Nate Fitzbutler did a remix to Kanye West’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “No More Parties in LA” called “No More Parties in SD”. He said, "we made this track to try to bring some national buzz to our city that’s always been in the shadow of the LA music scene."

Niko Sitaras from the San Diego based dream rock band Paper Days says, "We just released our new EP 'Fun For Family & Friends'. Our release party is on Feb 19th being hosted at the Irenic (with The Bash Dogs & Splavender). 

Panic Is Perfect is an indie-pop group from San Fran and they are touring in support of their new album, Cellspace, which drops tomorrow on Strange Loop Records. They'll be playing at The Loft @ UCSD on Feb. 12!





 

 

 

 

 

San Diego's Dark Metal Scene
Jay Allen Sanford 1.29.07

"Some rock and roll groups stand in a circle and drink cups of blood. Some get on their knees and pray to the devil. Rock and roll hypnotizes us and controls our senses ."
Little Richard , quoted in 1974

Where does one go to compare notes with other locals on things like mosh pit etiquette, antagonizing mall security guards, cool covens and all-black wardrobes? What website offers the most synonyms, rhymes and allegorical references for words like death, hate, pain, murder and mutilation? Which places in town do the best tattoos of pentagrams, rotting corpses, porn stars and Ozzy logos? And how do you track down retail sources for Satanic Bibles, spiked dog collars, strategically torn fishnet stockings, bovine nose rings, fingerless leather gloves and reptile jewelry? Welcome to the quandary endured by those who consider themselves part of San Diego 's "Dark Metal" scene.

The L.A. band Slayer, formed in 1982, was among the first groups to forge this permutation of heavy metal music, characterized by fast strumming, hyperactive guitar solos, distorted tones, chromatic note progressions, fractured rhythms and guttural, barely coherent vocals. Mid-eighties headbangers like Sodom, Sepultura, Entombed and Morbid Angel willingly encouraged the term "death metal" in reference to their music, more than appropriate considering the atmosphere created by bloody album graphics, nihilist themes and lyrical obsessions with death and Apocalypticism. Glorifying Satan became the main motif and marketing axis for groups like Venom, Hellhammer, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond and Danzig, amusing rock critics and horrifying PMRC-minded parents.

These bands all have one thing in common - placing morbid narrative ideals and grotesque imagery far above musical form. Followers of these bands differ as to what constitutes "Death" metal compared to subgenres dubbed "Black," "Thrash," "Hardcore," "Grindcore" or "Speed" metal but, for the purposes of this article, the term dark metal is used to apply to bands whose music is loud, fast, aggressive and thematically focused on pain, death and/or occultism.

"The Devil diddled my mom, and I don't care.
Satan whizzed in her mouth but she swallowed and wouldn't share."
Lyric from "I Saw Mommy Ripped By Satan's Claws," by Bloodbat

North County record collector Ivan Torres founded and played guitar with one of the area's earliest dark metal groups, Bloodbat, from 1987 through the band's breakup in 1994. "Our bass player was a member of this Satanic cult called Rainbow, so a lot of times we'd have actual factual animal-sacrificing devil worshippers in the audience! Sometimes we'd do covers of King Diamond stuff but we were so sloppy nobody recognized the covers. The most common thing people would say to us after our set was 'I can't tell your songs apart, they all sound the same.' Instead of being insulted, we told ourselves 'Cool, we have a consistent theme.our own sound!' We didn't want to be compared with anyone, not even ourselves."

"We used to play the old downtown Soma building," says Torres, "and we'd project black and white horror movies on the walls around us while we played. Like, 8 millimeter loops of giant spiders and 'Night Of The Living Dead' stuff, way before Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson came along. We weren't playing for laughs.we were seriously into serial killers and building replicas of torture devices to use onstage. I found a box of 16 millimeter 'educational' films at a county auction, and one of them was that bloody driver's ed movie they used to show to scare the kids.with car accidents and ripped up bodies, brains on the pavement, that kind of thing. Girls in the audience would be screaming and covering their eyes and crying, but those were the same girls who were first in line trying to get backstage and get closer to sick fucks like us."

Torres still follows the scene and says he has fond memories of Blue Meannie Records in El Cajon when they were providing fans with face-to-face time with acts like Cannibal Corpse and Dark Funeral. "Dark metal started underground, and the real sincere stuff is still on indie labels or self-released," he says. "I'd rather go see any of the local metal bands than sellouts from the mainstream who try to imitate [dark metal]. Bands like Pantera and Anal Cunt are for rich suburban kids who desperately want to pretend they're 'alienated,' when really they're just looking for something guaranteed to piss their parents off. Some kids think all you have to do is gross out your audience and you're playing in the devil's league."

"Torn apart, upon a hook, limb from fucking bloody limb. Carbonized and oxidized, pancreatic ducts ripped out. Cleaned of all its organs, nephrons smother in their wake. Bludgeoned with a steak knife, prepare a tasty meal." Lyric from "Bludgeoned, Beaten, And Barbequed," by Cattle Decapitation

A press release for Cattle Decapitation says the band "brings forth the ideas of vegetarianism with the utmost brutal approach in expression, both musically and imagery.[their] sound will bring elements of older death/grind, inbred with utterly impossible low vocals, while being stabbed by immense drumming." The group is known for wearing masks made of beef jerky onstage, an apparent statement regarding the trivialization of animal remains for human consumption. Originally formed as a member-swapping side project of The Locust (drummer Dave Astor founded The Locust, and former Cattle Decapitation guitarist Gabe Serbian now plays drums in The Locust), their newly remastered "Human Jerky" CD is enhanced with bonus CD-Rom type content playable on any computer, such as live footage from the jerky mask shows, downloadable desktops and a link to the band's website. Song titles on Human Jerky include "Colon Blo," "Constipation Camp," "Roadkill Removal Technician" and "Parasitic Infestation (Extracted Pus Mistaken For Yogurt, And Gargled)."

Says Cattle vocalist Travis Ryan. "Being on Metal Blade Records allows us to reach a higher level of exposure and ability to play in places and in front of crowds that we wouldn't normally be able to, and that is something we need right now." The group's debut for Metal Blade, "To Serve Man," was named after a classic episode of "The Twilight Zone" TV series wherein nine-foot tall alien "Canamits" utilize an intergalactic cookbook to make lunchmeat out of human beings.

"Alive you are no more.
Let them see what my anger's for.
Temper's rise - No disguiseI've done my deed - I'll watch you bleed."
Lyric from "My Dying God," by Daemos

The four piece band Daemos has been playing San Diego venues since the early-90s, as well as landing slots opening for Judas Priest at L.A. 's House of Blues and for Testament at the Whisky A Go-Go. Guest appearances on local radio stations like KIOZ and San Francisco 's KSJO have elevated interest in the band's website, Daemos.com, which claims to receive over 275,000 hits yearly. The group theorizes that attaching themselves to projects with big-name headliners will reflect some of that fame back on them, which explains their repeated presence performing cover versions on "tribute albums" like "Megaded" (Megadeth songs - Daemos plays "Looking Down The Cross") and "SuperCharger Hell" (they do a cover of White Zombie's "SuperCharger Heaven"). "We're really combining two different worlds," according to bassist Jason St. Aubin. "Our music appeals to the new school crowd as well as diehard metalers."

Guitarist and vocalist Eric Nunes says "Basically my take on music is that any music style can be good if the musicians like what they are doing. That's not to say that everyone can play well. But those that can and stick to their heart are great in my book. One thing that really pisses me off is a band that is obviously writing and playing music to become rich and/or famous. It makes the rest of us look bad. Plus, if you try to play something that you don't like, it will never sound good.I'm all for having influences. That's great, but you need to grow away from those influences and let your own unique style come through. The record labels will come around once they see people digging your music. And at that point you can either tell them to fuck off or give you the freedom you deserve." Daemos has apparently said "fuck off" fairly often as they remain, after nearly a decade, unsigned.

"Raise the battle-axe unto the skulls, In the bliss of spilling blood on enemy soil. Towards the synagogue, with thirst for Semite blood, From a trail of churches burning. Under the Haunting Moon, with sword in hand I ride and I exalt the horns of battle towards the sky. I slay the souls of the Jesuit creed, and bathe in their curdled blood." Lyrics from "Raise The Horns Of Battle," by Crimson Moon

Crimson Moon is a recording unit only, comprised of two members and a drum machine. Bassist/vocalist/lyricist Scorpios and his bandmate Nocturnal Overlord (guitars, keyboards, drum programming) wear King Diamond/Kiss style Kabuki makeup - whiteface with black patches curling and dripping around their eyes and mouths to present a patina of WWF level ferocity. They first surfaced in San Diego in 1994 with a self titled demo release, followed by 1995's "Into the Nocturnal Forest" demo collection, earning both praise and notoriety for their straightforward and straight-faced obsession with all things occult.

Scorpios is a well-read and fascinating character who writes lengthy, learned manifestos on lucid dreaming, medieval theology and astral projection which he posts on websites (www.geocities.com/kthuluproductions) and emails to fans by request. In songs like "The Stormbringer," Scorpios seems to be reading incantation spells direct from some arcane text, summoning "creatures of darkness and hatred" and intoning "For I have consumed the blood that lives forever more, the blood of the Draconis, I drink the blood, the hate of Kingu rages on, the furious tempest unleashes black storms and the chaos crawls beyond the stars, to unleash fury amongst the blackened earth." The end passage of "Raise The Horns Of Battle," after praising the destruction of churches and synagogues and the murder of Jews and Jesuits, includes conjurations to the unholy trinity of Lucifer, Beelzebuth and Astaroth, each ending with a cheeky "Amen."

Crimson Moon's 1996 debut CD "To Embrace The Vampyric Blood" (Abyss Productions) contained nine tracks and was recorded on a 4-track machine, as was a 1997 rehearsal performed with a third player on synthesizers, Khaija Ausar, which was later circulated as an "unofficial release" called "Under The Serpentine Spell." With no new material and no stage performances over the ensuing years, it seemed the group had disbanded, but Nocturnal Overlord says Crimson Moon has recorded an album archiving all the music they have done to date, including re-recordings of their demos plus three unreleased songs.

"My lyrics in Crimson Moon are occult based and not from a horror movie or fiction book," according to Scorpios. "It is not an image. It is what we do and we will not change this because it is getting too trendy or too hated, etc. We do this for ourselves." He says he rarely reads fiction and especially hates "vampire novels," but admits his lyrics are often inspired from arcane mythology. "I have studied the myths, magick and lore of not only Sumerian but Babylonian mythology as well. When I say study, I mean going further than just reading and practicing rituals from the Necronomicon. I have another ritual/acoustic project totally devoted to the Dieties of Sumeria/Babylonia called 'Akrabu.'"

He seems so sincere, it's simply buzzkill to point out that the "Necronomicon" is a fictional invention of 20th century gothic writer HP Lovecraft and texts purporting to have originated in this tome are of recent construct or from other sources entirely.

Discussing his views about Christianity versus Satanism on the San Diego Metal website (www.geocities.com/s_b_resistor/local.html), Scorpios said "They are actually very similar in many ways and they both need each other to exist! Satanism is not what I am into. I have studied much about it but it is basically a Judeo-Christian mutation of a religion. I prefer to go back much further in history to seek information." Scorpios is familiar with The Satanic Bible, written by Anton Szandor LaVey (who formed the Church of Satan in 1966), but doesn't align himself with the philosophies set forth in this notorious book which has sold more than 600,000 copies since it was first published by Avon Books in 1969.

"If you read Ragnar Redbeard's book 'Might is Right,' which came out much before LaVey was around, it is interesting to see how many of the same ideas LaVey had! I don't consider his form of Satanism to be.true Satanism. To me, true Satanism is a form of devil worship, not psychology. The Church of Satan is not much different than any other church, perhaps a bit more honest. They still feed off their followers' money." Scorpios wraps up his commentary with an unctuous grab for the wallets of his own followers - "May chaos reign.and contact Nocturnal Overlord for merchandise (shirts, long sleeves, cds stickers, new promo tape, etc.)."

After all, ancient scrolls, eyes of newt and faux Necronomicons don't come cheap!

"You are what you eat, you are what you shit, you are what you vomit."
Lyric from "Diarrhea Of the Mouth" by Cattle Decapitation


    Lotushouse MP3 Sampler
    Maquiladora - The Revenge of Becky Royal (New Piano)
    Tenniscoats + Maquiladora - Hours
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.


    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.

 

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