Friday, November 30, 2012

Transparent Vinyl: Waiting for Violence

I admit, I am impatient. It's hard not to get a little frustrated. This isn't "Ohio" and I sure as hell am not Atlantic circa 1970 but, damn, things just seem to take a long time:

winter is coming.
grab a jacket.

September 12 - Masters shipped for lacquers/plating; Pressing plant order placed and deposit and label artwork submitted.
September 23 - Vinyl is mastered onto a lacquer.
September 24 - Lacquer is shipped to be plated. Turnaround time quoted as 7-10 days to arrive at the pressing plant.
October 22 - Pressing plant finds the master plates (turns out they got them October 19).
November 2 - Test pressing received.
November 3 - Test pressing shipped to band for their approval.
November 5 - Test pressing approved, balance due transmitted to pressing plant.
November 16 - 300 of the 500 records ordered (3 of the 5 variants) delivered.
November 28 - Pressing plant states remainder of the order "should be completing and shipping by Friday if all goes well."

Should and if aren't reassuring to me. Than again, maybe they shipped. I have learned that proactive communication is not a strong suit from anyone involved in this process (aside from the band, who are constantly on the ball).

If all went well and everything did ship, we plan to open pre-orders once the records are received, likely late Tuesday evening, December 4. We should still be A-OK for a Christmas release (and, if all goes well, a hell of a trip to the Post Office for me on December 26). The band is waiting to see the vinyl so we can match the ink for the remaining jackets exactly. This will be a damn fine release.

And it's worth the wait.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Sunday: Father Befouled - Revulsion of Seraphic Grace (2012)

rotting godless throne 7" sold separately...
Hot on the heels of another Black Sunday entry, Red Streams of Flesh, I snatched up another project featuring Prosanctus Inferi's Jake Kohn, Father Befouled's Revulsion of Seraphic Grace, the band's third full-length record and a solid platter of crushing death.

The record's fantastic heavy jacket features some intense, intricate and appropriately blasphemous artwork courtesy of Richard Friend. A double-sided insert provides all the appropriate credits and some stellar band member photos. The cover is reproduced on a glorious 18x24" poster inclued within but the real beauty here is the copper-colored vinyl.  The platter itself is rendered in a very rich, barely transparent tone with traces of reds, yellows white and black. The jacket's sole splash of color on the band logo and title matches the vinyl perfectly and really creates an impressive package.

Revulsion of Seraphic Grace sounds great, too. The album was released by Dark Descent Records and is available in their webstore (currently priced at $14.45) as well as bandleader Justin Stubbs/Ghoat's own Archasm Releasing distro (currently priced at $15.00). It appears that both black and copper variants are still currently available so there's no excuse for not filling someone's stocking with Father Befouled this holiday season.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

10 of '12 - My Favorite Records from this Year

It's that time of year again. The release schedules peter out, I get busy with the usual holiday hubbub and my annual music acquisition pretty much dies until January. So, while 2012 seemed kinda weak compared to 2011, I still easily added double-digits worth of excellent albums to the library. From least best to most best and, for this year, a few almost-theres and a couple stinkers, here they are:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Black Sunday: John Carpenter & Alan Howarth - Halloween II & Halloween III: Season of the Witch (2012)

A couple weeks too late, this Black Sunday is devoted to Halloween; specifically, two magnificent scores recently reissued on vinyl, Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, both from John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Both come from the fantastic Death Waltz Recording Company, a label dedicated to vinyl reissues of cult film soundtracks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Transparent Vinyl: On the Receiving End of Violence

There's little better than coming home from work to a package you weren't expecting (except for when Ted Kaczynski was doing the shipping, I guess). In this case, the work week wrapped up with 300 of our run of 500 copies of Violence received from United Record Pressing. Our full runs of three of the five colors - lavender base with black and white mixed, opaque white base with black mixed and transparent dark red base with black mixed - came in nine boxes with the final two colors (translucent green base with yellow mixed and transparent blue base with black and white mixed) to press soon.

We're working on jackets (that is to say "a friend of the band is working on jackets") and, with no unforeseen delays on those and the last 200 records, I cautiously and optimistically predict we'll be able to open up pre-orders in a week or two to ship immediately after the band's planned Christmas release date. The first twenty pre-orders for a set of all five variants will also include a free t-shirt exclusive to this release from Holy Mountain Printing.

Violence IV, II and I

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Black Sunday: Nunslaughter - Hells Unholy Fire (2012)

Hells Headbangers recently reissued the debut full-length from extreme metal stalwarts Nunslaughter, Hells Unholy Fire. Originally out in 2000, a redesigned package improves yet still reveres the original artwork, much like the recent improvements to High on Fire's debut by Southern Lord. As, for me, a band like Nunslaughter exists on the fringe of my listening rotation, much of the appeal lies in the visual aspect of the records, almost as important as the musical. And like many of their records - and particularly vinyl reissues - Hells Headbangers do not disappoint here with regard to the physical product, its packaging and overall presentation.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

we mean nothing. - Slaves BC - 2012

"Dude, is this Christian?"

I don't know, friend. And, furthermore, I don't care (a fine write-up at Valley of Steel ponders much of the same and I appreciate the band's ambiguity here). I realize that if it is, at least in a proactive, proselytizing sense, I've essentially rendered its purpose moot. Perhaps it'll seep in subliminally. I suppose it's only fair and balanced, then, given the amount of straight-up pro-Satan material that feeds through my speakers daily.

But, again, I don't know. Regardless of the faith - or lack thereof - anyone claims, metal owes a heck of a lot to the heavy and heady Book of Revelation and it is from this source that Pittsburgh's own Slaves BC seem to find plenty of inspiration.  I have no complaints. The finest metal is apocalyptic and we mean nothing. does its damnedest to shake open a seal or two across its twelve ferocious minutes.

I've been enjoying the music of Slaves BC since downloading their This World Shall Pass Away demo in August but it's we mean nothing. that really seems to serve as a proper announcement of "we're here." "Everything is Meaningless" rages out of the gate and, by its first tonal shift just twelve seconds in, hooks the listener into an inescapably deep groove. Slaves BC seem to have been captured perfectly on this recording as it's incredibly difficult to define any one element as dominant or - alternatively - underrepresented. The rhythm section remains distinct, simultaneously anchoring and propelling the behemoth, guitars are as thick and sharp as shards of a broken bottle and vocals both ragged and piercing.

"Everything Under the Sun" is, hands down, one of the top ten individual tracks I've heard all year. Conviction and desperation coexist throughout, maintaining an incredibly uneasy tension heralded by a bassline constructed solely of raw nerve and crumbling bone. Waves of guitar batter both vocalist and listener throughout as snares punctuate the proceedings like a spasmodic EKG telegraphing d o o m and nothing more.

Eight minutes in and with a track yet to go, we mean nothing. is exhausting. "Armageddon," a title ripe for epic status if ever there was one, is instead brief at under four minutes and delivers its basic "your time has come" message in a direct, succinct and raging manner (and with some of the record's most interesting drumwork across its first minute). It is here that Slaves BC show themselves to be excellent editors in the realization that a statement need not be lengthy to be successful. we mean nothing. delivers a punch so very heavy that any excess would be unnecessarily brutal. Devastation, perhaps, on a biblical scale.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Black Sunday: Artillery Breath / Dismemberment - Wartorn Split 7" (2012)

This Black Sunday, from the vinyl to the music, lives up to its namesake and is about as charred as it gets. Laurelville, Ohio's Dismemberment teamed up with fellow Buckeye deathly thrashers Artillery Breath for a self-released split 7" guaranteed to satiate any fan of extreme metal.

Artillery Breath occupy the A-side with a selection from their Inhuman album, "Rigor Mortis Has Set In." This little record stands as my introduction to the band's music and has done its job as, wholly impressed, I plan to acquire more ASAP.

Dismemberment are longtime favorites of this site and have consistently delivered a healthy variety of self-released material, all of which is top-notch in quality. Their B-side offering is no disappointment, serving as a sampler of sorts, culling "Dementia Decay" from their debut EP, The Condemned, and "Gateways to the Past" from their latest, Denied Salvation.

The record itself is another product of Ohio, pressed at Musicol, and sounds fantastic. The layout, by Dismemberment's own Jacob Shively, fills the double-sided foldover with some fantastic photographs and a nice, subtle, consistent aesthetic linking the two bands. My favorite aspect, of course, is the cover art from Tony Karnes, who also dreamt up the killer imagery for the band's "Perpetual Malice" release (currently featured on their long-sleeve tee). The marriage of military and mutant mutilation is absolutely inspired.

I believe this Wartorn split saw 300 copies pressed with each band holding 150. It appears as if Artillery Breath may currently offer theirs at live dates and Dismemberment also have theirs for sale online here.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Transparent Vinyl: Testing Violence

I'm going to insult the beauty of childbirth and family by crassly comparing today's arrival of five copies of Fister's Violence test pressings on my doorstep to that of a new baby. But that's the closest metaphor I have. I have been anxiously awaiting and preparing for this moment and, as soon as I knew they had shipped, thinking about little else for the last two days. Perhaps, as a test pressing, a sonogram is a better comparison. Excitement turned to nerves as the needle hit, hoping every sound would be as in place and unmarred as any infant's fingers and toes.

it's all good.

I'll keep one for myself and ship the other four off to the band tonight for their assessment and approval and, very soon (I hope), these first five babies will be multiplied by 100 and unleashed upon the world.

one of those other kids of mine crashing the listening party.