Friday, 29 May 2015

Godsized - 'Heavy Lies The Crown' (Album Review)



Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 28/04/2015
Label: Metalville

‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ CD//DD track listing:

1). Welcome to Hell
2). Saving You
3). Push Against the Tide
4). Never a Better Time
5). Web of Lies
6). Fade
7). Forgotten Friend
8). Do You See What I See?
9). Stone Cold Blow to the Head
10). Out of Fear
11). Pay Your Debt

Review:

For a band as little known as Godsized, having Zakk Wylde personally cite, with a passion, that’s he’s a fan of your music is a fantastic accolade. It’s valuable too for any band which writes heavy, blues honouring music such as this and for this British quartet especially, the reputation senior Wylde's enthusiasm has helped garnish has been priceless. But friends in high places aren’t everything and such a weighty compliment could so easily metamorphoses into an albatross around their collective necks. So not only does ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ stand as testament to why exactly the ex-Ozzy man and part-Viking gunslinger loves this band, it begs the question as to why they are indeed, with this their second full length album, still a little known band.

It’s been over four years since they provided amicable, if not bang on the money support on Black Label’s Society’s UK theatre tour. They had just released their second EP, ‘The Phoney Tough & The Crazy Brave,’ and on that billing their x-ray showed a striking similarity in their basic bone structure to the headline act. It worked a treat, especially for people like myself who attended those shows early to catch a band they already had a degree admiration for. But the cynics amongst us would have liked a bit more of their own DNA to have been amongst those meaty rhythms and muscular riffs.

If that was a band - and a promising one at that - in its infancy, then 'Heavy Lies The Crown' is the band outgrowing their adolescence. They're developing into a very classy unit with a raw and heartfelt emotion as predominant in their songs as there are greasy grooves and stylish solos. Its macro songsmithery and such a philosophy will only help this record become their most wide reaching to date.  

The album as a whole is as revisitable as a grandmother who spends all her pension on sweets for her offspring's own, but what’s perhaps most enjoyable about the record is way it progresses. Each song is extremely well written and although you could well argue that a more radio-friendly sound – which is damn excellent at that – is at the expense of some of their aggression and voraciousness, you can’t fault the quality.

There are still plenty of crushing riffs in these songs, the thing is that the songs are rather more centric to the chord progressions and vocal melodies; in other words, it’s the bare bones that the tactile songwriting orientates around and the individuality of their modern day make-up in that sense has blossomed considerably. Building on from there, they then just intersperse some incendiary playing into the midst of a sound which, although hit hard at points, aren't calling cards that they rely solely on. The bigger picture is much more vibrant. Its genius really; at times those riffs come bursting into the open, but for much a part they become embedded, and consequently integral to the main body of their musicality without the need to jump around and attention-seek like a child for an unresponsive parent.  And to be honest, while they are riff centric on ‘Never A Better Time, ‘ a biker rock song fuelled as much by testosterone  as it is by gasoline and whisky, the real album highlights come elsewhere anyway. ‘Forgotten Friend’ has it all; the riffs, supple  and well placed harmonies and a wah-drenched solo made half in Mr. Wyldes image and half Glen Korner/Chris Charles’ own signature blends. The chorus is as uplifting and well-crafted as any and that is the focal point here, the seductive pull.

Sure, the line ‘I swear it must be about minus ten out here’ line in the second verse is a little sketchy - telling of a few lyric stutters on the record which highlights an area in need of a little improvement - but it’s a minor blip. The song is solid. The way they've pushed on as a band from those early days have been a joy to witness.

Songs like the gritty 'Out Of Fear' as well as the catchy and memorable piledriver 'Welcome To Hell' fly the flag for all this band believes in. That flag now waves and flickers in the breeze, looking more proud, polished and capable of reaching their promise than ever before. 

'Heavy Lies The Crown' is a great and well-rounded achievement.

Words by: Phil Weller

‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ is available now

For more information:

Turbowolf - 'Two Hands' (Album Review)


Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 26/05/2015
Label: Spinefarm Records

‘Two Hands’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Invisible Hand
2). Rabbits Foot
3). Solid Gold
4). American Mirrors
5). Toy Memaha
6). Nine Lives
7). Good Hand
8). MK Ultra
9). Twelve Houses
10). Rich Gift
11). Pale Horse

Turbowolf is:

Chris Georgiadis
Andy Ghosh
Blake Davies
Lianna Lee Davies

Review

When a band combines elements of different genres in their music I’m instantly intrigued and I’m even more impressed when they can do it successfully. I love a good genre cocktail because it keeps me engaged and interested in what I am listening too; the skill it takes to cohesively combine different elements shows the talent of the musicians. Staying pure to a genre is great, but honestly, I prefer the former. That being said, it is also a double edged sword. Too much at once can ruin a band’s sound and come off as cluttered. I’m very pleased to say that Turbowolf’s ‘Two Hands’ is a remarkable mixture of punk-rock and alternative metal.

Turbowolf has crafted quite an experience, the guitar riffs have a great fuzz effect and the drum rhythms are always upbeat and kicking ass. The vocals on this album have a unique rock feel and are always driving the music forward. The band also experiments with more electronic sounds this time around, mostly felt on tracks “Solid Gold” and “Nine Lives,” more so than their previous albums. My favorite track is “American Mirrors.” It has a great punk rock vibe to it and ends with some psychedelic progressive riffs. Overall this album jams really hard; it’s a great album to rock out too with your buddies or even at a party. I had a blast listening to this album and I’m excited to hear more from this band. Notable Tracks: “American Mirrors” “Solid Gold” “Nine Lives” “Good Hand”

Words by: Jihad Nasser

‘Two Hand’ is available here

For more information:

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Sludgelord News: OMMADON: UK Drone/Doom Duo To Undrape Empathy For The Wicked Via Golden Mantra This July


Following the crushing doom of their critically-adored, 2014 double LP, V, which earned a spot on Rolling Stone's 20 Best Metal Albums Of 2014, UK drone/doom duo, OMMADON, continues their perpetual quest to achieve sonic annihilation of the self through unadulterated heaviness with Empathy For The Wicked. Boasting just one earth-rupturing track broken into two parts, Empathy For The Wicked was recorded live, mixed by OMMADON and mastered by recording legend, Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Zoroaster, Eyehategod, Taurus, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth etc.), who gave it the final crushing touches it deserves.  

Where OMMADON's previous scores were all recorded in the Highlands of Scotland surrounded by forest, Empathy For The Wicked marks their first release to be recorded on an industrial estate in urban Northumberland surrounded by the dregs of humanity. The first track from Empathy For The Wicked was originally recorded for the cassette split with Horse Latitudes and Coltsblood. During that session, OMMADON decided to continue recording through the night and drone out the riff which became the second side to Empathy For The Wicked.

Empathy For The Wicked will be released on 12" vinyl via Golden Mantra on July 15th, 2015 with preorders available at: www.goldenmantra.co.uk. Teasers to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Critical Hails For V:

"A hypnotic, dead-eyed combination where patience, misanthropy and endurance collide; a zombie chained to a pole walking the same ugly circle." - Rolling Stone

"Split across four sides of vinyl, the double record was mastered by Billy Anderson... so you can bet your favourite Sunn O))) picture disc on this thing sounding heavier than a dying planet." -- Terrorizer

  "I love this album because it's so preposterously barbaric and for such an extended period of time and it's beyond excessive. It's an absolute endurance test, and by the end of it I was not the same as I'd come into it. There aren't a lot of albums you can say that about." - The Sludgelord

"OMMADON categorically prove that it is still possible to make compelling music within the field of drone-doom, an area that I personally had considered long since mined dry." -- The Sleeping Shaman

"OMMADON's V has more in common with the harsh, acidic fuzz of Conan, and Earth's early work, but much, much more abrasive." -- Blog Of Putrefaction

"Over the last couple of years I've been lucky enough to listen to some quite excellent instrumental doom, and OMMADON's V is right up there with the very best." -- Lair Of Filth

"Listening to the two 45-minute tracks on V is like trying to imagine your own burial under the Himalayas." -- Echoes And Dust

OMMADON Personnel:

David Tobin - guitars
Ewan Mackenzie - drums, noise

For more information:


Source and promo info: EarSplit PR

The Sludgelord News: FEAR FACTORY: "Genexus" Artwork and Track Listing Revealed!


The pioneers of industrial-tinged extreme metal, FEAR FACTORY, will release their 9thstudio album and Nuclear Blast Entertainment debut, entitled Genexus, on August 7thworldwide. Genexus was produced by vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares, and co-produced by long-time collaborator Rhys Fulber. The album was mixed by famed British producer and engineer, Andy Sneap (ARCH ENEMY,TESTAMENTEXODUSMACHINE HEAD). Artwork was once again handled by artist Anthony Clarkson. Drums on Genexus were performed by Mike Heller(MALIGNANCY).

The album is available for pre-order now
Digipack CD/T-Shirt bundle
http://www.nuclearblaststore.co.uk/shop/nuclearblast/proddetail.php?prod=NBL_FF_GenexusBUNDLE
Limited Clear Vinyl
http://www.nuclearblaststore.co.uk/shop/nuclearblast/proddetail.php?prod=NBL_FF_GenexusCLEAR
Limited Gold Vinyl
http://www.nuclearblaststore.co.uk/shop/nuclearblast/proddetail.php?prod=NBL_FF_GenexusGold

“The word genexus is a hybrid of two words; genesis and nexus,” explains vocalist Burton C. Bell. “This word describes the next transition in human evolution as man moves forward to a ‘mechanical’ state of being.  Ray Kurzweil predicts that the singularity will occur around 2045. Genexus is the term for that next evolutionary process. Where humans are machines, machines are human, and the differences are oblivious to the naked eye.

“This album is a record of thought patterns, psychology and struggles of the Genexus generation. The cognitive machine has arrived, and it wants autonomy from the industry that created it. This machine struggles, like every other human has throughout the course of history. This is the story of every one of us.”

Genexus track list:

1. Autonomous Combat System
2. Anodized
3. Dielectric
4. Soul Hacker
5. Protomech
6. Genexus
7. Church Of Execution
8. Regenerate
9. Battle For Utopia
10. Expiration Date

LIMITED DIGIPAK BONUS TRACKS:
11. Mandatory Sacrifice (Genexus Remix)
12. Enhanced Reality

Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1989, FEAR FACTORY changed the world of metal and have become a huge influence on the genre ever since their inception. The band’s unique sound helped bridge the gap between death metal, grindcore, thrash, and industrial on landmark releases like Soul Of A New MachineDemanufacture, and the gold-selling release, Obsolete.

Visit FEAR FACTORY online at www. FEARFACTORY.com.
Like: www.facebook.com/FEARFACTORY
Follow: twitter.com/FEAR_FACTORY
Watch: www.youtube.com/fearfactorymusic

Source and promo info: Nuclear Blast UK

The Art of Being 'Unfuckwithable': A Conversation with Mojave Lords


Music can be many things to many people. It has the power to soothe, rejoice, excite and take us down a wonderful trip in the folders that we store in our minds for secret and intimate moments that can create a beautiful place or a tear drawn homestead. The thing is; music, at its purest form is made from emotion by emotion and so flawlessly delivers emotion to and fro. It is when you put on an album, cd, Mp3 whatever is in your arsenal at the moment; the body becomes one with the music.

In a time when everything is thrown into a genre, whether insane or not, people want to pigeon hole this gift. From organic, scream no whip latte doom to hold the goth, Marshall stack, down tuned dune buggy experimental sock hybrid, prog; it has a tag. My question is; who the fuck came up with this tagging of sorts. Is there a meeting with people sitting around a dim lit cave coming up with names to sort music into?  A sort of Walmart institution, but with really hard to find Ipod covers, like ones only made in the Czech Republic by a guy named Sweet Nuts.

Whatever happened to listening to music for the sheer thrill of listening to music? Not looking for underlying abstract clues and who they want to sound like but if we dig it or not. Listening to shake our ass and singing along in the car like a maladjusted American Idol contestant.

Bring in the Mojave Lords. They came up with an album ladies and gentleman that is pure undaunted, body moving, krush grooving fun. This album makes you want to forget about the bullshit in the world and dance and sing and play a tennis racquet as if it was Dave C’s Flying V and try to look as cool as Bingo Ritchey. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, there is only one Bingo Richey, and he is his own man. If you must imitate, good luck.
Unfuckwithable’ is an album that deals with an underlying heaviness of the soul, but comes across as a trip in purity and humanity. From the songwriting, to the kinetic fluidity and groove of the drums to the magnificent playing by every musician that graced the console of this gem.

For me, and this is only my opinion, touches on all that makes music still worth listening too. It is a nice ride through different notes that raise the hair on the back of your neck and lets you boogie woogie until the boy from company B gets back.

I was able to chat with Bingo Richey, Dave Catching, Gene Troutman and Brian O’Connor. They were on their way to a Thai meal but took the time to let me know about the making of what became and is ‘Unfuckwithable’.



Gaff- Thanks so much for taking the time and speaking with me.

All- our pleasure, thanks for your time.

Gaff- How did this all come together?

Bingo-  We are neighbors and we work together on a lot of stuff for a long time, David and I really wanted to figure a way to work on a project together because we have worked on so many others peoples records  Figure out a way to spend some time together and make something fucking fun and generate some heat. Brian is here and there are so many fucking talented people that live around here. We are all pals so I figured why don’t we get a band together with all of us lunkheads and motor through it.

Gaff- The actual process, was it all done at Rancho?

Bingo- yup, everything was done here.

Gaff- It has a certain vibe, a great boogie to the album. Did you guys set up time to write or when it came to you, you all just went in and recorded?

Bingo- It was a bit of both. We are always working on songs and riffs independently you know because it’s our craft. We wanna keep boogying, so I would bring a collection of stuff on a thumb drive and Dave had some riffs in his catalogue that weren’t being used, and Brian had some ideas you know, but then we would do stuff and just make it up on the spot too, which is great, so it’s a collection of all of that.

Dave- It was done sporadically too, here and there, so we busted it out.

Bingo- When we finally came together to do the, like deliver the whole thing; we did it in a few different chunks of time because we are all so busy with other projects.

Dave- I just did another shot, your turn.

Gaff- I did a shot of Jameson, is that ok with you guys?

Bingo- Mothers milk, good

Gaff- How long did the album take, from mixing to mastering

Dave and Bingo- 2 weeks.



Gaff- That’s great. With different guys playing on the album, did you all have the cast in mind or simply just giving guys a call and saying hey, come on down?

Bingo- we always have all of our brothers in mind cuz they are always in our hearts. We didn’t know exactly who would be in it, but we knew we wanted a core group of writers, have me Brian and David just be like lets have everything a go like Earth Wind and Fire and just hire a horn section, you know, Barret Martin started stopping by a lot and he fucking killed it. Then Joey was by so we wrote a song with Joey.  You know, Chris Goss would come by and we’d get him to sing some stuff and get some of his arrangement ideas because he is such a genius producer, Everybody has been super gracious with their talents and having fun.

Gaff- Lyrically, is that something that you bounce off each other or did you write most of it yourself?

Bingo- I wrote the majority of the lyrics but David Catching was definitely involved from top to bottom with it. We bounce stuff off each other a lot. I get the idea of a story line and we would work together on it, pretty much all of it start to finish. There’s maybe a couple of phrases here and there that we didn’t.

Gaff- The album itself has an internal feel, did you have certain things in mind when you were writing the album, like Whole New World has, “Got my nightmares tied in a sack”, or Microwave Me Baby, “If you pound on the door I’ll pretend that I don’t know”

Bingo- “Microwave me baby” is like a love song about radiation therapy, our brother Brian’s radioactive because he’s been getting treatments for cancer. So to me, like the majority of the record, the concept was like a battle between a dude and his fucking ego trips in his head and trying to not listen to the voices, you free some wolf saliva and make samurai swords out of it. You kill that shit as soon as it pops up. That’s what I try to focus on. It seems an interesting way to focus on what we are as people you know. It’s a little bit more articulate than looking in a mirror and screaming you know. When you break it down I think it’s kind of like that.
Gaff- lyrically it’s nice and deep, it hits pretty hard and you all should be commended on that. Obviously, the playing is great, but I think lyrically is where it catches people

Bingo- Thank you very much

Gaff- Welcome, in terms of gear for the album, were you guys playing anything different? Dave, did you play your Flying V and Black Les Paul, or were you guys switching up and fucking around with some different pieces of gear

Dave- in terms of gear we had limited time and access to stuff so we experimented pretty hard core with everything

Gaff- Did you all use a lot of different pedals, there is some great sonic traits to this album. Were you into boutique pedals or just plugging in an MXR pedal and having at it?

Dave- Sky was the limit. I never plugged into a pedal that didn’t have some use. For this one we were pretty much going right into the amps.

Bingo- I know one piece of equipment that we used throughout was the Lim lm 1, in order to get our grooves going. The Lim is an analog drum machine

Dave- Made famous by Parliament and Prince. Bingo actually used his Epiphone Les Paul on most of his tracks.

Bingo- with Lollar pickups.

Dave- you didn’t have your Lollar pickups

Bingo- no I didn’t that’s right. Woops

Dave- sorry Lollar




Gaff- Were you guys using any of the Creepy Fingers at all

Dave- Brad and I are old friends; fu Manchu did a record here. I have about 15 of his pedals as he first started making them I would buy them as he always gave me a great price and I always have his pedals on my board.

Gaff- where you guys going into Marshalls into half stacks or combo amps

Dave- At the studio we were using 2x12s at the most, I don’t have a lot of 4 12s around and we used a lot of baby amps also,

Bingo- Zinky was a good one we were going through

Dave- we used the Decade Peavey, Music Man

Gaff- The one thing that really stands out in terms of the boogie is that the drums have a really spectacular sound, was anything recorded on tape or straight to pro tools

Bingo-straight to pro tools, lots of sound board gear, they used the patch bay

Dave- with a killer drummer and a killer drum kit, we just put a few mics around there and couldn’t go wrong.

Bingo- there’s a maple Gretsch kit that is a favorite

Dave- why don’t we let the drummer answer the drum questions

Gene- as a drummer that played on the album, the drums and the drum room are one of the signature elements of Rancho

Bingo- we have to bring you in the car with us because we are going to get Thai food.

Gaff- So the album is out, what do you guys have coming up in the live world, is there shows or any tours you are planning on doing

Bingo- we have a couple of showcase things coming up, we did some shows around Halloween in New Orleans and were there for about 2 weeks rehearsing and writing and jamming with our friends there. We played in Memphis and I met fucking met Charlie Pride which was a highlight and then we played Nashville, we are doing a couple of gigs coming up, playing the Viper Room with a band we are going to be producing called Thelma and Sleaze, they’re from Nashville, we met them and they are fucking great.



Gaff-Any plans for getting out east?

Bingo- we are certainly hoping too, we are just throwing it up the flagpole and seeing who is gonna salute man. I don’t know anybody but fucking Dave knows everybody and so does Brian and all of them, hopefully if we could find a reasonable situation with a booking agency or a great manager. Whatever happens it’s gonna be great. I feel like I’m getting taken to school with these people but it’s like getting taken to school in a limo, an armored limo.

Gaff- there are so many genres of music that bands can get pigeonholed into, for me this is a great rock album. It at times has the backbeat of early Neil Young albums. Do you guys listen to a ton of different music while recording and in general?

Bingo- Oh man, we listen to so much, like we all love R&B, Motown and Funk, Disco and Soul, ZZ Top Butthole Surfers and Black Flag. I think its rock too. Our next stuff is gonna be different than that. We try to make stuff that is not the same.

Gaff- Vocally, it has a lot of soul, it doesn’t stay in one vibe which is nice, is there a guy that you absolutely love as a vocalist, or are there too many too count

Bingo- Well there are always too many too count but off the top of my head, George Jones, Ray Price, I’m a baritone. If I could sing high, it would be like ACDC, Brian Johnson is a god.

Gaff- Being that you all are so busy, is this a one off are you going to blessing us with another

Bingo- we already have the script written how the band is gonna break up and how we are gonna do our reunion tour, also the album covers too, we wrote out our whole career on a napkin cuz if we hadn’t written it done, we would have never remembered any of it, but its brilliant
Gaff- Got ya
Bingo- the third album will sound like Timbaland, it will be money, you open up the cd and money will just fall out of it. It’s no money just us buying people as products. (He and I are at this point laughing rather hard) I don’t know, but it has taken on some different twists and turns so it is a lot of fun.
Gaff- So 2 weeks to do the whole album, was the overall experience just really easy?

Bingo- Oh yeah man, most of us can play any position on the field you know, from making coffee or breakfast to running wires, running the console, it was seemless.  It was great, everyone could hold it down, it was a lot of fun

Gaff- The album has a very seemless flow to it

Bingo- Thank you


Gaff- Again, you guys should be commended, after the first listen, the lyrics and vocals get you, the second time the backbeat and the third time everything meshes so perfectly together sonically that you are hooked. The process would appear that it was really an awesome time recording the album

Bingo—well thank you and you got it man, you nailed it, we are working with people that are so focused and dedicated and open and creative to whatever. You know Fred Drake. It’s like him and Dave started that studio so long ago, Fred was a mentor to me as an engineer, I have been living out here for a long fucking time. I bought a house from this dude on a piece of notebook paper so I started working there pretty much right away. He asked do you wanna help us out engineering, I actually had a folk label up in Oregon, just doing folk music recording people, fisherman and farmers and shit, it was cool, so I kind of had some experience and then the first thing they threw me was re-doing the patch bay for a quadrophonic console, so I said ok, let’s put on some coffee

Gaff- Having the engineering background, are they favorite mics you all like to use

Bingo- I hardly ever do, David is at the helm of the studio so much, he knows the sounds that are coming out of what, he is so great at it, I like things a little more slap back, hap hazard, because to be honest, there might be a great fuck up, you know listening to what Steve Berlin did for Los Lobos, it’s crazy because they still have the natural ability to have space between the notes and as such but the shit in the middle of it is tremendous. It comes from not maybe textbook perfect sounds but when you blend it in, it totally makes sense.

Gaff- Which is much more transparent than trying to force something

Bingo- Oh god yeah

Gaff- That’s the kiss of death, ha

With the guitar interplay with you and Dave, the tonalities of the guitars are totally happening

Bingo-awesome, we jam all the time man, play acoustic a lot together too, he’s so easy to play with, he’s really great, there’s a reason why he is a legend. There are some bands; you ever listen to the fall? They have endless ability to invent new rhythm and grooves, Dave has that ability

Gaff- he has great tone

Bingo- yea

Gaff- In terms of players, it is crazy. The guys you were able to record with is insane. Are you someone that just simply loves to be playing, whether it be acoustic guitar or whatever?

Bingo- If I am out here it is, but I have a whole other joint going down in San Diego, helping run a clothing company, me and my wife and we have a 1 year old daughter so that takes a lot of my time. Dave is super busy as the studio is blowing up. It’s great so whenever we can absolutely. It’s hard to book time but he always returns my texts.

Gaff- write on, thanks so much for taking the time and speaking with me

Bingo-Thank you my man, this is the first real interview I have done so thanks again for everything and we will talk soon.

As you can feel and read from the interview, music when done right should evoke different feelings and above all, should be fun and done for the correct reasons. What are the correct reasons, I think that is up to the reader and listener. All I can say is that music shines through when the artists truly dig whom and with whom they are recording, writing, vibing, and letting it flow like a river that has settled into a nice flow and washes all your troubles away.

Do yourself a favor, a gift to you, get the Mojave Lords, “Unfuckwithable” and instantly feel a different groove in your mood and a sense of feeling like the world is a better place to be in.

Eat a peach,

Gaff

You can read our review of ‘Unfuckwithable’ here

Words and Interview coutesy of: Marc Gaffney and the Mojave Lords


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Label Intensive: An Examination of Poisoned Mind Records


Poisoned Mind is a specialist DIY label based out of New Jersey and Connecticut, born and bred by self confessed analog addicts and VHS aficionados; Tom and Mike set forth with a mission to turn their obsession for music and trashy 80’s horror VHS, into a limited pressing vinyl only entrepreneurial venture. In many ways the combination of horror and the stoner rock scene go hand in hand, with imagery of psychedelia, tales of black magic, and the occult featuring prominently in numerous low budget movies, but also in the imagery and lyrics of well known stoner bands too, with sound bites of movie featuring heavily in music by Electric Wizard, and inspiring lyrics to numerous others. 

Having two vinyl releases behind them, a debut 7inch pressing for the soundtrack to Chester N. Turner’s BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL, a revered 1980’s horror movie in which a kindly woman is raped by a ventriloquist’s dummy. Poisoned Mind, followed that up with a debut 12inch limited vinyl pressing from Crypt Trip, a band hailing from Dallas Texas, who play an addictive blend of psychedelic fuzz rock.  With the label on the brink of issuing their latest releases, I took the opportunity to fire some questions at them, in order to get low down on this unique and high class vinyl only label

(SL) Guys, thanks for doing this, for those people who are not familiar with your label, could you tell us a little about yourself, your label and why you decided to start Poisoned Mind Records?

Tom:  Thanks Aaron! For a while I’ve wanted to start a label. Records have always been my first love and it’s the format I grew up with and still buy and collect to this day. Mike and I met each other through the vhs and record groups on facebook and finally got to hang out a couple years ago. We realized we shared a lot of the same interests and threw around the idea of starting a label.  We started Poisoned Mind together and had the idea not to limit ourselves as far as the music we put out.  We wanted to create a label that was different, not just strictly a soundtrack or doom label.



(SL) Looking on your store page, you seem to have a number of releases in the pipeline, What can fans look forward to from your label in 2015? How is your schedule shaping up? Any exclusives you can tell us about?

Tom: Going from 2 releases last year we have about 5 albums on tap for release this year so far. A little something for everyone and that’s the vision we had when we started. We have the Fistula 7” coming out in the next couple of days and the Crypt Trip repress, Merlin’s Christ Killer LP which is like a cinematic doom psychedelic trip, The new Wolfmen of Mars LP titled Gamisu, if you dig horror films and soundtracks then Wolfmen is right up your alley, We also have a couple soundtracks that we can’t announce just yet, but sit tight!

(SL) Admittedly, I had an ulterior motive for featuring you guys, having purchased the Crypt Trip die hard, I am also a massive fan of Fistula.  You’re set to release ‘Never Trust a Cop’ on 7inch by those guys, what can you tell us about that, when can we expect that to hit your store and how did you get involved with those guy?  

Tom: Its looks like the Fistula 7’ will hit our site on May 30th.  Mike was talking with Dan at Patac records and the singer of Fistula and he asked us if we would be interested in releasing it for them. Of course we said yes!

(SL) Given that music and movies can be streamed now on our computers, on TVs, there seems to be less of need to go to a store, to a cinema or to invest time buying the physical product, do you place more importance on offering a great package to your customers, given the emergence of digital age.  What is the ethos behind what you’re trying to do with the label? 

Tom: Of course it’s a different day and age but I love seeing new generations get into
records, cassettes and VHS. I think more and more people are discovering and enjoying these formats.  It was only a matter of time before this happened.  A lot of times I won’t even listen to digital tracks, ill order an album and wait to get it in the mail before I listen to it.  We are just trying to create a nice package for the music and give the fans something special and the bands something that represents them the best we can.



(SL) What, if any bands or labels may have inspired you to start the label or was there a specific reason you felt you wanted to support the art you have?  For example what motivated you to put out Black Devil Doll From Hell as your first release?

Tom: At the time when I was thinking about starting a label there weren’t any soundtrack labels yet. I have been collecting soundtracks since the 90s and I knew it was just a matter of time until they started to tap into that market again. Then Mondo re-released the Maniac soundtrack and then Death Waltz came out and everyone went nuts ha-ha,

A few years later I was talking with Steve at STB Records, him and I go way back as friends and we are from the same area in NJ. We were throwing around the idea of doing a label together but in the end he went out on his own and created such an amazing label, from the bands to the layouts and packages he offers. He was definitely a huge inspiration for us and we continue to help and inspire one another.  Early on I always looked up to labels like hydrahead, hyperrealist and robotic empire. Then it shifted towards, southern lord, tank crimes, rise above, A389, Teepee. Nowadays Hevisike, bilocation, Ripple, Patac. So many great labels out there.

Mainly I think for mike and myself a lot of our friends inspired us to do something, like Louis at Massacre Video, Matt at horrorboobs  Josh at lunchmeat magazine, Uneasy Archive, King Of The Witches. These are all DIY movie labels and it’s great to see all of them growing into something special.

As for why we started with Black Devil Doll From Hell, mike and I both knew Louis at Massacre Video and are fans of this underground classic. It was right around the time Louis actually found the director Chester Turner after trying to track him down for years. Mike and I were outside at a horror convention and mike said to me “hey wouldn’t it be cool if we were able to do a Black Devil Doll From Hell 7” or  something”? I knew right then and there we had to do it and we had to get started on the label together. Up until that point there really wasn’t a soundtrack out there on record for a film Like BDDFH and that was the appeal for us as well. 



(SL) I used to be big a movie fan when I was younger and used to get a kick out of watching trashy horror movies, latterly in my early 20s stuff from Japan such Takeshi Mike movies etc, because I was kinda obsessed with how extreme the boundaries of cinema could be pushed.  Where did your fascination with movies start and why the fascination with VHS? 

Tom: I guess the fascination came from having an older brother who would take me to the movies.  Him and his friends used to rent movies all time and when he went out id sneak into his room and watch the ones I wasn’t supposed to. I remember sneaking into his room one day and watching Make Them Die Slowly/ Cannibal Ferox. Up until that point I never saw anything so brutal, it all looked so real to me and it scared the shit out of me. Kind of like the same feeling I got listening to the song Black Sabbath when I was kid.

Growing up, my Mother worked right next to a video store, so I would spend countless hours in there looking at the covers of all these movies. I was always drawn to the scary and gory covers and even back then I knew that they weren’t just films but these covers were works of art. When DVD hit I switched off like a lot of people did. About 6 years ago I was watching videos on YouTube and discovered that a whole new generation had found love for this format and appreciated these wild covers and movies just like I did growing up and it amazed me. I got bit by the collector bug and started buying them again. It’s a combination of nostalgia and seeing films in their original state or maybe that rare film that doesn’t have a DVD release. Maybe I can download it or watch it on YouTube but for me I want to own it, it’s just a different feeling for me.


(SL) In your experience, how easy/difficult was it to sell the idea of your label and what you hoped to achieve, in the sense of releasing something like Black Devil Doll on vinyl, which many would deem as obscure? Was the first release any more of a gamble than say, releasing Crypt Trip, given there is such a thriving stoner rock scene. 

Tom: We had an idea BDDFH would do well given the cult following it has and the whole mystique of the film. Did we expect it to sell out in a day? No we really didn’t, I think that release surprised a lot of people and just showed what is possible when it comes to releasing soundtracks.

With the Crypt Trip album it was somewhat of the same feeling. I guess expect the worst and hope for the best right?  These days everything is a risk when it comes to releasing music. You just never know. You just try to build a following with your label and hope people dig it. What we hoped to achieve with these releases, we just wanted to do something we both were into and have fun. Sure we had the idea of more releases after BDDFH but I don’t think either of us actually knew if it was gonna go beyond that but we were gonna try to!



(SL) What do you look for in order for you to get involved in releasing something on vinyl?

Tom: If we like something and feel good about it and there isn’t an LP release then we will look into releasing one. We aren’t really concerned with repressing stuff other labels have done before. When it comes to soundtracks and bands our goal has always been to release things that aren’t on record and the same goes for bands we enjoy.

(SL) There is much talk about the ongoing backlog at the pressing plants, which has caused a bottle neck in production and big delays in releases, what are your thoughts about the emerging scene and what are some of the difficulties/frustrations of running a label, because there are many other commitments such as family, work etc that perhaps restrict the amount of time you can dedicate to your label?  Not to mention the financial pressure? 

Tom: The frustration all comes from the wait time for pressing 100% ha-ha. It’s like man I wish we had these records in our hands right now to get em out there! It’s just not how it works though and you just have to be patient and remain positive. 

With the wait times and everything mike and I decided screw it lets just put even more of our money up and send everything we have lined up right now to press instead of spreading it out and this will be the way we operate from here on out.  We both have day jobs, mike busts his ass all day long at his job but I have a job where I can actually work on label stuff in my downtime.  It’s a tough balance and we are both learning what works best for us as time goes on.



(SL) How valuable are blogs and social media? What are your thoughts on changes in the music/movie industry over recent years?

Tom:  Blogs and social media are a huge part today; no way would we have been able to do what we did with our first 2 releases if it wasn’t for it.  It used to be just magazines and music videos but now there are so many more outlets and people who are passionate about things they are into be it music, movies or whatever. Both of our releases were just through word of mouth, social media and Crypt Trip of course playing shows and touring. Bands and social media help us get our name out there just like we help them out. It all comes together in the end.

I do see a huge shift in people wanting to own physical copies now. I think it’s safe to say that all formats are back and here to stay. I mean there are bands that I own the record, cd and cassette. Not only once but 3 times over ha-ha. The same goes for films as well.

(SL) Given that you have a number of releases (2 at present) under your belt, how do you measure the success of each release, are you reliant on selling units in order to release the next one? 

Tom: Whatever money we do make goes right back into releasing more albums and we just put more of our own money up again to try and get ahead of the game and get more releases out there this year. The way we measure success is we are happy just breaking even. We were fortunate enough to have our first 2 releases sell out and hopefully with each release we can keep it going. 

(SL) Some labels place a significant importance on the releases having a sense of being a collectable, with Standard and Die Hard Editions.   What do you feel is the significance of releasing such a package (s)?

Tom: From a record collector and fan standpoint, I feel the significance of doing these
releases is offering something for everyone. You have someone who just wants the die hard version and if they don’t get it they may not even buy anything else and would rather pay more on the secondary market because that’s what they want. Then you have the people who just want it on color vinyl and don’t care about a box set with extras. Oh its only left on black vinyl I want color im not buying it!  Then of course the one who just wants to own the album and doesn’t care what color its on etc. Then the collector who must own every version under the sun and wants them all. 



(SL) If you could have released any movie soundtrack or record past or present, what would it be and why?

Tom: It would definitely be Phantasm and I think I can speak for Mike on this question also since it’s both our favourite series of all time. Mondo actually just released it for the first time in 35 years. That soundtrack sets the tone to the film as well as any out there.  We both just love it.  As for a present soundtrack release we just got the rights to one but you’ll have to wait and see!

(SL) Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

Tom: Thanks so much for taking the time for this interview Aaron and all the work you do there at Sludgelord. A lot of time and effort goes into what you and your contributors do and it shows and is much appreciated. As far as our releases coming up you can expect a different mix of bands, soundtracks and surprises. Thanks to everyone who made our first year a success and bought something from us and everyone who helped us out along the way. We are just getting started!

The Fistula ‘Never Trust A Cop’ 7inch and repress of Crypt Trip Debut full will be available here from Saturday 30th May 2015

Words and Interview courtesy of: Aaron Pickord and Tom @ Poisoned Mind Records

 
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