Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Boris "Heavy Rocks (2011)"

Alright, so over the past few weeks I have felt a general boredom with any form of music, not just metal. And leave it to Japanese masterminds Boris to get me out of a really bad slump. Heavy Rocks (not to be confused with the album of the same name released in 2004, look for the purple one) is one of the best slabs of music I have heard in a long, long time. The opening track burns speakers like varg burned churches, these are not riffs for the faint of heart, or those prone to seizures. As most of you aware of boris know, their albums take very quick turns, this is not an exception, right after the ungodly destruction "Riot Sugar" brought to your mind, the following song is reminiscent of sonic youth if they had gone through a dance music phase. This album runs the gamut from Heavy doom and stoner riffs to dance music to ambient shoegaze and everything in between. We even get a taste of their old drone stylings for a moment on what has become my personal favorite from this album, "Aileron". If you have yet to check out Boris, or think of them as a indie fad, you are missing out on what is one of the most inventive trios in music. I cannot wait to see what they will do next, and judging by the three albums already released this year (the amazing "New Album" and I don't give a fuck what anyone says, "Attention Please" is phenomenal) it won't be a long wait. Buy these albums right now.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sorry for the wait...

Things have been a bit hectic over the past few weeks and unfortunately as a result I have been unable to keep up with things as I would like. However I have a few small updates.

1. Hull is an amazing band that all of you should check out. I had the pleasure of opening for them the other night, only to have them be shut down by the local police. Couldn't happen to nicer guys, or a better band.

2. Batillus, also of Brooklyn, are one of the heaviest bands I've ever witnessed. One of the most intense live shows I have so far witnessed.

3. I am currently working very hard on writing for my band, The Velia Shrine's first album. If you are at all interested check us out on reverbnation.

Now, enough shameless self promotion. In the next few weeks I will have more interviews and album reviews for those of you interested. One in the works which I am unbelievably excited for. But we'll see how things pan out. Either way, thanks for your interest in this music.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Interview: Greg Anderson of Sunn o)))

So it's obvious enough that I'm a big Sunn and Goatsnake fan, so to get the opportunity to sit down with Greg Anderson, who has done alot for Doom in the past thirteen years. So check it out, tell us what you think!

Scott White: How did you guys get started with Sunn o)))?

Greg Anderson: Well Stephen O’Malley had a band together called Thor’s Hammer, part of the mid-90’s. It was more of a traditional band setup, guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. And we started playing music together in that and eventually that band dissolved and we formed a group called burning witch, that band dissolved as well. Stephen and I wanted to continue playing music together, we kind of moved into different places. He moved to England, I moved to Los Angeles. We eventually found ourselves back in Los Angeles, he moved there so we kind of started Sunn as an excuse to continue to play music together, and at that point I had more of a serious band called Goatsnake that was playing a lot, but I still wanted to do some music with Steve so we started doing that, and really it was Steve and I playing through as many amps as we possibly could together, making a bunch of noise playing riffs together, that’s how it started,  just really simple, Without any sort of expectations or aspirations. That was about 1998 when we really started playing together and gave it a name, made a recording, which was the Grimmrobes demos which was our first recording. We just played together for a few times and then went into the studio and made that demo. You know, the music was based on a lot of improvisation so it wasn’t something that we…we didn’t spend a lot of time in the beginning, we just kind of went in and did it.

SW: Was there a lot of focus on live shows, or was there basically no focus on it in the beginning?

GA: We played a few shows, but mostly there was no real desire to play the music live, or do what we were doing live. It was more sort of a selfish thing, just him and I playing music together. Playing live wasn’t so much of a consideration, although we did do a few live shows in the early days, and then eventually a few years later we started playing out a lot more. And the last couple of years, we’ve done a lot of shows.

SW: What is it about extremely slow dense music that gets you going? Most people when they’re thirteen are into super fast Slayer-type shit, what was it that made you want to slow it down?

GA: Well, Stephen and I are also into fast music too. I think there’s a few direct and obvious influences for us, we’re both really into the Melvins, and we’re both really into Earth. I thought the concept of the first couple of Earth records, where it was really focused on minimalism and lack of drums and percussion, that was really intriguing for us and that was kind of how we started was really, sort of emulating that way of making noise and making sounds was really a direct influence, especially that second Earth record, Earth 2. It’s not like we don’t like fast music, it’s just playing slow music was something we enjoyed playing together. There was a lot more space and room to create more sound and experiment with…ya know if the tempo’s really fast and you’re on a meter its like beat the clock ya know? Trying to fit as much as you can in a riff, but for us it’s trying to expand that and stretch time with music, creating music.

SW: Was focusing on low frequencies hard in the beginning because you didn’t have bass or drums? Is that why you went with Sunn amps?

GA: Well sunn amps were just a preferential amp for us, those amps are designed initially as bass amps, and even the guitar stuff would respond well to bass frequencies and has more of a bass response than a Marshall, Mesa Boogie, or Hiwatt. So, at the time we were just using what we had, and I was fortunate enough to have a few sunn amps, so that’s what we used. The idea was kind of, through the low tunings and using the settings of the amps, was to set everything so that it really had a lot of bass to it. Personally, I think what sunn was doing and continues to do as guitars has a lot more low frequencies and bass than many bands that have bass. Especially in the metal scene, bass is unfortunately an afterthought for a lot of bands. And the bands that really do have technically proficient bass players, they’re not really working with the spectrum of low frequencies, they’re just creating something that goes under the guitar, or a lot of times, my problem with it, is it follows the guitar, it’s almost like the reason some of these bands have bass players is that it’s the traditional way things are done. It’s like “well we gotta have bass, drums, guitars, and vocals. That’s the way that things are done in music, in bands.” But I don’t know if the low frequencies of that instrument are really given much consideration, and for Sunn it’s the opposite. We want to consider that frequency for sure, consider bass in the equation of things. And I think really, a lot of the bands we’ve played in outside of Sunn or a lot of the bands I guess the…for lack of a better word, the doom metal or the drone scene, those bands are really focused on bass. One of the reasons I’m attracted to it is I really like that aspect of music, I like that sound.

SW: On your new album, I was really interested in hearing how you diversified the bass into other instruments, it wasn’t just guitar anymore. I was especially excited when I heard “Big Church”, just to hear a choral arrangement was not something I expected when I picked up the new sunn cd. Whose idea was it to come in with the choir arrangements?

GA: I’m not sure exactly whose idea it was, we’ve been talking about that concept for quite a while actually in trying to add that to, or integrate it, into our sound, or experiment with it on a piece of music. Really to us it was about expanding the sound of the group and expanding the musicality of the music we were making, I think for a lot of people they just listen to it and to them it sounds like a loud refrigerator, but I think there’s many layers and textures and a lot of depth to what we’re doing. And I think that, especially on this last record, it was a kind of showcase to not only push the boundaries of it but to  really present it in a way that is a little more obvious than some of our other records. I think a lot of our other records take a lot of deep listening to hear everything, where as this record, the layers were a bit more obvious. Our idea was to have them integrated fully so that it didn’t sound like something that was tacked on, we didn’t want to have “Sunn with strings” like Metallica did with their record, we wanted it to really be a collaborative record, not only with us playing with these instruments but to really integrate it, and not something like an overdub. And again, something to really try to put some focus on how depth and how much layering there is in the music.

SW: A few years ago, you had begun to work with Attila, and as a big Mayhem fan I was stoked for that. How did you come into contact with him?

GA: Steve was in correspondence with him in the early nineties, Steve had an underground metal fanzine called descent and he actually interviewed Attila for that  magazine probably in 91 or 92, so he had been in contact with him through that and was interested in his music, as I was too. Personally, my favorite black metal record was the “De Mysteriis dom Sathanas” record that he sang on. There’s a lot of black metal music out there and I really thought it was exceptionally unique and really stood out and was really my favorite black metal album and really because of his vocal performance. I think the music was really cool on that record, really well written and very interesting, but I think his vocals were really what, to me, was the best part of that record. And you know, he’s the type of person that’s kind of like minded to Stephen and I as very interested in pushing the boundaries of music within the genre and experimenting as an artist. We ended up making contact with him around 2001 or 2002, and invited him to, we were on one of our first trips to Europe, we invited him to come see us play and we talked about collaborating. He was very interested in what sunn was doing because it was so spacious, and he felt like he could really do something interesting within what we were doing, without any sort of restrictions. When we started working with him, it was before he had rejoined Mayhem, he was very…he’s always open to different ideas in expressing himself. But I think that working with Sunn was a really good outlet for him and I think sort of influenced some of his work he did with Mayhem.  I think the stuff that he’s doing with Mayhem now and the last record he was on was also very different and it was cool to hear his progression and seeing them live was the same thing, he’s definitely working in an experimental mind set within what can be considered a somewhat traditional black metal band.
SW: Was it strange to fit in a vocalist during live shows into what you and Steven were doing?

GA: No, not really, we were pretty excited about it. It’s always, whether it’s a vocalist, keyboards, a trombone, upright bass, any sort of instrumentation we’ve been able to collaborate with has always been interesting and I think it’s exciting to do that, especially when it works. And with Attila, he just gets it, and the chemistry between Attila and Stephen and I is really strong and I think that it comes up with some really, really different music, ya know?

SW: So this year you guys are curating the Roadburn festival in Holland, what’s the band you’re most excited to see?

GA: uh…I’m really excited to see Winter, I think that’s gonna be really interesting  what they come up with or how they sound, I never got to see them back in the day so I think that’s pretty cool. I’m also really excited to see Caspar Brotzmann Massaker, because I haven’t seen him play since the mid nineties, I was actually in a band that went on tour with him in the united states, and it was kind of at the beginning of Stephen and I’s friendship and playing together, and that was one of the artists that was, I guess, considered to be non-metal that we both really liked a lot, I think it’s gonna be really cool, I’m really looking forward to it.

SW: Did you get to choose the entire lineup for the show?

GA: Yeah, for that day. There’s four stages that day and one of the stages was curated by Roadburn, which is this good size theater, it’s actually outside the main venue, called the Midi theater and they had a concept for that. I guess when they ask artist’s to curate one day, it’s for those three stages. So I think we picked like fifteen bands or something, and on the other stage they picked about four bands.  But good picks too I noticed, Place of Skulls is playing, they put out a couple records on Southern Lord and I think Voivod is playing that night too, which is cool. I think that’s one of the reasons we were chosen to curate, the organizers of Roadburn and Sunn and Southern Lord, for that matter, have very similar tastes in music and sort of on the same page. It’s an honor to do, for sure, but when they saw our lineup they were excited to see who we picked and hopefully realize that they made a good decision and that we get it.

SW: I’ve noticed that after years of listening to your music, I rarely see U.S. tours, do you not like touring or is there some other conflict?

GA: It’s difficult for this group to tour, because everyone lives in a different place. No one lives in the same town, or city, or state. I live in Los Angeles, Stephen lives in Paris, France and Attila lives in Hungary other players that we’ve played with live elsewhere as well so getting it together logistically is difficult, and it’s really important for us to have a specific backline which is really large so to be able to travel with that and to be able to find venues that are suitable for that is not always easy either, we can’t really play…there’s several clubs that are sort of the typical places you would play in a town that wouldn’t be appropriate for what we do, and it’s also sort of a choice of the group to try to play alternative places. If possible, a church is always interesting and fun to play in. Just different places, to us the setting of where we’ll play is a part of the whole experience so we’re trying to offer a unique experience for the audience member, and if you just do it at the local black box bar pick up spot in your town, it’s not really the appropriate spot for what we’re doing, ya know?

SW: Are there any plans for a small tour in the near or distant future?

GA: No, not right now. We toured very extensively in 2009 and into the beginning of 2010 I think we did uh…close to seventy shows, which for us is a lot. And we did three different tours within the United States, we did a Midwest, west coast, and east coast tour, we did two different tours of Europe, a tour of UK and this was almost all in the support and sort of in the direction of the music that was on the last album, Monoliths & Dimensions, and that was great. I think we did a lot musically that…what came out of it was progressed or regressed in some ways, which was cool as well, it grew and I thought we had some really great shows. But after that, everyone decided, well…Stephen and I decided, that we wanted to take a rest and do other things and see what would happen and kind of waiting. Right now we’re really not sure what the next move is gonna be, doing this Roadburn thing is gonna be great and we’re excited to do that. But beyond that, I don’t know, I ‘m kind of more interested in trying to figure out where, musically, where we’re going to go and maybe thinking about the next recording rather than a live show. Live shows are great, and they can be very enjoyable but doing it on the scale that sunn does it and what’s required for a sunn show is pretty exhausting so it’s not like this band is ever going to be a touring band, like a High on Fire, or something that goes and plays nine months out of the year, it’s just never going to be that way. Not only because of what everyone has going on in their personal lives, but the whole concept of touring is sort of poison to the music for sunn, because when we’ve done long tours I’ve noticed it’s like…you can kind of get stuck or stagnant. And it’s not because the lack of creativity, it’s just a symptom of the road, and being on it and the monotony, and the kind of negative aspects of touring can definitely affect the psyche of the players, which in turn affects the music. So I’ve noticed for us, it’s best to do a weekend worth of shows or a one off type of situation rather than night, after night, after night and I think that kind of kills the music, at least for me. And we’ve seen that happen in the group before.

SW: I know I’ve never gotten to see you live, but I’ve heard from people that have that it’s an almost spiritual experience. Is that an aesthetic that you intend for people to have?

GA: Well it’s nothing we can really control; I can’t really control the reaction of the audience. But I do really appreciate and am grateful that people have a different experience at the show and I’ve heard similar stories from people. And that to me is really inspiring to keep playing music and to continue playing live as well. Buy you know, the whole thing for me, about this music, is that, and the way it’s presented, is very non-traditional, so we’re not really expecting or pandering or trying to get any specific reaction out of the audience. It’s an experience, I’ve always said that I don’t really care what kind of reaction somebody has, whether it’s negative or positive it’s just…if they have any reaction, that’s important. I would not want to be in a situation where somebody was like “well you know, I’d rather go home and watch TV”, I’d rather have somebody go “this is fucking terrible, this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen” or somebody say “oh this is great”. Personally that’s what I would hope somebody would take from the show, just some type of effect on that person. Otherwise, what’s the point? There’s so many bands and so many shows and so many things to do these days it’s like…ya know, fuck it ha-ha. I don’t want to just be another…I don’t want it to be boring for people. So, I don’t know, like I said, I can’t control what peoples experience is going to be with it, their reaction.

SW: You’re record label, Southern Lord, has an awesome comment on the back of your albums “Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results”, and is this humor? And do you guys prefer vinyl?

GA: Well, “Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results” is sort of, a bit of humor. The reality is that most people’s stereos, especially these days with people listening to shit on their computers or iPods, they’re listening devices are pretty subpar. So expecting people to listen to something on a decent stereo is sort of a lost cause. And you know, not everyone’s an audiophile, people listen to music how they like to listen to music. Some people are really obsessive about their stereos and how they listen to music, most aren’t. But to us it was like, and the whole point of the band playing live really was because we realized that there was no way that any recording we made could be reproduced like it is when you go see it live. So we just put that in their cause we were hoping that people would turn the music up and actually feel it, sort of like they would in an actual show.

SW: When did you start Southern Lord?

GA: 1998

SW: How many bands did you start with on your label?

GA: First two releases were Thorr’s Hammer and Burning Witch, actually the first two bands that Stephen and I played together in. So my first was the Thorr’s Hammer record and then shortly after that we came out with the Burning Witch recordings.

SW: On you label you’ve worked with everyone from Pelican, Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus, basically a laundry list of every awesome band. Is there a formula to how you find these bands?

GA: It’s just driven by my taste really. A lot of the early stuff was either our music or people we were in direct contact with.  And then as we got a few releases under our belt the label gets more attention and people start knowing about it and people become aware, and bands become aware of what you’re doing. We’ve been really fortunate to work with a lot of amazing artists, and I guess from the very beginning we’ve tried to be as fair as possible with the artists, making sure they’re accounted to properly and paid when they’re owed money. I think, in comparison, to the majority of labels out there that’s sort of a rarity and I think a lot of people know that. And I think the fact also that the label is run by…I’m a musician ya know, I play in bands and there’s definitely some empathy that I have with the bands and artists that labels that are not artist run labels do not understand. I think they’re coming from a much more skewed business side than Southern Lord would. In some ways, that could be one of our weaknesses as well, I tend to work with and give a lot of chances to artists that maybe don’t go out there and tour a lot, ya know there’s some labels where that’s the number one thing for them is that their bands be out on the road constantly and that’s smart and it’s been successful for them, but that’s one thing for us is that I understand not being able to go out on the road because you have a family, or you have a job, or because you’re not in your twenties anymore. So sometimes, we work with artists and support them even though they’re not able to go out there and promote themselves. So, I think there are several reasons why we’ve been able to exist as long as we have; those are some of the things that come to mind.


We'll have an interview with Greg Anderson from Sunn o))) up on Sunday afternoon!!! Tell your doomed friends and get over here to check it out!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Five Best Concerts (or Festivals) I Have Ever Seen

This yearly festival in Austin, Texas, is a perfect example of good people still living in this world. Only at this show could you see Floor, Kylesa, Municipal Waste, Slick Rick, Best Coast, and Gwar all on the same set. Oh and ya know...MASTODON AND HIGH ON FIRE!!! For fuck's sake dude, this show had it all!!! I was only able to make it to the Sunday of this last year's festival, but being able to see Floor twice in one day is the most epic story I ever have had.

2. Sleep
I feel blessed to have seen this...seriously. That concert was more than loud guitars and weed, it was a spiritual experience. The Mohawk in Austin, Texas was the perfect place to see Sleep. It's an open venue, the place was sold out, and every person there was literally walking through a cloud of weedsmoke. Hearing Dopesmoker, and all of Holy Mountain was an amazing thing to behold. Even though Chris Haikus was no longer a part of the band when I saw them, Jason Roeder of Neurosis was an excellent fill-in. This was a perfect reminder of why I got into music in the first place, pure energy.

3. Iron Maiden
My best friend and I have been listening to Iron Maiden since we were thirteen, and because of the time we had gotten into them, it wasn't until we were nineteen that we got the opportunity to see them. Needless to say, we got to the venue at eight in the morning, before most of the employees, and waited. It started raining around noon, and didn't stop for hours. By the time we got into the venue we were soaking wet and freezing. But we had gotten front row to Iron Maiden. The show was incredible, 20,000 people. I was lucky enough to catch Steve Harris' wristband after it was thrown in the crowd, and we got to meet the insanely nice Nicko McBrain. That was a childhood dream realized, and another good reason why that band kicks so much ass.

4. Opeth, Baroness, High on Fire
Seriously...I don't even need to say a word about it. That lineup is enough to scare mere mortals. Purely epic in every sense of the word, and my first exposure to Baroness.

5. Torche
While alot of people say they are too poppy or soft, I couldn't disagree more. Go see them play Tarpit Carnivore and tell me that isn't the heaviest song you've ever heard. These guys are one of my favorite bands and they deserve all their current acclaim, and more. I cannot say enough good things about this band.

There are plenty of bands I haven't gotten the chance to see that I someday hope to, Sunn o))), Isis (yeah, I know, they're gone), Neurosis, Boris, I could go on for quite a while. But anyways, POST YOUR TOP FIVE CONCERTS EVER!!! Tell me why too! Don't just put a list, that's fucking lame!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Album Review: Earth "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1"

Ok so as most would figure out by looking at our site, we are big Earth fans, as we suspect most of you are. Earth 2, Bees made honey in the lions skull, etc., all of these albums offer a kind of relaxed enjoyment of drone that most bands cannot match. Their new record is currently streaming on NPR and I decided to go ahead and review it so that you may be forewarned that this is not the same Earth you are accustomed to, this is a more mature focused Earth. But believe me, it's not such a departure that you will be hearing upbeat pop songs. The same slow movements permeate throughout this record.
The country "Desert" aesthetic of previous albums is back and feels more focused then before. I am very excited to hear the string section finally find it's way into an Earth album. The cellos adds a depth and warmth to an already organic feeling band. The cello will sometimes mimic the bass line to add an unprecedented depth to the songs. The drums, though not flashy, give the perfect almost jazz-esque vibe to these songs.
Dylan's telecaster sound has a subtle twang that is gorgeous on this album, with chords that remind me more of Dave Brubeck than Black Sabbath. I for one, feel that this is what Earth is and should be. A movement towards a grand feeling, and that's precisely what this album is, one breathing movement. It's unbelievably refreshing to hear such an organic, subtle album in the age of drum quantizing and eight string guitars with high gain amps. This is a breath of fresh air when every other band is attempting to suffocate you, and what a deep slow breath it is.


Monday, January 31, 2011


Hey guys, just thought you all be interested in checking out EARTH'S NEW ALBUM!!! I'VE BEEN WAITING TWO (ALMOST THREE) YEARS FOR THIS RECORD!!! NPR has the entire record streaming right now, so go check it out at this link!!!


Ok, so this is a tour we've been really excited about, and it just got twice as epic. Helmet, Saint Vitus, Crowbar, and now Kylesa has been announced as an opener. This is looking to be a concert that I will be talking about for years!!! Here's the press release!

The 2011 Metalliance Tour has just announced the complete line up for their already impressive and highly anticipated tour. The run of dates are now complete and will be supported by metal heavyweights KYLESA, RED FANG, HOWL and ATLAS MOTH. The tour organizers had the honor of having Brian Mercer also provide all of the visuals and artwork for The Metalliance Tour. He is best known for creating artwork for such bands as EYEHATEGOD, ZOROASTER, BLACK TUSK, LAMB of GOD and countless others. (

Dates have officially been announced. The tour sponsored by Revolver Magazine,, Brooklyn Vegan, Mosh Potatoes Cookbook and Giddy Up! Sauces is proud to announce HELMET, SAINT VITUS and CROWBAR for its inaugural line up. "We are glad to be part of this tour; I think it's a great bill. The bands I have heard so far each have a strong musical identity as opposed to so much of the generic, lowest common denominator music out there,” says HELMET front man Page Hamilton.

03/17/11 Dallas, TX @ Southside Music Hall
03/18/11 Austin, TX @ Dirty Dog / SXSW
03/19/11 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
03/20/11 St Petersburg, FL @ State Theater
03/21/11 Orlando, FL @ Firestone Live
03/22/11 Greensboro, NC @ Greene Street
03/23/11 Springfield, VA @ Jaxx
03/24/11 Worcester, MA @ Palladium
03/25/11 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
03/26/11 Cleveland, OH @ Peabody's
03/27/11 Joliet, IL @ Mojoe's
03/29/11 Denver, CO @ The Summit
03/31/11 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
04/01/11 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
04/03/11 San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine
04/05/11 Hollywood, CA @ House Of Blues

$50 VIP tickets will be available courtesy of Artist Arena. This very special package will include:

- A General Admission Ticket
- Access to a Meet & Greet with Metalliance lineup
- A Metalliance hot sauce bottle
- A Commemorative VIP Show Laminate
- An Autographed poster
- 1 Issue of Revolver Magazine

One grand prize winner will be randomly selected for a Dinner With The Bands, an autographed Mosh Potatoes Cookbook and one T-shirt from each of the bands.

One second-place winner will randomly be selected for a one-on-one guitar lesson with Kirk Windstein from Crowbar and an autographed Mosh Potatoes Cookbook.

VIP tickets are on sale NOW. Click here for more information on this once in a lifetime experience!

Legendary alternative metal band HELMET will perform their 1992 platinum-selling release of Meantime in its entirety. The Interscope Records release gave the band mainstream attention with songs like “Unsung” and “In The Meantime”. With the band's renewed success after getting back together in 2004, this tour will be one of the most anticipated of 2011.

One of the most highly influential Doom Metal bands in America, SAINT VITUS are regarded as one of the first bands of the genre starting out as early as the 1970’s. The band featuring Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Mark Adams, guitarist Dave Chandler and drummer Henry Vasquez have influenced so many bands in Doom and Metal . "Saint Vitus is more than ready to infect The Metalliance Tour! We've been wanting to do something like this for some time prepare for destruction!!" says lead guitarist Dave Chandler. The band has done a handful of shows and some European Festivals but this will be their first full US tour in over a decade.

CROWBAR front man Kirk Windstein concludes, “Wow! This tour is gonna rule! I've loved Helmet since the beginning and loved St. Vitus even longer. With the new Crowbar record having hit the streets by then, look out! This bill will bring just what we need to crush each city with an avalanche of stylistic thunder!”

Metalliance Website Site:


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our favorite albums of the week!!!

Just a short top five of the albums we're listening to this week, post what you've been listening to, this site is for sharing knowledge about every band you know!

1. Mastodon "Crack The Skye"

2. Black Sabbath "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"

3. Electric Wizard "Black Masses"

4. Saint Vitus "Born Too Late"

5. Godflesh "Streetcleaner"

So, that's just a short list for this week, like I said, post any good bands you know about! We have a constant need for new music and I hope that all of you can help us find more great bands, as hopefully we help you. DOOM!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview: Conrad Sundholm of Sunn O)) amplification

For those of you who are guitar players, and into underground metal or just into vintage amplifiers, you have probably heard of Sunn amplifiers. I was given the opportunity to interview the man who started the company, Conrad Sundholm. This man is an awesome person who is still, at 72, pushing himself to make new amplifiers. So here's my complete interview with the man himself.

Scott: What made you decide to start building your amplifiers?
Conrad Sundholm: Well I’d always been a hi-fi buff in building my own equipment, you know, for my home use. And then when my brother was a bass player for the Kingsmen, at the time he was working at a music store in Portland, Oregon, and he was using old Bogen 60-watt tube p.a. amplifiers for his bass. And then he brought a, let’s see, a 2x15 cabinet to me and we modified the cabinet so he could get more low end out of it. And that’s kind of what started it. And then, I told him that I would build him a cabinet for him. And he wired up an old dynaco 60 watt mark 3 power amp and we used a dynaco preamp with it, threw it in a box, and I built the cabinet which was a rear loaded folded horn which later became the 200s cabinet. This particular one had extra bracing in it, and it sounded great. And then he got involved with the Kingsmen, and took that system out on the road and you know it was outperforming anything else that was out there so people were asking about it, and he told them to go to their local dealers to ask them to carry the product. I was back at home, building this stuff and he was out there kinda promoting it out on the road playing for the Kingsmen.
SW: Wow, that sounds like it worked out perfectly. Did you have any formal training in electronics or was it just messing around when you were younger?
CS: No I had no formal training, but as the company grew I hired people who had very good electronics backgrounds.
SW: What was the creative process like for creating you amplifiers, like the model T and Solara. Were there any epiphany moments, where you decided that that would be a good sound?
CS: Well, the big epiphany moment for me was the 200S cabinet, I had kind of a…I don’t know…a guidance coming out of sleep, in terms of a design for that. And the next day I got up and built the design which turned out to be the 200S, which norm used on the road, which proved to be a very good bass cabinet. The other stuff like the Model T and the Solarus, was just a matter of me providing inputs from the marketplace and the kind of performance that was needed, and then sitting down with the engineers and discussing it and having them design the product and then doing the sound testing and field testing of the product that was involved with that.
SW: Are you aware of how many bands still use the Model T, and still tout it as being one of the best amplifiers?
CS: Um…yes I, see that model T was developed just as I was leaving the company, so I was not too aware of everybody that used them but I know there were a lot of big groups, a lot of regional groups, which were big back in that day, though it’s not happening today. I know West of Mountain and other big name groups were using that stuff.
SW: Well actually, as of right now you have a band that’s named after your company.
CS: Right, I think they’re a death metal band or something like that.
SW: It’s actually kind of a drone thing, they originally didn’t even use a drummer, and they just use your amplifiers. I always thought that was really interesting because the sound was thick enough that they don’t need other instruments.
CS: Well, on the early units we used really high quality output transformers that could go down to even 10 Hz [sw note: that’s an octave lower than the average human’s hearing…that’s bass folks] and they were very very linear. We used a method of connecting the screens to a screen tap on the output transformer, which is called an ultra-linear output and they were very very clean and deep in their response.
SW: It could get to 10 Hz?
CS: I had a 2000s on my bench a couple of months ago and I measured it and it could go down to 10 Hz.
SW: Wow…that’s low.
CS: You know, a bass guitar, the fundamental low frequency is around 42 Hz, but, you know,  if you can go down one octave below the fundamental frequency of the bass guitar then you have a really good performing amplifier. The only question is how you get a speaker cabinet that will go down there.
SW: So in the 90’s Fender bought out your company?
CS: Yes, I sold the company to Hartsel Industries out of Minneapolis, Saint Paul. They wanted to diversify into electronics and then they operated the company for a number of years and then they eventually sold it to fender, and fender operated a factory here in Lake Oswego Oregon, which is a suburb of Portland. And they did a lot of their builds here; in fact I think they might have built some of the Fender product here in that location, I’m not sure about that.
SW: How did you feel about the buyout? Was it ok with you to have that name be used by Fender?
CS: Well, I have no control over that ha-ha. You know, we worked hard at building a quality reputation and a product that would really withstand the rigors of road travel and I’m not so sure that was maintained by Fender. But you know, by that point I’m really totally out of it, emotionally, psychologically, and physically. And I really didn’t pursue what they were doing.
SW: Have you ever considered re-acquiring the title of Sunn, since they have seemingly stopped all production.
CS: You know, I haven’t. You know for me in my life, too many schematics too little time, you know what I mean? I’m 72 years old now, I’m just happy to be doing what I’m doing now, building the amps that I’m building. I have given some thought to building a clone of the Model T; I would probably call it a Model C.
SW: That would be amazing. I know for my friends and I, we’ve always wanted to find a good first generation Model T, even a second generation but really we have tried to ignore the post-fender model T’s. But they’re in such short supply that we can’t even find them.
CS: Well, I’ve given some thought to that and maybe as a result of our conversation here I’ll dig in and get it done. Yeah…the second generation Model T had some weird midrange switch in there using an inductor, it was kinda funky, I’ll have to study the schematic on that a little bit. Yeah, the first generation is the best unit. The key will be to find a good output transformer, duplicate what they had back then, and that transformer company is no longer in business.
SW: So you would have to find another company that makes an equal power transformer?
CS: Right, I’d have to find someone to build that transformer.
SW: What is the difference in design and performance of your newer amplifiers with your current company [Conrad Amps] than the amplifiers built with the Sunn Corporation?
CS: Well, I tell you what, we were best known in the era that I was involved in, for our bass amps and we always struggled coming up with a really good guitar amp; probably the first one was the model T. Although, there were others, the Solarus and so forth, but they really weren’t quite there. Because we were so clean oriented, you know what I mean? Linear oriented, we didn’t do anything that was high gain or designed to create distortion. And most of the musician input that we were receiving was more in the jazz orientation and cleaner tones. So anyways, here in the last few years, I’ve had a desire to build a good guitar amp, to see if I could really do that and so that’s kind of what motivated me to build the amps that I’m building now.
SW:  Do you mostly focus on getting a clean warm sound out of your newer amps instead of a high gain sound?
CS:  Well that’s the direction I’ve been going, and you know, that’s kind of where the model T is as well. The model T is not a high gain amp, you just really have to drive the snot out of that thing to get it to break up. I’ve had an interest here recently of doing some higher gain stuff.
SW: Was it your idea to go into mixers and P.A. systems?
CS:  Well, the initial push was bass amplifiers, but when Dick McCloud was hired in the engineering department he kind of took us in that direction with the solid state circuitry and stuff, so that led to those products. Later on I started another company called Bi-amp systems, and we were really big into mixing consoles, equalizers, power amps and stuff for the semi-pro audio market.
SW: Did your brother, Norm, ever help with the design of any models?
CS: Only from the standpoint of marketing input, you know he wasn’t a technically oriented person, he was a musician. He was involved in evaluating cones, and sound testing products.
SW: Well I really appreciate you taking the time to sit down and talk with me.
CS: Sure, No problem.

Check out these amplifiers! Let's all pray for the coming of a possible Model C!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Doom remains relevant...

So, in this age of digital downloading, not going to shows, and buying every band shirt at hot topic, it comes as no surprise that a form of music which prefers vinyl, as their medium for which to destroy eardrums, is still somewhat popular. On alot of Southern Lord releases (home to Sunn o))), Pelican, Boris, etc.) you will find the quote "maximum volume yields maximum results". These are not albums for your quaint little ipod headphones. These albums make even the largest of sound systems a bit nervous. The amazing thing about these recordings, is that the louder they get, the better they sound. There is nothing like a Sunn Model T being pushed to it's limits, it will destroy you and everyone in a thirty mile radius. The reason all of this is coming up is because we are sick of seeing bands with solid state amplifiers, choreographed moves, and hair that took longer to get right then their songs. I want my bands having loud tube amplifiers, possibly not even moving onstage, and hair that doesn't look washed. The uglier the people, the heavier the music.

So, to finish, next week we will have an interview with a man that you can thank for records ranging from saint vitus to sunn. We will have an interview with Conrad Sundholm, the man who created the Sunn 0))) amplification company. I am excited beyond words because I never have found interviews with the amp makers that create these amps that are practically worshipped by musicians and fans.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Five Bands You Must Check Out (for Your Sake and Theirs)

1. Bongripper
      "These dudes constantly create something crushing and then lull you into a false sense of calm right before
        crushing your skull again. The super low tuned guitars are an obvious reason, as well as the heavy as hell
        bass sound, but what will really get under your skin is the unbelievable groove. Buy their albums, all of
        them, now. Besides, how can you not afford to have an album called "Satan Worshiping Doom" in your
2. Kongh
      "Swedish metal trio's fucking rule, Kongh is no exception. Destructive guitar riffs, mind blowing calm
        interludes, and awesome vocals make this band something you, as a metal fan, cannot ignore. I only wish
        these dudes had more of an opportunity to tour the U.S. Go listen to "Voice of the Below" and tell me this band doesn't have an epic album in their future."
3. Isole
      "More Swedes, and more epic music. Not as crusty as most recent doom has been, Isole take the route of creating mind altering melodies while having some of the best guitar riffs I've heard in a long, long time. They also can satisfy anyone's taste for awesome shred guitar, without a sense of pomposity or showing off. I
       recommend you listen to their song "Dark Clouds" and immediately buy some robes and candles."
4. Ahab
      "From Germany, comes the heaviest band I have ever, in my life, heard. Ahab may be the first band to be
       completely deserving of the title of their genre, Nautic Funeral Doom. In other words, expect epic songs
       about Moby Dick. Now I know some people are going to get all upset and be like "well that's not cool
       Mastodon did it first." That may be true, but Mastodon didn't take the same road, while their album was
       fast, sludgy, and heavy, the albums Ahab produce are funeral dirges played at coma speeds. This is not
       for your average grindcore fan. These albums will give you the sensation of drowning in the loneliest part
       of the ocean. I defy you to find a heavier band."
5. Blood Ceremony
     "This band is the epitome of old school doom...with flutes. It's like if jethro tull didn't suck and actually
       played badass doom. These records sound like they're from the seventies in tone and quality. There isn't
       much more to say, they're fucking awesome."

So, I guess the point of all of this is that these five bands, among a large group of many others, deserve your attention. So check them out, if you know any others that we should be checking out, give us a list! We'll keep looking and post as much as we can about new bands and the guys mentioned above as we find them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Welcome to the black mass

Hello fellow occult-loving, riff-worshiping, doomheads.  We have created this blog with the full intention of bringing you what no other website or magazine, that we have found, has been able to. A full coverage of Doom, Stoner, and all around slow, heavy as gods, metal.  With such a lack of tour information, interviews, album reviews, and all around good shit in this genre, we have decided to try to please your appetites for doom. We truly love this music and we hope to bring you everything you would ever want to know about all of the awesome bands, current or not. Let the black mass begin.

Albums We're currently burning candles to:
Bongzilla - Hate Ashbury
Electric Wizard - Black Masses