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album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Hazards Of Love (Capitol) 2lp 22.00
We were looking over reviews of all the Decemberists records, and we pretty much raved about every single one, except maybe the last one, the only stinker of the bunch, and heck even that one, featured at least one killer track.
But back around Castaways And Cutouts and Her Majesty, we could not gush enough about these guys and gals, they were like an Edward Gorey drawing come to life, chimney sweeps ands street urchins, tales of Victorian Squalor, frontman Colin Meloy's distinctive voice and his incredible way with words, these guys were tough to beat, every song a super evocative story sung, with characters loveable, loathsome and tragic, truly epic poems set to music.
Besides the Crane Wife, the band's major label debut and one misstep mentioned above, we can't recommend the rest of their catalog enough. Really. We own and love every one. So now we have their long awaited brand new record, a sprawling and epic concept record. And no half assed concept record, this one is carefully plotted, intricate, we've only listened to it a couple times so we're not quite sure exactly what it's about, but it's lyrical and expansive and there seems to be a girl / boy main conflict (hence the title), there are drawings of the main characters in the booklet, the lyrics are total rock opera, male vocals, female vocals, the instrumentation lush, the sound surprisingly heavy here and there. But, and sadly there is a BUT, this is still pretty polished, pretty mainstream, not nearly as raw or urgent as the older stuff, the lyrics while still heads and shoulders above most rock bands, are just not nearly as magical, or clever, or snarky, before, every line was a tongue twister or offered up a clue about some other line, delivered with a smirk and a wink, Meloy was like the narrator of some Tim Burton film about Victorian England (aren't they all sort of), like we said about the Crane Wife, it feels like all the edges have been rounded and dulled. And the amazing instrumentation, here seems lore like filigree, and afterthought, the sound is definitely more mainstream pop. The best moments are when the wheezing accordions come out, which is sadly not nearly often enough. That said, there are some killer moments, a handful of the tracks are really hard and heavy, crunchy guitars, mean lyrics, sure they fit perfectly in the opera, but taken purely as songs, they sort of kick ass, the buzzy chuggy "The Rake's Song", then there's the very Deep Purple-y "The Queen's Rebuke" with thick guitars and heavy heavy organ jams.
So yeah, it's not a mind blower, or a true return to form, but it is a grower, and fans will definitely want this, however they felt about the Crane Wife. For newbies, we'd still have to recommend Castaways, definitely the best Decemberists record, but heck, we like this one more and more with each listen, so who knows, this might be the record that lures you into the Decemberists' squalid Victorian wonderland, and why the heck not, we've missed visiting for sure.
MPEG Stream: "Prelude"
MPEG Stream: "The Hazards Of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle The Thistles Undone)"
MPEG Stream: "Won't Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga)"
MPEG Stream: "The Rake's Song"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Her Majesty (Kill Rock Stars) cd 14.98
It's a little unfair for me to have to review this now. We've only had it for a week or so, and unlike its predecessor, the immediately accessible and instantly classic Castaways And Cutouts that we raved about earlier this year, I feel like this one is a little less pop, a little more abstract, and may require some -serious- listening, as all great records do. That said, in the last week, Her Majesty has benefited greatly from repeated listenings and is rapidly becoming one of my favorite new records. All of the Decemberists hallmarks we loved on the first record are firmly in place, the Victorian imagery, amazing lyrical wordplay, the wheezing accordian and loping fey folk, the dark melancholia and occasional Pogues-ish drunken cavorting. But from the first track you know this record is going to be a little different. A creepy crawly dirge, with raspy chords wrung from an antique squeezebox, tortured, anguished vocals, with the occasional kick ass waltzy cadenza. And while the record veers wildly from these dreamy mope-y doom ballads to rollicking, ale-hoisting, tongue in cheek upbeat numbers, it's those slower, more sinister tracks that really hold the whole thing together. Doomed and dismal, but never at a loss for a quick witted barb, or pithy turn of phrase. Gloriously and melodically despondent, occasionally playfully frolicsome, but always so so so good!
MPEG Stream: "Shanty for the Arethusa"
MPEG Stream: "Billy Liar"

DECEMBERISTS, THE Her Majesty (Kill Rock Stars) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It's a little unfair for me to have to review this now. We've only had it for a week or so, and unlike its predecessor, the immediately accessible and instantly classic Castaways And Cutouts that we raved about earlier this year, I feel like this one is a little less pop, a little more abstract, and may require some -serious- listening, as all great records do. That said, in the last week, Her Majesty has benefited greatly from repeated listenings and is rapidly becoming one of my favorite new records. All of the Decemberists hallmarks we loved on the first record are firmly in place, the Victorian imagery, amazing lyrical wordplay, the wheezing accordian and loping fey folk, the dark melancholia and occasional Pogues-ish drunken cavorting. But from the first track you know this record is going to be a little different. A creepy crawly dirge, with raspy chords wrung from an antique squeezebox, tortured, anguished vocals, with the occasional kick ass waltzy cadenza. And while the record veers wildly from these dreamy mope-y doom ballads to rollicking, ale-hoisting, tongue in cheek upbeat numbers, it's those slower, more sinister tracks that really hold the whole thing together. Doomed and dismal, but never at a loss for a quick witted barb, or pithy turn of phrase. Gloriously and melodically despondent, occasionally playfully frolicsome, but always so so so good!
MPEG Stream: "Shanty for the Arethusa"
MPEG Stream: "Billy Liar"

DECEMBERISTS, THE Live At Bull Moose (Captiol) cd 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

DECEMBERISTS, THE Long Live The King (Capitol) 10" 14.98

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE The Crane Wife (Capitol) cd 17.98
We've been in love with the Decemberists since the very first time we laid ears on them. A super quirky, hyper literate, Dickensian jangle pop, equal parts Neutral Milk Hotel, Belle And Sebastian, Robyn Hitchcock, Destroyer, the Pogues and some lost Victorian musical featuring Lords and Ladies and LOTS of chimney sweeps. Like an Edward Gorey drawing come to life. In fact if anyone was ever to make a musical of Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies it sure as hell better feature original music by the Decemberists: "Be is for Basil assaulted by Bears... la la la..."
Anyway, the Crane Wife is the Decemberists' first major label release, and we were all a little surprised when we first found out they were making the leap. It makes perfect sense of course. They've gotten more and more popular over the last couple years, so it was sort of inevitable. But we were all wondering how the world would react to such a brainy, unlikely pop combo. Definitely not the sort of thing you hear on the radio or on MTV.
On first glance everything seems intact for some serious subverting from within. A super spare handdrawn, slightly morbid cover, a little bit of blood, the band drawn in full Victorian finery, bizarre song titles, and a couple LONG song suites! Lengthy multi-part epics, a little bit of prog mixed in with their usual dour jangle.
But while the band stood their ground on design, and song structure and the like, they did seem to sacrifice some of their overt musical weirdness. They always had the potential to slip into some mainstream strum and croon, but always stayed just on the weird side of that slippery slope. But on the Crane Wife, lots of the songs sound like the all the sharp edges were filed down, not just musically, but lyrically as well. Meloy got as much press for his hilariously poignant tales of murder and misery as for his clever indie folk pop. But except for the super stripped down lament "Shankill Butchers", probably the best track on the record, just guitar, accordion and a creepy wailing tale of butchery in Meloy's trademark about to crack faux-British brogue, the rest of the record could just as easily be the Crash Test Dummies or Bare Naked Ladies as the hippest indie rock band in the land.
That's not to say the record is bad, it's not. In fact it's pretty darn good, there are just a handful of cringeworthy moments that go down so wrong and make it tough to listen to the whole record straight through. The most egregious example being the cheesy, eighties funky Dire Straits groove of "The Perfect Crime #2" complete with highly inappropriate guitar leads and female background vocals. Ugh. A few other tracks also like either serious missteps or bids for commercial airplay or both. But at least half the record still pushes all the same buttons. A delightfully dour jangle, like a more depressed Pogues, or an 18th century Neutral Milk Hotel.
If you don't have ANY Decemberists records, but have wanted to check them out, for god's sake, get them in this order: Castaways and Cutouts first, then Her Majesty and then Picaresque. If you still need more (and you probably will if you end up being as taken with these guys as we are) there are a handful of ep's as well. At that point, if you're still jonesing, -then- it's time to pick up the Crane Wife, even if it's just to play "Shankill Butchers" over and over and over and over...
Reservedly recommended. Sort of.
MPEG Stream: "The Crane Wife 3"
MPEG Stream: "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)"
MPEG Stream: "Shankill Butchers"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE The King Is Dead (Capitol) cd 17.98

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE The King Is Dead (Capitol) cd 17.98

DECEMBERISTS, THE The King Is Dead (Capitol) lp 21.00

DECEMBERISTS, THE The King Is Dead (Capitol) lp 21.00

album cover DECIBEL #103 May 2013 magazine 4.95
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Latest issue of the USA's best glossy metal mag, with Cathedral on the cover, also Kvelertak, Iron Reagan, Batillus, Pestilence (Hall Of Fame induction), and more - including their 9th Annual "Extreme" Baseball Preview for those who care - which a lot of metallers do it turns out, seeing who participated.
Also, lots of reviews (leading off with the new Ghost opus), and the usual amusing columns including John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats "South Pole Dispatch" (this time he parodies the BS of an "asshole product manager").

album cover DECIBEL #104 June 2013 magazine 4.95
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We read every issue of Decibel anyway, but even if we didn't we'd have picked this one up, just for the 3 page feature all about Metal-Archives.com, a website we visit more often than Facebook, Wikipedia, and D-Listed combined. Plus, there's the cover story about this year's Decibel tour (Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Immolation and assorted openers), and the Hall of Fame feature on Carcass's Heartwork. And plenty more: Kylesa, Purson, Jungle Rot, Dillinger Escape Plan, Altar Of Plagues, Nails, The Ocean, etc., along with the usual slew of columns, news, and reviews.

album cover DECIBEL #106 August 2013 magazine 4.95
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Decibel, the premier metal magazine in the USA, is a must for any metaller who wants to keep current but doesn't want all their reading to be done online. And at a mere $4.95 it's a better deal than most magazines these days. This issue has Amon Amarth on the cover (ho hum) but plenty of cool stuff inside, about bands like Deafheaven, Witch Cross (yes!), Scale The Summit, Pig Destroyer (entering the Hall Of Fame for Prowler In The Yard), Aborym, Lesbian, Coffins, and more. Plus the usual informative & amusing reviews and columns (including John Darnielle of the Mountain Goat's back page South Pole Dispatch).
And, best of all for some of us here, there's an 8-page oral history of another metal magazine, the sadly missed Metal Maniacs (1988-2007), a staple of our metal-mad youth. Ah, the nostalgia!

album cover DECIBEL #108 October 2013 magazine 4.95
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"116 purulent pages" it sez right here on the cover of this new issue of this recommended metal read, and since that cover also features the return of CARCASS, that seems appropriate. Also to be found within those 116 pages of purulence: Gorguts, Trouble, Baroness, Broken Hope, Windhand, High On Fire (entering the Decibel Hall Of Fame with Surrounded By Thieves), Gwar, Fleshgod Apocalpyse, Witherscape, and more - including the usual amusing John Darnielle column on the back page.

album cover DECIBEL #109 November 2013 magazine 4.95
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On the cover, Swedish sensations In Solitude - the blurb being, "Have they made the album of the year?" (No, please Decibel, don't ask that, you're ruining it for us, you know how music/metal nerds are, there will be a backlash.) Too much hype or not, it's an interesting article about an interesting band who have made a pretty cool and unexpected record. Plus: Monster Magnet, Skeletonwitch, Bad Religion (Hall of Fame induction), Ghoul, Shining, ex-Kyuss dudes Vista Chino, Morbid Angel (talking about Covenant, NOT their last album), Grave Miasma, and more, including all the usual amusing reviews and columns (why more Mountain Goats fans don't buy this just for John Darnielle's South Pole Dispatch, we don't know).
And there's a special feature on "The real cost of illegal downloads in metal", but if you buy a print magazine you probably also buy records and cds so it won't be a guilt trip for most of you.

album cover DECIBEL #110 December 2013 magazine 4.95
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What, it took 'til issue one hundred and ten for Decibel to induct Venom's album Black Metal into their Hall Of Fame? Better late than never. So, this issue contains the story of the making of that seminal record, along with much else besides. On the cover, prolific retro trash dude Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust. Also, features big and small on: Noctum, The Ruins Of Beverast, Pestilence, Death Angel, Onslaught, and plenty more. There's a Q&A with Darkthrone's Nocturno Culto (whose new solo project, Gift Of Gods, we'll probably review soon), and a book excerpt from Decibel's new guide to "extreme" beers, Brewtal Truth. Plus news, reviews, and amusing columns including yet another South Pole Dispatch from Mr. Mountain Goats himself, John Darnielle.

album cover DECIBEL #111 January 2014 magazine 4.95
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The year-end issue of this metal mag has ol' King Diamond on the cover, and the editorial staff's Top 40 albums of 2013 inside, always a fun read (#1 = Carcass).
There's also stuff on Oranssi Pazuzu, Funeral Circle, Corrections House, Andy Sneap, and Integrity (Hall of Fame for Systems Overload). Plus all the usual columns and reviews and stuff, including the reason to always read the last page of Decibel first, John "Mountain Goats" Darnielle's always amusing, or at least strange, South Pole Dispatch.

album cover DECIBEL #112 February 2014 magazine 4.95
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Lemmy of Motorhead looks like he's hanging in there on the cover of this issue of the premier US metal mag. Inside: Opeth enters the "Hall of Fame" with Blackwater Park, there's a live report from Phil Anselmo's Housecore Horror Film Fest, a rundown on what the magazine considers the 20 most anticipated albums of 2014, and stuff on such bands as Beastmilk, Mogwai, Satan's Wrath, Godflesh, among others. Reviews, funny columns, news bits, and all the rest round out the issue. As always, informative and amusing reading for the metal-fixated among you, we recommend it.

album cover DECIBEL #113 March 2014 magazine 4.95
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Can't wait to read the article entitled "Posing Hard: Yoga & Extreme Metal"! Also this ish there's Behemoth on the cover, Hirax, Pentagram Chile, Grand Magus, The Wounded Kings, Alcest, Thou, Indian and lots more. Plus plenty of reviews, funny columns, etc.

album cover DECIBEL #114 April 2014 magazine 5.99
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Monthly metal mag Decibel has put Carcass is on the cover, again, for like the umpteenth time since their reunion. What's up with Decibel and Carcass? I mean, we love Carcass too, but still. Heck they've got 'em headlining this year's Decibel Magazine Tour (hence the cover spot, this time), along with The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts and Noisem, who you can also read about inside. Along with stuff about / interviews with / information pertaining to: Gridlink, Morbus Chron, Cripple Bastards, Solstice (huzzah!), Cynic, Broken Hope, The Oath, Skepticism (inducted into the Hall Of Fame for Stormcrowfleet), The Shrine, and the return of supergroup Twilight, among others! Plus tons of reviews, all the usual good stuff. And the back page South Pole Dispatch by John "Mountain Goats" Darnielle is a hoot, as always. If only they really did release a book called Decibel Presents Electric Fucking Sun Featuring Uli Fucking Jon Roth You Pieces Of Shit, like John proposes. We'd buy one.

album cover DECIBEL #115 May 2014 magazine 5.99
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"The Ultimate Warrior." No, not the late wrestler, that's Decibel's blurb for its cover story on Thomas Gabriel Fischer and his new Triptykon album. Also in this issue of this must-read magazine for metalheads: Slough Feg, Conan, Siege, Mastodon (studio report), Napalm Death, Massacre, and more, including an "extreme" Major League Baseball preview, and a "Hall Of Fame" feature on the album Fantastic Planet by Failure, not the most metal album ever but a cool one.
Speaking of extreme baseball, John Darnielle's humorous South Pole Dispatch column has an interesting idea about 'deathball'...

album cover DECIBEL #116 June 2014 magazine 5.99
Cover star, the late great Oderus Urungus (R.I.P. Dave Brockie). Also: Floor, Stoneburner, Young Widows, Goatwhore, Lord Mantis, and more - including a Q&A with Marty freaking Friedman. Shred!

album cover DECIBEL #53 March 2009 magazine 4.95
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We sure do love Decibel. Covers tons of music we love, and does it with a sense of humor. Plus John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats has a monthly column, one of the few metal mags we read on a regular basis besides Terrorizer.
This month it's ALL GRINDCORE! Pig Destroyer, Repulsion, Mick Harris, Napalm Death on the cover, Extreme Noise Terror, Defeatist, Graf Orlock, Kill The Client, Cripple Bastards, Phobia, Maruta and more! Also a special on Pornogrind, and best of all, the Decibel Hall Of Fame Inductee this month is Discordance Axis' groudnbreaking artgrind epic The Inalienable Dreamless!

album cover DECIBEL #54 April 2009 magazine 4.95
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Latest issue of one of our favorite metal mags. One that somehow manages to mix humor and metal without ever taking the piss, instead it just makes for a damn fine read.
On the cover, Brutal Truth, all in white, posing with polar bears! Inside: dude from Helms Alee talks about his rad job, monthly tour story from Genghis Tron, Shrinebuilder in the studio, The Devil's Blood, Wolves In The Throne Room, Luna Mortis, Root, Skepticism, 16, North, Cobalt, Cancer Bats, Satyricon, Cattle Decapitation, Pestilence, Kreator, touring in the current economy, Decibal Hall Of Fame: Autopsy's Mental Funeral, a huge Brutal Truth story, new record soon!!!, tons and tons of reviews and of course the back page South Pole Dispatch courtasey of the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle!

album cover DECIBEL #55 May 2009 magazine 4.95
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
While the UK's Terrorizer remains our fave glossy metal magazine, it's got close competition from Decibel. Decibel is definitely the best American metal mag going, having superseded the late great Metal Maniacs - and it is as intentionally witty as MM was often unintentionally funny.
This issue features Heaven And Hell aka Black Sabbath on the cover, and even though the magazine admits that the band's soon-to-be-released album is not so hot, it's still always interesting reading about the gods Dio, Iommi, and Butler. Also this ish: Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Absu (Proscriptor doing Decibel's version of The Wire's Invisible Jukebox), Kylesa, My Dying Bride, Suffocation (being inducted into the Decibel Hall Of Fame for Effigy Of The Forgotten), Samael, Enforcer, Altar Of Plagues, Oceano, and plenty more... Of course there's the usual ton of reviews, columns (including J. Bennett's Cry Now, Cry Later and John "Mountain Goats" Darnielle's South Pole Dispatch) and such. Oh, and this issue also features Decibel's 2009 Extreme Baseball Preview, for those so inclined.

album cover DECIBEL #58 August 2009 magazine 4.95
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One of our favorite monthly metal reads, the glossy (but "extremely exteme") magazine Decibel is a worthy American rival to the UK's Terrorizer. And they definitely have some good writers, the sort who manage to entertain and amuse even when, sometimes, you didn't think you cared about the band being covered. This issue, though, there's definitely bands you care about. On the cover, good ol' Slayer. Inside: 1349, Anaal Nathrakh, Amesoeurs, Slough Feg, Goatwhore, Velnias, and plenty more. Plus reviews and news and columns (including as always John "Mountain Goats" Darnielle's back page bit of humor) and all that good stuff. And a special report on the resurgence of old school death metal.
About the only thing this ish we thought we didn't really care about is the Hall of Fame feature on NYHC straight edge band Judge's 1989 album Bringin' It Down... but we still read it, and now might give that album a spin if we run across a copy.

album cover DECIBEL #59 Sep 2009 magazine 4.95
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Along with Terrorizer, this magazine is our monthly metal must-read. This issue has Nergal of Polish black/death metallers Behemoth on the cover, a cool photo of him looking like a surly member of the Blue Man Group who overdosed on Rogaine. Also, there's interviews with / features involving the likes of Anvil, The Gates Of Slumber, Voivod, Church Of Misery, Yob, Dysrhythmia, Gorod, Suffocation, and more. Including an interview with "pirate metal" band Swashbuckle conducted by Waldo the Parrot from Hatebeak! And if that's not enough humor for you, there's the usual John Darnielle column at the back of the magazine too, among other chuckles throughout.

album cover DECIBEL #60 October 2009 magazine 4.95
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On the cover, the return of IMMORTAL!! Inside, an awesome oral history of splatter metal legends Gwar, as well as Municipal Waste, Job For A Cowboy, Nile, Devildriver, Divine Heresy, Asphyx, Goreaphobia, Keelhaul, Amon, Rammstein, City Of Ships, Scale The Summit, Sarke, Demonical, Born Of Osiris, Arkaea, Bill Steer of Carcass, reviews a handful of MP3's, Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares reviews his favorite restaurants, an extreme metal football preview, Cynic's Focus inducted into the Decibel Hall Of Fame, and of course tons of reviews, as well as some hilarious back page snark from the Mountain Goats John Darnielle.

album cover DECIBEL #61 November 2009 magazine 4.95
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This "extremely extreme" magazine of METAL returns with an issue featuring Baroness on the cover (their impending new record proclaimed by Decibel as 'what may be' the album of the year). Other bands featured this ish: Megadeth, Vader, Dying Fetus, Ancestors, Destroyer 666, Ahab, Doomriders, Shadows Fall, Despised Icon, and more. We are pleased to see Accept's Restless And Wild be inducted into Decibel's metal album Hall of Fame, and the accompanying story about the making of that classic album is interesting reading for sure. And we are even more pleased to see a "Call & Response" blindtest feature with William Murderface and Toki Wartooth of Dethklok! Hilarious. Plus there's all the reviews and columns and stuff, including as usual John Darnielle's South Pole Dispatch.

album cover DECIBEL #62 December 2009 magazine 4.95
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Latest issue of the premiere American glossy metal mag features metalcore masters Converge on the cover. Inside, all kinds of other AQ approved bands: Skeletonwitch, Saviours, Shrinebuilder, The Gates Of Slumber, Liturgy, Portal, 3 Inches Of Blood, Gnaw Their Tongues, Gorgoroth, and plenty more! There's a High On Fire "studio report", the usual amusing John Darnielle and J. Bennett columns, the usual cavalcade of reviews (including one of new metal-themed video game Brutal Legend that says it's got "the greatest metal soundtrack ever" for which we at Aquarius can take a little credit, having helped out with it), and, best of all, a "Hall Of Fame" feature on Trouble's debut album! Now that's a good issue!

album cover DECIBEL #63 January 2010 magazine 4.95
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Mastodon makes the cover, also there's features on Nile, Pelican, Marduk, Rammstein, Krallice, Katatonia, and more. Decibel's "top 40 albums of 2009" are selected, and the top spot goes to Baroness, as predicted on the cover of issue #61.
There's the usual load of reviews, news, funny columns, and, oh, we're stoked to see Watchtower's 1989 tech metal masterpiece Control And Resistance enter the Decibel Hall Of Fame.

album cover DECIBEL #64 February 2010 magazine 4.95
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Another fine issue of this great metal read. On the cover, Megadeth, Slayer, and Testament! What is this, 1990?? Apparently these veteran thrashers are on tour together, again, Clash Of The Titans 2010 aka American Carnage! Cool.
Then there's also stuff on Enslaved (with their album Frost being inducted into the Decibel Hall Of Fame), Shining, Between The Buried And Me, Thou, Immolation, and much more, including the usual funny columns and reviews and the rest.

album cover DECIBEL #65 March 2010 magazine 4.95
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More good headbanging readin' here, from the always entertaining and informative Decibel mag... On the cover, Fear Factory (ho hum), all CGI-ed out in the picture like wanna be Terminators. But inside, lots of much more interesting stuff: Sigh, Harvey Milk, Hellhammer (an excerpt from Tom G. Warrior's upcoming book), Sacrifice, Holy Grail, and other rad bands we like... plus lots of reviews, funny columns, news bits, etc.
AND, this issue sees the classic Saint Vitus album Born Too Late inducted into the Decibel Hall Of Fame! Just in time for their reunion tour, of course.

album cover DECIBEL #66 April 2010 magazine 4.95
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High On Fire On The Cover (looking maybe just a little uncomfortable, posing draped in snakes on account of their new album, Snakes For The Divine... why'd it have to be snakes... shoulda said snacks!).
Also this ish: Ludicra, The Wounded Kings, Teitanblood, Bastard Noise, Daughters, Priestess, Abscess, Ihsahn, Landmine Marathon, Finntroll (vs. Troll), Dark Tranquillity (being inducted into the Hall Of Fame for The Gallery), Nachtmystium (studio report), and more, including of course all the usual news, tons o' reviews, and funny columns, John Darnielle's South Pole Dispatch being particularly amusing this time 'round.

album cover DECIBEL #67 May 2010 magazine 4.95
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Out of jail, on the cover: Burzum! "Facing off with metal's most controversial figure". Also in this issue of America's foremost glossy extreme metal magazine: Dillinger Escape Plan, Tom G. Warrior's Triptykon, Hour Of 13, Hooded Menace, White Wizzard, Immolation, Autopsy, and, among other things, Motorhead's Ace Of Spades inducted into Decibel's Hall of Fame, with the usual fascinating the-making-of article.

album cover DECIBEL #68 June 2010 magazine 4.95
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More good readin' for all you metal fans. This issue has Exodus on the cover, but also 1349, Cathedral, Darkthrone, The Ruins Of Beverast, Fenriz, The Ocean, Pentagram (with their 1985 album Relentless being inducted into the Decibel "Hall of Fame"), a studio report from Torche, a feature on one-man death metal bands, and plenty more, including all the witty usual reviews (78 of 'em) and columns.

album cover DECIBEL #69 July 2010 magazine 4.95
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One of the scary dudes from Watain poses for this month's cover, complete with dripping blood, foaming dry ice goblet, skulls, candles, facepaint, and one weird contact lens. A good cover subject for sure! Inside, also: Cannibal Corpse, Nachtmystium, Melvins, Enslaved, Enforcer, Karma To Burn, Rosetta, Across Tundras, Yakuza, and plenty more. Including, Type O Negative's Bloody Kisses album entering into the Decibel Hall Of Fame. Pete Steele, R.I.P.

album cover DECIBEL #70 August 2010 magazine 4.95
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Cool cartoony comic book cover portrait of Danzig (back in saddle with a new album, y'know). Inside this issue of the USA's best glossy metal magazine: Coliseum, Wormrot, Apostle Of Solitude, Nevermore, Dismember (in the Hall Of Fame with their 1991 classic Like An Ever Flowing Stream), Pantera's Vinnie Paul, and a eulogy for Ronnie James Dio. Among much else!

album cover DECIBEL #71 September 2010 magazine 4.95
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This issue's cover belongs to The Refused, whose hardcore masterpiece The Shape Of Punk To Come is inducted into Decibel's album hall of fame. Kinda cool to see a glossy magazine put something on the cover that isn't a new release a label is trying to hype or whatever - The Refused broke up years ago, that record is from 1998. Also inside, this ish: The Sword, Decrepit Birth, Zoroaster, Kylesa, Sigh's Dr. Mikannnibal (talking about her day job as an experimental physicist!), Xasthur, Aaron Turner discussing the end of Isis, and more. Including the usual funny columns and lots of reviews. And one other feature that ought to have been really cool, but now is super sad, the "Streetwise San Francisco" article wherein Cosmo Lee from the Invisible Oranges blog is shown around SF by some local metal folks, members of Ludicra and Hammers Of Misfortune among others, they visit such landmarks as Vesuvio bar in North Beach, El Farolito taqueria here in the Mission, The Hemlock Tavern, and yes Aquarius Records! Which is neat, except for the sad part - one of the tour guides, pictured looking through the bins here at AQ in the article, was Makh Daniels from the band Early Graves, whom you may have heard was tragically was killed in a van accident on tour, not long after these photos were taken. R.I.P.

album cover DECIBEL #73 November 2010 magazine 4.95
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The new ish of our fave American metal mag is here. On the cover, looking AWESOME... Dimmu Borgir. Inside: Swans, Enslaved, Autopsy, Torche, Monster Magnet, Pig Destroyer (studio report), Angel Witch (Hall of Fame induction!), Unearthly Trance, Dawnbringer, Melechesh, Woe, and more, including all the usual clever columns and pointed reviews and such. For metalheads who want to stay hip, it's a must-read.

album cover DECIBEL #74 December 2010 magazine 4.95
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Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Viking Crown, & now Arson Anthem) is on the cover of this issue, looking mean and tough in his tats and Poison Idea t-shirt. Also in this ish: Kylesa, Salome, Father Befouled, Winterfylleth, The Crown, Crowbar, Intronaut, Death Angel, Chris "Masters Of Reality" Goss, Forbidden, and more, of course the usual wiseass columns, reviews, and whatnot, that make this glossy metal mag a must read for all up-to-the-minute metallers. Oh, and this issue also includes a well-deserved Decibel Hall Of Fame album induction: Venom's Welcome To Hell! Pretty cool reading the sidebar featuring Tom G. Warrior's reminiscences about when he first bought his copy and how it made him feel!

album cover DECIBEL #75 January 2011 magazine 4.95
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Awesome Oderus Urungus of Gwar as Santa cover on this month's issue of Decibel, one of our two go-to glossy metal magazines (the other being the UK's Terrorizer). Also this issue: Justin Broadrick, Weapon, Holy Grail, Encoffination, Exhumed, October Falls, Hail Of Bullets, Impaled Nazerene, Quest For Fire, and more, including an interview with Bobby Liebling's Mom!! Of particular note this ish are Decibel's selections for the Top 40 Metal Albums Of 2010 (#1: Agalloch!). Also Satyricon's best album, Nemesis Divina, gets the Hall Of Fame treatment. And there's tons of reviews and news and the usual funny columns (the South Pole Dispatch on the back page, the regular column by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, is particularly amusing this issue, as he makes fun of a bunch of Decibel's Albums Of The Year picks...).

album cover DECIBEL #76 February 2011 magazine 4.95
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Any magazine with Electric Wizard on the cover is one we want to read, not that we don't ALWAYS want to read "extreme music" magazine Decibel anyway! Also this issue, there's features on the likes of Haarp, Ehnarhre, Ghost (Sweden, not Japan), Altar Of Plagues, Atheist, and... Cee Lo? Yes, Cee Lo. Apparently a closet metalhead.
Also, Tom G. Warrior of Triptykon does the "invisible jukebox" thing, totally harshing on the new one from Sodom by the way (and Sodom's Tom Angelripper does a Q&A this ish as well...). And, best of all perhaps, Decibel inducts CoC's Animosity album into their Hall Of Fame, definitely a deserving choice! Plus, there's the usual reviews (which includes one of the latest from the Dead C, demonstrating that they're an "extreme music", not necessarily metal, magazine), news, and funny columns.

album cover DECIBEL #78 April 2011 magazine 4.95
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Amon Amarth, Deicide, Trap Them, Primordial, Ken Mode, Subrosa, Noisear, Drugs Of Faith, tons of reviews (including a long one of the new Burzum), funny columns, etc. And best of all, Mercyful Fate's Melissa in the Hall of Fame feature!

album cover DECIBEL #79 May 2011 magazine 4.95
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Every month, if you're a metalhead, you should be reading both Decibel from the USA and Terrorizer from the UK. Here's the latest Decibel, with a striking black & white & shiny silver cover pic of Pentagram vocalist (and vintage hipster fashion plate) Bobby Liebling, in honor of the big feature story inside about his "resurrection" with the recent return of his venerable doom metal band, who have managed to both astonish and appall with their live shows. Definitely an interesting read, that article. Also this issue, lots more cool metal content, including stuff about these bands: Kylesa, Gridlink, Krallice, Darkest Hour, Grand Magus, Belphegor, and more. Plus the usual reviews, news, and amusing columns (indie rockers might be surprised to find John "Mountain Goats" Darnielle has a regular spot in Decibel). Also there's a report from the recent Scion Rock Fest down in LA. And Burzum's Filosofem is inducted into the Decibel Hall Of Fame, another very interesting feature, and a great pick.

album cover DECIBEL #80 June 2011 magazine 4.95
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Reading is funda-METAL with Decibel magazine. Sorry. But it is a good read, if you're into metal. This month's issue bears a striking photo of Ghost's frontman on the cover, and those rockin' Swedish Satanists are profiled inside. Others this ish: Gorguts, Electro Quarterstaff (hey, glad to hear they're working on new stuff!), Altar Of Plagues, Scale The Summit, Vintersorg, In Solitude, Anaal Nathrakh, Mastodon, Eric Rutan of Hate Eternal, Killing Joke (Hall of Fame article on their self-titled debut), and more... including a look inside the upcoming Slayer Mag book (can't wait!) and tons of reviews, news, columns, etc.
Gotta tell you, we should be selling a lot more of these (and Terrorizer) than we do. At least as many as we sell of The Wire. C'mon...

album cover DECIBEL #81 July 2011 magazine 4.95
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Metal mag Decibel's motto is "extremely extreme"... but maybe not "Too Extreme", which is believe it or not a song title on the "controversial" (read: terrible) new Morbid Angel album, who garner the cover spot this issue for their efforts. A whole article basically about "what the heck happened there?". We're actually pretty interested in reading this piece, about the legendary death metal band, now reunited with vocalist David Vincent, making their first album in 8 years, and unfortunately losing the plot big time (though Andee here is threatening to give it a positive review, just to be contrary).
Besides that, also this ish: the Melvins, Boris, Autopsy, Demonaz of Immortal, Deafheaven, Wormrot, Loss, Exhumed, Baroness (well, one of their moms), Graveyard, NWOBHM Lazaruses Hell, a live report from Roadburn, and more. Including the usual amusing columns, opinionated reviews, etc.
Oh, and this issue's Hall Of Fame inductee? Underrated Swiss thrash gods Coroner and their 1989 album No More Color!

album cover DECIBEL #83 September 2011 magazine 4.95
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On the cover this issue of our fave US metal glossy, Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth, previewing their upcoming new album Heritage, which we're looking forward to hearing. Then there's also the likes of Seidr, Disma, Argus, Decapitated, Toxic Holocaust, King Fowley of Deceased (mostly not enjoying the music they're playing him in the "Call & Response" feature), Skeletonwitch (a studio report), and more... Rorschach's Protestant enters the Decibel Hall of Fame (yeah!!), and A.C.'s notorious Seth Putnam gets eulogized (RIP Seth). Plus the usual plethora of reviews, news, and funny stuff.

album cover DECIBEL #84 October 2011 magazine 4.95
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Mastodon is on the cover, talking up their new opus The Hunter. Also this ish: Dimmu Borgir, Yob, Today Is The Day, The Gates Of Slumber, Origin, Testament, 40 Watt Sun, Anthrax, a special report on "Neofolk", and plenty more. This month's Hall Of Fame album induction: Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche!!! And the usual ton of reviews, including (why didn't we think of this) one where they review Barn Owl, Weird Owl, and Weird Al Yankovic all together at once! Good stuff.

album cover DECIBEL #85 November 2011 magazine 4.95
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Metal in the form of a magazine. On the cover... Skeletonwitch. Also: Brutal Truth, Goatwhore, Circle Of Ouroborus, Exhumed, Junius, The Atlas Moth, Wolvhammer, Alice Cooper, Ministry (in the Hall Of Fame for The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste), and plenty more. Including the usual amusing columns (shout out to John Darnielle) and also-amusing album reviews.

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