By: Geoff Teach
Chicago doom/gothic metal quintet, Novembers Doom, don’t often like to spell things out too obviously when they write their hauntingly heavy music. “We like to leave it up to the listeners to interpret what they hear in their own way,” says Larry Roberts,…
"Aggregating the Sacrosanct Apocalypse" with Caecus
By: Geoff Teach
Putting together a solid band can turn into a bit of a science experiment, so to speak. Introducing the right elements and variables in precisely the right order and at the right times can have explosively fantastic results, but often, a profusion of trial and error is required before finding just the right blend of ingredients to gain the desired outcome. In the case of central Illinois’ Caecus, plenty of experimentation has occurred along the way, but ultimately, they are now a better band for it, and are now primed and ready to blow to kingdom come. Mixing aspects of atmospheric, classic, and technical death, Caecus has already put themselves on the map of modern Illinois metal with their November 2013 debut release, “Aesthesis”, but instead of sitting idle or allowing the blend to get too stale, Caecus have kept things fresh and stirred up by employing the services of a new vocalist, and have taken back to their home studio to record the follow-up to their remarkable first album. Although a recent name change was legally thrust upon them (originally, the band’s moniker was Empyrean, but the name was already trademarked by a band in Florida), Caecus are determined to show the world that their latest blend of volatility and vitality is just the one they’ve been looking for, and thusly, one to be seriously reckoned with.
Caecus (pronounced “kai-suss”, which means “blind” in Latin and was inspired by an Ulcerate song of the same moniker) formed officially in 2012, although the currently solidified lineup is a much more recent machination. “The chemistry between us [now] is perfect,” says Kenny Johnson (lead guitarist and founding member), continuing, “I wouldn’t have any other lineup. I can truly call these guys my brothers.” Nathan Baker (vocals) seems to agree with his comrade by saying, “Since ‘Aethesis’, we have become a lot closer as a group,” and while Baker may be the newest member to the fold, he certainly knows his bandmates well enough to feel the vibe of the new lineup, adding, “I look at [the past of the band] as their attempt at finding their own sound, and with the new record, we have finally figured it out.” “Aesthesis” was recorded in the basement of the home of Johnson, and was produced from the inside by Dakota Harrison Roberts (bass). Roberts, along with drummer Patrick Wozniak, were recruited over time, albeit separately, from the band Clocks, and while Wozniak knew all along it was a permanent switch, Roberts wasn’t so sure at first. ”Originally, recording the guys was going to be my first project as a producer. I was a freshman in college, and recently joined as a guitarist for a progressive metal band from Bloomington named Clocks. Caecus (Empyrean at the time) opened up for Clocks at our C.D. release show in the summer prior, putting me in touch with these dudes. Surely enough, though, we all became great friends and I ended up joining as a full time member on bass and production,” explains Roberts, and rhythm guitarist Daniel Hanson is grateful for his decision, saying, “Dakota’s brutally honest about our playing, and that’s made us significantly better as musicians. We’re infinitely more efficient in the studio now.” While the debut album featured Jerondon Dorsey on vocals, and though he did a fantastic job, circumstances of life and the need for a vocalist who wouldn’t have to travel three hours each way for every practice and show became too great. “He’s a cool guy, [but the situation with Jerondon] just wasn’t a feasible option for us. So when we met Nate, he expressed a great deal of enthusiasm and just seemed like a better fit for the band, as he lived nearby and could easily make the trip. So it was a mixture of his cohesion with the band, his proximity, and his enthusiasm that made us realize Nate was the guy for us. Jerondon will [still] have a guest spot on this new album, however,” says Hanson, and with all hands now officially and committedly on-deck, Caecus has taken their material to the streets by playing a few shows (including the Rock in Chicago CancerSmash benefit this past April, and an upcoming show with local rising stars, Warforged), and are eager to wow the local metal faithful yet again with another new batch of tunes in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Caecus’ current chemical compostion = (L to R) Nathan Baker, Kenny Johnson, Patrick Wozniak, Dakota Harrison Roberts, and Daniel Hanson.
“Overall, the new material is so much more cohesive than it was when we were in our infancy as a band. This new album will also feature extensive keyboard layering and atmospheric textures,” raves Hanson, and the excitement exuding from Caecus about their latest compositions is palpable. While the lyrical content and conceptual themes of “Aesthesis” had many merits, Hanson feels that Baker’s fresh energy and similar base in academic and moralistic backgrounds will be noticeably different, saying, “It’s basically an anti-religious album, but without the sophomoric blasphemy you see a lot of bands doing these days. It’s an intellectual critique of western religion and the institutions people see as sacrosanct and are unwilling to question. There are lots of self-liberation themes, as well. Nate and I read lots of philosophy, so people familiar with it will recognize some of the themes and references made. We write what resonates strongly with us.” Explaining and strengthening this point further, Baker discloses, “We like to write music that puts you in a certain place, and lyrics that hit the nail on the head, so to speak. I feel that with ‘Aesthesis’, it had a very bright and ambient aura to it, while the new material has a darker ambience with a very earthy feel, and the lyrics will fit well with that.” Taking into account the incredible and epic energy on display on “Aethesis” (similar in feel to Fallujah, Dissonance in Design, or The Human Abstract), the imagination of your humble music critic is tantalized to the bone, and after having heard a sneak peek of one of the newest tracks recently, I can only say that the Illinois metal community had better prepare itself properly, because Caecus is determined to blow minds and drop jaws far and wide with their expertly executed atmospheric tech-death.
Solidified, committed, and chock full of energy, Caecus knows that it is standing on the precipice of something huge. They are young, driven, and already masterfully accomplished on their respective instruments for being still yet burgeoning. Caecus has found the right mix of members, experience, and ambition, and though a lot of trial and error has occurred along the way, it has all been worth it to Kenny, Patrick, Nathan, Dakota, and Daniel, and now that the right blend has been found, keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground, for sooner than later, Caecus promises to soon wow mass quantities of metal heads from coast to coast!
To check out “Aesthesis”, just press play!
Finally, to check out Caecus further, visit them on the web through the following links:
Review of Nachtmystium - “The World We Left Behind”
By: Geoff Teach
Saying goodbye can often be a hard thing to do. It sounds final and even a little morose. However, sometimes, finality is the aim, and goodbye becomes all you really have left to say. Chicago psychedelic black metal legends Nachtmystium have chosen to bid the business adieu, but not before leaving their fans with one more opus…one more astonishingly epic collection of compositions from the savvy, adroit, and sadistic minds of Blake Judd and his backing cohorts….one last goodbye. While Judd may ultimately be putting Nachtmystium to rest for eternal slumber, he could not resist “one more for the road”, and because of this, “The World We Left Behind” (Century Media Records) will soon hit the earholes of the world and assail them with utter abandon. In a pure stroke of luck and reciprocity, I managed to procure a finished and polished set of the nine tracks from Judd himself before they hit the streets and shelves in early August, and the assemblage of tunes is the penultimate of an outgoing masterpiece. Consequently, this makes saying goodbye to Nachtmystium all the more difficult, but conversely, it also makes it all the more fitting.
Featuring soaring and complex solos, strong rhythms and riffs, digital dementia, and the trademark Nachtmystium grittiness that we have all come to know and adore, “The World We Left Behind” is yet another totally annihilating stroke of genius from start to finish, on par with (or if not even upstaging) past classics such as “Assassins”, “Addicts”, and “Silencing Machine”. Starting from the introductory instrumental “Intrusion”, a galloping, punky thrasher, and finishing with the beautifully haunting and transcendence-inducing “Eulogy for a Dying Star”, Nachtmystium has put together an album that truly has no weaknesses. Every song on the album has its own mood, feel, and uniqueness, but listening to them as a whole and in sequence is perfection in musical motion and emotiveness. I will be completely honest with you when I say that I love every single track on the album. “Fireheart” is a heavy yet morbidly poppy tune, “Voyager” sways to and fro and finishes with a rip-roaring, not-to-be-missed killer solo, but it is the blastbeaten and digitally driven start to “Into the Endless Abyss” that truly has your humble music critic all in a tizzy. “Into the Endless Abyss” is eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds of layered complexity, shadowed beauty, and relentless brutality…definitely one of my favorites. Moving into the title track, “The World We Left Behind”, Nachtmystium first dazzles and beguiles you with electronic pulsations, but then drops the riffage as only they can do, but again, the album goes mind-blowing with the awesomely arranged “The Absence of Existence”. Strings…delay…hypnotic rhythms…nothing is left off the table, and “Existence” thus becomes one of the strongest of the strong tracks. With a feeling of macabre insistence, “Tear You Down” spirals and spins into oblivion-loving bliss, and if your foot doesn’t tap or your head doesn’t bang to “On the Other Side”, then you might want to check into a hospital, as you just might no longer have a pulse. As a whole, “The World We Left Behind” is ridiculously and unfairly good, and I highly suggest that if you have not already grabbed one of the preorder bundles to do so immediately, and if they’re sold out of those, stuff your piggy banks and buy it on August 5th when it is officially released!
Thank you for leaving us with this killer album, Nachtmystium. Thank you for fifteen years of pure Chicago originality and creativity. I will miss you, but I will always have the music, and that’s what it’s really all about. Truly, your transcendence is complete, and it is because of that I feel that the only thing left to say is: Goodbye.
To hit up Nachtmystium about a possible preorder or to just visit them on the web, head here:
Review of Ariada - “Ariada” E.P.
By: Melissa DeGott
I have never been a fan of keyboardists in indie or pop bands. I always try to be open to all types of music that include different sorts of instruments, but I always tend to have preconceived notions about bands that have a keys player. Ariada has made me question this. Keyboardist and lead singer, Lesleigh Arratia, plays very tasteful keyboard compositions, and has a keen sense of when to stand out and when to blend in. What this made this album truly different from a lot of bands in the area, though, is that they brought in horn players to record the tracks. Most groups on a budget local bands generally have tend to record horn parts on a keyboard or on a computer program. The fact Ariada decided to go with the organic approach of having live players, really made a difference. Not only does it make an audible difference, but it made me respect them even more.
Ariada’s self-titled E.P. is comprised of five songs, each of them drawing influence from pop, funk, progressive, and straight-ahead rock influences. I’m not sure if the band has been classified this way, but to me they stand out as a jam band. The laid back groove, which is laced with technical, proggy riffs, makes it difficult not to concur. I could definitely see this band playing alongside artists such as moe., String Cheese Incident, and Umphrey’s McGee, which is the band I would musically compare them to the most.
With only five songs that I feel are on equal levels of excellence, it was hard to pick a favorite. However, the two that stuck out to me as being the most original and innovative were “Blue and White Dress” and “Running in Twos.” “Blue and White Dress” had an almost Middle Eastern vibe to it, and behind the unique musical forefront was a dance beat that made the tune even more likable. Ariada continued to impress me even more after hearing “Running in Twos.” The entire E.P. is filled with small handfuls of soul influences, but it was more evident in this song than the rest. It truly reminded me of the 60’s and 70’s soul that made great music what it is today. If you are a fan of any type of indie, rock, or pop and you haven’t heard Ariada’s self- titled E.P., then you need to head over to the band’s Bandcamp or iTunes pages and pick it up right now.
To check out Ariada’s self-titled debut, just press play!
You can find out more info about Ariada by visiting:
Review of Gunner’s Daughter - “The Flowers & The Earth”
By: Katie Schräpler
“The Flowers & The Earth” is the newest release by Chicago Post-Hardcore outfit, Gunner’s Daughter. This album, though, (which is also their debut full-length on Dang!Records) listens like something much older. With a sound dependent on angst and overt sincerity, it reeks of early 2000’s emo/post-hardcore, featuring whiny, melodic guitar work and punchy vocals. This works particularly well with the concept of the album, which is focused on life, death, change, and the decisions we make somewhere in between all of the details.
The first track on the album that stuck out to me was “Fall Risk” (track four) mostly because there is a change in vocal style that happens here. This track is strong and really helps “The Flowers & The Earth” pick up some momentum. “Snake Oil Salesman” also holds very true to that same sound and has an energy about it that separates it from other tracks on the album. This, in particular, speaks volumes about what Gunner’s Daughter is capable of musically, as well as what their singer, Chris Behm, can do vocally.
Gunner’s Daughter definitely wear their influences on their sleeves and pay serious homage to Hot Water Music with “The Flowers & The Earth”. There are so many instances where super attractive melodies are skillfully placed under lyrical hooks, the kind of lines that get stuck in your head for hours. If you are a fan of emo or post-hardcore influenced music or nostalgia that will send you back a few years, definitely check this album out. Oh, and listen to it more than once- you’ll catch creatively placed elements in the guitar work that you didn’t get the chance to appreciate the first time through!
To listen to “The Flowers & The Earth”, just press play below:
To check out Gunner’s Daughter further, head here:
LISTEN AND DOWNLOAD FOR FREE. Last night’s Wrecking Ball Punk Showcase on the Rock in Chicago Show. 30 bands, 2 hours, all original punk rock. Listen and download for free:
Sore Subjects - Obscene Calls
Step Right Up - No Place to Live
Typesetter - One to One
The Effigies - Hope and Change
The Fuckers - The 290 Blues
The Grow Ops - Red Eye
Horace Pinker - Into the After
Brick Assassin - Chicago Brick Crew
The Mons - Burned Out and Bleeding
The Public Divide - Police Truck (Dead Kennedys cover)
The Cathy Santonies - Im Yr Friend Im Yr Revolution
Step Right Up - Nic is a Teen
Sore Subjects - Wearing You Down
Voice of Addiction - Daley Struggle
The C Sides - Under Outer
Boilerman - My Life is a Soul Patch
The Mons - Asshole
The Ridgelands - Bored
The C Sides - Olivia
Dan Vapid and the Cheats - Im a Contrarien
The Grow Ops - Blabbermouth
Wastebasket - Over Flow
When Flying Feels Like Falling - Class War
The Ridgelands - Anti Hero
The Cathy Santonies - We Dance the Old Heart
The Effigies - Ill Get By
No Two Waynes - Polishing a Turd
Brickfight - You Can Run, But Youll Only Die Tired
Like Bats - Sad Stories About Sad People With Pathetic Dreams
Wellington Arms - Valencia
Et Tu Brute - War
Guerilla - Suckin On The Devils Tit
Dan Vapid and the Cheats - I Wanna Go To Machu Picchu Before I Die
She Likes Todd - Where We Are
Wastebasket - Had Me Fooled … Not
Boilerman - Glass Elevators
No Two Waynes - Hour Face
Brick Assassin - Entitlement Generation
Aggro Control - Massacre of the Sexes
Light the Fuse - F Word
Horace Pinker - Placebo Effect
Wastebasket - $ Menu Land
Like Bats - My Favorite Kind of Cigarette
Dead on TV - Pale Shelter
Guerrilla - Animal
Modern Day Rippers - Rip it Up
Kobanes - TMNT
The Rock in Chicago Show Wrecking Ball Showcase
tune into www.Rockinchicago.org from 8-10pm Chicago time for another two hours of punk rock from Chicago.
Hosted by DOC Metal
Brought to you by Wrecking Ball Production and Rock In ChicagoMagazine
Sponsored by Wicked Hammer Energy Drink
Live Broadcast by WZ13 Worldwide Rock Radio
LIVE BROADCAST BEGINS AT 8PM Central Daylight Time
HEAR IT NOW!
Hosted by Doc Metal
Master - Plans of Hate
Knifed at Gunpoint - Shovel Meets Throat
Kataplexy - Consumed for Companionship
Without Waves - The Entheogen
Krotchripper - Bloodbath
Act of Destruction - Worldwide Hate
Maggot Twat - Eating Elvis’ Shit
Nekropsy - 20 in the Sepulcher
Air Raid - Tears of Shit
Macabre - Zodiac
Macabre - McMassacre
Macabre - What the Heck, Richard Speck
Macabre - Serial Killer
Caecus - Colony
Waking Chaos - Hail of Bullets
Master - Betrayal
Waking Chaos - Freedom Revoked
Nekropsy - Fake Life
Without Waves - Blood and Rust
Maggot Twat - Kill the Bitch
Krotchripper - Putrescent Pools of Piss and Bloody Chunks
Act of Destruction - A Vision of Hell
Air Raid - Deep Fried in Piss
Kataplexy - Improper Disposal
Knifed at Gunpoint - Watch as it Burns
Caecus - Leprous Prophets
The Rock in Chicago Death Metal Special Episode, hosted by DOC METAL
Tonight we bring you two hours of Chicago’s finest death metal
Hosted by DOC Metal
Tune in to the Rock in Chicago Show at www.rockinchicago.org from 8-10pm this Sunday and Every Sunday
Sponsored by Wicked Hammer Energy Drink
Broadcast by wz13radio.com
We’ll be spinning some new tracks from MASTER, check out the recent interview with Paul Speckmann by Geoff on Rock in Chicago Magazine
Tune in to the Rock in Chicago Show this and every Sunday from 8-10 pm Central Time at www.rockinchicago.org
Sponsored by Wicked Hammer Energy Drink
Live broadcast from www.z13radio.com
LIVE BROADCAST BEGINS AT 8PM
HEAR IT NOW!
Two Views on CancerSmash Night One
By: Doc Metal
CancerSmash Night One…what a fun night filled with great people, fantastic bands, and amazing tunes! The best part about this show was the fact it was an all ages extravaganza. The first two bands, Caecus (whose name was phonetically butchered by all of the RIC crew haha) and Cimmerian’s members barely hit the twenty one age mark, however, both of these bands completely rocked our faces off, and it was unfailingly apparent that both bands have a bright future in front of them. With most shows being “21 and Up” these days, I think that showcasing these guys at an all-ages event was a pretty stellar idea. Caecus and Cimmerian’s styles are pretty djentiful, mathy and groovy all at once, and I was extremely impressed with their sets.
Caecus set the tone for the evening with an awesome opening set.
Cimmerian laying it down with their technically atmospheric prowess.
Impale, holy jeepers Impale. These veterans of Bada Brew, were killer. Normally, I tend to dismiss bands using drum machines (except Maggot Twat, of course), but wow they sounded fantastic. Nice and brutal, just the way I like it! Bleed for the Fallen? Wow, what a fun fun fun performance! Bleed’s Pantera-ish sound had everyone banging their heads to their highly energetic set. The next act, Speedgod, hailing from Lansing, Michigan, were a total treat. Even I had to run into the pit for their performance to get in a good mosh….especially when they covered Slayer’s “Disciple”, which happens to be a Doc Metal anthem. Finally, Withering Soul, a mash up of doom and black Metal, ended the show with style and precision. Their set was utterly awesome. Vocalist Mykil Grim was completely on point for this performance.
Impale…Four men and a drum machine that kick as much ass (or more) than some bands with a live skin-beater!
Aaaaaand by this time, the Zombie Dusts were catching up with me, so much so that I don’t remember much of the night afterwards, aside from the burrito run with the man who set this whole night up, Mr. Erik Oldman!
By: Geoff Teach
There is no better feeling in the world than when a bounteous amount of hard work results in success…unless, of course, you also add an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment to that same feeling through philanthropic deeds. On a Friday evening in Crest Hill, IL, April 18th, your humble music critic and editor was able to experience just such an extraordinary sensation, as I was able to join my fellow members of Rock in Chicago (in concert with Mach 4 Entertainment, Wrecking Ball Productions, and Bada Brew) in a weekend’s-long effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org) that we have aptly dubbed CancerSmash. While I was unfortunately unable to attend Night Two (Punk Night), I was thankfully able to make the journey south for Night One (Metal Night) to see all of my hard work (and the hard work of so many others) come to fruition. You see, I had quite a hand in the booking of Night One, and while I am always wearing an ear-to-ear smile whenever one of our Rock in Chicago showcases goes off without a hitch, there was just something MORE to CancerSmash and its root cause that continues to make me glow with pride and joy at all of what we accomplished.
Bleed For The Fallen brought nothing but energy to the room during their awesome set.
Let’s face it…nearly every single person reading these words has had their lives touched by cancer. Even if you can’t name a direct relative or friend whom you’ve seen fight the good fight against “The Big C”, I’m fairly certain you can name “someone else you know” who has told you about their loved one or acquaintance that’s fighting it or has succumbed to it….it’s THAT pervasive of a disease. It comes in many forms, can effect nearly every single part of the body, and can kill you frighteningly quick…or agonizingly slow. Cancer is everywhere. To wit, even our own Rock in Chicago founder and owner, Erik Oldman, is a survivor of this lecherous and ubiquitous disease. Fifteen years ago, Erik depended on the help and care of so many doctors, nurses, family, and friends to see him through what was undeniably one of the hardest times of his life….and now, after kicking cancer to the curb, marriage, a beautiful daughter, and many years of good health, Erik felt it was time to “give back”. He pitched the notion to the rest of us at Rock in Chicago, and to a man, we all agreed it was a fantastic idea. After a quick brainstorm for a name, CancerSmash was born, and while the idea itself was solid and pure, now it was time for the REAL work to begin: Finding a venue, booking the bands, finding sponsors, finding donors for items for the planned raffle, and much, much more. I can tell you from personal experience that it is difficult enough to book shows where the bands will be paid for their efforts. It’s a LOT of work, frustration, disappointment, and finally elation when a band says “Yes.” I will not deny that I initially thought that we were going to have an even tougher time finding bands for this event, as all bands involved would need to waive their normal door takes to be donated to the cause. Delightedly, nothing could have been further from the truth, though. We managed to book a grand total of ten bands for the two nights (Night One performers, Speedgod (of Lansing, Michigan), were booked by Mach 4 Entertainment and Bada Brew…and kudos to them for that, they were AWESOME!), all of whom agreed to give up their normal pay for the gigs, and not only did they do so with class and pride, many of the bands also added to the raffle piles with their merchandise or donated extra money from their merch sales to the coffers.
Michigan’s own, Speedgod, as they utterly destroyed Bada Brew.
I could not be more proud to admit that I had the absolute pleasure and honor to book, introduce on the night of the show, or enjoy the sets of such generous and bad ass bands as Caecus ( http:///www.facebook.com/caecusofficial ), Cimmerian ( http://www.facebook.com/cimmerianband ), Impale (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Impale/192994564067758 ), Bleed For The Fallen (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bleed-For-The-Fallen/138141640197 ), Speedgod (https://www.facebook.com/Speedgodband ), and Withering Soul (https://www.facebook.com/witheringsoulband ). I also could not be more happy to say that the staff at the host venue, Bada Brew (802 Theodore St, Crest Hill, IL), were jovial, gracious, and just as generous as all the wonderful fans of the bands who came out, donated, entered into the raffles, and head banged right up front for all of the incomparable acts. Ultimately, all of us together managed to raise $1,200 to help fund cancer research and patient assistance…and even now, weeks after the event, I still continue to beam with pride knowing that I had a small part in such a big deed. Thank you again to ALL of you who were involved, played, or attended…together, we can continue to help Smash Cancer and SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC!
Withering Soul finished the night in melodic black metal ecstasy.