist music is wrapped in a package of photos of Possessed Demoness wearing a corset, a thong and boots, and sometimes even less; witness the album cover above. Given that it's her record, and no male bandmates were pressuring her to "sex up" their presentation, and especially considering the tone of the lyrics (which seem mostly anti-life itself, never mind sex), it's an unexpected choice.
I emailed Possessed Demoness to get more insight into her thoughts and motivations. I didn't get much information, but here you go.
What's your real name, where are you from, how old are you...any biographical data you want to provide?
Just listen to my album and you'll know a lot of things about me.
What drew you to black metal, and when did you first decide this was the type of music you wanted to make?
Black metal kind of came to me and I fell for it for good. So I really didn't have to decide what kind of music to play, 'cause BM is something I enjoy and it fits me.
You play both guitar and bass on your CD—how long have you been playing, and what is your primary instrument?
I played guitar for the first time 10 years ago, but I haven't been a very active player. Bass is a new instrument to me. I have played that only a year or two. I also play piano and I'm learning drums, and hopefully I can play my next album all by myself!
Black metal doesn't seem too welcoming to women other than backup singers or keyboardists—where did you get the confidence to step out as a solo performer?
Well, you can't do anything in your life if you always have to think first what someone else would say about your actions. I did the album because I can.
Your vocals are not the usual black metal shriek, but they are extremely high-pitched and harsh...who are your primary influences as a vocalist?
I didn't get influences from anyone, I knew what I wanted to sound like. Some might say that I sound like early Dani Filth and someone said that I look like him too! But I think that he should shave his ass first, ha ha! I really like his voice and it's not a bad thing at all, if I sound like him.
Your lyrics are also very different from most black metal—they read like a journal, or a suicide note. Can you talk about your lyrical perspective, and why you write the material you do?
I tried to do something that hadn't been done already, and sometimes I don't have to even think what to write, the words just come. And yes, my idea was that the lyrics would look like my journal.
What is the song "Verivala" about? You don't have to provide a full English translation of the lyrics, just a general idea of the song's core concept.
Verivala is about finding Satan and starting a war against Christians. And of course, winning it.
Obviously as a solo act, there's no pressure from male band members to wear revealing clothes, and black metal is not usually a very sexualized genre of music, in my experience—so the contrast between your bleak, depressing lyrics and your corsets and nearly nude album cover seems somewhat extreme. Please explain (to whatever degree you feel an explanation is required).
Black metal is very much about worshiping Satan, isn't it? And Satan worshiping includes mocking Christians and their values, and that includes also all kinds of debauchery what Christians would never accept.
Circle Jerks frontman's new semi-all-star hardcore band
I saw the Jerks live in 1990, when they were nearing the end of their artistically respectable period. Vocalist Keith Morris (originally from Black Flag) was, and is, a terrific frontman; his long dreads swung wildly as he howled the band's sneering, sarcastic lyrics like a werewolf stand-up comedian. The simple but powerful riffing of the band sent the crowd into a spinning, kicking, punching frenzy; it was one of the greatest sets of pure punk rock I've ever seen. I still have fond memories of that show, and I still have the first three Circle Jerks albums (barely over an hour of music in toto) in my iPod.
Well, now Keith Morris has a new band, the simply-titled, impossible-to-google Off! (punctuation in original). It's something of an all-star unit, featuring guitarist Dmitri Coats of Burning Brides, bassist Steven McDonald of Redd Kross, and drummer Mario Rubalcaba of stoner-jam kings Earthless. They've released one 7" so far, which contains four songs in as many minutes. They've also made some excellent videos, which can be seen at their website. My favorite video of Off!, though, is this live footage of them playing their entire EP, shot by a friend of the band. Check it out.
The band will be releasing a box containing four 7" singles (their first EP and three more), along with a book containing illustrations by legendary artist Raymond Pettibon, who did all the art for Black Flag's albums and singles in the '80s; that can be pre-ordered here. There is at present no word on whether any of this music will emerge on CD.
Awesome clip for one of the band's shortest songs
War-obsessed Dutch boys turn their attention to the Pacific
"Lemmy" documentary coming on DVD; new studio album to be released
In March of this year, I traveled to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest music conference, where I interviewed Lemmy onstage in front of a live audience. It was a blast; he's a terrific guy, open and friendly and smart as hell. The movie puts that across quite well, including footage from a three-year stretch during which the filmmakers, Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver, followed the band around the world and hung out with Lemmy in his extremely cluttered Hollywood apartment. It also includes interviews with ex-bandmembers from both Motörhead and Hawkwind, testimonials from several dozen of his friends in other bands, and much, much more. It's an absolute must-see for any Motörhead fan, and also highly worthwhile for anybody interested in seeing rock 'n' roll from the inside.
Band features former members of Opeth, Death; sounds like Tool
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