Decrepit Birth, Arsis
Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia, AngelMaker, WD
200 W. Second St
Pomona, CA, 91766
Doors 5:00 PM / Show 5:30 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
THE QUICKENING OF TIME
For the better part of their 16-year existence, California-based death metallers Decrepit Birth haven’t followed the rules. From debut album, 2003’s …And Time Begins, to new album, Axis Mundi, they’ve shuffled the tried and true tenets of death metal into something defiantly other. Certainly, the Surf City denizens have written and continue to write—check out the pit-destroying ‘Transcendental Paradox’ off Axis Mundi—brutally brutal music, but after years of purveying labyrinthine riffs and blasts at light-suffering speeds, they’ve transcended, they’ve transformed, they’ve gone beyond. Decrepit Birth in 2017 aren’t entirely the same band that unfurled …And Time Begins in their twentysomethings.
“We’ve gone through an evolution throughout the years,” says founding member and primary songwriter Matt Sotelo. “The last couple of albums we had, Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity, were more progressive death metal. They were different from …And Time Begins, which is a different genre of death metal. It’s more brutal. I’m the type of guy who likes to experiment. …And Time Begins has no solos. It’s all really fast palm-muted riffs. The other albums breathed more with the guitars. I let chords ring out on Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity. Axis Mundi is combination of all the stuff I’m into. I like it a lot right now. It’s more melodic. The riffs repeat intentionally. I want to have fun with these songs.”
For those paying attention, seven long years separate Polarity from Axis Mundi. The absence would kill the fan velocity of most bands. But not Decrepit Birth. Even after 2014’s The Summer Slaughter Tour—the last time the West Coasters were on tour—the group’s legion of freaks have stayed true to their death metal masters, pleading and pining with regularity on social media for new technically-proficient savagery. That wait will soon be over with Axis Mundi, but what were Decrepit Birth up to while the world turned and burned?
“We did tours up to 2014,” Sotelo remembers. “That’s four years of tours [since the release of Polarity]. We were doing maybe two or three tours a year. Also, since Polarity, I’ve been writing new music. I’d work on new music and then scrap it. I’d change things around. So, it took a little while. I also had a son shortly after Polarity came out. I was really busy with a newborn baby. So, it wasn’t really until 2014 that I started to buckle down to write new music.”
ESSENCE OF CREATION
Written in Sotelo’s kitchen or at his computer desk—a fairly prosaic picture compared to the next-level intensity upon which Axis Mundi pivots—the majority of Decrepit Birth’s new, trail-blazing music originally had a different shape and color. Sotelo eventually axed songs he labeled “crazy and wild” for a more economical approach. Relatively speaking. He was more into the feel of the riff than expanding upon the multitude of multitudes he normally emits like a mad scientist with eight arms.
“The first song I finished was ‘Hieroglyphic,’” recalls Sotelo. “I will say ‘Hieroglyphic’ is a good representation of this album. It’s got a little bit of everything in it. It shows what we’re about right now. The last song I wrote was the last song on the album, an instrumental called ‘Embryogenesis.’ I used a 7-string guitar on it, but not in the way that a lot of people use 7-string guitars. It’s not percussive. It’s layered. See, I like to experiment. I’m glad I got to try something that wasn’t standard death metal. I’m not trying to put down bands or fans, but I like songs that have weird things going on, like samples or MIDI parts.”
Sotelo cites the strength of songs like opener ‘Vortex of Infinity - Axis Mundi’, ‘Hieroglyphic’, ‘Mirror of Humanity’, and ‘Epigenetic Triplicity’ on Decrepit Birth’s reconfigured lineup. Drummer Samus Paulicelli and bassist Sean Martinez aren’t exactly new to the group—both have acclimated nicely over the last few years—but they’ve pushed Decrepit Birth, compositionally and musically, up a few notches. Axis Mundi wouldn’t have been the same without their involvement.
“They’re two very talented musicians,” Sotelo beams. “I’m lucky to have them working with me. Both of them bring a lot. Sean probably is the best bass player—technically—we’ve had in the band. His bass lines and the way he plays bass are amazing. If you listen closely, he’s doing a lot of cool lines. As for Samus, he has his drumming to offer, which is huge. There’s very little he can’t do. He’s amazing. But he also contributed [to the songwriting process]. He’s a good songwriter, an amazing all-around musician. He wanted to help me write the songs. Not the riffs, but help arrange the songs. He wanted to create something different from what I came up with. So, I let him. I decided to have Samus help us out. He’s got the skill. It’s a lot of good stuff he contributed to the record.”
While most of Decrepit Birth’s peers aim lyrically and conceptually for the jugular—blood and guts are a never-ending font of inspiration—the Golden Staters have opted for the mystical and the arcane. Chief lyric writer and frontman Bill Robinson gets many of his ideas from literature and imbibing in mind-altering substances. For Axis Mundi, Robinson centered the lyrics on a theme. From opener ‘Vortex of Infinity - Axis Mundi’ through ‘Epigenetic Triplicity’ he’s taking the listener on a synodic journey, where portals to inner and outer spaces are opened for the intrepid.
“I’m going to be honest here,” says Sotelo. “Bill is responsible for all the lyrics and the concept. I know axis mundi is the center of the world. The world energy center. Energies of the heavens coming down to the Earth. A portal. So, there’s a theme. They’re connected. We’re not the typical lyric writers in death metal. Bill’s lyrics are almost psychedelic. Weird and esoteric. He’s out there. They’re not happy. They’re not hippie shit. They’re fringe, on the edge. They’re dark. And I like it that way! For this album, it’s an all Bill thing. Even the cover.”
CONCEPTING THE ERA
Recorded at three different studios over the course of a year, Axis Mundi sounds incredible. The clarity, the power, the musicianship, and the brutality aren’t vying for attention. They’re in absolute harmony. The guitars—tracked by Sotelo at his home studio—are razor sharp yet spine-snappingly heavy. The drums—tracked by Ryan Forsyth at Private Ear Studios in Winnipeg, Canada—are genre-defining, recalling what Sean Reinert, Gene Hoglan, and Steve Flynn did for Death and Atheist, respectively. And the bass— tracked by Sean, also at his home studio—has a great deep-end against the ceaselessly wicked rhythms. Tracks like ‘Hieroglyphic’, ‘Spirit Guide’, and ‘The Sacred Geometry’ wouldn’t have crushed skulls and blown minds if it wasn’t for the accomplished mixing and mastering of Stefano Morabito at 16th Cellar Studios.
“I spent a lot of time recording at my own leisure at my own house,” recalls Sotelo. “I have my own recording equipment. We did go out to a professional studio in 2015 to record the drums. We were there for about a week. I took those drums home and started to record my guitars. That took about four to five months. The reason being I had a lot going on personally. I didn’t have a lot of time to knock out the whole album. Plus, I was experimenting with new things while tracking. That’s just how I do it. We can’t do what normal bands do. We’re so spread out. Sean lives in New York, I live in California, and Samus lives in Winnipeg. That’s a big triangle. It’s hard to get together to play music. It’s a bit unfortunate, but that’s how it is. That means we’re writing songs all the way up to and including tracking. I will say this: recording is a lot cheaper and it’s a lot less pressure.”
With remarkable songs—check out ‘Hieroglyphic’—, an exceptional production, and high concept lyrics, Decrepit Birth will re-shape death metal on Axis Mundi. They’re blasting the doors of convention wide open, paving the way for future generations to explore beyond death metal’s four proverbial corners. Much like the band’s influences from the early ‘90s, Decrepit Birth have different optics on the genre and what has meant and continues to mean. Of course, Sotelo sees Axis Mundi from an entirely pragmatic viewpoint.
“I don’t know if we’re going to re-shape death metal,” he counters. “We’re just a band. We’re doing this. We’re fans of the genre. We do our own thing with it. It’s our own paint job. What sounds cool to us. We don’t aspire to be the most technical band out there. The technicality isn’t our main goal. Technicality is part of what we are. When we were writing this album, we wanted the songs that had riffs that repeat. There’s more structure with our new stuff. We’re trying to write good music. We want entertain people out there. Hopefully, everybody likes Axis Mundi.”
Decrepit Birth are: Matt Sotelo (guitar), Bill Robinson (vocals), Samus Paulicelli (drums), and Sean Martinez (bass). With minds agape and riffs afire and invocations cast, they invite you to enter Axis Mundi!
When it comes to seminal death metal bands from North America, the East Coast alone boasts the likes of the genre's greatest staples: Death, Cynic, Morbid Angel, Immolation, and Nile. Perhaps in response to Virginia's political conservativism and the state’s legacy of the Baptist religion (in addition to being known as “Mother of Presidents” because it is the birthplace of eight former U.S. presidents), it's no surprise that band founder/songwriter/guitarist/lead vocalist James Malone adopted a mantra of courageous insurgence and very early on in his life – especially in the musical realm. ARSIS, which derived its name from the musical term "arsis and thesis" meaning unstressed (up-) and stressed (down-) beats respectively, makes music that is righteously tinged with black & thrash metal influences, but is completely dedicated to expanding the reaches of melodicism and technicality in the genre of death metal.
Brought together through a mutual respect for King Diamond and formed during Christmas vacation in Boston in 2000 by Berklee College of Music students James Malone (an already skilled violinist and a composition major) and double-bass connoisseur Mike Van Dyne (a drum performance major and rumored octopus), the duo recorded a 3-song demo in 2001 and a 5-song demo in 2002 simply to amuse themselves over winter break.
Thanks to the favorable feedback they received, ARSIS became a live and full-time endeavor. After only one month of being an “official” band, and with only five live shows to their credit (utilizing session musicians for second guitar and bass), Malone and Van Dyne signed a deal with Willowtip Records to release their 2004 debut, A Celebration Of Guilt, and began exploring life on the road soon after. Much to the band’s surprise, A Celebration Of Guilt seized the spotlight by clinching one of the ultimate honors possible for a brand-new technical, melodic death metal band: being praised by Revolver Magazine for creating "the best [album] in the genre since At The Gates' legendary swan song [Slaughter Of The Soul]." Thus, these relatively unknown musicians were suddenly awarded the status of saviors to a waning genre. With a firm reputation to upkeep, an inspired EP followed in 2005. A Diamond For Disease featured a 13-minute title track that took four months to write, and was hailed as “a multi-movement death metal masterwork” by Decibel Magazine. The song was commissioned for exclusive use by the New York-based Ballet Deviare.
That year, as ARSIS continued to tour, they employed various live session musicians and continued to accumulate many avid supporters among the metal underground, the metal press, and amongst metal musicians themselves. Entering Max Trax Studios in Albany, New York and teaming up with producer Eyal Levi in 2006 to record their sophomore full-length album United In Regret, ARSIS placed a higher emphasis on technical complexity and on song structure, earning them kudos from New York’s Village Voice for being “American death metal at its best.” Throughout 2006, ARSIS toured the U.S. extensively with Necrophagist, Neuraxis, Alarum, Dead to Fall, Misery Signals, The Faceless, All Shall Perish, Napalm Death, and A Life Once Lost.
After securing a new record deal with Nuclear Blast Records, Van Dyne left the band to pursue studies in medical imaging. Not one to risk losing momentum and to ensure the best possible performers for the band’s new label debut, Malone recruited ex-Burn In Silence drummer Darren Cesca, second guitarist Ryan Knight, and bassist Noah Martin (who did session work on United In Regret). The band toured relentlessly throughout North America with Enslaved, with God Forbid, Goatwhore, Mnemic & Byzantine on the Chains Of Humanity Tour, and with Necrophagist, Decapitated & Cephalic Carnage on the Summer Slaughter Tour.
With a solidified line-up that would put conservatory valedictorians to shame in the name of metal, Malone set out to hone the musical mission he entrusted himself with since Day One. Produced by Zeuss (Agnostic Front, Hatebreed, Municipal Waste) at Planet-Z Studios in Massachusetts, mastered by Alan Douches (Kataklysm, Unearth, Shadows Fall), and featuring the grotesque and meticulous artwork of Mark Riddick (a relationship that stems back to the band’s first album), 2008’s We Are The Nightmare further expands the band’s repertoire and proudly showcases why ARSIS are well on their way to making their discography absolutely essential for any fan with an extreme music library.
So, while 2008 marked the release of the ARSIS Nuclear Blast debut, it also marked the departure of Darren Cesca, Ryan Knight and Noah Martin for various reasons, leaving only James Malone to rebuild ARSIS as well as his personal life. Enter Nicholas Cordle, a long-time aqquaintance on Malone's who was originally hired to replace Noah Martin on bass duties for a tour. Cordle, a graduate of the University of Virginia and guitar prodigy, did wonders to help motivate James Malone continue with ARSIS. When Ryan Knight left ARSIS to join The Black Dahlia Murder, Cordle switched from playing bass in ARSIS to playing guitar, and began working with James on the material that would become Starve For The Devil. A few months later, original drummer Mike Van Dyne agreed to re-join the band, and ARSIS was almost complete again.
In August 2009, just prior to entering Planet-Z studios once again, a long time friend of Cordle's was asked to audition for the vacant bass position. The bassist's name is Nathaniel Carter, and he impressed the band and producer Zeuss so much that he has now become a permanent member of ARSIS. With a new found motivation, ARSIS set out to further spread the message of metal. 2010 saw the release of Starve For The Devil, supported by relentless touring throughout North America and Europe.
American Brutal Death Metal from Long Island, New York. Formed in 1991.
Brutal Death Metal (early), Death/Groove Metal (later) band founded in New York, USA in 1990.
Later in 2001, Trevor Peres of Obituary joined the band and they temporarily changed their name to Catastrophic (2). They released one album and Chris Basile (the only original member left) decided to change the band's name back to Pyrexia.
"This North Vancouver 6-piece has managed to create one of the heavier and most fearsome Deathcore records we've heard in some time. In some ways, it breathes new life into the genre with some truly excellent moments and genre bending.
It's easy to recommend this album to all fans of the Deathcore genre and even just extreme music in general."
- The Circle Pit
AngelMaker is a 6 piece (Melodic/Deathcore) band based out of North Vancouver, BC, Canada.
All being friends from high school with the common goal of playing heavy music, we formed in 2011 released an early single and shortly after released our Debut EP 'Decay' in September of 2012.
After the largely positive response from 'Decay' we teamed up with Total Deathcore and released a split EP with Isolations and Lament in May 2013.
We released our first ever music video in October of 2014 with True Grit Promotions.
We then took some time to take everything we had learned from our previous releases and put forth our best product to date with our brand new full length album entitled "DISSENTIENT" which was released February 2015.
Sputnik REVEIWS - Angelmaker "DISSENTIENT":
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Following the success of "DISSENTIENT," AngelMaker wanted to make there mark by taking their live power accross their homeland. The 'Canadian Dissentients Tour' with fellow Canadians in Falsifier and Obliterate came to fruition. A cross-Canada 12 date tour which was selling out non-stop. During the tour, to further build media precence and hype, AngelMaker created 'Band of the Bill.' An 'On-Tour,' scavenger hunt/challenge based competition where bands compete for points, and the winner gets on and offline bragging rights, and to be crowned - 'Band of the Bill.'
Champing at the bit and wanting to push our music further, the band had been in contact with another momentous band in Deathcore: the Australian's in 'A Night In Texas.' Angelmaker and A Night In Texas teamed up to make waves in the scene by creating a monstrous Split EP made up of 3 songs per-band. What spawned was the 'Unholy Alliance' - released on Halloween 2016.
After the fantastic response in wake of the Candian headlining tour, AngelMaker will bring their 'Band of the Bill' success and legendary live performance to embark on a 32 date USA headlining tour in March 2017.
In 2017 AngelMaker won the opener spot on The Summer Slaughter Tour through online fan voting sharing the stage with The Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, The Faceless, Oceano, Origin, Rings of Saturn, and Lorna Shore.
USA Tour 'RockFeed' Feature: