Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Next Step Up - Fall from Grace

Next Step Up
Fall from Grace
Gain Ground

This is the 1996 LP Fall from Grace by the touchstone band in 1990s Baltimore hardcore, Next Step Up. Everything from the Intent to Kill review still applies, but listen to the cover of "Sweet Leaf." Joe Carducci once said that "Sweet Leaf" wasn't a physical rock performance when compared to "Supernaut." If that's true, then Next Step Up render "Sweet Leaf" into a force of nature. Very cool stuff.

Next Step Up - Fall from Grace

Next Step Up - Intent to Kill

Next Step Up
Intent to Kill
Gain Ground

As recommended by Justice Tripp, vocalist of Trapped Under Ice, here's Intent to Kill by Next Step Up. Back in the 90s, this was the soundtrack to many an ignorant Baltimore basement. This was "metalcore" before that term became synonymous with "As I lay Dying." Next Step Up played a perfect mix of Slayer, Obituary, Madball and Warzone. You need this.

Next Step Up - Intent to Kill

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mike Fury's Year in Review

No Funeral recently chatted (by e-mail) with the man of a million bands, Mike Fury. He reflects back on 2008 and reveals his plans for the coming year. Enjoy!

No Funeral: Will to Live played their final show this year. How do you feel about the legacy of the band and its place in history?

Mike Fury: Me personally, I definitely feel that Will To Live made an impact on people and bands across the nation and worldwide as well. Being a band for 10 years, I know WTL's music touched people from all over the globe. Having kids come up to us at shows, receiving emails from fans around the world; telling us how our music and words helped them in their lives, that's pretty deep! I'll tell you though, Rob To Live's lyrics are real, no bullshit! To be completely honest with you, I wish Will To Live was still a band doing the damn thing and had the chance to see the rest of the world but I feel like we went out with a bang and ended it off the right way. There were hardcore bands before WTL started but Will To Live most definitely stands as the first real Texas Hardcore band. I mean, the scene we have now is because of Will To Live. Rob started it in Houston and it just spread from there.

No Funeral: You spent (approximately) two months touring Europe with Die Young this year. Any Favorite cities? What cool bands did you get to play shows with over there?

Mike Fury: Hahaha Damn, I loved all the cites we played but, if I have to narrow it down to my favorites, I'd have to say Reykjavik, Iceland - Moscow, Russia - Budapest, Hungary - Helsinki, Finland - Prague, Czech Republic and, of course, Amsterdam, Holland. Shit, I got to smoke weed there, legally. Ha-ha! The cities I mentioned, they were all amazing shows and not only that but the cities were just beautiful. I still can't believe I went to all those places.

As far as bands go, we played with so many bad-ass bands from over there. My personal favorites were Lighthouse Project (Finland), Deathbed (Finland), Gavin Portland (Iceland), What We Feel (Russia), Cobretti (Germany), Sink Or Swim (Germany), In Other Climes (France), Paura (Brazil), Dead Vows (Sweden), Liar (Netherlands), Action (Czech Republic), Plague Mass (Austria), and of course our touring buddies who we toured with for a month straight: Confronto (Brazil). To all of you out there reading this, please check out all these amazing bands!

No Funeral: Indisgust has had past problems with record companies. Any change on that front? Any releases coming out in 2009?

Mike Fury: I'm hoping that 2009 will be a big change for Indisgust. We've been a band for six years and it's time we start making some shit happen. We're not too worried about getting on a record label because of the bullshit we went through. Our main focus is to record a 6 or 7 song EP at the end of Jan/early Feb. If we come across the right people and who really want to help us out then that'll be cool but as of now we're just going to release it ourselves, which I think would be the best thing to do at this time.

No Funeral: What other projects do you have on the horizon? Playing with any other bands?

Mike Fury: Right now, Indisgust is my main band and priority but there'll be a couple of other projects on the way in the coming year. Me and Rob To Live are starting a new band called 'The Weight of Respect' with James Nealy (Ex-Die Young, Your Mistake), Chris Conflict (ex-Pride Kills), and Parrot (Your Mistake). This band is more along the likes of 100 Demons, Blood For Blood, Integrity....really just straight-ahead in your face. Hopefully you'll be seeing something in early 2009.

No Funeral: What was your favorite record that came out in 2008?

Mike Fury: I would have to say Metallica's 'Death Magnetic'. Being a big Metallica fan in all, I was really looking forward to the new release knowing that they were going back to some of their roots. Once I put the cd in the stereo, I couldn't take it out. It feels good to hear them play fast again. So for all you people who gave up on Metallica, take a listen to this album. I guarantee you'll think twice about it!

No Funeral: Any final thoughts?

Mike Fury: Yo, I just wanna give a shoutout to all my friends, family, and GAMC worldwide who have stuck by me in all my endeavors. Expect to see some big things happen in 2009! Check out Indisgust on Myspace for all the latest news, updates, and upcoming shows. I love you all, Mike Fury

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Top 10 of 2008

No Funeral
Top Ten of 2008
“The Hate in 0-8”

Here it is: the stuff that you should have bought/downloaded/shoplifted over the course of the past 12 months. Bravo to those who did. Dissenting opinion? Leave a comment. Friendly discussion is always encouraged. Enjoy the (mostly) MediaFire links. Happy New Year!

Number 10:

Burnt Cross
Carcass of Humanity
Punks before Profits

Burnt Cross emerged, this year, as the band that set the standard for modern peace punk: subdued, solemn, and poetic. Check out the original review here.

Burnt Cross – Carcass of Humanity

Number 9:

Death Magnetic
Warner Bros.

No, it doesn’t sound like the old stuff. Yes, it is lame that they mixed it with the “ear buds” in mind. Yes, this record is brutal. No, Death Magnetic does not suck.

Metallica (apparently has some issue with downloading) – Death Magnetic

Number 8:

Reborn to Kill Again
Metal Blade

I like the way that Bill Bates, of KPFT’s Ejacula show, described this album: After years of selling out, the ding-dongs from the who-know-who bands finally got their shit together and reformed their cool band.

I agree. What you have here is a weird compilation of Overcast material. Several re-recorded older songs, including much of Fight Ambition to Kill, and a few new numbers. Most children of the 90s jizzed over this one.

Overcast - Fight Ambition to Kill

Number 7:

Arson Anthem
Debut EP

After his much-maligned detours during and after Hurricane Katrina, Mike Williams (EyeHateGod) crashed with one Phillip “Anton Crowley” Anselmo, where they got drunk and listened to old punk vinyl. Eventually, Hank III and Collin Yeo got in on the act and the rest is Arson Anthem. Their debut EP, recorded in Houston and released on Anselmo’s Housecore label, is 80s style hardcore that lands somewhere between Poison Idea and Negative Approach. It’s desperate and pissed.

Arson Anthem - Debut EP

Number 6:

No Talk
Invade Iran

KGBeasley (ex-Insect Warfare) dumps the grind, links up with Josh Psycho Wolf and Tom of Montrose in order to produce some of the sleaziest, drunken leather-punk Houston has ever seen. Must be seen and heard to be believed. Counter-culture Nazi!

No Talk – Invade Iran

Number 5:

Book of Black Earth

Blackened death metal played by deranged Seattle maniacs. Lyrically, Horoskopus discusses the astrological origins of Christianity. Musically, it’s keyboard-drenched heaviness by ex-members of Teen Cthulhu and Skarp. They’re on tour this spring with Cattle Decapitation.

Book of Black Earth – Horoskopus

Number 4:

Trapped Under Ice
Stay Cold
Reaper Hardcore

Everything you need to know about Trapped Under Ice can be found in my interview with them. Seriously, go see this band 10Jan09 in San Antonio, when they play with Full Blown Chaos.

Trapped Under Ice – Stay Cold

Number 3:

The Way of All Flesh

The new Gojira is an example of the bar being raised for all metal bands, like Lamb of God’s New American Gospel and Fear Factory’s Soul of the New Machine did years before. This album is becoming a classic before our eyes. Plus, it is some kind of heavy (very heavy, the best kind).

Gojira – The Way of New Flesh

Number 2:

Trap Them
Seizures in Barren Praise
Deathwish Inc.

Trap Them has never heard of the sophomore slump and Seizures in Barren Praise has reached a new level of ferocity with their second LP. It’s the heaviness of Swedish death metal with the bleak prospects of American crust. Grim shit, indeed. Maybe it is Entombed for the new-school, but who cares? Prepare to be killed.

Trap Them – Seizures in Barren Praise

Number 1:

III: Architects of Troubled Sleep

The long-awaited third LP from this decade’s greatest hardcore band turned out to be the band’s unfortunate swansong. Cursed chose to disband after an incident in Europe. The will leave as one of the very few bands that, simply, did not release any crap. III: Architects of Troubled Sleep is possibly their best album (think II) and features my single favorite song by the band, “Friends in the Music Business.” Cursed will be missed.

Cursed – III: Architects of Troubled Sleep

Iron Lung/Hatred Surge - Broken: A Collaboration

Iron Lung / Hatred Surge
Broken: a Collaboration
Unreleased (sort of)

What happens two distinguished champions of modern grind/violence join forces? Pure fucking Armageddon, that’s what.

This EP, which has yet to see an official release, had a small number of “promo copies” available at the 2008 Chaos in Tejas festival and nowhere else. That made it an eBay collectible but fuck that shit, the music is killer.

This isn’t a split. Alex Hughes (Hatred Surge) joined with the Iron Lung members to make some original songs. The results are as ignorant as would be expected.

Broken: A Collaboration has its fast/grindcore parts but this record showcases some sludge that simply embodies human misery. Supposedly, Iron Lung is releasing this 7" themselves in January. Until then, I suppose this will work. Highly recommended.

Iron Lung/Hatred Surge - Broken: A Collaboration

Monster Magnet - 4-Way Diablo

Monster Magnet
4-Way Diablo

This is easily the best Monster Magnet record in over a decade, and probably the best since Dopes to Infinity, 4-Way Diablo isn’t exactly heavy but it retains that borrowed, SST-like rock vibe that was found on Power Trip.

Ed Mundell still rules and, it’s too be assumed, that Dave Wyndorf got over his drug/mental kookiness from a few years ago. Like Death Magnetic, 4-Way Diablo retains the charm of Monster Magnet’s old hate, but it doesn’t actually sound like Super Judge or Spine of God. I would call this record classic rock but Monster Magnet has always had a classic rock quality.

“Blow Your Mind” sounds like a typical Monster Magnet radio single (was it one?) although it and “Little Bag of Gloom” are really the only lame songs on the album. “Cyclone” rules, as does “A Slap in the Face.” An irony here is their Rolling Stones cover sounding the most like Dopes to Infinity than any of the original songs.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a marked improvement over God Says No. This isn’t a good starting point for those checking out Monster Magnet, but it’s an absolute must if you’re a fan.

Monster Magnet - 4-Way Diablo

**Link removed by the Man**

Unpersons - II

Fish Fur/Born to Die

If you’re just getting into Unpersons then (in the infamous words of Money Mike) this long out-of-print LP is “the hate.” This is their masterpiece. Go ask Mastodon. You just know that they’ve heard this record before.

Unpersons is a brutal hardcore band and an influential member of the Savannah scene. Stay tuned for a coming feature on the Savannah/SCaD sound.

I’ve seen this band described as power violence in the past. This couldn’t be more wrong. The music of Unpersons is chaotic, but it’s more akin to Isis rather than Spazz. For my money, this is the sound made by hyperactive stoners. Tell me that you can’t hear the Minutemen influence in “Time/Faded Wallpaper.” The Unpersons sound is all over the map. That’s probably why I dig it.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gojira - The Way of All Flesh

The Way of All Flesh

Ah, the mighty Gojira. Where do we start with this one? If you were impressed with From Mars to Sirius, then watch out.

If you haven't listened to this French prog/death outfit, you're probably already familiar with the drill: it sounds like Opeth at times, like Meshuggah at others, and it's overloaded with melody and insane syncopations; only Gojira is unreal, killer-good.

The Way of All Flesh is rooted in death metal but not limited to it. The records has diverse and numerous vocal styles in addition to the artful arrangements. Gojira is a musically-smart band.

The song "Toxic Garbage Island" is an epic. "A Sight to Behold" sounds almost like the sort of thing Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails were trying to do back in the 1990s, but with balls this time. "Yama's Messengers" sounds like Morbid Angel's mid-paced, but not sludgy, moments.

Speaking of "A Sight to Behold", listen to the lead. It's not a solo. It's the lead guitarist playing a lead track that leads the band, but also blends into the mosaic of the song. I love band that can pull that off.

Gojira blasts. They have somber, acoustic passages. They're weird as fuck and heavy as shit. What's not to love?

Here's the Mediafire link. Stay tuned for Hatred Surge-Collection 2005-07 and the Top Ten of 2008, coming up next!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Trapped Under Ice interview

Here's an interview with Baltimore bruisers Trapped Under Ice. This interview was conducted by e-mail with vocalist Justice Tripp. Their 2007 demo is available at the end of the review. Check these guys out when they open for Full Blown Chaos at the Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar in San Antonio on 10Jan09.

Trapped Under Ice

JUSTICE(in bold,vocals) klipa(gutar),sam(guitar),ben(drums),jared(bass)

No Funeral: The Stay Cold EP has an interesting fusion of styles. I hear a mix of NYHC and harDCcore, but there are guitar leads and rock-and-roll riffs too. The combination totally works. What is the band’s songwriting process? Are you trying to stay within genre guidelines, trying to blur them, or are you simply playing the music you create?

Justice: No guidelines really. When we decided to start this band, one standard we made was to never strive for one sound or limit ourselves from anything that we wanted to try. We're all big fans of hardcore, but also we take a lot of inspiration from outside of hardcore music.

No Funeral: I saw the video for “Soul Vice/Reality Unfolds” on You Tube and I really enjoyed it. How did the video come together? How did you hook up with director Kenny Savercool? He did a great job.

Justice: Kenny is a good friend of ours. A few of us use to play in a straight edge band called nickxfury with kenny singing. He's gone to school for film, and has always included us as actors in all his films, so it wasn't unnatural for him to do a project with us. We wanted the video to be simple and hardcore. We're currently working on a music video for "street lights" from the Stay Cold ep. Its going to be be ridiculous.

No Funeral: The vocal delivery on Stay Cold has a hip-hop cadence (of sorts). It’s similar to what Biohazard used to do, but way more subtle. It doesn’t sound hip-hop influenced at all. To what do you attribute this aspect of your music?

Justice: Influence from a few baltimore hardcore bands, like stout and next step up. Hip hop has had a lot of influence on punk rock, especially in the baltimore area.

No Funeral: I understand that Baltimore hardcore stalwart Next Step Up is a major influence on Trapped Under Ice. Please explain the importance of Next Step Up to you and why all the new jacks in Houston should check them out?

Justice: Next Step Up is an amazing hardcore band that did a lot for Baltimore. Without Next Step Up, I'm sure we would sound like a completely different band, if we were at all a band. (Those) Dudes were the realist of their time and continue to live hardcore lifestyles to this day. They had a message that they truly lived, and a lot of which they still live out years and years later. Too many bands today selling shit they cant live up to.

No Funeral: For a city of its size, Baltimore doesn’t have as many bands as you would think. Does Baltimore have a problem with bands moving to D.C., like Houston has a problem with bands moving to Austin?

Justice: Not that I know of, at all. Baltimore is a fairly small city with a decent amount of bands coming out of it. Maybe some of the bands coming out the city aren't exactly appealling to the majority of kids involved at this period. For example, I'm sure most people know bands like Ruiner, Pulling Teeth, Slumlords, and a few others, but bands like Stout, Harsh Truth, Dead End Boys, Surroundings, Alarmed etc... have been doing there thing for a few years now, like A LOT of years. Also, we've got a lot of new bands coming up; check out Brick, Blind the Thief, and Bad Habit. Lots of shitting going on right now.

No Funeral: I’ve been a fan of The Wire since its inception and I’m now fascinated with comparing and contrasting the show to the real city. As a Baltimore City native, what’s your take on the show? Is it good or bad for the city’s image?

Justice: I'm sure it doesn't help the city's image, but its true shit. The city is almost everything the show portrays it to be, but in reality you got a lot of that shit going on everywhere. The whole worlds fucked up. I'm not too into the show, only because I've seldomly had the chance to watch it. I just got cable for the first time in like 3-4 years, so I'm going to check it out some more when I get the chance.

No Funeral: If I’m not mistaken (and if I am, please correct me), you’re first show in Houston was opening for Terror and The Warriors earlier this year at Walter’s. What did you think of the H-town experience?

Justice: It was our H-town first. It was a good experience. We met a lot of cool new people. It was an interesting night to say the least. Legitimately one of the top 3 craziest nights on a two-month tour. I can't wait to make it back.

No Funeral: What’s the next step in the evolution of Trapped Under Ice? Any new releases? Is there an LP on the horizon?

Justice: We just released a split with our good friends from england, Dirty Money. A full US in January to promote that. A new bass player, his name is jared and he's already brought a lot to the band. He's a perfect fit for the band in every way, I'm excited to get out and tour with him. We're currently writting for an LP to be released early '09 on Reaper Records. We've put a lot of time into it so far and will continue to do so until we are completely happy with what we have as a final product. Before and after that is out, we have a lot of plans for touring to promote it; US, Europe, and hopefully Japan and Australia.

No Funeral: When will you be hitting the road again? More importantly, when will you be coming back to Texas?

Justice: In January, we've got a few Texas dates lined up. Like I said, to promote for the split, Dirty Money will be with us, also Full Blown Chaos and Reign Supreme. It will definitely be a good time. Let's make Bitter End play those dates!

Trapped Under Ice 2007 Demo:


Merry Christmas, a new year approaches

Howdy all. We made it through another year. There will be some major changes around the No Funeral compound this year. The major change is the new focus of No Funeral as an MP3 blog. All posts will have accompanying download links. Plus, all of the old reviews will be retro-fitted with DL links.

Also, the print runs of the zines will be strictly limited to 200 copies per issue. What does that mean? Unless you live in the Houston/Austin area or are a frequent mail-orderer, the best way to get a print copy is to leave a comment. Everyone who leaves a comment will be eligible for a free copy of the current issue. I just need your address.

Basically, No Funeral is going to be the same as it's always been, but with downloads and more radness. In the spirit of the Christmas season, here's the first DL on No Funeral:

the best album of the 90s, "Blues for the Red Sun" by Kyuss!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Aborted - The Purity of Perversion

The Purity of Perversion

As someone who grew up on a steady diet of Carcass and Cannibal Corpse, gore-soaked death metal is nothing new. It’s certainly nothing shocking, except that The Purity of Perversion treads dangerously close to the line labeled “unacceptable.”

The album’s motif, much less just the imagery, is inspired by grizzly Central American urban gun battles. As is clearly labeled on the CD case, this is NOT for the weak. It makes Matando Gueros look like a Christmas card. Aborted is the first band since Brujeria that made me do a double-take. If nothing else, Aborted should be commended for creating something exceptional during the (almost inexplicable) late 90s gore-grind glut.

Oh, what about the music, you say?

Exceptionally well-played death/grind is what’s going on here. Crushing Morbid Angel-style sludge, lightning-quick blast beats and even some melodic passages (think At The Gates, not In Flames) can be found on The Purity of Perversion. Then there are those breakdowns.

These are not hardcore breakdowns at all. These are well-written, well-executed and are often in the same key as the rest of the song; something you rarely see in hardcore, unless you count Earth Crisis-style, open E imbecility. No, these breakdowns are more akin to what Obituary and Bolt Thrower were doing in the late 1980s.

Looking back on it now, you’d have to be deaf not to hear what Century Media saw in this band. If you are at all into death metal, you need this.

Here's a video tour report with Aborted from the Summer Slaughter tour.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

No Funeral "live-blogs" the Emmys

Why watch the Emmys? Let me do it for you! This way, you're not subjected to horrible shit like "Grey's Anatomy" and Charlie Sheen. Check back througout the course of the evening for frequent updates.

(6:00 p.m.)
The "pre-game" shows have started. Ryan Seacrest's life must be pure hell. Sure, the money's good, but how many consecutive days could you pretend to care about "Desperate Housewives?"
Also, all times are Central.

(6:21 p.m.)
It would be best for everyone if Jeremy Piven chilled out on the HGH and the Propecia for awhile. His hormones are in overdrive, just ask Giuliana DiPandi (or whatever her name is). He's like a rapist going through puberty.

(6:59 p.m.)
...and Jimmy Kimmel wrote another song. Ugh.

(7:04 p.m.)
...and Oprah keeps talking. Ugh.

(7:12 p.m.)
Whoever writes this shit (Bruce Valance?) should be publicly caned. It's virtually impossible to make Tina Fey and Amy Poehler look bad but the Emmy writers figured out a way to do it.

Jeremy Piven, again, won for playing Ari. I know he's the only good actor on an unwatchable show, but it seems irresponsible to award him for that.

(7:20 p.m.)
Elaine presented Best Supporting Actress (Comedy). Jean Smart won the award for her work on "Designing Women." Sure, the trophy says "Samantha Who?" but let's be honest. Smart was the only actor on the list that the Emmy voters have ever heard of before. Hell, Smart was the only one on TV 20 years ago. That's why she received an award she didn't deserve. It's nothing against her. Anyone who watched "30 Rock" last year will tell you that.

(7:31 p.m.)
Before you start asking "Who is Zeljko Ivanek?", he played the governor on HBO's "Oz" and he's been in millions of movies and shows. He deserved that award for his work on "Damages."

(7:33 p.m.)
Jackee Harry is an Emmy winner? Holy shit...

(7:35 p.m.)
The Gervais/Carrell exchange was pissed.

(7:35 p.m.)
The Emmy's gave itself an award for award show direction. Classy.

(7:44 p.m.)
Conan gave out Best Supporting Actress (Drama). In a clear go-with-the-HBO-show vote, Diane Weist wins for HBO's gimmicky "In Treatment."

Jennifer Love Hewitt and the cheerleader from "Heroes" gave away Best Writing (Variety). No wrong answer here. I love their presentations of the nominees. The writers do that themselves, right? The Colbert Report wins. Really? It was their first win. I guess it's best to get it out of the way.

(7:55 p.m.)
I see that Steve Martin can still bring it, as long as paying tribute to one of his heroes is involved. Is it going to take Carl Reiner dying to get Steve Martin to star in another good movie?

As far as honoring Tommy Smothers goes, in the immortal words of Kent Brockman, "It's about fucking time."

(8:03 p.m.)
Josh Groban spouts an unlistenable, spastic, indecipherable, blastbeat of annoying, keyboard-driven TV show jingles. Disgusting. Somewhere in Los Angeles, an "entertainment executive" thinks he is very clever for "pulling this off."

(8:09 p.m.)
Class actor and safe pick Laura Linney wins Best Actress (Mini-series) for the thoroughly average "John Adams."

(8:20 p.m.)
Carol Burnett gives Best Variety Show to "The Daily Show." Fucking whatever. I guess they hate George Bush that much.

(8:21 p.m.)
Some reality show bimbo and the guy who played Angel give out the Guest Actor (Comedy) awards. Tim Conway rules anyway. He doesn't need your trophy. Best Director (Comedy) went to former A-lister Barry Sonnenfeld for "Pushing Daisies." I haven't seen the show but I can only hope that it's better than "Big Trouble."

Best Writer (Comedy) went to Tina Fey. Kind of hard to fuck up that one. Can we all agree that, after this year, Tina Fey is officially one of the great ones?

(8:37 p.m.)
"Recount" wins Best MOW for HBO. It's a good flick, if you haven't seen it.

Also, I'm flipping back-and-forth to the Family Guy Star Wars episode. It's hilarious that Peter dragged that old couch through the Death Star.

(8:45 p.m.)
This five-hosts act is wearing thin. The rest of the mini-series awards are given out. "John Adams" wins something. "Recount" wins something else. Yakkity, yakkity, wocka, wocka. Jay Roach, from the Austin Powers series, directed "Recount?" You know what, I dug his Alaskan hockey movie and dude has skills. Why does he do so many shitty Hollywood movies?

More mini-series awards. "John Adams" wins Best Writing. More people are watching these two shows get their awards than actually watched the shows themselves. Whatever. This whole thing is an exersice in ego stroking. If it weren't, "The Wire" would have more than one flipping nomination.

(8:58 p.m.)
Don Rickles is too pissed to live. If you don't understand this, you really need to wake up. Kathy Griffin isn't her usual, grating self. Not bad.

The world's best reality show, ho-ho, is "The Amazing Race," again. Six straight wins. To be fair, when I only had rabbit ears, "The Amazing Race" is one of the only watchable reality shows. I suppose that makes it Emmy worthy. Ugh.

Sally Field is still alive. Good for her. The Best Mini-Series award went to "John Adams." Tom Hanks, plus that thing on his head, showed up to scoop up the hardware.

(9:10 p.m.)
Best Variety Performer went to Don Rickles. Right on. The best drama director is the dude from "House." "Mad Men" wins Best Writing (Drama) over "The Wire." There is no justice in this world.

(9:25 p.m.)
Of course, Paul Giamatti wins for "John Adams." He's grim because he was in "Sideways" and hundreds of other kvlt shows. Another no-brainer award: Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock" gets Best Actor (Comedy). The duh-train continues: Glenn Close wins for "Damages."

(9:39 p.m.)
The Emmys finally get one right. Bryan Cranston (Malcolm's dad, Jerry's dentist) wins Best Actor (drama) for the criminally underrated "Breaking Bad." WATCH THIS SHOW!

Tina Fey wins Best Actress. Can she get the hat trick? We'll soon find out. I like the reality show host bit.

(9:55 p.m.)
Tina Fey gets the hat trick. "30 Rock" wins. Face it, it's better than The Office. It is. 30Oct08. You have been warned.

Magnum P.I. gave out the Best Drama trophy. "Mad Men" wins. Douchebags have a new favorite show. The Emmys are over. "The Wire" got screwed. Everyone's time has been wasted. Goodbye.

Monday, September 1, 2008

An Interview with Richard Johnson

An Interview with Richard Johnson

How many people do you know who proclaimed to be “down for life” but drifted out of the scene a few years later? Richard Johnson is not one of them. Headbanger. Punk rocker. Journalist. Musician. All-around cool dude. Johnson is all of these and there’s no end in sight.

Johnson is the guitarist and vocalist for Virginia HC/grinders Drugs of Faith. He is best known as the guitarist from Enemy Soil and one of the three vocalists in Agoraphobic Nosebleed.

In addition to his career as a musician, Johnson edits and publishes the Disposable Underground fanzine, as he has for over 15 years. Disposable Underground is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the recent history of modern metal and punk, with all issues available online.

Over the course of 39 issues, Johnson interviewed bands as wide ranging as Assuck, Letters to Cleo, Lynch Mob and Voivod. Some of Disposable Underground’s most fascinating interviews are with now-legendary underground bands like Nuclear Death and Discordance Axis.

When asked if he felt the gravity of interviewing such bands, Johnson said, “At the time, I just wanted to talk to them because I loved the music. I don’t remember doing any interview with a band that was legendary when I was doing them. I was just thinking, ‘It’ll be so great to put this interview in my zine because these people are gods.’ Either that or I was delighted that I got the chance to do the interview in the first place, but every zine editor must feel the same way about featuring a band they love in their publication.”

Throughout Disposable Underground’s existence, many trends have come and gone in the underground. Styles and subgenres like death metal, black metal, sXe revival, nu-metal, metalcore, screamo and many more have all had their day in the sun before being folded back under the metal/punk umbrella.

The death metal explosion of the early 90s was one of the first trends that threatened to burst into the mainstream and “destroy the underground.” This sense of dread over the 90s death metal glut was addressed repeatedly in issue 4-9 of D.U. Did Johnson think that death metal would pull through?

Johnson said, “I was beginning to doubt it. There was a popular trend of copying Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse. Things became very stale, like it is now with this fake thrash metal revival. Lots of magazines seem to be really into it, but it’s just a trend of copying an old scene.”

Is this phenomenon unique to underground rock music? According to Johnson, the answer is no.

He said, “It’s just like with certain strands of popular music. Put on some bellbottoms, buy some vintage equipment, tune your radio to the classic rock station and break the knob. Voilả! You’re a retro-rock band, but with an alternative twist!”

Johnson feels that this phenomenon, not just the death metal explosion but all of them, come and go in waves. Bands will come out of nowhere, copying the bands that everyone else is copying already, and not put any heart into it.

“Reading Choosing Death [by Albert Mudrian] brought back a lot of memories- there’s lots of discussion about this period of death metal,” Johnson said.

Many things have changed since the early 90s. Most notable among them is the rise of the internet. Johnson, like everyone else, has embraced the digital frontier, but still feels that there is a role for the printed fanzine in the 21st century.

Johnson said, “I’m happy that they’re still around. It seems that, with the spread of semi-affordable technology, zines have moved online. But there are still old-school people who go to Kinko’s (or some other copy service establishment) or do it on a copy machine. I try to straddle the two, print and online, with the website being a place where you can download the zine and print it out on your end, or read it online with a print-style layout. I’ve not been able to print the last few issues, unfortunately.”

Also unfortunate is the demise of the hand-written letter, which has been replaced in large part by the message board. In the early years of Disposable Underground, Johnson received numerous missives from bands angry with the reviews they received. Most notably (and amusingly, at least to me) was the back-and-forth exchange with Illinois death metal band Oppressor. Johnson chalks it up to immaturity and misguided, youthful enthusiasm on all sides.

Johnson said, “If the same scenario happened now, it might have turned out a different way or not happened at all. People are young when they start bands. I don’t want to single them [Oppressor] out anyway. I’ve gotten my fair share of hate mail over the years from plenty of other people.

“One bunch, I can’t remember who, [literally] shredded my zine, poured perfume all over it, and mailed it to me with pentagrams on the envelope. That was pretty good- it took a little bit of effort.

“I wrote another guy about some zine distribution. He was annoyed that someone who had Testament in his zine (in his eyes, they were ‘pussies’ or some such) was writing to him. There were some other guys who didn’t like that I had [former Headbanger’s Ball host] Riki Rachtman in my zine. They got a lot of public shit-talking mileage out of that one. There were plenty of others. All of these people were entitled to their opinions, of course.”

When pressed about the members of Oppressor and Broken Hope, who went on to form nu-metal band Soil, being the sort of people who ‘ruined’ the underground, Johnson offers a surprisingly mature response.

“I can’t remember what Soil sounds like, but bands are within their rights to move on to other pastures. I used to blame bands for ruining things, but it’s the bands who emulate them in drove who are the problem, probably. I’ve grown up a lot and I still need to grow up a lot. I’m more diplomatic and informative in my reviews than I used to be. If a band needs to be ripped to shreds in a review, then they deserve it, but not without explanation in the review and/or constructive criticism.”

Politics is another subject in metal and punk that can easily excite people. In the early issues of Disposable Underground, bands being interviewed would often be hit with a complex but ill-timed political question. Johnson rejects the notion that political questions were added to the interviews in an effort to mimic zines such as Maximum Rock and Roll.

“I can’t really say what Disposable Underground’s influences were, but Maximum Rock and Roll wasn’t one of them,” Johnson said. “The awkwardness can be chalked up to youth but, by that, I mean a lack of a natural flow to the Q&A’s. There wasn’t any attempt at blindsiding but, instead, a ham-fisted attempt at mixing up the questions.”

Politics isn’t new territory for Johnson. His 90s grind band Enemy Soil had highly political lyrics but didn’t forget how to rock. How did Johnson mix politics and grind seamlessly?

He said, “Lots of bands concentrate too much on their lyrics. In this kind of music, you can’t tell what the hell the band is saying without a lyric sheet anyway. To me, the lyrics accompany the music, not go before them, so the arrangement of the lyrics on the music is very important.

“You can tell that too much importance is put on lyrics by reading band interviews. It’s really boring to read interviews about a band’s lyrics when there’s nothing to talk about musically, or when the interviewer doesn’t understand music or doesn’t have the vocabulary to discuss it. You see that a lot in music reviews in mainstream magazines and on the radio. They don’t know what to say about the music, so the spend most of their time talking about the lyrics.”

With that said, what did Enemy Soil hope to accomplish during its existence?

“It’s a cliché, but we just wanted to do a demo,” Johnson said. “We had aspirations of ‘educating the masses,’ but that was a very early pipe dream by a bunch of stupid, white middle-class kids that were in desperate need of a reality check. When we got over that and tried to kick out some furious grindcore, while not straying away from the subject matter, it got a lot better.

“Honestly, I’m happy when someone simply tells me that they enjoy/enjoyed listening to Enemy Soil. I want whatever I do to be successful, but to hear that it makes someone else happy really makes my day. I’ve heard, over the years, from people who told me Enemy Soil was their favorite hardcore band or, less often, was an influence on their band. It’s a huge compliment.

Speaking of which, the band’s album “Casualties of Progress” was recently reissued through Relapse Records. What are all the new-jacks in the Houston area missing?

Johnson said, “Basically, it’s good for people who missed out on it the first time around. It’s also a trip back in time to 1994. It’s a primitive record, but it’s got that youthful balls-to-the-wall attitude that might be a fun listen for some people. Also, for those who bought the original, it’s remastered and has a fistful of bonus tracks, so it’s a good package. For those who can’t deal with vinyl [huh? - Ed.] it’s on CD. There’s a lot going for it, I think.”

Johnson is also a vocalist in Agoraphobic Nosebleed, a popular Relapse band that still releases EPs on DIY labels. Where does Johnson see Agoraphobic Nosebleed in the pantheon of heavy music?

“I don’t know. It depends on how you view the band: lyrically, musically or both” Johnson said.

“Lots of people have beef with the lyrical content, and I can’t blame them one bit, but that’s only one side of the content. The band has changed a lot since the demo. One of the reasons the band is so popular is because it’s on fucking Relapse and Relapse is pushing it. Lots of people love Agoraphobic Nosebleed and, if they were on a small label pressing 1000 of a 7” or LP each time, that’s totally cool and there’s nothing wrong with it at all, but a much smaller number of people would have heard it.

“Plus, royalties and advances mean better equipment and better recording equipment, which directly impacted the musical evolution of the band, which is only natural. That’s a very positive impact on ANb from being on a label of Relapse’s stature. Of course, the music has to be good. If the music wasn’t all that great, the band would have only gone so far given that kind of backing.”

Contact Richard Johnson at:


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Burnt Cross - Carcass of Humanity

Burnt Cross
Carcass of Humanity
Punks Before Profits

Here’s the 10-track full-length from English anarcho-punks Burnt Cross. Carcass of Humanity has all of the English anarcho influences that are to be expected (Crass, Flux of Pink Indians, etc…), but the elements and influences not found in the anarcho-punk formula are what set the album apart.

For one, Burnt Cross adds enough DC hardcore to keep things interesting, such as on the song, “Arms Trade, Death Trade.” Also, I swear that I hear a Midnight Oil influence on “(S)mother Earth,” and I mean that as a good thing. It’s a soaring anthem and one of my favorites on the album. It helps that vocalist Paul Marriott has a strong singing voice. The use of clean vocals on the album lends it an immediacy that would not be achieved if he were doing a George Corpsegrinder impression.

During their interview with MRR, this two-brother punk rock team said that they used a drum machine. I must applaud Burnt Cross for using a drum machine that doesn’t sound like one. That Roland, stilted, canned percussion sound that can be found all over the planet is not found on Carcass of Humanity. Bravo.

The album rarely reaches even a Minor Threat-level velocity, but speed isn’t everything. The songs are well-written and artfully arranged, the drum machine doesn’t sound like one, and the lyrics deal with subjects like the loss of civil liberties and the environment. The record closes with a Cress cover and a techno remix of the song “Jacking Up Jesus.” Believe me, this sounds a lot better than you think.

Carcass of Humanity is available as a download through Moshpit Tragedy Records or on cassette for $4 through Punks Before Profits. Contact:

Punks Before Profits
P.O. Box 1148
Grand Rapids, MI 49501


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Huntsville's own No One Gets Away with Murder in Louisiana was in the studio today.

Super producer DC the Medic flew in from Sweden to record the band.

Debut EP out soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some shows of interest

For those of you who are blessed enough to live in and around the Houston area (and if you don't, what's your deal?), there are a number of interesting shows coming up. Go check out some of these bands instead of watching 15-year-old Seinfeld episodes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Indisgust interview (taken from issue 3)

“You either stay heavy or you end up sucking.” – Chris Crudos

Indisgust plays ferocious death/grind that utilizes the “Quart of Blood” technique. Whenever Indisgust plays a show, a quart of blood falls out of anyone standing within 50 feet of the stage. These self-proclaimed “four Mexicanos raising hell” have crawled out of New Braunfels, Texas to become one of the best bands in the state. This interview with Rogelio (guitar), Chris Crudos (vocals), Zack (guitar), and Mike Fury (drums) was conducted at the Fallcore show at the Meridian in Houston, Texas.

No Funeral: Indisgust has been playing tons of shows lately and was on the road for most of the summer. How’s touring been treating you?

Rogelio: We’ve been playing mostly out of town and all over Texas.
Chris Crudos: Yeah, we’ve hit every major city in the state.
Zack: The Hardcore Super Bowl was our biggest show and it was the most fun.

No Funeral: Dave, the bass player, joined back in February 2006. How has having a full rhythm section changed the band’s sound and/or songwriting process?

Mike Fury: He was a dumb ass. He would get drunk and act like a madman, so we had to let him go.
Zack: He was a good musician, but he didn’t think before he acted. He would get full of that “liquid courage” and act stupid.
Chris Crudos: I’m just glad that he finished recording the bass tracks on our album before we had to get rid of him. As a band, that saved us from a big headache.

No Funeral: Describe your songwriting process. Do you write in the practice space? Individually or collectively?

Mike Fury: It just comes out of our asses.
Rogelio: It’s like a big shit.
Chris Crudos: We really need a good day for things to happen; when we’re enjoying our time together. It all depends on how we feel.
Zack: How our days have gone for us. That works into it as well.
Chris Crudos: Keeping it heavy is the main objective.

No Funeral: You represent New Braunfels and are the only band from there to break out regionally. How does it feel to be THE aggressive music act from your hometown?

Rogelio: It feels bad ass because no one else is doing it. Hopefully, we’ll inspire someone else.
Mike Fury: We’re proud because we always shock everyone when we play live.
Chris Crudos: It’s like the “Neurosis Effect” where, when people see us for the first time, they just stare at us. By the end of our set, the crowd is into it.
Mike Fury: You have to see us live to really catch it, musically. I think we’ve influenced other bands doing it this way.
Chris Crudos: We offer a different musical direction than most bands right now. We’re not worried about trends. We play from the heart.
Rogelio: We play what we want to play. We’re grateful that other people dig it, but we’re out to play the music we want.

No Funeral: Metalcore is all over MTV and satellite radio right now. There are tons of trendy bands around right now, but there are a few who have staying power and will continue to evolve. Unearth comes to mind as a quality band in this genre. What are your feelings or opinions on this?

Chris Crudos: You either stay heavy or you end up sucking. Too many bands end up abandoning their roots.
Zack: The bands that jump on this trend are trying to go commercial and get paid, whether they know it or not.
Rogelio: They get a taste of the mainstream and they’re not the same band anymore.
Mike Fury: We’ll never play what we don’t want to play. We may sound a little different than everyone else, but it’s still heavy as hell.
Chris Crudos: If you stay underground, your fans will stay loyal. The bands we like that have broken into the charts still play a lot of live shows and control their own destinies. The goal of all of this is to make a living off of your music.
Mike Fury: You can’t fault bands like Cannibal Corpse and Mastodon for selling a lot of records because they’re still doing what they’ve always done.
Chris Crudos: Staying around for 25 years, staying true, and staying dedicated. That’s what we want to do. Look at The Misfits. They’ve had a lasting presence. It will never die. It’s not going anywhere. Indisgust could do something like that.
Mike Fury: No matter what, we’re doing it for the love of the music.

No Funeral: You’ve signed with Skum Records. When is the album going to be released? How’s the recording process coming along?

Chris Crudos: The record is finished. Craig Douglas produced it at his studio, Origin Sounds.
Mike Fury: He’s a veteran producer. He’s worked with Full Blown Chaos and many Texas bands like Will to Live and Flawless Victory.
Zack: It was a long process to get this record made. It was a two-year process, but it was worth it.
Chris Crudos: Craig Douglas made recording as easy for us as possible. Also, Keith Crows of Hemlock did the rough mix for us.

No Funeral: Indisgust formed in 2003 and has been a steady force within Texas metal and hardcore ever since. Have there been any setbacks, major or minor? What has made the band stronger and tighter?

Zack: Finding a bass player is our big hang up right now; that and the lack of label support.
Mike Fury: You’ve got to pay if you want to be in a band. This isn’t cheap. We make it work with our limited resources.
Chris Crudos: I think a strong point for us is that we’re a working class band. We’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles, but it’s worth it. We can connect with the audience in a way not many others can.
Mike Fury: Right now, we just need to get the album out. I think it will blow up. We need to find a new bass player.

No Funeral: I get the impression that Indisgust’s lyrical content is politically-tinged, but still retains a poetic attribute. It’s sort of like Misery Index and Converge. How do you craft the lyrics and what are you trying to communicate?

Chris Crudos: We write about life in general; everyone’s problems, feelings, and struggles. The best thing to do is to let it out and move on.
Zack: Ugly music made by ugly minds.
Mike Fury: This is positive aggression. It’s like your own personal support group.
Chris Crudos: We have a song called “With These Knives.” It’s about the ugly side of my relationship. This is all about release. I don’t want anyone to handle anything physically. I like to stay on the positive side. No fights are necessary. You can overcome the hard times. Each day is different and it only gets better if you let it get better.

No Funeral: Is it just me or have you played with Full Blown Chaos a lot? I met them in Syracuse and they’re cool guys.

Mike Fury: We’re cool with them. They thanked us in their new record.
Zack: This next show in San Antonio will be the fourth time we’ve played with them.
Chris Crudos: They’ve been very supportive of us. At the San Antonio Ozzfest, they gave us a shout out from the stage. They’re a band that’s coming up right now, but they still do a lot to help out other bands.
Rogelio: Full Blown Chaos are cool dudes. There are no rock stars in that band.

No Funeral: What are your influences? Fuck that question. I’d rather know what you’re currently grooving on?

Zack: Mastodon. Blood Mountain is a great album.
Mike Fury: I’ve still got a tape player in my car, so I’m listening to my old tapes of Van Halen, Motley Crue, and Rush. Oh yeah, I like Isis a lot.
Chris Crudos: The new Despised Icon record.
Rogelio: I’ve been listening to lots of Frank Zappa.
Mike Fury: Richie Valens and Johnny Cash.
Zack: Converge. Lots of Converge.
Rogelio: Alan Holdsworth and Mike Patton.
Chris Crudos: Everyone in this band is a Mike Patton freak.

No Funeral: How was it being featured on Robb’s Metalworks? If you’re from Central Texas, that’s a big deal. There was even a blurb on Blabbermouth about it.

Chris Crudos: That was definitely a good thing for us. Robb is a really cool dude and that’s a very popular show in the San Antonio area.
Zack: We were featured on the same episode as Slayer. As a life-long Slayer fan, that was special to me.
Mike Fury: Robb’s Metalworks is a show people actually watch. It’s a big deal where we live. We were featured at the end of the episode, which is where Robb usually puts the best stuff for that week.
Rogelio: It was a good accomplishment for us. I was happy to see us on the show.
Mike Fury: It’s crazy. That’s a show I watched religiously ever since I was a kid and now I’m on the show.

No Funeral: Any parting shots?

Chris Crudos: Indisgust is what it is. We’re not changing for anyone. We going to stay true to our roots in the underground.
Zack: We’re living for what we love.
Mike Fury: We’re a small band looking for a hand. Check out our myspace page.


This interview originally appeared in issue 3 of No Funeral magazine.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Insect Warfare (from No Funeral, issue 2)

Insect Warfare, the most fearsome grindcore band in Texas, calls Houston home when they’re not actively trying to destroy it. One of the hardest working bands in the underground, Insect Warfare is known for its blistering live shows and constantly-expanding discography. Standing in downtown Baghdad while the Air Force goes on a bombing raid is the only accurate way to describe the Insect Warfare experience.

Houston’s veteran metal DJ Wes Weaver once described all grind music as “lawnmower music”, as in it all sounds like a lawnmower. Insect Warfare play fierce grind, but its game is tight. The band plays new school techniques with old school values and top-notch musicianship. They know the history of heavy music, while forging a new path for others to follow.

This interview with guitarist Beau and vocalist Rahi was conduct via e-mail.

No Funeral : What kind of response have you received since the release of the “Endless Execution Through Violent Restitution” EP?

Beau: I’ve noticed a change in the type of people that listen to Insect Warfare. In addition to all the grindcore people that normally listen to the band, I have also noticed an increase in the number of people who listen to old-school death metal and thrash metal. I think this is awesome because these are the type of people I want listening to Insect Warfare. There is nothing cooler than a guy writing to us and saying he is blown away by the fact that we cover Razor. So far, I’ve seen a lot of really good reviews of the new EP and CD but I am sure there are haters everywhere. You can’t please everyone and I am content with that.

Rahi: More people like the direction we went on this EP. We all agree it’s a step up since the first EP, “At War With Grindcore”.

No Funeral : “Endless Execution” has more of a death metal influence than previous Insect Warfare material. Most bands lately, when they incorporate death metal elements into their sound, either use the Swedish, In Flames stuff or Dying Fetus style slam-death-mosh riffs. The “Endless Execution” EP has neither. Rather, portions of classic death metal bands like Entombed and Bolt Thrower can be found on the new EP. Was this by design or was this a case of your personal tastes influencing your songwriting?

Rahi: We can’t really help it if we sound similar to the bands we listen to. I love Bolt Thrower and Entombed, and it’s a compliment that you think we sound like them.

Beau: That’s a tough question. I knew I wanted to incorporate more of that early death metal sound into the band but I think, due to the fact that I listened to that stuff since I was a kid, it just naturally comes out when I am writing riffs. I’ve been a huge fan of both Bolt Thrower and Entombed since I first discovered these bands as a kid. I listen to “Left Hand Path” daily and I think it is one of the five best death metal records in existence. I try to stay away from the mosh metal and technical death metal when it comes to Insect Warfare. I prefer my grindcore straightforward with that Celtic Frost-meets-Siege feel that a lot of the early bands were doing.

No Funeral : “Endless Execution” is also available on CD (from 625 Thrashcore), marking Insect Warfare’s first foray into digital territory. Was the CD released to have all of your out-of-print recordings in one place?

Beau: Yeah, it was originally Max’s idea to do the CD since all of our material was out of print [Max is the own of 625 Thrashcore – Ed.]. I was very skeptical at first, because I am not a huge fan of CDs, but, in hindsight, I’m very glad we did it. In some places, like Japan, CDs are now the dominant format. I’ve noticed we’ve been getting a bigger response from overseas now that we have a CD out. I think it’s safe to say we will periodically release CDs from this point on, though vinyl will always be the primary format. I am a complete vinyl addict and I will never give in! I plan on packing the CDs full of material though so at least people will be getting a long of bang for their buck.

Rahi: I’ve never been a big fan of CDs and to me that’s all they’re good for, but it’s more convenient for some people. The CD version of our new LP will contain as many extra tracks as we have. I just want to get all of the songs out there.

No Funeral : For those out there that don’t know, Insect Warfare is composed of current and former members of Machine Gun Romantics, Pretty Little Flower, and Hatred Surge. I can only imagine the CDs release has brought more fans into the Insect Warfare cult. What do the listeners who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of H-town grind take away from the Insect Warfare experience?

Rahi: I just want to play grind, have fun, and put out some heavy sounding records in the process. It seems like there’s not a lot of other bands in the states trying to do what we do. Hopefully, more people will catch on.

No Funeral : Some Insect Warfare lyrics deal with the commercialization of the underground and people who treat grind/hardcore/metal/punk like a disposable widget or a fashion statement. Of course, other lyrics talk about cutting people in half with a chainsaw. What is the percentage of serious to non-serious songs in the Insect Warfare catalog? Do the “non-serious” songs, about killing posers and whatnot, have a subtext that addresses real issues? What is your opinion of the mass-marketing of the aggressive music underground by multi-national corporations?

Beau: Well, I like to believe that, though we are defiantly angry people, there is definitely a huge joke running throughout Insect Warfare. We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously, though it really just depends on the mood we are in. I mean, during the “Endless Execution” EP, we were definitely joking around a lot more. At this point, both Rahi and I are both really fed up with a lot of shit and I’m noticing that my lyrics are starting to reflect this. Since I was a kid, I have feared death by nuclear war. With the current threat of a possible third world war, my fears are definitely escalating to new heights. I am having a lot of terrible dreams at night and I have begun writing lyrics about this. I’m also tired of a lot of people’s bullshit attitudes and I am writing about that too. Like I said, it just depends on the current mood. This band reflects who I am, so I think my musical output is my way of dealing with it.

As far as bullshit corporations dabbling in the underground: Fuck ‘em. They will rape what’s out there and move on. It doesn’t affect me too much so I don’t worry about it, but I do feel the need sometimes to say something about it and I fell that the smart-ass thing to do is to make a shirt, song or record about it.

Rahi: Some songs are more serious than others. I don’t feel like every song has to contain some sort of message. It’s just what I’m feeling at the time. Some songs are about murderous revenge fantasies, and torture devices, and others are about the times I freaked out on drugs.

No Funeral : Insect Warfare has a reputation (an unearned reputation, in my opinion) for beefing with other bands. Do you think that too many kids on the internet are talking out of their asses? Do people take the band’s live show, specifically Rahi’s antics, out of context or too personally?

Rahi: I think it’s really funny talking shit to hecklers. If people take that shit personally, they need to learn how to loosen up. To me, it’s all just for laughs and having a good time. I’ve got better things to do than try to start shit with every sucky band there is.

Beau: I guess we aren’t afraid to talk shit. I mean, there is a definitely a sense of humor running through all the bullshit we talk and a lot of people and bands get it, though some get their feelings hurt. If they cant take a joke, oh well. A lot of kids on the internet are talking shit but I don’t worry about it because at least they are talking. They may hate us, but at least they know who we are. It’s getting kind of fun because people are coming to shows now and trying to heckle us on stage. I feel sorry for these people because they don’t understand that, for Rahi and me, talking shit is a way of life and we usually can shut them down pretty quick. Once I make it apparent that we have microphones and that we will always be louder and wittier than them, they usually shut up and pout. Fuck them. Don’t play the game unless you are willing to take the heat.

No Funeral : On the same subject, bands that enjoy tremendous hype are also targets for criticism, both fair and unfair. It’s safe to say that Insect Warfare is one of those bands. On the one hand, places like the Relapse Records message board love Insect Warfare. On the other, Insect Warfare receives tons of snark comments everywhere from MySpace to the Houston Press. If you’re getting this much attention, it’s a sign that you’re doing something right. Then again, it’s not much fun to defend yourself online and put a stop to false rumors everyday. What are your feelings on this issue?

Beau: I don’t really care. Like I said in the previous question, whether people are talking shit or praising us, they are all still talking and that is what’s important. There is nothing wrong with being hated because you can’t please everyone. All I care is that I enjoy playing this kind of music and that’s all I think should be important. If one kid in Malaysia likes what we do, then that’s cool as shit. I’m not doing this for popularity. Music is how I express myself. Maybe the next record I will do will be a straight noise record. I’ve got to do what makes me happy.

Rahi: Jealous people will always be haters. Fuck ‘em. I’ll let the music do the talking.

No Funeral : Insect Warfare has a split 7” with Japan’s Bolt Stein coming out soon. What are the details on this release? How did you hook up with Bolt Stein? Why should people listen to more Japanese thrash and grind?

Beau: The next 7” we have coming out is a split with the Japanese band Bolt Stein. They sound like a more grindcore version of Bolt Thrower. About a year and a half ago, I picked up the Unholy Grave/Bolt Stein split 7” and, when I saw all the Bolt Thrower influences, I realized that we were long lost brothers. I wrote their guitarist Toshi a letter and we began trading shirts, videos, and demos. After a while, I asked him if he would like to share a split and we were both very excited.
Fast forward to now. The record will be out in November on Rescued From Life Records. There will be 600 copies with no repress. Our friend and fifth member Daniel Shaw will be doing the art for us again and its total Bolt Thrower worship.
More people should listen to Japanese grind and death metal because, as far as I am concerned, they are leading the world in both these genres. The Japanese bands are really pushing the envelope and keeping that raw energy and spirit alive. I am a fan and have been since I was kid.

Rahi: Japanese bands usually smoke their American counterparts. More people should jam that shit. For every Japanese band that gets some exposure in the USA, there’s about 10 more that go unnoticed.

No Funeral : I understand that 625 Thrashcore will be releasing the first Insect Warfare LP next year? What can people expect? Will Insect Warfare stick to the grindcore script or will the LP continue with the newfound death metal influence? How much rapping and DJ scratching will be on the new record?

Rahi: The LP will be our most ripping material to date. People should expect more of the same old shit, with a few new twists, but not any rappers or turntable scratching. That’s all being saved for Beau’s solo record.

Beau: The first thing people can expect from the new LP is a different drummer. We had to part ways with our previous drummer (Frank, also of Pretty Little Flower) and are now working with our friend Dobber. He plays incredibly fast and can do all the Bolt Thrower-style double bass parts that we desire. The songs for the LP are getting faster and more aggressive. I’d have to say the material is our angriest to date. It is really starting to sound like Napalm Death’s “Scum”, From Enslavement To Obliteration”, and “Mentally Murdered”, but with the speed of modern grindcore bands like Rotten Sound. There are a lot of old Swedish death metal riffs slipping in as well. I’ve been jamming Entombed, Carnage, and Grave non-stop lately and I can’t help but include that influence.

…and yes, our good friend Willie D will be making an appearance. He will be performing a biblical spoken word outro to the LP. Fact or fiction???? I’ll let you decide.

No Funeral : Let’s talk about Earache Records for a moment. The early Earache bands are Insect Warfare’s primary influence. The label entered a distribution deal with Columbia Records, in the early 90s, where they tried to commercialize bands like Carcass and Fudge Tunnel. After that debacle, Earache created a new logo and started signing tons of industrial and nu-metal bands. The only good things to come out of that period were the two Coalesce 7”s they put out. Eventually, Earache sort of got their shit together and signed decent bands like Deicide and The Berzerker, but the label never reclaimed its former glory.

In your opinion, what was Earache’s downfall? Was the label’s early success simply Digby (Earache’s owner) being in the right place at the right time? What did you think of seeing Entombed and Morbid Angel videos on Beavis and Butthead and Headbanger’s Ball?

Beau: I remember being a kid and was tricked into buying some of those later Earache industrial records with the bullshit, redesigned logos. I will never forgive Digby for that. I think the downfall with Earache was the fact that, in the beginning, they were just trying to work with the most extreme bands of all genres and, towards the end, began working with bands that might move units. I completely worship pretty much all of the first 40 Earache records with a few exceptions and, to this day, I think their output was terrific to that point. I don’t know, maybe with them singing our bros in Municipal Waste they will be able to get their shit together and get back on track.

As far as Beavis and Butthead go, I think whoever did the music selection for that show actually had really good taste. To this day, it amazes me about some of the crazy-ass bands they slipped on there. I remember watching that show when I was a kid and learning about all sorts of new and extreme bands. Beavis and Butthead rule, no doubt about it.

Rahi: Digby (Earache’s owner) put out records of all the heavy British bands of the time and all of their tape-trader friends bands, too. I think shit went downhill after he started getting greedy and all the bands that made his label successful jumped ship. Just last year he screwed over Bolt Thrower, reissuing their CDs with different artwork, and not giving them a damn thing.

No Funeral : Insect Warfare will be playing the 2006 Fallcore show at the Meridian, which is a de facto showcase of the best bands from Texas. What are you expecting at this show and how do you think Insect Warfare will be received? Do you think that you’ll play mostly to existing fans or do you plan on making some converts? What is Insect Warfare’s touring plans for the rest of this year and for 2007?

Rahi: There will be people there that are unfamiliar with what we do. Maybe some of them will get into it. We don’t play many live shows in Houston. I’m much more interested in playing overseas, like in Japan, Australia, or maybe even Europe.

Beau: I’m pretty sure we’ll be playing almost entirely to people who have never heard of Insect Warfare before and that was the point. I don’t want to keep playing to the same 20 people every show. As much as I love those 20 people, I want to expand and hopefully turn on some people to some new stuff along the way. I use the band Dead Horse as a kind of blueprint and I noticed that they made an effort to really expand their fan base. I think that’s great. If I can get some kid in the suburbs listening to Megaslaughter or Pestilence, then I’ll have done something with my life.
Regarding touring, after our LP comes out in June of 2007, I think we will begin entertaining some tour offers I’ve been getting from Australia and Europe. We have toured the states three times already and I think it’s time we branch out. I get a lot of letters from Australia and I have a lot of friends there, so maybe we’ll go there first. Who knows? My main goal is to have a good time and collect some kick-ass demos along the way. There’s no telling where we will end up.

No Funeral : Nationally, Houston is known as the city of syrup, Screw tapes, and the rap scene, but a fanatical grind and power violence scene has quietly developed without much attention. I don’t think the major labels are going to swoop in a sign everybody, but, to some degree, the word is out that some cool heavy music is coming out of H-town. What do you think of this development? What does Houston have to offer that the rest of the state can’t?

Beau: To be honest, I’ve been kind of retreating into my house and not really being part of any scene anymore in Houston. I’m very exhausted with going to shows and only seeing people there with the intention of getting fucked up or picking up girls and with no concern or care for the music. I would rather hang out at my house, listen to records and demos, write letters, and work on new songs. I still go out to shows and I will set up shows for friends that come through town, but I’m through with most of the “scene” bullshit. The only scene I care about is the international trade network. Everything else is on the backburner.

Rahi: Heavy music has always seemed to be bigger in Houston than anywhere else in the state. There are a lot of grind and power violence bands in Houston right now, but they’re almost all made up of the same members. I just hope people will remember us several years down the road.

No Funeral : Is there anything else or any other information you’d like the HuntsVegas readers to know?

Beau: The most important development of Houston music was the one made by Conrad Johnson and the Kashmere Stage Band. These 17-year-old kids laid down some of the hardest hitting and tightest instrumental funk in the mid to late 70s and blew away all of the competition in their age group and above. How is this relevant to grindcore? Its not and that’s the point. If you play in a REAL death metal band or grindcore band, write me a letter and lets trade demos.

Contact Insect Warfare at:

Insect Warfare
1846 Richmond Ave
Houston TX 77098


This interview originally appeared in issue 2 of No Funeral magazine (July 2006).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Top Bong Hits for March 2008.

No Funeral
Top Bong Hits

Why 15? Because the man would hit the roof if we had 20.

In no order…

Classic rock MP3s on KSHU
- Work-related hate.

The Sword – “Age of Winters”
- Austin’s best band

Insect Warfare – “World Extermination”
- Grindcore’s best band

The Office
- Dwight…

Grave – “Soulless”
- Long live Swedish death metal!

UGK – “Ridin’ Dirty”
- H-Town ghetto rap classic.

Throwdown – “Vendetta”
- Fuck you. I love this band.

Hatred Surge – debut EP
- One-man, H-town, grind-hate!

Cephalic Carnage – “Xenosapien”
- They stole the show at last year's Summer Slaughter tour.

Job for a Cowboy – “Genesis”
- AZ death-grinders lose pig vocals, get big

Pig Destroyer – “Phantom Limb”
- The album rules, but a fourth member?

Sopranos reruns on A&E
- Gandolfini is the Babe Ruth of television acting.

Celtic Frost – “To Mega Therion”
- $1 at Sound Exchange!

Die Young – “Graven Images”
- They’ve played 300+ shows last year and the record rules too.

Acid Bath – “When the Kite String Pops”
- Go get this now!