All posts in October 2014

Washington Think Tank with W.: What makes metal music scary?

Today’s Question: What makes metal music scary?

Friends, I love Halloween. I have fond memories of trick-or-treating with my family (always wearing a coat over my costume because we typically got our first snow right before Halloween) and of going to fall festivals with my friends. Even the most conservative people can find something to enjoy about the season, even if it is just the colorful displays of death and decay in the leaves of their trees. However, something interesting often happens around Halloween. Our innate desire to embrace the frightful is often enhanced as a cultural norm. Those who don’t typically fare in the darker arts as we metalheads do will find themselves indulging in horror movies or “scary” music. Why? There’s something raw and primal about tapping into your fears. There’s a release of endorphins as you embrace the animal instinct of fight or flight. It can be thrilling to be terrified.

We metal fans should know this more than most as we often willingly force ourselves to confront the confounding and face something frightening. I’ve previously written about bands that legitimately scare me. See the exhibits below.

Exhibit A: Ævangelist

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Continue exploring the primal fear of metal at The Toilet Ov Hell.

Writhes In The Murk Review + Full Stream at Cvlt Nation

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Read the full review and listen to the stream at Cvlt Nation.

Writhes In The Murk is without a doubt one of the densest albums released so far this year. It indulges in noise and abstract heaviness without forsaking their chops. The instrumentation spirals into diabolic flurries that sound like a cross between Mr. Bungle and Deathspell Omega. The more black metal element slither along side the denser climate of death metal, but this project has now transcended both both genres. They reach out to harshness of every scope, even touching open an industrial abrasiveness. On the title track they utilize a sample of a girl talking which fades in and out of the din, almost taking the place of vocals, which are relegated to mutters and snarls out from the shadows. Chances are if you are reading this, you like your metal dark and unconventional. If that is the case, this could be the best album of the year that you miss out on if you don’t check them out. 

Ævangelist Talks About Their Formation, Prolific Output and Unsettling Sound

Read the interview at New Noise Magazine.

Interview with instrumentalist Matron Thorn | By Brandon Ringo

Florida is certainly not an odd place to hear great, unique death metal. For all intents and purposes, the genre was born in Florida. Even so, it’s shocking that the hateful, oppressive, horrifying sounds of Ævangelist were spawned by the state. With the release of Writhes in the Murk – their newest slab of terror – the band has now released head-turning full-lengths three years in a row. Guitarist, bassist, drummer, and terrifying atmosphere-ist Matron Thorn discusses how the band formed, their prolific output, and why their sound is so damn unsettling.

What were the circumstances that led to the band’s creation?

2010 was when I approached [vocalist, saxophonist, cellist] Ascaris about working on an original project after we toured together in that same year in a different band. There was a certain chemistry onstage that suggested something more to our encounter, creatively. By design, this “music” is an aberration of all our collective influences; we distanced ourselves from the nuances of pre-existing bands to cultivate something closer to the soul. Whether or not its form turned out to be metal of some kind was inconsequential to the path.

Was your dark sound and atmosphere something you initially aimed to create when the band started?

At the heart of Ævangelist, we have always sought to provide an honest reflection of human existence through our mirrors to the other side. Terror and misery were simply the result of our formula.

Where does Ævangelist’s creative influence come from?

The music and lyrics combine to transmit the dark frequency of the esoteric, which is heard by every person who decides to listen. Nothing is necessary to channel the muse that endows the art, for it is something which defies rational explanation, yet we carry with us always.

Tell me about the album art for Writhes in the Murk.

The artwork for Writhes in the Murk is a piece originally created by a Polish artist, Andrzej Masianis. It was selected for its empirical visual relationship to the atmosphere of this album: an image vaguely romantic and of equally sinister portent to convey what could be interpreted as voluntary enslavement to the grandiose vices of the “murk,” or however others might define the blurry moral dead zone where crimes are victimless and indulgence leads to madness. Many secrets are disclosed within the music and are left to be found by whoever may stumble upon them, but the ending is never clear and is never given away without exchange. Whatever is taken away from this art is always reciprocated by the listener, and this is how the music continues to live on and spread through others. We intend to perpetuate the addiction of the devoted to our formula for as long as we shall live.

With the release of Writhes in the Murk, you guys have now put out three albums in three years. Are the albums tied together by any particular theme?

Regardless of how often the formula is replicated, it must transform and change shape, though the exchange will always be the same. This is the only constant. We will explore new ways to peer through the veil and innovate the flavors of horror and despair that exist where others don’t perceive them. We are constantly refining our approach to make every album unique. Some instances will be more technically diverse, others will expand soundscapes to exterior dimensions, and others should suffocate you inside of a box. There is too much unexplored to never go astray.

The Only Grave streaming at Noisey

Taking pages from bands like Incantation, Portal and others, Ævangelist use death metal as their primary vehicle to launch their nightmare, but dip into dark ambient, black metal and power electronics to seal in even more horror. Their latest effort is Writhes in the Murk, their third LP due via Hells Headbangers Records on 10/21, just in time to scare the shit out of every kid in a Halloween costume. Stream the new track “The Only Grave” for the first time below.

Listen at Noisey (Music by Vice)