written by Nicole Roberts
American thrash metal band At War has been redefining the meaning of extreme metal since their founding in 1983. Over the course of the last 35 years, the three-piece thrash band has produced an impressive body of work including three studio albums, a few solid EP releases and a new LP in the works.
With the fourth run of Full Terror Assault less than a month away, vocalist Paul Arnold spoke with FTA about the band’s contribution to the evolution of metal, At War’s setlist for FTA 2018 and Arnold’s camping essentials for a successful metal festival.
This is At War’s first Full Terror Assault appearance. Have you or any of your band members attended FTA before?
Paul Arnold: This will be all of At War’s first appearance at FTA.
FTA is an extreme metal festival. In a 1988 interview with Demolish, you said that “a three-piece metal band is the heaviest form of a band that you can get.” What makes you one of the heaviest, most extreme acts on this year’s lineup?
PA: The definition of what “extreme metal” is is different today than it was in 1988. Metal has evolved into so many different genres now. Since 1988,so many bands took what was the most extreme and there has been a race to see who can out-extreme the last band.
At that time, we were and continue to be a band that is in your face with music that transcends definition with speed and heaviness that is still relevant. We are indeed not the most extreme band out there; that was never our goal. I feel if that is your goal, you are misguided. It should be about what you enjoy most to do, and if the public likes it, so be it. It’s about being true to yourself and the music. Anything else is just posing; something At War has never done. At War was on the vanguard of extreme metal in the early days and this is what sets us apart from most.
Will you be camping at FTA? What are your essentials for a successful metal camping trip?
With 3 albums and a few EP releases under your belt, there’s a lot of material to play at FTA. Any hints about what your setlist will look like?
PA: We will be playing so many of the essentials and may even surprise the fans with a new song.
At War’s last full-length release was in 2009. Are there plans for a new album any time soon?
PA: In fact, there is. We are working on new material right now.
What will At War be up to in between now and playing FTA?
PA: We are steady rehearsing and writing. See you there!
written by Nicole Roberts
When you’ve released as much music as one-man cybergrind artist Goremonger has, you typically wind up doing one of two things: you either change up your sound completely and attract a new fan base, or you keep creating the same ol’ sound, boring your old fans and never surprising any new ones. However, Goremonger’s latest record, The Sickening Paradox of Reality, does neither of these two things.
After releasing six full-length records and a large assortment of singles and short releases, the self-described “depraved underground cybergrind” artist has created a record filled with crunching death metal-inspired guitar riffs and slamming guttural vocals that mesh together with an electro twist. The Sickening Paradox of Reality is more bizarre than anything Goremonger has created before–and for someone who’s put out albums with controversial names like Snuff Films and Whorticulture, that’s saying something.
The 16-track record mixes electronic samples from an odd collection of movies and songs with ear crushing grindcore slams. At first, the listener is presented with a wall of seemingly indecipherable noise. Under closer observation, however, one begins to notice the careful choices Goremonger makes when choosing where he pulls his sample material from, as well as how he incorporates it into his songs.
In a genre where vocals often become muddy and incomprehensible, Goremonger’s use of sampling allows him to convey the message of his songs quite clearly. Take a track like “Spewing Religious Fodder,” where sampling is used in a satirical manner. The song begins with clips of a preacher’s sermon that have been spliced and distorted. In addition to the obvious use of distortion, the piecing together of the sermon’s audio allows Goremonger to create a reconstructed track that emphasizes themes such as greed and corruption within organized religion. If you didn’t understand his clear-cut satire by the end of the song, he makes his point even clearer by ending the track with a sample of the famous change-clinking cash register intro to Pink Floyd’s “Money.”
While some of the 16 ridiculously named songs tackle serious subject matters, the album also features comical nonsense tracks such as “Fart Bubble Embolism” and “Hanging out at Fuck the Ass,” a tribute to Goremonger’s time spent chillin’ at the recording studio. These songs are short, heavy and in your face. Before you can begin to process what’s going on, the song is already over. It takes a few listens to understand, and to fully appreciate, Goremonger’s seventh full-length release.
Both listeners who are familiar with the genre and grindcore newbies should prepared to be bewildered. If you don’t “get it,” take Goremonger’s advice written in the liner notes of The Sickening Paradox of Reality, “I hope you enjoy this album. drugs help.”