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Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


DECEASED Behind The Mourner's Veil (Relapse) cd ep 9.98
Virginia's Deceased started as a Voivod-worshipping death metal band, before transforming into a throwback to '80s speed/true metal, featuring denim-clad dual axemen in Maidenesque harmony heaven, and singing drummer/record collector King Fowley belting out his horror-film derived lyrics in a voice uncannily similar to Cronos of Venom. Yet they retain the brutality and complexity of modern death metal. Wow. Anyway, here's a new ep that combines a few new Deceased songs with a bunch of covers, stuff by some of their '80s heroes DRI ("Reaganomics"), Warfare, Tankard, and Anthrax ("Deathrider"). Also includes a cd-rom video.

DECEASED Supernatural Addiction (Relapse) cd 14.98
Melodic death metal with Iron Maiden style guitar harmonies is a now popular style, typified by the likes of In Flames and Dark Tranquility. Deceased can consider themselves a pioneer in the genre, one of the best as well--and they're NOT from Sweden, but the good ol' US of A. Although I'm sure they still worship their heroes Voivod as much as they used to, musically recent Deceased has definitely got more of a "trad" metal sheen to it. Vocalist/drummer King Fowley's vox retain their growling, Cronos-of-Venom styled unclean quality, however. It's still death metal, but with the stress on the METAL. The eight tracks on offer here are all tales of occult horror, taken from fiction and film (from Ambrose Bierce to...The Blair Witch Project! Oh dear).

album cover DECEASED Surreal Overdose (Shrieks From The Hearse Records) cd 14.98

album cover DECEH Fundamental Structure (The Tapeworm) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another batch of new tapes from the UK cassette label The Tapeworm, and even less to go on background wise with many of them this time around. Deceh is apparently a duo, which counts drone combo duo among their membership (of two), which is strange since we were fairly sure that there were at least two members of Eleh. Regardless, this is some hushed, gorgeous ULTRA ULTRA minimal dronemusic. Long form dronescapes woven from Hammond organ and sruti box, or more specifically, according to the liner notes, "A close study of the harmonic composition of a Hammond organ and a sruti box with attention given to the organization of isolated frequencies and the effects of these vibrations on brain activity." Which leads us to believe, based on the near static pulsations, and at times barely audible undulations, that the brain activity in question is some sort of deep deep trance. Soft overtones, barely there slow shifting sonic colorations, at times so simple and austere it almost sounds like it's just the buzz of the tape mechanism itself, but at other times, the compositions blossom into something much more lush, and dreamily melodic. Most often hovering somewhere right in between, layered and lush, a tranquil sea of hum and thrum, underpinned by microscopic pulsations, a barely there propulsion, these lengthy inner space explorations shifting ever so gently from krautdrone new age ambient drift to pure tone sine wave shimmer. Lovely.
LIMITED TO 400 COPIES!!

album cover DECEMBERISTS Billy Liar (Kill Rock Stars) cd ep 5.98
Four song ep from our favorite Pogues-meet-Neutral-Milk-Hotel Dickensian / Victorian popsters to hold us over until the next proper record. Two tracks from their most recent full length and two new unreleased tracks. Both gorgeous and melancholy, clever and quirky, with unlikely lyrical flights of fancy, off kilter melodies, vigorously strummed acoustic guitars, drunken Pogues-ish bounce, and frontman Colin Meloy's deadpan faux-Cockney vocals. A nice inexpensive introduction to one of our favorite newer bands.
MPEG Stream: "Everything I Try To Do, NothingSeems To Turn Out Right"

album cover DECEMBERISTS Castaways & Cutouts (Jealous Butcher / Hush) lp 17.98
Maybe our favorite record from these Victorian indie rock troubadours, remastered and reissued. Here's what we had to say about this record WAY back in 2003 when we heard the Decemberists for the very first time...
Andee seems to always find one thing on the list to rave about. This week is no different, here's
Andee raving about this Decemberists album:
I can't figure out why we like this record so much. On first listen it really doesn't sound like our kind of thing at all. Yet it just sort of grabbed us and now we can't stop listening to it. Which is pretty exciting considering how much music we hear everyday and how seldom something just completely takes our breath away. Especially when we're not expecting to like it at all! The Decemberists play a sort of mutant hybrid of indie pop and folk. And it is a bit twee, which would usually put us off right away. But for some reason, this record manages to claw it's way out of the twee-pop ghetto. The singer has a very affected, sort of British air which reminds us a bit of Belle And Sebastian, but way less wispy and more gritty and world weary. A bit like Robyn Hitchcock or Dan Bejar of Destroyer (and the New Pornographers) The music though sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, all strummed guitars and belted-out vocals, but mixed with the dreamy and pastoral popscapes of Belle and Sebastian and even a little bit of the Pogues sort of Celtic campfire stomp/gypsy street music vibe. Lilting and dreamy, but also really sharp and emotional. The lyrics are very bookish and the subject matter is very Dickensian, evoking cobblestone streets and gas lamps and hungry street urchins and idealized Victorian romance. Heartbreakingly bittersweet and once in a while even sort of funny. Like Edward Gorey drawings set to music. A lot of that has to do with the instrumentation, wheezing almost Parisian sounding accordions, ominous rumbling cellos, ghostly theremins, and droning warbling organs that effortlessly create that sort of late night, empty streets, drunk and bitter, wistful and sort of hopeful, broken hearted aura that so much of this sort of music strives for.
From loping waltzes to bouncing pop to crawling dirges, the Decemberists weave a totally magical spell that totally envelops you and transports you to wherever it is the Decemberists are plying their wares. It's all just so beautiful and catchy and melancholy and absolutely fucking great!
MPEG Stream: "Leslie Anne Levine"
MPEG Stream: "Odalisque"
MPEG Stream: "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

album cover DECEMBERISTS Castaways And Cutouts (Jealous Butcher / Hush) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
NOW ON VINYL.
Here's what we had to say about the cd:
I can't figure out why I like this record so much. On first listen it really doesn't sound like my kind of thing at all. Yet it just sort of grabbed me and I can't stop listening to it. Which is pretty exciting considering how much music I hear everyday and how seldom something just completely takes my breath away. Especially when I'm not expecting to like it! The Decemberists play a sort of mutant hybrid of indie pop and folk. And it is a bit twee, which would usually put me off right away. But for some reason, this record manages to claw it's way out of the twee-pop ghetto. The singer has a very affected, sort of British air which reminds me a bit of Belle And Sebastian (who I'm not a huge fan of), but way less wispy and more gritty and world weary. A bit like Robyn Hitchcock or Dan Bejar of the Destroyer (and the New Pornographers) The music though sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, all strummed guitars and belted-out vocals, but mixed with the dreamy and pastoral popscapes of Belle and Sebastian and even a little bit of the Pogues sort of celtic campfire stomp/gypsy street music vibe. Lilting and dreamy, but also really sharp and emotional. The lyrics are very bookish and the subject matter is very Dickensian, evoking cobblestone streets and gaslamps and hungry street urchins and idealised Victorian romance. Heartbreakingly bittersweet and once in a while even sort of funny. Like Edward Gorey drawings set to music. A lot of that has to do with the instrumentation, wheezing almost Parisian sounding accordions, ominous rumbling cellos, ghostly theremins, and droning warbling organs that affortlessly create that sort of late night, empty streets, drunk and bitter, wistful and sort of hopeful, broken hearted aura that so much music strives for.
From loping waltzes to bouncing pop to crawling dirges, the Decemberists weave a totally magical spell that totally envelops you and transports you to wherever it is the Decemberists are plying their wares. It's all just so beautiful and catchy and melancholy and absolutely fucking great!
MPEG Stream: "Leslie Anne Levine"
MPEG Stream: "Odalisque"
MPEG Stream: "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

album cover DECEMBERISTS Castaways And Cutouts (Jealous Butcher / Hush) lp 17.98
Maybe our favorite record from these Victorian indie rock troubadours, remastered and reissued. Here's what we had to say about this record WAY back in 2003 when we heard the Decemberists for the very first time...
We can't figure out why we like this record so much. On first listen it really doesn't sound like our kind of thing at all. Yet it just sort of grabbed us and now we can't stop listening to it. Which is pretty exciting considering how much music we hear everyday and how seldom something just completely takes our breath away. Especially when we're not expecting to like it at all! The Decemberists play a sort of mutant hybrid of indie pop and folk. And it is a bit twee, which would usually put us off right away. But for some reason, this record manages to claw it's way out of the twee-pop ghetto. The singer has a very affected, sort of British air which reminds us a bit of Belle And Sebastian, but way less wispy and more gritty and world weary. A bit like Robyn Hitchcock or Dan Bejar of Destroyer (and the New Pornographers) The music though sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, all strummed guitars and belted-out vocals, but mixed with the dreamy and pastoral popscapes of Belle and Sebastian and even a little bit of the Pogues sort of Celtic campfire stomp/gypsy street music vibe. Lilting and dreamy, but also really sharp and emotional. The lyrics are very bookish and the subject matter is very Dickensian, evoking cobblestone streets and gas lamps and hungry street urchins and idealized Victorian romance. Heartbreakingly bittersweet and once in a while even sort of funny. Like Edward Gorey drawings set to music. A lot of that has to do with the instrumentation, wheezing almost Parisian sounding accordions, ominous rumbling cellos, ghostly theremins, and droning warbling organs that effortlessly create that sort of late night, empty streets, drunk and bitter, wistful and sort of hopeful, broken hearted aura that so much of this sort of music strives for.
From loping waltzes to bouncing pop to crawling dirges, the Decemberists weave a totally magical spell that totally envelops you and transports you to wherever it is the Decemberists are plying their wares. It's all just so beautiful and catchy and melancholy and absolutely fucking great!
MPEG Stream: "Leslie Anne Levine"
MPEG Stream: "Odalisque"
MPEG Stream: "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

album cover DECEMBERISTS Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars) cd 15.98
By now, avid readers of the AQ list should know that we love the Decemberists. How could we not? Catchy quirky pop, mournful and melancholy, depressingly jubilant, joyously dour, somewhere between Neutral Milk Hotel, the Smiths and the Pogues, with lyrics that meld Dickensian squalor with Edward Gorey pathos, all delivered in a quavering, affected, lispy faux British accent. C'mon! What's not to love? So then when it came time to review their new record, after only a few listens, we were faced with the prospect, of the usual "Another great album" or "More of that stuff we love, not all that different, but who cares, 'cuz we loved the last record!". And while those statements are most definitely true, having listened to this record over and over and over for the last few days, it's actually become perhaps our favorite record of theirs. Part of the problem seemed to be loading the beginning of the record with upbeat barnstorming footstompers, which are of course great and the Decemberists are definitely adebt at channelling their inner Pogue, but those sort of tracks work better peppered around the Decemberists' more downtempo miserablisms, which is precisely what happens around track 5. It IS after all a concept record, so perhaps the story arc requires that specific sequence, but track five, a brooding dirge of a tale about a spy mouring for his captured partner, and reflecting on the passing of microfilm to his sweetheart and cuddling atop buildings, is where the Decemberists magic really kicks in, and keeps up for the rest of the record. Dark and eloquent, silly and absurd, sweet and sorrowful. And that magic is sort of retroactive, as once the record finished and we returned to the beginning, those first few tracks made that much more sense and the whole record suddenly seemed absolutely perfect.
MPEG Stream: "The Infanta"
MPEG Stream: "We Both Go Down Together"
MPEG Stream: "Eli, The Barrow Boy"

album cover DECEMBERISTS Picaresque + Picaresqueties (Kill Rock Stars) 2lp 21.00
We love the Decemberists, and their most recent full length, Picaresque, quickly became a beloved AQ favorite. Now, that glorious record has gotten reissued on double vinyl with a WHOLE EXTRA SIDE (5 tracks or "Picaresqueties" as the Decemberists call them) of music not on the cd, as well as a 24 page booklet with all new photos. Here's what we said about the cd:
By now, avid readers of the AQ list should know that we love the Decemberists. How could we not? Catchy quirky pop, mournful and melancholy, depressingly jubilant, joyously dour, somewhere between Neutral Milk Hotel, the Smiths and the Pogues, with lyrics that meld Dickensian squalor with Edward Gorey pathos, all delivered in a quavering, affected, lispy faux British accent. C'mon! What's not to love? So then when it came time to review their new record, after only a few listens, we were faced with the prospect, of the usual "Another great album" or "More of that stuff we love, not all that different, but who cares, 'cuz we loved the last record!". And while those statements are most definitely true, having listened to this record over and over and over for the last few days, it's actually become perhaps our favorite record of theirs. Part of the problem seemed to be loading the beginning of the record with upbeat barnstorming footstompers, which are of course great and the Decemberists are definitely adebt at channelling their inner Pogue, but those sort of tracks work better peppered around the Decemberists' more downtempo miserablisms, which is precisely what happens around track 5. It IS after all a concept record, so perhaps the story arc requires that specific sequence, but track five, a brooding dirge of a tale about a spy mouring for his captured partner, and reflecting on the passing of microfilm to his sweetheart and cuddling atop buildings, is where the Decemberists magic really kicks in, and keeps up for the rest of the record. Dark and eloquent, silly and absurd, sweet and sorrowful. And that magic is sort of retroactive, as once the record finished and we returned to the beginning, those first few tracks made that much more sense and the whole record suddenly seemed absolutely perfect.
MPEG Stream: "The Infanta"
MPEG Stream: "We Both Go Down Together"
MPEG Stream: "Eli, The Barrow Boy"

album cover DECEMBERISTS The Tain (Kill Rock Stars) cd ep 10.98
This out of print mini album has just been re-issued by the kind folks at Kill Rock Stars, so those of you who missed out last time around get another chance. Here's what we had to say the first time around:
A new ep from our favorite Dickensian miserablists. One eighteen minute track called The Tain, a five part mini epic based on Celtic myth, that starts off as a creeping, slowed down waltz, all fuzzy minor keys, and mournful guitars before picking up into punk rock Pogues territory, rollicking and rocking with warbly organs, and a super hypnotic groove, and of course Colin Meloy's insantly recognized lisping brogue-ish drawl. As with any epic, moods shift and sounds change continuously taking the listener on a musical/emotional journey. Throughout the rest of the Tain, the sound shifts from lugubrious ballads of mopery and misery to circus flecked nursery rhymes to Parisian folk and back. So good!
Allan also has to point out that The Tain is the same book of Irish myth that our local metal faves Slough Feg like to drawn upon for their lyrics too...
MPEG Stream: "The Tain (excerpt)"

album cover DECEMBERISTS The Tain/Five Songs (Jealous Butcher Records / Hush Records) lp 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Awesome two-on-one vinyl release featuring the last two amazing Decemberists eps! Here's what we had to say about both:
The Tain: A new ep from our favorite Dickensian miserablists. One eighteen minute track called The Tain, a 5 part mini epic based on Celtic myth, that starts off as a creeping, slowed down waltz, all fuzzy minor keys, and mournful guitars before picking up into punk rock Pogues territory, rollicking and rocking with warbly organs, and a super hypntoic groove, and of course Colin Meloy's insantly recognized lisping brogue-ish drawl. As with any epic, moods shift and sounds change continuously taking the listener on a musical/emotional journey. Throughout the rest of the Tain, the sound shifts from lugubrious ballads of mopery and misery to circus flecked nursery rhymes to Parisian folk and back. So good!
Five Songs: A not so new EP from AQ faves the Decemberists, although it is new to most of us, since it was originally released in a super limited edition. This curiously titled record (there are actually 6 songs) is another winner from this Dickensian/Gorey-ish troupe of wandering minstrels. A sweetly sour mix of acoustic guitars, brushed drums, lap steel and accordian backing up curious tales of love, loss, drinking, sorrow, loneliness, circuses, family and stolen bicycles. So good.
MPEG Stream: "The Tain (excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Oceanside"
MPEG Stream: "Shiny"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE 5 Songs (Hush Records) cd ep 9.98
A not so new EP from AQ faves the Decemberists, although it is new to most of us, since it was originally released in a super limited edition. This curiously titled record (there are actually 6 songs) is another winner from this Dickensian/Gorey-ish troupe of wandering minstrels. A sweetly sour mix of acoustic guitars, brushed drums, lap steel and accordian backing up curious tales of love, loss, drinking, sorrow, loneliness, circuses, family and stolen bicycles. So good.
MPEG Stream: "Oceanside"
MPEG Stream: "Shiny"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE A Practical Handbook (Kill Rock Stars) dvd 15.98
We consulted our calendar and it told us that this month we'd see a new Decemberists dvd, and what do you know, it spoke the truth! Despite the dvd's title which made us think it would be some sort of how-to manual, A Practical Handbook is packed with lots of fan pleasing goodies such as a documentary, a complete twelve song long concert at Roseland Theater in Portland, OR from November 2005, and five music videos for their songs "The Tain", "The Bachelor And The Bride", "16 Military Wives", "The Soldiering Life", and "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect".

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Castaways And Cutouts (Kill Rocks Stars) cd 15.98
Andee seems to always find one thing on the list to rave about. This week is no different, here's
Andee raving about this Decemberists disc:
I can't figure out why I like this record so much. On first listen it really doesn't sound like my kind of thing at all. Yet it just sort of grabbed me and I can't stop listening to it. Which is pretty exciting considering how much music I hear everyday and how seldom something just completely takes my breath away. Especially when I'm not expecting to like it! The Decemberists play a sort of mutant hybrid of indie pop and folk. And it is a bit twee, which would usually put me off right away. But for some reason, this record manages to claw it's way out of the twee-pop ghetto. The singer has a very affected, sort of British air which reminds me a bit of Belle And Sebastian (who I'm not a huge fan of), but way less wispy and more gritty and world weary. A bit like Robyn Hitchcock or Dan Bejar of the Destroyer (and the New Pornographers) The music though sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, all strummed guitars and belted-out vocals, but mixed with the dreamy and pastoral popscapes of Belle and Sebastian and even a little bit of the Pogues sort of celtic campfire stomp/gypsy street music vibe. Lilting and dreamy, but also really sharp and emotional. The lyrics are very bookish and the subject matter is very Dickensian, evoking cobblestone streets and gaslamps and hungry street urchins and idealised Victorian romance. Heartbreakingly bittersweet and once in a while even sort of funny. Like Edward Gorey drawings set to music. A lot of that has to do with the instrumentation, wheezing almost Parisian sounding accordions, ominous rumbling cellos, ghostly theremins, and droning warbling organs that affortlessly create that sort of late night, empty streets, drunk and bitter, wistful and sort of hopeful, broken hearted aura that so much music strives for.
From loping waltzes to bouncing pop to crawling dirges, the Decemberists weave a totally magical spell that totally envelops you and transports you to wherever it is the Decemberists are plying their wares. It's all just so beautiful and catchy and melancholy and absolutely fucking great!
MPEG Stream: "Leslie Anne Levine"
MPEG Stream: "Odalisque"
MPEG Stream: "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Hazards Of Love (Capitol) cd 17.98
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 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
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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
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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
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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.

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