Unexpect – In A Flesh Aquarium
Country: Montreal, Quebec
Years Active: 1996-2015
Released: August 22nd, 2006
Label: The End Records
Studio: Hertzquake Studio.
Syriak (Eryk Chapados) – Guitars, Vocals
Artagoth (Stéphane English) – Guitars, Vocals
Le Bateleur (Charles Crépeau) – Violin
Leïlindel – Vocals
ChaotH – Bass
Landryx – Drums
Syriak – Producer
Serge Cossette – Engineering, Mix, Mastering
- Unexpect appears to be it’s member’s first musical project. If any of the members were in other bands prior to Unexpect, they don’t appear to have released any material
- The original lineup still included Syriak, Artagoth and Le Bateleur were all founding members. They were joined by original bassist was Mathieu Phaneuf (stage name Zircon). Drummer Stéphane Primeau (stage name ExoD), keyboardest Olivier Genest (Merzenya) , and singer Véronique Michau (Elda) would join by 1997.
- With the lineup solidified they would begin working on their independently released debut, 1999’s Utopia. This album is far less experimental than its successors. While still considered Avant-Garde, it is a much more focused release, and the stylistic shifts occur more from song to song, as opposed to several times on each song.
- The album was successful enough that the band was at least briefly signed to Galy Records, the label founded by it’s namesake Eric Galy that specializes in canadian extreme metal, though the album was distributed by their future label The End Records
- Whether the signing happened before or after the band decided to add more experimentation to their sound isn’t entirely clear but by the time the band released the EP _wE, Invaders the lineup was more in line with the one appearing on In A Flesh Aquarium with the exception of drum duties, which were still being handled by ExoD. He would step down shortly after this to be replaced by Landryx, though we would return to the band for their final album in 2011 to play keyboards.
- The song “Chromatic Chimera” has it’s origins as a bit of keyboard experimentation on this EP
- Sometime in 2004, Landryx would take over on drum duties, and the band would soon after sign with The End Records, a label that specializes in experimental bands regardless of genre.
- The studio they recorded in Hertzquake Studio, I assume is owned by Syriak, or possibly the engineer, Serge, as the studio is only credited on Utopia and In A Flesh Aquarium as well as two non-Unexpect albums by Magister Dixit (which includes Syriak as a member) and a band called Trails of Anguish.
- After this the band would tour it’s lineup still fluctuating a bit, releasing their final album Fables of the Sleepless Empire independently in 2011, going quit soon after this, and finally announcing their break up in 2015
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum- In Glorious Times
Country: Oakland, CA
Years Active: 1999-present
Released: May 29, 2007
Label: The End Records
Studio: Polymorph Recording
Matthias Bossi – drums, piano, glockenspiel, xylophone
Michael Iago Mellender – percussion, trumpet, guitar, Lever-action lever, Vatican, Valhalla, xylophone, toy piano, Tangularium, Electric Pancreas
Carla Kihlstedt – violin, Percussion-guitar, bass harmonica, nyckelharpa
Nils Frykdahl – guitar, Percussion-guitar
Dan Rathbun – bass, Sledgehammer-dulcimer, Thing
Marc Goodman – Engineering Assistant
Joel Hamilton – Mixing, Recording
JJ Golden – Mastering
- Sleepytime Gorilla Museum has it’s origins in two seemingly disparate groups, the experimental vocal group Charming Hostess which at the time had a rock band backing, and the avant garde metal band Idiot Flesh who were originally known as Acid Rain. Idiot Flesh was well known for their live shows which featured many sideshow and circus performers on stage.
- Dan & Nils were in both groups, Carla had been a member of CH. They formed Sleepytime with an early Acid Rain era Idiot Flesh member David Shamrock on Drums & piano and additional percussion by Moe! Staiano. Both David and Moe! Had been involved in various experimental rock projects
- The band would begin performing live in 1999, according to their now defunct website, their first concert was performed for a single Banana Slug, and played for their first human audience the next day.
- This lineup would eventually record their debut, the independently released Grand Opening & Closing in 2001.
- At this point David Shamrock would leave, being replaced by the band’s manager, co-distributor, and guest drummer from the first album Frank Gau, who had previously been in the improvisational prog band Species Being.
- This is the lineup that would record Of Natural History, though they were joined by Matthias who at the time was just doing additional percussion. Matthias was previously in the 90’s band Skeleton Key who were known for playing 90’s avant garde rock with pre-rock era antique equipment.
- Frank & Moe! Would both leave after this album was recorded, with Matthias taking over full drum duties and the multi-instrumentalist role being taken by Michael Mellender who had been in the equally musically interesting Gothic Rock, Metal and Hardcore band Stolen Babies.
- Finally w/ the Glorious lineup solidified the band would venture back into Polymorph Recording studio, which is run by Dan in 2005. The album would be recorded over the next two years.
- Moving behind the boards, Marc Goodman, has been an occasional guest vocalist working with post metal bands A Storm of Light and Battle of Mice, engineering the former and also did some mixing for Kayo Dot.
- He appears to work with Joel Hamilton frequently as Joel also has been credited as both a performer and studio hand for the same bands, as well as the band’s Cable, and Nadja. In addition to this Joel has played guitar for another band featuring Matthias, The Book of Knots, was a member of seminal post-hardcore band Shiner, and did some guestwork for the Justin Broderick led drum & Bass project The Blood of Heroes.
- The common connections between those bands and even some of the precursors to STGM seems to be The End Records, and it implies a tight knit structure among at least the more metal minded signees and employees of the label. It may also be down to founder Andreas Katsambas, who’s philosophy is to promote and nurture every signee. I would think having an intimate knowledge of his roster may allow him to put bands in touch with the right people for the right project.
- I would recommend people take a peek at The End’s roster & story. Not only because of it’s diversity but because there are several instances of the label getting bands back in the charts after years of absence.
- JJ Golden, who did the mastering is also an interesting figure, his father John Golden and he operate Golden mastering. John has mastered for TKO, Oxbow, Pelican, Om, Neurosis, Melvins, Jesu & Faith No More, while JJ seems poised to take his place, and has worked with a variety of newer bands the most notable of which is probably The Sword, though I may just be ignorant to the significance of some of the other names.
- Moving back to STGM, after the release of this album the band would continue to tour, but appearances became more sporadic. There was talks of a final album in 2011 but nothing has surfaced save for the song “A Perfect Abomination” in 2014.
- During their run the band was known for their live shows, because of their unique self made instruments, Butoh dancers, puppets and for their elaborate fictitious stories about dada artists and mathematicians that inspired the band. A good example of this can be seen in the liner notes for their first album, which recounts a fake story about an art museum by the Sleepytime Gorilla Press opening an experimental art exhibit that was just a fire. Giving them their namesake for the album and the band.
GWAR – Carnival Of Chaos
Country: Richmond, Virginia
Years Active: 1984 (as Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh), 1984-present
Released: March 25th, 1997
Label: Metal Blade Records
Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) – Vocals
Flattus Maximus (Pete Lee) – Guitars
Balsac the Jaws of Death (Mike Derks) – Guitars (rhythm), Bass (upright) & Piano (track 18)
Beefcake the Mighty (Casey Orr) – Bass, Vocals (track 7)
Jizmak Da Gusha (Brad Roberts) – Drums
Slymenstra Hymen (Danielle Stampe) – Vocals (lead) (track 18)
Techno-Destructo (Hunter Jackson)- Vocals (lead) (track 14)
Ron Goudie – Producer, Mixing
Mike Derks – Producer
Eddy Schreyer – Mastering
Grant Rutledge – Engineering (assistant)
Mark Miley – Engineering (assistant), Producer (drums)
Drew Mazurek – Mixing
Gene Grimaldi – Mastering
Warren Croyle – Mixing
- GWAR, again is another band I want to save the early history on. This album represents what is now considered the band’s “middle period” which consists of Ragnarok, Carnival of Chaos, & We Kill Everything. A period best remembered for not being remembered.
- There weren’t any real new additions to the lineup, David was a founding member, Brad & Mike had been present since Scumdogs.
- Casey had joined in 1995, being best known before this as the bassist and vocalist for Dallas Thrash band Rigor Mortis. Pete was also in Rigor Mortis, but had joined a year before, and was also involved with Talon (later called Sedation) a band that is best known for almost being on a Metal Massacre comp.
- It’s also worth noting that a year prior to this, in 1995 the band had released their side project X-Cop’s only album You Have the Right to Remain Silent… X-Cops, as the name implies, was a law enforcement themed metal band, though it’s notable that Mike Dunn, another Sedation/Rigor Mortis alumni replaced Brad Robert’s on drums
- The guest vocalists were both returning from previous projects, Hunter Jackson has been involved in the band since it’s inception in 1984. He had previously done lead vocals on the track “The Morality Squad” on 1991’s America Must Be Destroyed but as a different character known as Edna P. Granbo.
- Danielle was also a long standing member, being with the band since 1988, she also had her first vocal credit on record on America Must Be Destroyed but as a backing vocalist. She would graduate to co-lead vocalist on Ragnarok on the track “Fire in the Loins”
- Moving behind the boards we have some interesting figures.
- Ron Goudie: has quite a few credits in the Christian metal working w/ Sacred Warrior, Vengeance Rising & Stryper but he also worked w/ Death Angel, Coven (now known as Coven 6669) and Cirith Ungol.
- Grant Rutledge: had first worked with Gwar on the X-Cops album, this was still early days for them, he would soon graduate to their producer for the next two albums, including their “comeback” Violence Has Arrived
- Mark Miley: would work with Grant again on Disinterment’s 1997 Endless album. This was the Richmond based Disinterment, not the later band from Washington. Mark would also return for the next Gwar album, and would also work with Burn the Priest, Alabama Thunderpussy, and was a drummer for Chritian Metal band Armageddon USA
- Drew Mazurek: maybe most notably worked with Baltimore doom band Revelation and the re-branded Wrathchild USA band Souls at Zero, along with several other Baltimore based bands.
- Eddie & Gene: Just mention Eddie, Gene has mastered for a number of notable acts, for some late 90’s material, but Brujeria, and Huntress would be the most relevent to our past episodes.
- Warren Croyle: mixed a bunch of notable Thrash releases including Evil Dead, Laaz Rockit, Tyrant, Uncle Slam, Overdose & Reverend.
- This would be the last album to feature Pete Lee as Flattus, a few years prior to this in 1993 Peter was shot during a carjacking. He never fully recovered and had recurring stomach problems and could no longer maintain the touring and recording schedule. Pete is still an affiliate of the band, he has a band with his brother and fellow Talon/Sedation alumni Phil, called The Death of Rock & Roll. The lineup is completed by Noisear/Phobia drummer Dorian Rainwater, they often play the GWARBQ is Richmond, VA.
- Discussion on GWARs unique blend of this sort of gross out 70’s punk and metal and the musical experimentation on this album.
Arcturus – La Masquerade Infernale
Country: Oslo, Norway
Years Active: 1991-2007, 2011-present
Released: October 27th, 1997
Label: Music for Nations
Studio: Jester Studio (Garm’s studio, official studio for Jester Records)
G. Wolf (Kristoffer Rygg) – Vocals, Samples, Electronics
Knut M. Valle (Knut Magne Valle) – Guitars
Steinar Sverd Johnsen (Sverd) – Keyboards
Hugh Steven James Mingay (Skoll) – Bass
Jan Axel Von Blomberg (Hellhammer) – Drums
Børge Finstad – Mixing
Pål Klåstad – Technician, Engineering (strings)
Gandalf Stryke – Mastering
Knut Magne Valle – Producer
Marius Bodin – Engineering (Drums)
G. Wolf – Producer, Mastering
- Arcturus’s origins can be traced back to 1987, with the death metal band Mortem. Hellhammer, Steinar, and original bass player Marius Void were all core members of the band. The band released their only demo Slow Death in 1989.
- While it’s often stated that Mortem simply became Arcturus, this is not really the case, as the members were still working on Mortem material for a few years concurrently with their time in Arcturus. The bands were separate projects with the same members.
- The members were also busy in the black metal scene around the time of Slow Death’s releases and immediately after words. Hellhammer was in Mayhem, and Marius was in the original version of Thorns called Stigma Diabolicum, we would carry over to Thorns concurrent w/ Arcturus for their final Thule demo, but more on that in Feb.
- The band would officially form in 1991 and release the single “My Angel/Morax” the same year.
- Samoth would replace Marius in 1993 (unsure why Marius left). At the time Samoth would have been known at least locally for work in Embryonic, Thou Shalt Suffer, Xerasia and Emperor. There are some earlier projects that didn’t record as well that we may explore later, notably Zyltelab and his Godflesh-esque industrial project Spina Bifida. He would also join Satrycon the same year.
- This also marks when Garm would enter the band. At this time, his more well known project Ulver, would have been working on, or possibly released, their first rehearsal tape and a demo
- This lineup would record the group’s first long form release, 1994’s Constellation EP
- The lineup would continue to fluctuate however, for the debut 1996 album Aspera Hiems Symfonia Samoth would have been replaced with relative unknown at the time Carl August Tidemann who had been in Tritonus since 1989, but who’s only recorded output at the time would have been his self released solo album Stylistic Shifts, but even that’s debatable as we don’t know for sure when in 1996 it was released.
- The Aspera Hiems era would also mark Hugh Steven James Mingay’s entry point for the band, he had joined Ulver in 1994. Prior to this there was no credited bassist, assuming one of the other members played the role but did not take credit, or an unknown studio musician was used.
- Arcturus’ debut is a more straight ahead black metal release. It is notable for it’s slow doom like pacing however it is worlds away from La Masquerade in sound.
- La Masquerade would also feature a new guitar player in Knut, again no real word on why Carl left, though he would later form the band Winds and Tritonus would pick up steam, so we can assume this has something to do with it, I’m assuming either the split was amicable, as Carl performs guitar leads on tracks 2 and 8, and Hellhammer would be the drummer in Winds and many of the guest musicians from La Masquerade would show up guesting for Winds
- Of the guest musicians, Vegard Johnsen (Violin), Dorthe Dreier (Viola), Hans Josef Groh (Cello) would all show up on albums by Ulver and Winds, as well as the unaffiliated band stoner/doom band Black Debbeth. In addition Hans would work with Symphonic band Tristania and was actually just on the new Satyricon album. All the strings players, including double bassist Svein Haugen who has no other metal credits are accomplished studio musicians, live symphony members, and have worked on various Norweigien pop/folk/rock projects.
- Flutist Erik Olivier Lancelot is better known as AiwarikiaR and was Ulver’s drummer and flutist from 1994-1998, and prior to this was involved in the band Valhall in 1992, in a period between that band shifting from death/doom to Stoner/Doom, and was going to drum in a project w/ Samoth & Varg that never got off the ground.
- Simen Hestnæs better known as ICS Vortex, performed guest vocals and songwriting duties on track 3 “The Chaos Path” and backing vocals on tracks “Master of Disguise” and “Painting My Horror.” This is of particular significance not only because ICS Vortex would replace Garm when Arcturus reunited, but because ICS Vortex also replaced Garm in the viking/folk/black band Borknagar. In fact his stage name is a play on Garm’s stage name in the band Fiery G. Maelstrom.
- The only guest musician who w/ no other credits of note is cornet player Idun Felberg, who has no outside credits.
- Moving behind the boards:
- Børge Finstad – is a prominent mixer and masterer in the black metal scene particularly in the mid-late aughts. He too worked with Carl later in Winds & Tritonis as well as Ulver, ICS Vortex, Mayhem, Enslaved, and most frequently with Borknagar and post/avant-garde band Solefald. He’s also an occasional session musician and has performed guitar, vocals and drums for various projects.
- Pål Klaastad – Works frequently in the pop and rock scene, his only other metal credit being the recording of some new tracks for early ICS Vortex’s doom metal band Lamented Souls for their compilation The Origins of Misery
- Gandalf Stryke – no other credits, possibly an alias?
- Marius Bodin Larsen – has been a norwegian rock musician since the late 80’s working with Ultra Uglies, Dustsucker and Intellecto. He is a prominent producer in the rock scene. He only has one other metal affiliation, though coincidently it’s with former member Samoth’s project Scum.
- Finally, worth noting that writer and poet Jørn H. Sværen contributed lyrics and translations for the album, he would later join Ulver, performing various roles in the band since 2000.
- Quick aside about Music For Nations: founded by Martin Hooker, a somewhat disgruntled EMI employee, the label started out under the name Secret. Their first signee was the influential punk band the Exploited. They would go on to be a major force for distribution of American Heavy Metal in Europe in the 80’s. It’s 80’s signees and distribution dealing are a who’s who of cult classics and major names. Perhaps their most well known signees cam in the 90’s and 00’s including Opeth, Lost Horizon, Cradle of Filth and Paradise Lost.
- This would be Hugh Steven James Mingay’s last album for the band in his initial run, he would leave shortly before the band recorded their more ambient, electronica and trip hop influenced follow up, 2002’s The Sham Mirrors though he is still credited as a session player on that album, he would return to the band the same year.
Mr. Bungle – Mr. Bungle
Country: Eureka, California
Years Active: 1985-2004
Released: August 13th, 1991
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Studio: Different Fur
Theobald Brooks Lengyel – Saxophone, Keyboards
Trevor Roy Dunn – Bass, Vocals (backing)
Scummy – Guitars
Vlad Drac – Vocals, Keyboards
Heifetz – Drums, Percussion
Bar – Keyboards, Clarinet, Tenor Sax
David Bryson – Engineering, Mixing, Recording
John Zorn – Producer
Bob Ludwig – Mastering
Matt Murman – Engineering, Digital Editing
Marius Bodin – Engineering (Drums)
G. Wolf – Producer, Mastering
David Louapre – Cover Art
Dan Sweetman – Interior Art
- Mr. Bungle was formed while it’s founding members were still in high school. The Lineup at that time was The band initially consisted of Trevor Dunn, Mike Patton, Trey Spruance, and Jed Watts. Prior to this Trevor & Mike had been in a Metallica cover’s band, while Jed & and Trey had been in a goth metal band. According to Mike, both bands were terrible. Theo was involved with the band at this time, however he was considered a guest member/session player rather than a full member. He would be involved in all demos leading up to the album, where he would finally be credited as a full member.
- The early sound of the band was more firmly rooted in death/thrash (though it should be noted this was still very new at the time) but already the band showed signs of experimentation and avant-garde changes to song structure within single tracks, which can be seen on their first demo The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny which was released in 1986, ska being probably the most prevalent non-metal influence at the time.
- Jed was replaced in 1987, though he would show up in a project with Trey in 1990 called Scourge, which released a single demo. His replacement was Hans Wagner, who would later be a member of 90’s swing revival/ska band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Han’s would be present for the next two demo releases Bowel of Chiley, & Goddammit I Love America!!, released in 1987 and 1988, before being replaced by Danny. Bowl features an increase in ska influence, while Goddammit shows the first consistent elements of jazz and swing music.
- Outside the core members, in 1987 the band had a two piece horn section, These players were Scott Fritz (Tenor Sax, Trombone) who is only credited on Bowl and left in 1987, and Luke Miller (Saxophone (tenor), Trumpet) who was present on Bowl & Goddamnit but left in 1988. *Side note: both are credited on tenor sax, this is not a typo, Theo still handled Alto Sax at this time* Scott has no credits outside of Mr. Bungle, and Luke only has a single other credit, a track on a surf punk/alt comp called Kaijuice
- Goddamnit is notable for having the first recording of the song “Egg”
- In 1988 Patton would be asked to join Faith No More. Faith No More had “sorta” fired their previous singer Chuck Mosley after a problem filled 1988 European tour. Chuck’s erratic behavior at the time had been the genesis of the problems, when the band returned, Chuck wanted to exclusively play acoustic guitar songs, which led to every member of the band quitting except Chuck and then basically reforming. Essentially they “fired him without firing him”
- Mr. Bungle had actually been on Faith No More’s radar for a few years prior to this. Trey was one of 3 people who showed up at a Faith No More gig at an out of session college. He had handed them a copy of Easter Bunny while talking to the band after the show.
- Faith No More guitarist Jim Martin was in love with the demo, particularly praising what he assumed, based on the power of his voice was the “giant fat guy.” on vocals.
- They would eventually approach Mike after a Mr. Bungle show in San Francisco, praising the demo. Mike informed them they didn’t really sound like that anymore, and presented them a copy of Bowl which the band also liked. Shortly after this Mike would join, and begin working on the material that would ultimately become The Real Thing.
- Clinton would join the band in 1989, and would be present on the final pre-album demo OU818, a play on the Van Halen album OU812, itself a reference to the David Lee Roth album Eat ‘Em And Smile.
- OU818 is notable for containing early versions of many of the songs on the debut. It would also be the band’s last recording while they were still located in Eureka. In 1990 they would move to San Francisco in search of new opportunities.
- The band would be signed the same year. While their cult status in California cannot be ignored, it is generally accepted that Warner Brothers signed the band primarily because of Mike Patton’s successes with Faith No More.
- The band was sent to work with noted avant-garde jazz producer John Zorn. While Zorn was already a well established musical force at this point, both behind the boards and as a performer, it is worth noting that this particular period of time marks Zorn’s most “metal” period, as he would found Painkiller w/ fellow avant-garde icon Bill Laswell, and Mick Harris of Napalm Death as well as Naked City.
- The David Bryson that worked on this album would later go onto form Counting Crows. This was near the end of his early career behind the boards, as Counting Crows would be formed in 1991. One of his other last work as recording in the metal genre would be Faith No More’s Angel Dust album in 1992.
- Masterer Bob Ludwig is renowned across several genres, he has some notable metal credits, most prominently Metallica, Megadeth, Rush, Twisted Sisterand Def Leppard, but also Dokken, Accept, Fight, CoC. He’ll undoubtedly come up again, and I believe was mentioned when we discussed Warrior.
- Matt has limited credits in metal, notably he worked on recording the demo version of Buckethead’s Giant Robot and with Primus. He’s also worked w/ Zorn before and has a multitude of other rock credits.
- Guest musician David Shea, who did the turbtable work on the album is a noted Manhattan based experimental musician and frequent Zorn collaborator. Guest vocalist Maximum Bob would later be the vocalist for the Deli Creeps which features Buckethead, Pinchface, and a rotating lineup of bassists.
- Different Fur studios is a notable studio in San Francisco. It was founded in 1968 by musician Patrick Gleeson. Patrick, and to a greater extent the studio, became notable because of Patrick’s pioneering work with and expertise in synthesizers including the Moog
- The artwork for the album, both interior and cover were pulled from the DC comic series Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children which Dave wrote and Dan illustrated.
Glorior Belli – Meet Us at the Southern Sign
Country: Paris, France
Years Active: 2002-present
Released: May 25th, 2009
Label: Candlelight Records
Studio: Hybreed Studio
Alastor – Guitars
Antares – Drums
Infestvvs – Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Andrew Guillotin – Recording, Mixing, Mastering
Infestvvs – Design, Songwriting, Lyrics
- The earliest traces of Glorior Belli can be found in the black metal band Mogradem which released a single demo in 2002. The band consisted of Infestvvs and drummer Sebastian. The band would essentially be absorbed by the Death metal band Carnal Lust though it’s unclear what role they played exactly as they’re not credited on any albums, there was a bass vacancy in 2003 but the drum roll at least has been filled since the founding of the band in 1998.
- Infestvvs would co-found Glorier Belli in 2002 and almost immediately after the more straight ahead black metal band with Antares, called Obscurus Advocam in 2003. Both bands would release demo’s in 2003, at which point Obscurus seems to have gone on the back burner. At least as far as recordings go.
- The first official release by either band would be Ô Laudate Dominvs in 2005. At this point the bass duties were being handled by a man called Nefastvs, who has no outside credits. This year is also notable for being the year Antare’s would join Temple of Baal, a french Black/Death band with frequent lineup shifts. He would remain their drummer until 2010.
- 2007 would see the release of second album Manifesting the Raging Beast, as well as the first and only full length from Obscurus Verbia Daemonicus. Manifesting is interesting because though Antare’s is still a member of the band at this time the drums were being handled by Massimo Altomare who is most widely known for his work in Black Flame. Possibly a scheduling conflict was to blame?
- Bass duties were also being handled by someone else this time around, this time by Dispater of BlackGod, Heol Telwen, & Merrimack, all black metal projects, usually with a folk/medieval bent.
- Strangely Alastor is listed as a member of the band as of 2007 but he isn’t credited on anything prior to Meet. I’m assuming that he may have been considered a member but scheduling conflicts prevented him from playing with the band, or it’s simply misinformation.
- Regardless of his status in Glorior Belli, he would follow Antares over to Temple of Baal 2008 as their guitarist and vocalist. 2008 would also mark the breakup of Obscurus.
- At this point recording would begin on Meet. the studio the album was recorded like the last one, in Hybreed, which is notable in the French metal scene, and run by Andrew Guillotin, who much like in the case of this album, is often intimately involved in the studio work. In addition to the last Glorior album, he worked on a 2004 release by the previously mentioned Carnal Lust, so this MIGHT be where he first met some of the band members, but again they’re not credited on that release so it’s hard to know for sure. He would later also work with Temple of Baal.
- The album is noted for being their first on Candlelight Records, their first was on a French indie called Eeire Art, and the second on Southern Lord
- Both Antares and Alastor would leave the band prior to the next release, Antares in 2009 and Alastor in 2010. Infestvvs, who by this point was going by “Billy Bayou” would take over all but the drum’s for the next release, a split with the band Creeping, and the lineup would continue to fluctuate ever since
Duobetic Homunkulus – Ani já ani ty robit něbudzeme, šedněme do koča, vozit še budzeme
Translation: I Do Not Even Make You Do Not Wake Up, We Go Gray In A Carriage, We’re Going To Wake Up
Country: Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav / Mělník, Czech Republic
Years Active: 2005-present
Released: February 22nd, 2013
Label: Zero Budget Productions
Walis (Jan Zapletal) – Bass, Flugelhorn
Wokis (Petr Vokál) – Vocals, Guitars, Drum programming
Martin Brňovják – Vocals
Wokis Recording, Mastering
Lucie Třešňáková – Artwork
- Very little information is available on the band. Though they were not formed until 2005, there is an indication that Walis and Wokis have known each other much longer, as the physical copies of the album include some home recordings from 1998
- Both members were in bands prior to this, Wokis was in Tříštivá Fraktura (Fragmentation Fracture) an avant-garde death metal band, they may be best known for also including Kubajs as a member, who would later go on to play in the black metal band Infernal Blaze. While Walis has been a member of Azrael, neither band made it past the demo phase.
- Walis would go on to be an early member of avant-garde doom band Aaen Anima in 2002 but would be gone before the recording of their full length, I assume he left to co-found goth metal Preludium who would just barely make it out of the demo phase, but not until 2007, when a single was released.
- Meanwhile Wokis was involved in a band called Calmative Fallacy a band who was supposed to have recorded a demo in 2004, but based on their website, I don’t think ever did. I’m thinking the project was abandoned when he went to join the long running Czech prog death/grindcore band !T.O.O.H.! which he played with from 2004-2005, long enough to be credited on their acclaimed Order and Punishment album.
- That album is also notable because it appears to be the first time Petr Svoboda would work with Wokis. Petr would be an early member of Duobetic.
- The band which may or may not have included Petr would record their first demo Části a mechanismy strojů (Parts and mechanisms of machines) in 2006. I’m unsure who did the vocals on this release.
- None of the members were active in the interim between albums, when they reconvened, Petr was gone, and vocals were being outsourced to Martin Brňovják. It would be interesting to know the order of Martin’s involvement, considering he is the founder of Zero Budget Productions. I wonder if he signed them then offered to do vocals, or just offered to distribute after the fact.
- Martin had been busy before this, he was in the crossover thrash band See You In Hell from 1999 onward, was a member of Parasophisma during a period between a comp of their demos and their first full length, then moved on to Tech Death/Thrash band Absurd Conflict from 2002-2007, and concurrent to his guest spot in Duobetic, was in prog death band Edain.
Fallujah – Dreamless
Country: San Francisco, California
Years Active: 2007-present
Released: April 29th, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
Studio: Sharkbite Studios
Andrew Baird – Drums
Scott Carstairs – Guitars, Songwriting
Alex Hofmann – Vocals, Lyrics, Songwriting
Rob Morey – Bass
Brian James – Guitars
Zack Ohren -Recording (bass, guitars, vocals)
Mark Lewis – Recording (drums), Mixing, Mastering
Alex Hofmann – Design, Layout
Peter Mohrbacher – Cover art
- Fallujah’s early days were rife with lineup shakeups. The original lineup would consist of Alex Hofmann (Guitar), Scott Carstairs (Guitars), Tommy Logan (Drums), Dan Wissinger (Bass), and Suliman Arghandiwal (Vocals). This early version of the band was firmly planted in the Bay area hardcore scene of the time.
- The lineup would remain relatively shaky up until 2009. Alex and Scott were the contestants, Andrew joining within the first year. 2009 marks the year Rob would join on bass, having previously been in deathcore band Scourge of Medusa & tech death/grind/metalcore band Rise of Caligula.
- Most of these early members would have no other credits outside Fallujah, with the exception of those members brought in to take over the second guitarist position when Alex switched to vocals. This position would first be filled by Rob Maramonte from the death metal band Eviscerated from 2008-2009, then Rob Morey’s Scourge of Medusa bandmate Anthony Borges from 2009-2010, at which point Rob Maramonte returned and would remain with the band until 2013.
- This solidified lineup of the two robs, Alex, Scott, and Andre would be together for the band’s First full length album The Harvest Wombs & the follow-up EP Nomadic. There was an EP released back in 2009 by an earlier version of the band, called Leper Colony however this is a far more straight ahead deathcore release albeit with some black metal guitar stylings.
- The Harvest Wombs is notable as the first time that Fallujah began to integrate some “atmospheric” bits to a tech death template. The Nomadic EP is also worth mentioning because it is the first time the band worked with Zack Ohren in the studio.
- The band would continue to integrate more atmospheric/shoegaze influence into their sound with the next album, and last with their label up to that point, the indie company Unique Leader Records. The album would be titled The Flesh Prevails and production elements were again handled by Zack Ohren.
- Immediately preceding the recording of Dreamless the band would be signed to Nuclear Blast.
- Despite the change in label, the band would again work with Zach Ohren, and would return to Sharkbite Studio’s where they had recorded the last album.
- The studio was founded by Ryan Massey who is best known as the guitarist/vocalist in the punk band American Steel, later known as Communiqué when they changed their sound to a more synth based sound.
- The album features several guest vocalists. The female vocals are split between singer and ambient composer Tori Letzler, who has also joined the band live on the Dreamless tour, as well as Katie Thompson, the vocalist for progressive rock band Chiasma. Some clean vocals are provided on track 6, “Dreamless” by Mike Semesky, of The HAARP Machine, and Ordinance.
- Rounding out the guest work is some guitar leads from Tymon Kruidenier, best known for the band prog/death jazz band Exivious. Unsurprisingly he was also involved with Cynic as a guitarist and the death metal vocalist from 2008-2010 and is currently in the heavy fusion band The ATM project.
- The album would make the final recordings with founding member Alex, who left amicably shortly after the album was released. He was replaced by Monte Barnard of the bands Soma Ras and The Kennedy Veil for the subsequent live tour, but no permanent vocalist has been announced as of yet.
Benighted in Sodom – A Resplendent Starless Darkness
Country: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (early), Portland, Oregon (later)
Years Active: 2004-Present (brief hiatus in 2012)
Released: May 21st, 2011
Matron Thorn – All instruments, Vocals
Unknown (Presumably Matron Thorn)
Unknown (Presumably Matron Thorn)
- Benighted in Sodom is a hard band to track. The project is notable for being one of the earliest project of Matron Thorn, who is a prominent figure in the US DSBM scene. The earliest demo’s date back to 2006. The only project that pre-dates it, is his one man doom metal band Midwinter Storm which began releasing albums in 2004.
- Benighted released their first full length in 2007, and this is arguably what really put him on the map. After this he would be involved in the demo recordings of the band Blight, with Cain & Parcival from the Nova Scotian black metal band Snowfall. Snowfall would also be featured on a split with Benighted in 2008
- By 2008 he would begin a brief stint in influential german Black/Doom band Bethlehem. He was in the band until 2010 but can only be heard on their 2010 EP Stönkfitzchen.
- Also in 2008, he founded yet another one man project, the atmospheric black band Andacht.
- In 2010 was offered the guitarist and vocalist position in Roger “Phycon” Markstrom’s equally revered Leviathan, though no recordings came from either of this pairing. He is technically still listed as a member of Leviathan, but that band is on hold.
- 2010 would also mark the start of another band, this time with a partner, Ascaris, who would later go on to be a prominent figure in black metal herself, playing multiple instruments and recording vocals. This project is called Ævangelist, an equally experimental Black/Death band.
- This effectively brings us to A Resplendent Starless Darkness Benighted’s 11th album, and where we’ll end the history for the time being.
- Because of the nature of the project, there isn’t much to note as far as the recording staff go. The only other credit besides Matron is an appearance from his old bandmate in Bethleham Jürgen Bartsch performing an unknown role on the first track.
Shining – Blackjazz
Country: Oslo, Norway
Years Active: 1999-Present
Released: Jan 18th, 2010
Label: Indie Recordings
Studio: By Will Alone Studios, Is It Art? Studios,Velvet Recording
Jørgen Munkeby – Vocals, guitars, saxophone
Torstein Lofthus – Drums
Tor Egil Kreken – Bass
Bernt Moen – Synths and keyboards
Even Helte Hermansen – Guitars
Jørgen Munkeby – Producer
Sean Beavan – Mixing
Tom Baker – Mastering
- Shining has existed in some form or another for some time, however their time as a metal band has been much shorter.
- They began life as an acoustic Jazz Quartet. As time went on they begun to incorporate more and more diverse musical styles into their sound, becoming heavier as the years went on, but still very much a “rock” band at best.
- It should be noted that “They” is really Jørgen, as he is the only constant member of the band. Torstein was also an original member, however he has since left the band.
- The decision to move the band into the realm of heavy metal can be linked to two significant events in the bands history.
- The first, is that from 2006-2007, Jorgen was involved in the equally experimental black metal band In Lingua Mortua, led by multi-instrumentalist Lars Fredrik Frøislie. Jørgen played saxophone for what would become the Salon des Refusés album. Though this album was released in 2010, work had begun on it much earlier than this.
- The second event began when Shining was booked as the supporting act for Enslaved on a European tour, the concerts would end with both bands playing “21st Century Schizoid Man” together. One of these performances was seen by the committee of Moldejazz.
- Moldejazz commissioned the bands to create and perform a full concert piece, which would become Nine Nights in Nothingness – Glimpses of Downfall or The Armageddon Concerto which the band performed at the festival in 2008.
- Despite the decision to change the sound, the musicians who joined Jørgen and Torstein were all from Jazz backgrounds, only Tor Egil Kreken would stick around for the next album.
- The only real metal connections we have on this album, besides the guest vocals from Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson on the tracks Omen & 21st Century Schizoid Man, are the behind the boards credits
- Sean Beavan – is best known for his work on the seminal mid-nineties Marilyn Manson albums, Portrait of an American Family, Antichrist Superstar, & Mechanical Animals but before this he had worked as the producer on NIN Pretty Hate Machine & The Downward Spiral albums. He has continued to work beyond this.
- Tom Baker – also worked with Manson, as well as Rob Zombie, he also prominently worked with Danzig from Danzig 5 onward, Ministry, Pantera, & Prong.
- Indie Recordings is a relatively newer Norwegian hard rock and metal label, their most well known signee is probably Cult of Luna.
Genghis Tron – Boarding Up The House
Country: Poughkeepsie, New York,
Years Active: 2004-2010
Released: February 19, 2008
Studio: Godcity Studio
Mookie Singerman – keyboard, vocals
Michael Sochynsky – drum programming, keyboard
Hamilton Jordan – drum programming, guitar
Kurt Ballou – Producer Engineer, Mixing
Genghis Tron – Producer
Nick Zampiello – Mastering
- Genghis Tron was formed in early 2004, and appears to be the members first credit, at least on record. The only recording that pre-dates the formation of the band, is Mookie guesting on a band called The Fugue’s EP Four Corner Races
- The band started recording almost immediately, releasing their first EP Cloak of Love. This first EP was more firmly planted in the cybergrind sound, being a blend of mathcore and techno.
- This was followed by a second EP consisting mainly of remixes that was released as part of a tour promotion called Cape of Hate. a few months later, their first full length Dead Mountain Mouth. This EP represents the first time the band would integrate more varied metal influences to their sound.
- This album also marks the first time that Genghis Tron would work with Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou behind the boards It would also be the last wholly original studio work on the Hagerstown based independent experimental label Crucial Blast, though they would release another tour EP before signing to Relapse.
- Board Up The House would again feature Kurt Ballou on production, and would feature guest vocals from Greg Puciato of the Dillinger Escape Plan on “The Feast”
- Cover artist Jon Beasely is also a musician himself, performing in the experimental duo Hecuba, and has done various other cover work.
- Also worth mentioning that this album, along with some other Genghis Tron releases, were released on Lovepump United, which was founded by Jake Friedman and Mookie Singerman. Jake is a member of Mookie’s other project, Glitter Pals, and is known for releasing albums by AIDS Wold and Pictureplane
Dub War – Wrong Side of Beautiful
Country: Newport, South Wales, UK
Years Active: 1993–1999, 2014–present
Studio: Rockfield Studios
Richie Glover – Bass
Martin “Ginge” Ford – Drums
Jeff Rose – Guitars
Benji Webbe – Vocals
Paul Schroeder – Producer, Mixing
Ian Anderson – Masterer
- Dub War began in 1993. This appears to be the first project of note for Benji and Richie, however Martin & Jeff had both been members of a band called Blood Brothers who had released an album in 1988. Blood Brother’s, while not hugely successful, may be best known for the song “Replica” which was one of Chris Benoit’s earliest themes.
- If Replica is any indication of the rest of the album, the band seems to be a blend of hard rock, hip hop, and new wave.
- Martin & Jeff would also play together on a track titled “Spirit of America” from british pop singer Samantha Fox’s Just One Night album.
- Dub War was able to secure a signing to a small hardcore label in the UK called Words of Warning, and 1994 would see the band’s first major studio work, the EP DubWarning released. Soon after it was slightly expanded upon and released as Words of Dubwarning, and this version is considered the band’s first album, though it is technically a mini-LP
- The band also released several singles, and splits around this time. One of these early releases was eventually heard by Digby Pearson, founder of Earache. Who signed the band and they immediately began working on their first full length album Pain which would be released in ‘95.
- Pain marks the end of the band’s original sound, which was a more straightforward blend of raga, punk and heavy metal.
- “Enemy Maker” and “Cry Dignity” were released as singles prior to the release of Wrong Side and showed the band’s more experimental direction. The album was released to glowing critical reviews, a follow up EP which showed more dance influence Soundclash and the band would go on their first world tour.
- The producer Paul Schroeder is an extremely prolific rock producer in the UK, working with The Stone Roses, Waysted, The Verve among others. He was a returning figure for Dub War having worked with them since their independent days. Outside of Dub War, his metal credits are limited, however he did work with fat dude supergroup Mammoth.
- When the band returned home, and began trying to work on their third album, they began having difficulties with their label. The album wasn’t selling, at least not to Earache’s expectations. They refused to give the band time in the studio, and were not paying them a living wage, which led to internal conflicts. They also refused to allow Benji to record a hip hop oriented solo album.
- Benji did take part in the Mass Mental supergroup with former Suicidal Tendencies and current Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo in 1998, their only album being released in Japan and only becoming well known retroactively when it began floating around online.
- The record label issues had exasperated tension within the band, and they finally broke up in 1999.
- The breakup was short lived as Benji, Jeff & Martin would all go on to form the much more well known raga metal band Skindred, though Jeff & Martin would leave after the first album Babylon while Richie join modern hard rock band The Jones.
Creaming Jesus – Guilt By Association
Country: London, England
Years Active: 1987–1994
Studio: Rockfield Studios
Tally – Bass
Des & Roy – Drums
Mario, Richard – Guitars
Andy – Vocals
Bryan “Chuck” New – Producer, Engineer, Mixer
- A band with very little information available. They were formed in 1987, the earliest version of the band contained David “Lil” Giles as a second vocalist with a single guitarist, Paul Scanlan.
- Lil left the band after a few gigs and you go on to found two seminal british hardcore and punk labels Household Name Records & All Ages Records, Paul would stick around a little bit longer, appearing on the earliest singles and EP’s Nailed Up for Nothing, Mug, & Bark before he would leave to form Akercocke.
- With the recruitment of Mario and Richard to replace Paul, and original drummer Lindy being replaced by Des. This would be the most solid lineup the band would have.
- The first album Too Fat To Run, Too Stupid To Hide would be released in 1990, and a tour with Fields of Nephilim would follow.
- Immediately after the tour the band would again be in the studio to record a few follow up singles, which leads us to the recording of this album.
- Producer Bryan New is another prominent UK producer and composer, having over 400 writing credits alone, and almost another 400 technical credits.
- Jungle Records is a specialty goth, punk and alt label. Most notable to our past discussions is that they released the earliest recordings of Fields of the Nephilim.
- Des would leave after this album being replaced by another percussionist Roger. This lineup would record a further EP, Headrush. The band would also be one of the first UK bands to play in the newly independent Czech & & Slovak republic
Mordred – In This Life
Country: San Francisco, CA
Years Active: 1984-1995, 2001-2007, 2013-present
Released: February 5th, 1991
Label: Noise Records
Studio: Fantasy Studios & Mobius Music.
Art Liboon – Bass
Danny White – Guitars
Gannon Hall – Drums
Jim Sanguinetti – Guitars
Aaron (Pause) Vaughn – Keyboards, Turntables
Scott Holderby – Vocals
Michael Rosen – Mixing, Engineering, Producer
Mark Slagle – Engineering (assistant)
Jane Scolieri – Engineering (assistant)
Tom Coyne (R.I.P. 2017) – Mastering
Karl-U. Walterbach – Executive producer
Vince Wojno Engineering (assistant)
Alexis Olson – Executive producer
Gannon Hall – Art direction, Design concept, Layout design
Henni Hell – Executive design
- As mentioned Mordred goes back to 1984, but as is so often the case by the time they got to the studio most of the original members were out of the band.
- Arthur Liboon is the only founding member of Mordred to remain from the early days.
- Prior to joining Mordred, Danny had been a member of the lesser known Bay Area thrash band Mercenary. Though the band only recorded two demos worth of material, they have reunited for local shows on at least one occasion, implying they had a small following during their heydey
- Jim also has some pre-existing Bay Scene cred, being an early member of Heathen, though not appearing on any of their albums. He actually left that band to join Mordred.
- The lineup had solidified to a point by 1987 for the band’s second demo, though Gannon Hall had only joined prior to the debut album Fool’s Game in 1989. And Danny wouldn’t join until after that album’s release.
- Fool’s Game, though still very much a funk metal album, is generally considered to be a much more tepid affair than In This Life. The band was experimenting with funk more than they had fully committed to a funk metal sound.
- The album at the time was seen as sort of a Novelty among the music press, though it did not receive a lot of buzz, which is an indication of their ultimate fate. It is notable that it features Chuck Billy of Testament and Michael Coons from Laaz Rockit on guest vocals among a host of other guest vocalists.
- In the interim between Fool’s and In This Life, DJ Pause would join as a full member, having only been a session play on two tracks on Fool’s and it is his full integration into the band’s sound that is considered the transition point between a thrash band that incorporated some funk bits to a full on fusion band.
- In This Life, appears to mark the height of Noise’s interest in the band, having a much beefier production staff than the preceding album.
- Michael Rosen is a notable later day thrash producer having done some 90’s work for D.R.I, Flotsam & Jetsam, Forbidden, Reverend, Sadus, Testament, Vio-Lence, and The Organization which was Death Angel minus Mark Osegueda. He has some earlier credits, mainly as an assistant, and continues to work to this day.
- The engineering assistants have limited credits outside of Mordred. At least as far as metal is concerned, Jane moved onto more Adult Contemporary stuff, though it’s notable that prior to this she worked on 7 Seconds SoulForce Revolution album in 1989.
- Mark also has limited metal credits, though he would also go on to work with Sadus, albeit much later. He was actually also the vocalist for early “college rock” band Game Theory.
- Vince is a little more prolific, he appears to have worked with several of the other production staff on various projects. His most notable credit outside of some of the bands we’ll discuss here in a minute would probably be Kreator & Trouble.
- Masterer Tom Coyne is actually more well known as an R&B and Dance masterer, but he’s managed to work on several of our favorite albums, including works with Accuser, Agent Steel, Carnivore, Helstar, M.O.D., Mercyful Fate, Nuclear Assault, Possessed, Deicide, Testament, Winter, Tokyo Blade, Znowhite and Zoetrope. Many of those being debuts, or early material which emphasizes his importance.
- I am ASSUMING Alexis Olson is actually just the band’s manager who I assume was given the Exec Producer credit as part of their deal, if this is the case, he would be fired or quit after this album, at which point Gannon would actually take over as the band’s manager. Which will come into play in a minute.
- This is Henni Hell’s one of her only real metal art credits, though she did work with Killing Joke and Gamma Ray, but nonetheless she is a prominent designer and artist and has prominently worked with Atari Teenage Riot.
- The primary Studio, Fantasy, was the official studio of the legendary Fantasy Records, best known for signing and fucking over CCR, but the amount of albums recorded there is too insane to even get into.
- After this album the band would tour for a few years, though Scott would leave and be replaced with the more bluesy sounding Paul Kimball for their final album The Next Room. They cite Noise’s lack of promotion for their tour as a contributing factor to the album’s lack of success, which is especially hard to hear considering their biggest fan base was in Germany. However the band does acknowledge their german fanbase and the public at large has shunned the record, and it is considered a weaker effort even among contemporary critics.
- The band would break up in 1995, and have only sporadically reformed. Archived versions of their website seem to indicate their was new material planned at some point, however nothing other than a demo’s comp from the band’s early days has surfaced.
Panopticon – Kentucky
Country: Louisville, Kentucky (early), Minnesota (later)
Years Active: 2007-present
Released: June 12th, 2012
Label: Pagan Flames Productions
Austin Lunn – Everything
Colin Marston – Mixing, Mastering
- Another one man band. So sort of hard to track the history of it. Austin Lunn had gotten his start as the vocalist/guitarist in Louisville Black/Death band Anagnorisis in 2003. He would remain a member until 2008, leaving shortly after the beginning of Panopticon.
- Though given the number of band’s Austin continues to be in the two may not be related.
- Panopticon is often seen as a musical reflection of Austin’s love of the outdoors, and similar to some albums we mentioned last week, features environmentalism as a prominent theme. Related to that, it should be noted that when it was released a portion of the profits for this album were donated to “Kentuckians for the Commonwealth” to fight mountaintop removal.
- Panopticon would release a string of albums, 2008’s S/T, ‘09’s Collapse, & Social Disservices
- Social Disservices is notable for 3 major reasons, one because it featured the confusingly named Austin Lunn behind the boards and the two Austin’s would work together in producer Austin’s doom metal band Agnosis’s A Painful Pattern EP the same year and two because it is the first time John Becker joined as a session fiddle player.
- John Becker is probably best known as a member of the atmospheric prog band Austaras and his goth/post-punk project Vaskula, but he has played violin as a session player on a number of other projects.
- Lastly this would be the first time he would work with Colin Marston, who we unfortunately had to mention in reference to his work with Liturgy, but is an incredibly prolific producer and musician and is currently involved in Krallice, Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, and Behold the Arctopus among other projects.
- Austin’s involvement in other projects would hit a sort of peak around 2011-2013. In addition to the already mentioned Agonosis album he would join Dämmerfarben, Kolga, Throndt & Seidr.
- I am assuming his move to Minnesota correlates to a slight stepping back from projects outside of Panopticon, though I should note, that most of the bands mentioned are still technically active. Shortly after or perhaps the reason for the move, Austin would co-found Hammerheart brewing Company with his brother-in-law, and is also the head brewer.
- Panopticon has released two further albums, post Kentucky, and just recently released a single. 2016 would mark the first time Austin would tour with the project. It’s also worth noting the band is now signed to BindRune, who we discussed last episode.