Union Transfer

1026 SPRING GARDEN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123 Ι 215-232-2100

The Black Dahlia Murder

The Black Dahlia Murder

Goatwhore, Iron Reagan, Entheos, Artificial Brain

Tue, December 15, 2015

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 6:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$20.00 - $22.00

This event is all ages

The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder
The problem of dropping a record as career-defining as 2013′s Everblack is that the bar is set so high following it up is a galling task. That The Black Dahlia Murder‘s response to such a challenge comes in the form of the devastating Abysmal serves to once again demonstrate why they are considered one of the most vital bands in contemporary death metal. “Once the record started to come together we knew it was going to be something special,” states vocalist Trevor Strnad. “It’s more urgent, it has more dynamics, it’s a more emotive record, and it has a more raw, angry sound to it. It’s still million mile-per-hour death metal, but when you invest so much thought and emotion into what you’re creating you end up with a record that does stand out, and we can hold our heads up high and say yeah, this is our best work.“

Since 2001, the Michigan quintet have focused their efforts on writing music that embraces all the finest qualities of melodic death metal yet does not shackle them, giving them room to constantly evolve and grow as musicians. With Abysmal the band have once again progressed while retaining the signature sound that has won them their devoted legion of fans, and making it clear that their best is not in their past. “I still love Everblack and everything we achieved when touring it, and in fact going into that record we faced a massive challenge in following up Ritual (2011), which had also been huge for us. Having two records in a row connect with fans in such a way was amazing, but definitely piled on the pressure going into this new one, because we don’t want to let them down, and we don’t want to let ourselves down. But we learned a lot in making those two records, and we brought that into Abysmal. We know we can take people’s heads off playing super fast, but that doesn’t always give listeners something to really chew on. We’ve learned to focus on creating some drama, interesting dynamics, and most importantly really investing time in thinking about how different parts of songs will make you feel.” While crushingly violent, Abysmal is certainly a long way from being a two-dimensional blast-fest. Often evoking potent melancholy or icy unease, tragedy and apocalyptic gloom also insinuate into the songs alongside the all-out fury, for make no mistake, while this record boasts a variety of dark and atmospheric moods the band have perhaps never sounded so downright pissed. The likes of “Re-Faced” and “Threat Level Number Three” are purpose built to incite chaos, and some of the fastest material the band has ever unleashed explodes from the likes of opener “Receipt“, “Asylum“, and the haunting title track. This can largely be credited to drummer Alan Cassidy, who joined the band in 2013. “With both Alan and Max (Lavelle, bass) new to the band there was a lot of speculation ahead of dropping Everblack, and though we knew we had a great record it was nice to prove the naysayers wrong. This time out Alan was really able to stamp his identity on the record, and yeah, there was a point where Brian (Eschbach, guitar) said level with me dude: just how fast can you go? And Alan unleashed this thing and we were like okay, let’s go faster than we’ve ever gone then!” Strnad laughs. “But it’s not just that, he’s injected so much style into everything. He writes really interesting fills, and he cares about having variety and really speaking with what he’s doing, and he was involved with the song writing more than any other drummer has been in a long time.” Strnad is just as keen to sing the praises of Lavelle, who also made a more substantial contribution to the record than he did to its predecessor. “We look back on every record and say we need more bass, and Max is a really prevalent part of things live, so we wanted to have that come across more, and he totally nailed it. It’s definitely a dirtier bass sound than we’ve ever had too, which sounds more wild, more live, and adds to the punch.” Guitarists Eschbach and Ryan Knight bring a cavalcade of riffs to the table, upping the stakes in technicality, melody, and sheer blunt force trauma, letting intoxicating flavors of black metal and NWOBHM creep into the vicious assault, and Knight’s soloing is at a point where Strnad believes his name should rightfully be thrown in amongst the genre’s most prominent shredders. “With every album we allow a bit more time for him to solo and just totally own it, and when he nails it he’s really at that Megadeth Rust In Peace level. I do think he deserves to be spoken about in the circles of great metal guitar players. Marty Friedman should buy Ryan a beer, I think, and I genuinely don’t see that as something really out of the ballpark.“

Of course, Strnad’s own contributions are a vital aspect of every TBDM album, and he once again delivers, both in regards to his lyrics and caustic vocals. While his lyrical inspiration remains primarily rooted in horror and the macabre, on Abysmal the theme of hell is prominent, whether it be a literal hell, figurative, or personal one. “Stygiophobic“, for instance, which is a slower, crunchy, doom-inflected dirge, sees him focusing on those who are irrationally afraid of hell. “These people spend their every waking moment thinking of going to hell, and every time they go to sleep they see all their friends burning in hell, and this obsession has become a debilitating psychological condition, which is awful, and interesting.” Alongside this, on the scathing “Threat Level Number Three” Strnad goes inside the mind of a “recidivist rapist molester, who has been chemically castrated, focusing on his internal dialogue as he’s trying to reenter society.” He explores more fantastic subjects, such as the cruelty and violence of Vlad The Impaler – the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula – in the more melancholic “Vlad, Son Of The Dragon“, and he also reflects on issues that have affected him more personally, allowing himself some form of catharsis, most notably on “Receipt” and the title track. However, while despair, isolation, and thoughts of suicide haunt these songs, on burly closer “That Cannot Die Which Eternally Is Dead” he pushes the band’s perseverance in the faces of those who might consider counting them out. “What I’m saying in that song is that we can’t be stopped by normal means. No matter what kind of challenge or roadblock we face we’ll just keep coming, and I think by now our fans know that.“

In tracking the record, the band re-enlisted producer Mark Lewis (Cannibal Corpse, Whitechapel) and former bass player Ryan Williams, who also helped engineer Everblack, their intent to get away from the overt sonic sterility affecting far too many contemporary metal albums. This is a prominent factor in why the record sounds as angry as it does, the band focusing on capturing a raw, live sound that doesn’t always strive for absolute perfection. “We wanted a sound that would show we’re actually human beings, and not just computers playing death metal. We were not going to resample the drums, sound-replace or quantize anything. We didn’t want to have the exact same drum sound as every single freaking band seems to have right now, and that’s why essentially going backwards was going forwards for us. The guys have the chops to do it, so it’s not like we need to lean on Pro-Tools to make an album, and I think it’s the most energetic thing we’ve done since the very first record, Unhallowed (2003), which had a similar live feel.” As always, artwork was of great importance in expressing the band’s vision, and this time they turned to Russian artist Daemorph, who is known for his work in the brutal death metal community. “Again, I was a little unsure quite how we would follow up Everblack, because the artwork Nicholas Keller did was incredible. But we told Daemorph we wanted something that really looked like hell, and he went above and beyond. The first time I saw it I was like yep, that’s hell, and I know I definitely don’t want to go there!“

At this stage in the game, with typically modest aspirations, Strnad is more interested in maintaining their longevity than shifting records, and if the band never gets any bigger than they are right now he will “die happy a hundred times over“. However, this does not mean there is anything even vaguely resembling an end in sight. “We’re still young at heart and I feel like the evolution of the band still has a long way to go. I don’t see a ceiling on what we can do, and there will be no end. It’s just going to be a constant ongoing fight to make better music and be a better band, and it’s always going to be time to kick ass.”
Goatwhore
Goatwhore
Over the course of nearly 15 years and an incalculable amount of tour miles, New Orleans' own Goatwhore have inadvertently established themselves as one the most diligent and consistently ferocious bands of the 21st century. Forged in fire by ex Acid Bath/Crowbar guitarist Sammy Duet in '97, their storied legacy follows a dramatic —and often traumatic — series of lineup shifts, injuries, haunting
s, natural disasters and an assortment of other mishaps large and small. But, driven by a blood oath to heavy metal and perhaps the powers of Satan himself, Goatwhore forever persevere.

Their journey began with the bestial Serenades To The Tides Of Blood demo and subsequent Eclipse Of Ages Into Black debut full-length unleashed over a decade ago. Then a five-piece comprised of Duet, Soilent Green vocalist Ben Falgoust, guitarist Ben Stout, bassist Patrick Bruders and drummer Zak Nolan, the band's stanch DIY work ethic, rigid tour schedule and the bludgeoning force of songs like "Invert The Virgin" and "Desolate Path To Apocalyptic Ruin" quickly spawned a maniacal cult following. By 2003, Goatwhore had systematically harvested a legion of followers possessed by the band's profound maze of unhallowed lyrics, Celtic Frostian rhythms, and blackened bayou swagger. Catastrophe–brewed sophomore release, Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun, bore a slower, broodier brand of apocalyptic menace; onethat trailed a near-fatal van crash that left Falgoust temporarily paralyzed and the future of the band in disarray. Against all medical odds, Falgoust regained use of his legs and the band, now a four-piece with Duet taking on full guitar responsibilities, quickly returned to their rightful place on the road. Seemingly drawn to bouts of misfortune, A Haunting Curse found the revised Goatwhore lineup of Duet, Falgoust, drummer Zack Simmons (ex-Nachtmystium) and bassist Nathan Bergeron, fleeing the debilitating floodsof Hurricane Katrina. Delayed but undeterred, Goatwhore's first Metal Blade offering proved their most volatile yet. Relentless in speed, precision and barefaced animosity, Goatwhore had traveled well-beyond the confines of conventional black metal with a thrashier end product that fully-embraced their long-avowed Hellhammer and Venom devotion without ever plagiarizing it.

Released in 2009, the sinistral Carving Out The Eyes Of God hit with titanic urgency. Hailed among the year's most worthy metal albums by fans and critics nationwide, Goatwhore's fourth long-player shattered mainstream conventions. The recordbroke Billboard Top 200 ranking in at #190, debuted on the Billboard Hard Music chart at #33, the Billboard Top New Artist (Heatseekers) Albums chart at #16, and the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart at #34. Decibel magazine declared the production,"the band's tightest, most guitar-driven offering to date. An unholy smorgasbord of rigid tempo shifts, gargantuan hooks, blasting black mass anthems, and Falgoust's soot and venom snarl…," while Outburn compared it to, "a modern day, 'roid-injected sword fight between Celtic Frost and Venom." High traffic web portal Blabbermouth crowned the production "…one of 2009's purest metal albums…nefariously black and sadistically thrashing in a way that is uniquely Goatwhore," while MetalSucks proclaimed Carving Out The Eyes Of God "the catchiest album Goatwhore have ever released." Furtheralbumtriumphs included a spot on the 2010 edition of Ozzfest and two performances at the annual SXSW music conference enabling the horned collective to deliver their sadistic hymns of religious treachery to an even broader sect of listeners.

For the next two years, the band maintained an infamously unyielding tour cycle, leveling cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia with their universally praised live rituals. Further educating the potentially unversed, "Apocalyptic Havoc" appears on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 game soundtracks for Splatterhouse and more recently, Saints Row 3, while the video for the song was featured in an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly. And as if to close out a near perfect run of riotous adventures, Goatwhore was named Best Hard Rock/Metal Artist of 2010 at The Big Easy Awards last April, a deserving honor based on performance throughout the year.

In 2012, Goatwhore again raise their cloven hoofs in salutation to Blood For The Master. Now featuring Duet, Falgoust, Simmons and bassist James Harvey, who joined the goaty ranks in 2009 following the departure of Nathan Bergeron, the record finds Louisiana's notorious metal horde at their most unified. Recorded and mixed at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida with longtime friend/producer Erik Rutan, who worked with Goatwhore on both Carving… and A Haunting Curse, the ten-track, 38-minute Blood For The Master is epic in sound, mind and execution.

Released through Decibel Magazine's flexi series, and later posted online for the masses to absorb, a cover of Motöhead's "(Don't Need) Religion" was presented as an album teaser in October. An appropriately infernal rendition of an often neglected classic, the song served as the perfect precursor to an album prevalent in its hailstorm of fist-pumping, heathen anthems and rhythmic devastation.

Exhibiting a labyrinth of moods and meticulous tempo shifts, Blood For The Master is streamlined without ever rendering itself predictable. As memorable as it is menacing, the band's fifth full-length quite literally writhes under the weight of its own deviant heaviness. Led by the traditionally iconoclastic sermons of the leather-throated Falgoust, and made whole by its mammoth guitar tone, unconditional drum/bass battery and Duet's intermittent snarls of wrath, the record again challenges god's legitimacy/authority while further exploring the ritual of death. Conveyed with a poetic, near occultish grace, songs like violent opener "Collapse In Eternal Worth," "Embodiment Of This Bitter Chaos," and "In Deathless Tradition" finds Falgoust, dubbed "one of the best live and recorded singers in metal history," by notable Canadian website Hellbound, in full domination mode. "I always have a lot of words," he elaborates. "I don't like repeating things but I've started doing more chorus-verse-chorus stuff. I started letting the music breath more."

"It's not like the new songs are a drastic change," Duet noted in an early interview with Decibel Magazine. "It's like an experimentation on how much more metal we can get – I mean actual metal; the roots of heavy metal. But not in a way that it sounds like power metal or anything like that. It's like an extremely metal version of us."

"I thought this was a lot harder to write just because we didn't want to repeat ourselves," he further notes. "I mean, we could have easily gone and written another Carving Out The Eyes Of God but we didn't want to do that. There are still elements on the new album that we wouldn't normally do, but it definitely still sounds like us."

"It's definitely harder at this point," Falgoust agrees of the writing process, "because you start to get to the point where you're a little older and more conscious about your ideas and everything; you become more anal about things. I'm still getting used to it, but I really like it. I like the flow. When we write, we try to think of it in a live approach. A lot of people write records but they never really focus on playing it live but that's so important. We can do all of these songs live, which is something we did with Carving… as well."

"I think sometimes we get slighted for stuff" Falgoust continues on where the band now fits within metal's ever expanding pantheon of subgenres. "Whatever terms people decide to lock us into— black metal, death metal, black death metal, everyone's gotta have some kind of little blanket. It's almost like a social standing. To me, it's all just straight heavy metal."
Iron Reagan
Members:
Tony Foresta - Vox
Landphil Hall - Guitar
Mark Bronzino- Guitar
Rob Skotis - Bass
Ryan Parrish - Drums

Hometown: Richmond, VA
Entheos
Frank Costa -
Chaney Crabb -
Evan Brewer -
Navene Koperweis
Artificial Brain
Death Metal
Long Island, NY
Profound Lore Records
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123