Monday, December 31, 2012

next show

Column of Heaven
Water Torture
Dead Church
Burial Permit

at Polyhaus, 388 Carlaw, try not to let the idea of a show to the east of the downtown core blow your mind

All ages, $8, show up before midnight or you'll miss every single band, but i won't tell you until after i've taken your money.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Art, Violence, and Honesty

I was asked to write a piece about my favourite horror film a while back, i cheated a bit.

It also partially explains some of the underlying motivation in creating Mission from God

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Things that are happening next year, none of the records have believable release dates:

Column of Heaven/ Radioactive Vomit split 7". Both sides recorded, awaiting mastering and art.

Column of Heaven - Holy Things are for the Holy (We Have Seen the True Light) 7". Recorded, being mastered, artwork being done now. Not power violence. Not noise.

Column of Heaven/ Suffering Luna split LP. I think they've almost finished their side, i've written most of our side. Ideally recording before March.

Column of Heaven - Allfather LP. Second full length. 24 songs, high falutin' ideas again. Framework mostly mapped out. To be recorded in the latter half of the year. Set to be 2013's most over rated pile of pretentious bullshit. There's no such thing as power violence anyway. It's too metal. Noise is stupid. Etc.

Pick Your Side/ To The Point split 10". Recorded our side a few months back, not sure what's going on with anything else with this record.

There's some other Pick Your Side recordings being planned, but i don't call those shots.


Jan 19th Baltimore. Pick Your Side, Left for Dead, Despise You, a million other bands. At Ottobar.

Jan 25th Toronto. Column of Heaven, Water Torture, Spearhead, Dead Church. At Polyhaus.

In March Column of Heaven are starting in Vancouver and finishing somewhere in Southern California two weeks later. Details forthcoming.

April 4th Montreal. Column of Heaven, Iron Lung.

April 5th Ottawa. Column of Heaven, Iron Lung.

April 6th Toronto. Column of Heaven, Iron Lung, Farang, SHIT.

May 24th Montreal. Pick Your Side, Integrity.

May 25th Toronto. Pick Your Side, Integrity. At Wrong Bar.

If i lose my current meal ticket in the new year Column of Heaven will tour again in the summer in the eastern US and maybe the mid-west. If not, sorry, i'll be working.

Maybe one or two local shows for Column of Heaven toward the end of the year, probably nothing else.

No shows in South Africa, Florida, Calgary, Brighton, Dundee or a Slovenian fishing village in 2013. Sorry. Fuck you. Sorry, sorry, you are like my brother. Fuck you, sorry, sorry. Fuck you. (No shows in Poland ever again for any band i'm in)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Column of Heaven interview

Recent interview done very quickly in time for Not Dead Yet fest

Questions by Payson from Purity Control

How important is it for Column Of Heaven to play live? How do you see the audience's role in a COH set?

I don’t really understand music that makes people want to sing a long and have a good time, consequently have never aspired to make music that inspires that reaction in others. I’m too selfish to think of what the audience should or shouldn’t do.

How has the song writing process changed from the Endless Blockade to COH, if at all?

There hasn’t been a noticeable clean break between how I composed in Blockade and how I compose in CoH, more of a gradual change. If you compare the Blockade/ Unearthly Trance split LP with Turn Illness into a Weapon there’s a noticeable difference.

Pre-2000 I was an incredibly angry and hostile person, frequently I was a complete wanker. In 2003 I moved to Canada and had a kind of honeymoon period where I was relatively OK with the state of the world for a short period of time. Then in 2006 the two single worst events of my entire life happened within a few months of each other and I regressed to being mad as hell about everything again, though in a considerably more manageable way than throughout the 1990s.

An element of my song writing reflects these changes in where I see myself positioned in the world.

How do you see the sound of COH evolving over forthcoming releases?

There’s a split occurring where some of the material I write is meant to be performed live at significant volume and some is meant to be studio only (Entheogen, They Never Learn, the forthcoming 7” on Iron Lung records). In the second style I mostly work solo, have a semi-improvised approach to performance, and use the recording process as a compositional tool.

Ultimately I’m working towards achieving some kind of balance and integrating the two approaches in a more meaningful way beyond either drowning the final mix of a song in noise (the recorded version of the first approach) or replacing all instruments beyond drums and vocals with harsh noise and environmental sounds (characterising the second approach so far).

Who writes the lyrics? Will you continue to write records as conceptual as "Mission From God" was?

Since I stepped down as vocalist Dave writes all the lyrics now. We talk about them a little beforehand, but they’re largely his responsibility. As long as they fit with the agreed upon theme I trust him to take things to where they need to be. I still write the songs I sing on recordings, which are generally the “noise” tracks.
All of our releases will be based on a single theme.

What's the significance of the Smiths lyrics used on the inserts on COH releases? ("Behind the hatred lies a murderous desire for love").

First and foremost just because I think it’s a great line from a great song.

I’ve put a quote on every release that I’ve been on for at least five years now; I usually try and find something that encapsulates where my head is at.

I’m not really interested in single objects; I don’t believe anything exists in isolation from everything else (this is also part of my drive to release themed records from now on). For example I’m not interested in single bands in and of themselves, it’s the connections (or breaking of connections) that makes music interesting to me on a more long term level. A nice song is a nice song for the duration I listen to it and then becomes a part of the void again. I like art that is clearly a reaction – against something, for something; art that stands separate and in opposition to something, that stands alongside other things and makes open allegiances with them (people, concepts, movements).

I like sample based music, hip hop in particular, because it reframes other peoples work and presents it in new forms, early Bomb Squad productions are classic examples of this.

In sampling an out of context line that Morrisey wrote almost thirty years ago I’m weaving him into my own narrative. Mission from God is very much my own narrative of growing up in northern England in the 1970s and 1980s. The Smiths were also a part of that cultural landscape growing up.

The spectre of sexual sadist and serial killer Peter Sutcliffe killing women close to my home deeply affected me and is now a simplified representation of the disgust, deterioration and decay I felt in my early years. He’s a convenient human shaped symbol of everything that’s hopeless and shit in the world.
The Smiths lyric is just another convenient symbol in this context.

Most underrated record in recent memory? Feel free to name a few. Any genre(s) will do.

I honestly don’t know, the music we listen to and produce is of such nominal interest that everything’s underrated when 1000 copies of a pressing is considered a decent size.

Every bullshit tenth rate weak screaming and sloppy blast beat turd band has been name checked in at least one “recommend me some power violence” internet discussion thread and for every three people that will say they like something there’s another five saying those people unequivocally wrong.

Time is the only thing that will dictate who we remember and who we forget. The people that remember the bands of merit that no one else seems to remember will be vindicated when they say xyz from 20 years ago were underrated.

Most north American hardcore kids have very little idea who Blind to Faith or Kickback are, but both are either on their way to being highly regarded or already are huge in parts of Europe. So are they underrated or not?

Some music that I’ve really enjoyed in the last few months:

* Sea of Shit/ Water Torture 7”
* Radioactive Vomit – Witchblood tape
* Kickback – No Surrender LP
* My Dying Bride – The Barghest o’Whitby 12”
* Purity Control – Coping 7”
* Hatred Surge – Human Overdose LP
* Evoken – Atra Mors CD
* Heratys LP

And bands from the past that I think are underrated/ never got their full dues:

* Korpse
* Steel Pole Bath Tub
* Aspirin Feast
* No Security
* Svart Parad
* Stone Wings
* Damnation AD
* Drunks with Guns
* Haters (UK)
* Apostles
* Defeatist
* Head of David

Name a few of your favourite film scores.

Off the top of my head:

* Paul Giovanni – The Wicker Man
* Andrzej Korzynski – Possession
* Michael Andrews – Donnie Darko
* Riz Ortolani – Cannibal Holocaust
* Ennio Morricone – The Thing

What are you looking forward to at this year's Not Dead Yet? Even though it's only in its sophomore year, do you have any thoughts on the fest you'd like to share?

Inmates, Gas Chamber, Purity Control and Iron Lung are the bands I’ll make sure I don’t miss. The addition of Urine Cop on the Thursday is a bold/ gloriously ridiculous move and I look forward to watching the audience give up on them.

The only other thoughts I have is that besides being entertaining and an obvious focal point, music is not the only important thing about hardcore punk.

I salute Greg for his tireless and frequently thankless devotion to making something happen in Toronto, when he inevitably retires there’s going to be a huge gap left by his absence if no one else steps up.
Greg is also one of the main reasons I was convinced to make CoH a live thing at all.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Three New Releases

Out this weekend:

The Rita - Womankind 2: Cleopatra, Sacred Servants 

Perhaps my favourite material yet by Sam.

20 minutes, 100 copies.

Serpents - Demo 2004 

Serpents were basically the blueprint to Drainland

Before it was OK to say your band was influenced by Swans three Irish reprobates made a five song demo of some of the ugliest, most depressing shit I'd heard since Public Castration is a Good Idea.

Several years after receiving a limited edition of one unmixed demo in the mail i heard the finished version and wondered if it was even the same band; the gloriously despondent demo had been cleaned up beyond all recognition.

About a month ago i found the CDR in my basement and told Jamie i was re-releasing it in its rough as fuck unmixed form and here it is, minus one song that ended up being absorbed into Drainland's early work.

Confused people at the time didn't know what to make of them and described them as Ireland's answer to Kylesa and Tragedy, which is utter fucking rubbish. Serpents always reminded me of Head of David, Zoopsia, early Fudge Tunnel and the late 80s/ early 90s burgeoning (primarily) London post-punk noise rock scene.

Definitely one of my favourite unknown gems of the era.

20 minutes, 100 copies.

Column of Heaven - Demonology

Further developments of two distinctly different approaches on Mission from God. Contains the songs that will eventually be the split 7" with Radioactive Vomit and the 7" for Iron Lung Records.

Goes from straight forward noise drenched grindcore (the split) into something less rigidly bound to the genre (the 7"). Heavily influenced by my recent re-obsession with Terminal Cheesecake, Loop, Fall of Because, God, the first Techno Animal LP, and any of the bands i mentioned in the Serpents write up (think Entheogen and They Never Learn from Mission from God, or The Summer of Missing Children from Soldier's Field as starting points).

18 minutes, 100 copies.

Available from me at Not Dead Yet this weekend. Left over copies of all releases will go to Analog Worship, Scream/ Writhe, and probably Anthems of the Undesirable.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New release

Pick Your Side - live on CIUT, 14 song C20, 100 copies. Available on the Pick Your Side European tour  and Not Dead Yet fest in Toronto next month.

Recorded September 11th 2012, broadcast on September 16th, recorded by Jonathan Hawkes and remixed slightly by me for this release.

New tapes from The Rita, Column of Heaven (possibly two, haven't decided yet) and Serpents (the band that set the blueprint for Drainland) next month.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Second local show for Column of Heaven in 2012 

All bands rule, Purity Control are my favourite local boy band, snideyness aside i love what they do and hope they can break free from the TOHC ghetto one day. Farang is the other ex-Blockade band, and Spearhead is neither a jazz poetry slam act, racist newspaper or an English death metal band. They have a demo on bandcamp, i'm posting from work so go seek it out yourself with your fine internet skills: "Toronto spearhead hardcore bandcamp -michael -franti"

Venue is suitably tiny.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

three fests

Toronto, Not Dead Yet, last year this fest forced Column of Heaven to become a live act, something i was against before hand.

When not playing you might find me on the door of a show or two taking your money with a smile or taking old power violence dudes out for vegan burritos everyday.

My first show on US soil in three years. The Pick Your Side group e mails were all giddy with "dude, fucking Infest is playing this thing!". I don't see their name anywhere on this flier, however Catharsis are on the bill, which i find pretty weird. I'm hoping for a drum circle on a freezing January night in Baltimore. Dumpster dived vegan feast optional.

Stoked to hang out with them again, last time i saw most of them was the night before someone flew a plane into the Twin Towers.

Bloodshed Fest in the Netherlands. I'll never get tired of these names. Next year i'm booking an all noise and grindcore fest called "Watch Yer Handbag Missus! fest", i should probably hold it in Possil in Glasgow.

Mass Grave and Blind to Faith are playing, this makes me happy. Drop Dead at last years Not Dead Yet were easily the best i've ever seen them in almost twenty years of seeing/ booking them.

Expect to find me at the bar when the porn bands play (is there more than one on the bill? I can't tell...)

These are the Pick Your Side European tour details

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Column of Heaven interview

Column Of Heaven interview - Incidental Afterthought zine #15, February 2012 (Philippines)

INCIDENTAL AFTERTHOUGHT: Like most new bands I discover (especially on my own), how and when did Column of Heaven start? Current line-up?  

COLUMN OF HEAVEN: Nothing very interesting to tell, current line-up is King. Kristiansen. Nolan. Simpson. Formed in our minds 2010, but didn’t even rehearse until 2011.

Three of us have played in various bands together for a few years now (The Endless Blockade, Slaughter Strike, Death Agonies and others).

Simpson is someone I’ve known for a while; we asked him to play guitar when Ward had to leave the band.

IA: You've stated on your blog that shows won't be a regular thing with Column of Heaven, too. Do you guys live in different cities/countries from each other?

COH: Quite by accident we all live pretty close to each other. A lack of regular live outings is mostly due to a lack of time, frequently due to a lack of energy, and definitely due to a lack of money.

I find the more I play songs live the less invested in them I am; it's almost as if they're (the songs) moving too far away from their initial spark of creation for me to remain interested in them.

Every band I've ever played in has retired songs from the live set fairly quickly once new ones are written.

IA: I really admire your generosity of spreading your music by posting it on your blog (complete with its artwork cover and lyrics, too), but the tape copies sold out fast. I guess my question is, Column of Heaven has shown (in my eyes at least) a total passion toward DIY underground by releasing its music first in tangible form (cassette tape), and then after it all sold out, gives it literally for free online. That's the idea of why I really like the underground network of DIY-released music, the idea of communal ideas, not just being entertained; however, as you might have known, I'm sure, people have developed an attitude that's sheep consumerism in nature, so to speak. What are your thoughts as to why underground music in general (not just hardcore) have been plagued by this (for example, shitty bands releasing 3-colored versions of their 7"s that goes for insane amounts on Ebay; people buying records for the 'bragging' entitlements due to limited copies/rare color, etc.)?

COH: OK, I’ll try and answer this question as best as I can. I think I read four points here; one about giving our music away for free, one about music – or more specifically the culture of music – not just being entertainment, one about consumerism in the underground and a final one about the politics of limited edition releases, which to me has two different responses, depending on whether or not it’s from a creator or consumer perspective.

I posted the Ecstatically Embracing release online once I'd sold all the copies that we made (200 in total). I'd sold all the copies we made and even if I was completely precious about limited releases being only heard by the 200 people that bought them – which I'm not – I can't stop people uploading it so others can download it.

If I can't stop people downloading it for free then I may as well make it available in a lossless format, not some awful lo-bit rate rip done on substandard equipment. And if everyone did this with their music eventually download blogs would die out because there would be no need for them.

Yes, we're totally committed to DIY principles, less out of any flag waving, chest beating idealism, and more because we realize that most of the time it's easier and more gratifying if we do it ourselves. This is also the approach we take with live shows, we'd rather only work with one or two local promoters or just book everything ourselves. Basically, our band is something that's important to us, so we don’t leave it at the mercy of people not up to the job. Obviously nothing's set in stone and compromises have to be made sometimes.

The value that I place in music is primarily in the culture that surrounds music; nothing happens in a vacuum. That cultural sphere isn't really "entertaining" in any traditional sense, but something has to bring you in to that sphere. If there's nothing entertaining about music, no one's going to care about it, people don't just like Whitehouse because it makes them uncomfortable after all. Most people don't think this way and that's fine, I know what my motivations are and where my passions and interests lie, if someone else is into whatever they're into purely because it feels good then that's absolutely valid as well, but in any underground culture – by which I mean any art form that does not have money as its motivator – there's always an extra level beyond the superficial aspects. Part of the struggles are always who has the right to interpret what that extra level means, see any discussion about Liturgy and whether or not they're actually black metal for example.

If we can think of underground music in terms of having multiple levels of meaning to it – even if you don't agree that music means anything beyond the sound itself there are people in the world that act as if it does – then there are multiple ways that people extract that meaning. One of the ways of extracting deeper meaning is always going to be through ownership; music means more than just sound, music creates artefacts like records and shirts, those artefacts are sometimes consumed because it is believed that they contain the essence of that extra meaning. To put it more simply; sometimes people buy things because they think it gives them a higher status in whatever hierarchy they operate on.

To get to the final point and try and connect this back again (thanks for your patience). Bands create limited editions for a number of reasons. One of those is because music doesn't sell very well anymore so you have to "force" the hand of the consumer to buy directly from you and not from a distro or store. At shows bands sell merch primarily because they need money to put into their gas tank. If you sell a 7" with a limited sleeve only available from you at that show, then you're more likely to sell them than if people can buy them online. And if limited editions give bragging rights (as you identify): "that's cool that you downloaded the entire back catalogue of [insert band name], but I own this record and you'll never even see a copy of it."

At its most simplistic level, limited releases for the band it's just another tool of for selling music, for the consumer it's a way of feeling a closer connection with that band by "owning" a part of their creation.

IA: I really like the Noise-aesthetics that Column of Heaven incorporates into its music. I know this might be incorrect to some but your music truly sound unique and innovative because of this. Was this incorporation of approach consciously in the band or did it just come naturally? (I love your Joshua Norton Cabal Inner Light CD by the way, great forward-thinking stuff)  

COH: Thanks for your kind words. The addition of noise isn't really for any goal of uniqueness or innovation; it's just something that makes sense. Non-traditional sound as music ("noise" etc) has been a part of my sonic interests for as long I've been interested in music. The recording process is still another compositional step as far as I'm concerned, so I use the recording time to figure out if there's anything else I can add to a piece before walking away from it forever (bar performing those songs live of course).

IA: How is Column of Heaven's music/song writing-process? Is it in a collaborative way or is there a main-songwriter?   

COH: It’s pretty much a benevolent dictatorship really; I write all the music, though there’s a loose process with King where we talk in incredibly vague terms about what we want to do before I go off and write it all.

At this point I haven’t played with another drummer for seven years now, so we’re pretty in tune with each other’s style and approach to music. 

Having input from the rest of the band is important, but I’m not really a fan of collaborative writing; it’s just not how I work. I think all bands need one, at most two, people directing the music, but everyone needs to be on the same page and trust that the person whose responsibility it is to do the music, or aesthetics, isn’t going to fuck it up.

The actual music writing process is undoubtedly boring as hell to outsiders, but I’m pretty much writing exclusively in additive rhythms these days, I like the dissociative aspects of that kind of playing.

"Jamming" is something I can't get my head around; to me it's like aimlessly doodling with a pencil and hoping to come up with the Mona Lisa. There was only one Austin Osman Spare after all (and he worked alone anyway).

IA: Your lyrics on Ecstatically Embracing all... are very powerful in their own. I am a big fan of poetry/prose as well and  I get a different kick when I read lyrics of a band I like musically; it's like hitting a mental bird with two stones. Are your lyrics in Column of Heaven a collaborative effort as well? Are they written together with the music or independently from it? 

COH: I was handling all the vocals on the demo, so I wrote all the lyrics, Kristiansen is doing that now and it's better if he writes the lyrics from this point on. We talk about concepts and directions, but the ultimate form the lyrics take are going to be his sole responsibility from here on in. As much as it might pain me, I can't control every single aspect of the creative process, otherwise people would get fed up and leave.

I try to operate on a level where there's a clearly defined aesthetic and consistency to each release, musically and lyrically, so it's important for me that we get that right. Most people don't care about lyrics anymore, and who can blame them really, most of them are trite at best and garbage at worst. Which isn’t to say I see myself as some kind of Oscar Wilde of hardcore, far from it, I feel everything I write falls short of what I actually want to say, thanks for the compliment though.

IA: It is very difficult (literally) to get into the kind of reading like Howard Bloom here in our country and it could be because of a combination of geography and access per se (even in the advent of the internet). I eventually have been looking up Howard Bloom's work because of Column of Heaven when you sampled him on your song "The Future Of War" and I must say that as I grow older, getting into underground music still feels very rewarding and profound to me on a personal level (on top of the music kick I get; never the color of vinyl, scarcity of CD run, etc). Do you still feel the same as well when in a similar situation (of getting into a newly-discovered band I mean)?

COH: I’m still very much enthralled by music and literature and have never really gown out of that sense of marvel at coming across something new and exciting. I’m not rabidly enthusiastic about everything I hear, but I’m perpetually being introduced to, or finding, music and writing that gives some sense of perspective and meaning to my life.

IA: Lastly, could you tell me something about your upcoming releases? Any plans for a full-length album perhaps?

COH: We’re currently working on our second release, Mission from God, SPHC from Washington DC is releasing it as a 12”; we’ve struggled to find the time to get together and track the drums, but since starting this interview we found the time to get the drums done.

After that we’re doing a split 7” with Drainland from Ireland [Radioactive Vomit] and a 7”, called Of Dogs and Wolves, on English label Hemlock 13. I’ve written bits and pieces for those two records but want to get Mission from God out of the way before I start thinking about those.

There’s talk of a full length with a label I’ve worked with in the past, I feel like I need to get a few shorter records out of my system first before I try and tackle another full length, it’s been a few years since I had to write one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Armed with Anger: how a young man from Leeds survived the 90s

Thanks to a very nice person in Ireland i received a copy of Ian Glasper's latest book, Armed with Anger; How UK Punk Survived the Nineties in the mail today. Shank, the band i was in before moving to Canada, and the band that informed the earliest beginnings of The Endless Blockade has a segment in the book.

Because i've been around for a while i frequently get asked in band interviews about the differences between hardcore then and now, and the state of the scenes in both Europe and North America. It's hard to adequately explain it to people under the age of 30 and i generally just dismiss the question with some kind of "there were terrible bands then and there are terrible bands now and there were life changing, vital, incredible bands then and there are life changing, vital, incredible bands now" response.

The pieces i can't get across to others are how i situated myself in the world as a depressed, angry, anti-social youth compared to the more reasonable grown-ass man i am now, or how information travelled and how we decided which things were significant and meaningful before the internet explosion of the last decade (or more, depending on where you lived in the world).

Lately i've been thinking a lot about what makes my connection to underground (ie not concerned with money) music and the culture surrounding it so important to me. One of the main ways i've been framing the question to myself is "what are the differences and what are similarities in my approach as, say, a 24 year old  - the age i was when Shank began - and as a 39 year old"?

I don't really have any answers to share with anyone else, except maybe privately among the other ex-members of Shank, Ebola and Sawn Off; my unholy trinity of 90s bands.

A part of me thinks this is my version of a mid-life crisis, where i second guess my motivations and frequently feel weird because i'm 20 years older than most people that come to see my band play in. Sometimes i look for reasons to give up making music. After Mission from God came out i told myself that as soon as i can  take the music i hear in my head and accurately reproduce it for others i'll stop making music.

In a way i'd love for this to happen, but i know i'm never genuinely 100% satisfied with any thing i release.

The only thing the above rambling has to do with the Glasper's new book is that reading about, and consequently remembering, the roots of some of the things i do now now and what they meant to me a long time ago has only added fuel to the fire of these thoughts and ruminations.

I don't envy Glasper putting this book together; it can't be all things to all people. What he's chosen to include and exclude are not always the things i would have chosen to include or exclude. And that's the thing about the pre-internet era, there was no real consensus for deciding what was significant and meaningful in the way there is now.

What was important to a person in Newport was not necessarily transferable to a kid from Wigan or Sunderland. I think Glasper is 100% correct to include a band like Bloodshot in the book. Bloodshot only released a handful of tapes and left almost no legacy, but they epitomised the drive and spirit to get out there and create some kind of meaningful experience for themselves. They toured far more than any of my bands ever managed and all of my bands were "big shots" with crappy split 7"s that we could trade for other crappy split 7"s.

But at the same time i look at the contents and wonder why Nailbomb are mentioned only in passing and stuff like Bus Station Loonies, Whippasnappa, Chineapple Punks, or Demonic Upchucks get sections in the book. Part of this is because i don't place any value in those bands, but there are lots of bands in the book that i don't care for that are absolutely essential in telling the story of UK hardcore punk in the 90s.

Like i said, there wasn't really a way of achieving consensus in the pre-internet era on who was important beyond who had records out. Glaspers experiences are not going to be even remotely similar to my own

I suspect that for anyone who wasn't there there's only really a small segment of this book that will be interesting to read, but as much as i hate nostalgia (and i'm not really convinced this book is merely nostalgic) i'm really glad it exists.

And fuck, i know a lot of dead people. RIP Jas Tommer, Lobster and a ton of other people, some of whom i didn't know were dead until i flicked through the book.

A half arsed list off the top of my head of some records from that time and place that  i think are essential:

Downfall - Not Your Fault 7" (1992)
Nerves/ Substandard - split 7" (1995)
Hard to Swallow/ Underclass - split 7" (1996)
Health Hazard - Not Just a Nightmare 7" (1993)
Wartorn - Banzai 7" (1994)
Urko/ Minute Manifesto - split LP (2001 - though both are most definitely 90s bands)
One by One - Fight 7" (1992)
Disaffect - An Injury To One Is An Injury To All 7" (1992)
Voorhees - Spilling Blood Without Reason LP (1994)
Kito - the Long Player LP (1998)
Ironside - Fragments Of The Last Judgement 7" (1993)
Stalingrad - Politics of Ecstasy 7" (1996)
Kitchener - The Price Of Progression 7" (1993)
Fabric - Body of Water LP (1994)

Monday, July 30, 2012

between now and 2013

These are the only musical things i am doing between now and next year:


Column of Heaven, Purity Control, Farang, Spearhead, September 7th at 460 Spadina, Toronto

Column of Heaven, Magrudergrind, Iron Lung and others, Saturday, November 10th at Hard Luck, Toronto

Pick Your Side European tour October 12th-21st

If The Process manage to make it to this part of the world in late October Column of Heaven will be playing with them in Toronto and Montreal

Releases on Survivalist:

The Rita - new C20
Column of Heaven - Demonology CS

There might be a Colonizer tape as well, but that might not happen until next year.

Some books i've enjoyed lately:

Zack Furness (ed) - Punkademics: the basement show in the ivory tower

Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay (eds) -White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race

Clifford A. Pickover - Sex, Drugs, Einstein, & Elves: Sushi, Psychedelics, Parallel Universes, and the Quest for Transcendence

Jack London - Iron Heel

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

a word on downloads

I can't stop them, i'm not really going to try, but here's my request as an artist: If it's on the bandcamp page, please don't upload it to your blog; people can get it for free from there.

If the free downloads run out then people are just going to have to wait the 1-30 days until the free credits come back. Waiting a few days for a free digital version of a grindcore record won't kill anyone or ruin anyone's day.

If it means less people are exposed to my music i'm ok with that.

If you're going to ignore me completely, then there's not really a whole lot i can do about it; issuing cyber death threats has never really been my thing.

But, if you really are going to upload it anyway, say something about it, put it into some kind of context, good or bad i don't really care.

More than just a picture of a wolf in a heptagram with "ex-The Endless Blockade" and a download link please.

That's it.

(This doesn't apply to anything before Mission from God went up, Slaughter Strike and Ecstatically Embracing... are fair game)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Soldiers' Field

Soldiers' Field now online as well

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mission from God LP out now

Order it here

I've seen some internet talk about how this is our death metal record and honestly, if you read that and expect anything beyond one or two harmonised riffs you're going to be spectacularly disappointed.

And if you're a fan of the New Wave of Circus Grind you're definitely going to hate it.

It's now on bandcamp for pay what you want download, though bandcamp has a cap on that stuff, so when the free monthly downloads run out go seek a shit rip from the Bridge Nine board or something.

This record was never supposed to be an LP but it just sort of grew after the Rot in Hell split 7" we were going to do fell apart when they had a line up shuffle.

I wanted to write a record that explored some of the reasons why i'm an unrelenting misanthrope and Mission from God was the result.

In a nutshell i grew up whilst serial killer Peter Sutcliffe was killing women in the part of England i'm originally from; far from being some distant and incomprehensible tabloid tale this was something that seriously affected the social landscape of where i was living that's hard to adequately convey to others.

As a teen a lot of my friends were into dumb shit like reading the book of Revelations and scratching pentagrams in their arms in the late 1980s. Hey, it's what kids did back then, just like how now they post pictures of witches on Tumblr. As a wannabe seventeen year old magician i took a hit of acid and went to Soldiers' Field, where Irene Richardson was killed in 1977, and tried to contact her spirit. It didn't work, at least not in the way i was hoping it would.

We sold an alternate version over the weekend in BC that came with a different cover, a short zine, and a tape called Soldiers' Field which is not a separate release, more of an addendum, mostly, but not entirely, pure noise. I'll put the whole thing up on bandcamp in the next week or two.

Rather than rewrite some stuff i've already gone over here are the two statements that are included in that version of the record, the first by Dave, the second by me:

From 1969 until his arrest in 1981, Peter William Sutcliffe, also known as “The Yorkshire Ripper” attacked and murdered women in Yorkshire, England. The overwhelming majority of his victims were caught in the suffocating poverty that defined much of Yorkshire at the time. Many were involved in the sex trade. All were eventually united by Sutcliffe’s clear and extreme hatred of women which erupted as he bludgeoned, stabbed and beat his victims.

Why write an album about a serial killer? To view this album through such a narrow prism is to miss the point utterly. The absolute last thing we wanted to do with this record was to trot out asinine subgenre clichés; truly, does the world need another grind/noise release that vapidly glorifies sexualized violence? Fuck no. So, then. Why? The answer is primarily catharsis. There are member(s) of this band that experienced life in the time and place of Sutcliffe’s activity. This work is intended to help purge oneself of the poison and unease that comes from growing up in Sutcliffe’s shadow, and to remind oneself of how that environment is inexorably part of our being.

The simpler impetus behind this album is that Sutcliffe’s murders are part of a larger, horrifying landscape… a bleak, ruined vista of grinding poverty, institutionalized racism and sexism, police brutality, pollution and inescapable decay. Quite simply, the Yorkshire of Sutcliffe’s day is probably unimaginable to those who weren’t there. It was a time and place that warrants examination and exploration. The environment of Yorkshire at the time and Sutcliffe’s crimes are deeply interrelated, perhaps even symbiotic. Some of this album is deeply personal, much is intentionally enigmatic and some is completely straight ahead. Our desire is not to decode or spell this album out, but to encourage one to consume it on a level that is deeper than a “fuckin’ grind/noise album about a serial killer, man!”.

In a society that is absolutely saturated in violence, much of it directed towards women by men, it is easy to be unaffected by the truly horrific nature of Sutcliffe’s crimes. Years have passed since then, but the reality is that women violently lost their lives. Some survived attacks by Sutcliffe only to pass their remaining years tormented by trauma, fear and depression. Family members of victims took their own lives. The bureaucratic and police reaction was a disgusting farce: Sutcliffe was interviewed by police nine times and was ultimately caught only by complete accident. The police and powers that be simply didn’t care that someone was murdering poor women. It’s a reprehensible reality that sadly continues today all over the world. It’s a cold, terrible place and will likely always be so.

Kristiansen, Summer 2012

I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England in 1973. Seven years before my birth Ian Brady and Myra Hyndley were convicted of killing children in Greater Manchester, just across the Pennines from West Yorkshire. The bodies were buried on Saddleworth Moor; Keith Bennet, missing since 1964, has never been found.

In 1977 Irene Richardson was beaten to death with a hammer and her corpse mutilated with a knife. The murder took place at Soldiers’ Field, less than a mile from where I lived, and was committed by Peter Sutcliffe, the man this record is superficially about. Between 1975 and 1980 Sutcliffe would kill at least 13 other women, including Jayne MacDonald (1977) and Jacqueline Hill (1980), in areas that would grow to have great significance in my life.

It’s hard to really convey what this record is about succinctly, but for me it’s about how the physical and social landscape shapes us.

My childhood physical landscape prominently featured buried children and murdered women. My childhood social landscape had an inept and brutally racist police force that was both unable and unwilling to protect the women of northern England.

In a way this record is my own exploration of the Greek concept of Pharmakós, the ritual scapegoating of people for sacrifice in times of crisis and upheaval.

The 1970s were a shit time to live in northern England and the first half of the 1980s weren’t that much better. I grew up with garbage strikes, an energy crisis that caused shortages of electricity, economic recession that created a three day working week, mass unemployment, and the gradual nationawide realisation that the days of England’s former colonial glories (add your own sarcastic intonation for the word glories) had finally ebbed away into nothing.

Sutcliffe’s misogynistic rampage across northern England gave us a diversion from all the other shit. It wasn’t until Sutcliffe started making ‘mistakes’ and killing women that weren’t sex workers – and thus disposable – that incompetent police officials like George Oldfield became accountable.

Nolan, June 2012

Further reading:

Derf Backderf – My Friend Dahmer
Michael Bilton – Wicked Beyond Belief: the Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper
Ian Brady – The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and its Analysis
David Peace – Red Riding Quartet

Next release is a split 7" with Radioactive Vomit from Vancouver on Feast of Tentacles

Give Up shirt

available here sold out

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Column of Heaven BC shows

We're playing three shows in BC next week. For a while i wasn't convinced it was going to happen, but flights have been paid for, work has been cancelled, dogs have sitters and attitudes are now firmly 'Can-Do'.

Friday July 6th The Astoria
w/ Rotting Hills, Haggatha, Violent Gorge, and Archagathus.

We'll be collaborating with The Rita at this show

Saturday July 7th Squamish, Fastcore Fest .
w/ 8,000,000 other bands: Osk, Soy, Rob Ford's Big Fat Psychedelic Adventure, Cooked and Eaten, Chopped and Screwed, Six Brew Bantha, Tauntaun Assault Squad, Giant Sandwich of Death (CA), Rape Revenge, Bastard Son of a Hundred Maniacs, Expression of Pain, Take it Real Easy, xMagnottax, Man Cave, Supergod, Cigarette Torture, Truth Serum, Real Magick (ON), Disgorge (France), New Jersey (MI), Apathetic Ronald McDonald playing a set of Blasphemy covers, and a Chow Down reunion.

Fastcore fest will be compered by the entire genre of Reggae, 1965-1998

Sunday July 8th house show at the Chateau Noir w/ Canada's greatest fuck: Radioactive Vomit, and Cooked and Eaten

If UPS doesn't do their usual trick of delivering records for tour three days after we've gone home, the show at the Astoria will have some magical version of Mission from God 12" with some e bay friendly trimmings. Buy them all from us, we don't care what you do with them as long as we have money for beer and falafel (my spell check keeps suggesting 'fellatio' here).

The record will be available for everyone else sometime in July.

My crazy adventure with academia is almost at an end, which means some of our records might come out quicker; the next two and a half are written.

It also means i might have some time to book some shows further afield at some point.

It's been a long time since i had a) the time and b) any news to update on this blog, so here's ye olde playlist of some things i've been enjoying a lot semi-recently:


Skullshitter - tape
Snake Charmer - live
Horders - Fimbulvetr tape
Pick Your Side - Let Me Show You How Democracy Works LP
Lustmord - Zoetrope 2xLP
Ascension - With Burning Tongues 12"
Old Man Gloom - No 2xLP
The Cathode Terror Secretion - Spectre of Historys Design LP
Defeatist - Tyranny of Decay LP
Skullhog - Evil Dead CD
Isis - Oceanic 2xLP
Sea of Shit - side of forthcoming split 7" w/ Constrictions
Radioactive Vomit - Witchblood tape
Black Witchery - live
Purity Control - live
SHIT - tape
Violent Future - tape


Chips and Beer magazine 2&3
Isten - Death Marches On double issue
Grant Morrison - Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God From Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

some comic books and little else because i've been doing nothing except write my damn masters thesis for the post three months and my brain hurts at the end of every day.


Delocated season 1&2
Mothers Day (2010) - i liked the unrelenting cruelty of it, but it was way too long for me to give a shit about the last 20-30 minutes and it reminded me of:
Kidnapped AKA Secuestrados - which was amazing from start to finish

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Modern Day Sodom

Column of Heaven - Mission from God tape out now on Survivalist, has slightly different artwork from the LP version that's due out on SPHC in July. SPHC will also be selling a shirt for mail order for everyone who isn't one of the 45 people that's had a chance to buy one from one of our highly sporadic live shows.

You can get one from one of these places in the next week or two:

Analogue Worship
Absurd Exposition
locals can go to Hits and Misses at the end of next week and get one and people in Winnipeg can buy one from Mike A at whatever show he's propping the bar up at

There aren't that many copies going to any of these people to be honest, most were sold at the Pick Your Side record release show in Hamilton last weekend. And mighty fine they were too (and the LP's great)

If you buy from Analogue Worship i'd highly recommend the Ill Omen and Luciation records he put out; two of my favourites of the recent times. Also get the Radioactive Vomit (Column of Heaven's favourite newish Canadian band) tape and the Stone Wings LP (if you like olde sounding doom death).

I'm not going to post about the release itself now, maybe when the vinyl comes out, but here's a brief word about tapes.

Here's why i make them: because it's incredibly fucking easy. That's it. No romantic notions about tape culture; i hold some cherished memories of tape culture, but that's personal, not something to base a release schedule on.

There's a tape duplicating place five minutes away from our band space and they have a 24 hour turnaround. If i had to send off files to Quebec to get them made i wouldn't bother releasing them. If the production time was more than a day i wouldn't bother releasing them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

digital idiocy

The legal team at Lionsgate seem to think i recorded that first Column of Heaven release under contract to them and thus the mediafire link is currently suspended

Until it gets unsuspended (you know, because the pricks at Lionsgate don't actually own it) you can either download an inadequately shit tape rip from some other blog or go to bandcamp and get the version that isn't sequenced properly

more in print

I wrote some stuff about Furze recently, buy it here

The second issue of "Invocation of Obscene Gods" is bigger, uglier and stuffed full of more punk and metal bullshit than most publications twice as glossy. Includes interviews with NEKROFILTH, PIZZAHIFIVE, RUPTURE, MINCH and SOCKEYE, FOSSIL FUEL and TOUGH SKINS masterminds Food Fortunata and Poopy Necroponde plus articles on FURZE and THE GEROGERIGEGEGE, columns, comics, record reviews and sex advice from Dr. Jason Wade! 64 pro-printed half-sized pages of glory for the literate idiot and discerning underground filth monger.

Recent playlist:

Cro-Mags - Age of Quarrel
Bastard - Wind of Pain
Perspex Flesh - demo
Kickback - No Surrender
Vaz - Dying to Meet You
Unsane - Wreck
Ouroboros is Broken - In C
Suffering Luna - Blood Filled Bong


Umberto Eco - The Prague Cemetery
Anna Bramwell - Blood And Soil: Richard Walther Darré And Hitler's "Green Party"

Monday, April 2, 2012

in print

Some new writings

Chromium Dioxide issue five,  i participated once again in the What Went Wrong? round table discussion. This issue four of us talk shit about Entombed for a few pages

Last weekend Siesta Nouveaux in Toronto closed down so another condo could be built.

Blank Stare and Youth and Rust put together a zine to commemorate the space.

Digital copy below. Physical copies also exist, though i have yet to see one. I suspect that if there are any left over from the weekend there'll be found here eventually

Open publication - Free publishing

A small list of music i've recently enjoyed:

Radioactive Vomit - Witchblood tape
Farang - tape
Hatred Surge - Human Overdose LP advance
S.H.I.T. - tape
Purity Control - live
Zouo - Final Agony 7"

R.I.P. Siesta Nouveaux

Monday, March 12, 2012

small Mission from God preview

Cassette out on Survivalist May 5th (for the Pick Your Side show in Hamilton), 12" on SPHC in July, lossless free/ pay what you can be arsed download from Bandcamp around the same time as the 12"

Twelve songs, 20 minutes, some noise, some yelling, me playing the piano.

A real game changer if ever there was one.

I'm aiming to have a week off between finishing this one and starting recording the next if i can...

Monday, March 5, 2012

next Column of Heaven show

May 5th in sunny Hamilton, get punched in the face to Pick Your Side after eating at Harvest Burger.

Mission from God tapes will be ready for this show, this time i'm not lying

handy Mission from God instant lyric generator:

dead children
in the north
Irene Richardson
time and space

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blockade interview from 2010

Originally published in Inverted Forest from Australia in 2010. Written whilst i was still pretending to people that we weren't about to break up; i knew we the ending was in motion before we'd even finished the Bastard Noise split, i just didn't know how we were going to get there (Ben moved out of the country, the same excuse we used to break Shank up)

Could we please get the perfunctory introductions out of the way? Who are the members of the band and how long have you been around?

Formed in 2003, current line up: Bloomer, Carroll, Edgar, King, Nolan

What were the original intentions of the band? Do you think that these have been fulfilled? I have seen that the 3rd lp is slated to be the last; will this mean the end of the band.

I was perhaps a little rash in proclaiming our third LP would be our last but it will probably still be the case. A band can only last for so long and remain vital and relevant to its members.
Given the self imposed restrictions we put on our music there’s only really so much we can do with it until it becomes stale to us. We’ll see what happens; I think there’s life in the beast yet but when it’s time to stop we’ll kill it without a second thought.

[Obviously the third LP only ever existed in my head, but man it was great!]

Anyone familiar with your work will be aware that there is significant discourse relating to religion and its faults within the lyrics. It has been suggested that religion will exist as long as fear is present within human nature. The implication is that we will never be rid of organised religion. Do you think that humanity will ever see a time where religion does not exist? Do human beings even deserve that freedom?

I think saying the reason that religion exists is based entirely on fear is the kind of useless bullshit you can hear from any armchair atheist with no real understanding of the role religion has played in the world either historically or presently.

People will also go on at great lengths to tell you that religion is the cause of all wars. Religion is present in lots of wars but it’s not the cause, if anything it’s more like the Twinkie Defence in a murder trial.

Religion appears in two forms; an individual form and a mass form.

Religion as an aspect of society was born out of a need for another racial/ tribal identifier. People who worshipped different gods than you did were not your kin and thus both easily identifiable and easy to wage a war with.

It also served/ serves as simple moral instruction and allegory. This is something the fundamentalists get horrifically wrong almost every single time. It’s also something the atheists get confused with; as if they’re confusing myth with fairytale (the two are very different).

As a personal need it’s generally just a way of acknowledging you don’t know how the universe works.

The idea of a religion that crosses racial boundaries is a relatively new one. Any good practicing Christian can enter the kingdom of heaven; they just have to accept Christ as their redeemer. Same with Islam, those crazy militant fundamentalists that we’re lead to believe are in our midst’s waiting to slit our children’s throats will actually take a short break when everyone converts [for the benefit of internet skim reading i'm being sarcastic here, i don't believe that Muslim's are trying to destory the world].

The Jews are different though, you can’t decide to be one of God’s chosen people, you have to be born into it. Sure, people do convert to Judaism but in my (extremely limited) experience those people are treated as curiosities and not taken seriously without the matrilineal heritage. [Perfectly happy for people with far more knowledge on this to call bullshit on it, i'm just a dumb guy in a band]

So religion has changed over the years as being a way of keeping the bloodline intact (kill non-believers) to a way of keeping an idea alive (convert non-believers). And i realise i’m skipping over things like supersessionism, but this is punk zine and not a theological tome (unless i’ve been horribly misinformed).

Without a religious imperative wars would have still occurred, they would have just had to find another excuse for coming into being.

People would have probably gone to war over what kind of local flora and fauna another land had without the God angle.

Saying things like ‘No Gods No Masters’ is cute but ultimately addresses a whole lot of nothing and to my mind is like trying to convert gay people to heterosexuality. A personal religious need is perfectly acceptable and often a deep seated human need that goes far beyond our modern understanding.

I think that modern atheism is generally nothing more than Victorian parlour games; witty intellectual conundrums and little else. I see the most useless aspects of religion (in particular fundamentalism, easily the dumbest and most modern thing about religious thought) and modern scientific atheism as being exactly the same stupid things; both want to make the universe a smaller and more explainable place. This is something i have no interest in; i want the universe to be incomprehensibly huge and daunting. I don’t need answers to every single thing.

Religion will tell you that things are the way they are “because God deemed it so, hey, no talking in the back, this is God’s chosen representative on earth talking to you here.”

And scientific atheism will tell you things like stimulating a certain part of the brain will induce a feeling of divine presence and being in love is just a mere chemical reaction that ultimately means nothing.

I don’t need science to tell me that i’m a bag of meat and bones with some weird chemical reactions going on to make it move. I accept that's what i am, but life is something i still find myself experiencing and it can’t be explained away so neatly.

I also don’t need a religion to tell me that there are mysteries in the world and that trees and flowers grow for magical/ divine reasons. I accept that my knowledge and experience is crushingly limited and i will never really understand even the tiniest fraction of how the universe works. And let’s not forget that a wasp experiences the world in a far different way than a dog. Which one experiences the world ‘correctly’ and which one is deluded?

The term God encapsulates everything we don’t know about the world. God is the idea of an idea. God is the idea of perfection, and as flawed human beings we have no idea of what perfection even looks like. So when someone tells you God speaks to them how do they even understand what’s being said?

Even when people talk about God being a ‘force’ they humanise what God is. I take the stance that God is something i will never know or understand or be able to experience and for that reason is largely irrelevant in my life.

Neither religion nor atheism are able to speak to what God actually is (or is the absence of) so i reject them both as irrelevant to my life and sphere of understanding.

How much time do you spend on your lyrics? Do you think that within hardcore punk there is an acceptance of weaker lyrics simply because they are not always easily decipherable in the context of the music? How important is lyrical content to you?

I’ll have ideas of what i want to put across in a song and think about several of those ideas for a while before just getting everything out in one sitting if possible. I don’t spend a lot of time trying to get them ‘right’, I’ll figure out the key parts that need to be in the song and go from there.

I think there’s an acceptance of weak everything in our world and punk is generally no different. I only really notice lyrics when someone points out to me how utterly appalling they are, by and large i can live with them and pay only scant attention to most bands lyrics.

Very few people (and i most certainly include myself in this statement) have much to say that the whole world needs to hear.

From what I can gather your live shows incorporate a lot of noise elements. What is the usual crowd reception to this? Have you heard any fan response regarding the Noah Creshevsky or The Rita remixes that are included with the new split with Bastard Noise?

We definitely use a lot more noise live now and have added a fifth live member to assist with this and integrate it more. Some people are into the noise live, some don’t like it at all, some understand the noise on the recordings better when they hear it live at loud volume.

The reception to the tracks by Noah Creshevsky and The Rita have been largely predictable; some people dislike them, some people love them, some people want to try and understand it and ask questions. The Rita is certainly not what i would call entry level noise so that’s definitely a tough one to get your head around if you’ve no real prior experience with noise as a genre.

I think some people who were familiar with Noah Creshevsky’s work before are amazed we got him to work with us and genuinely excited about the track.

Have you always been interested in the occult and the use of symbols and codes? How important are these to the identity of the band?

Possibly more than any other band i’ve been in previously i consider this band to be a large part of ‘me’ and consequently a lot of my interests break through the surface.

The occult is just a word that can signify a lot of different ideas of various merits. To me it represents another selection of ways of understanding and interacting with the universe. It’s also a way of coding larger pieces of information into much smaller formats for other people to either decipher or not. The Unearthly Trance split LP came about largely because of shared aesthetics and language.

My interest in more esoteric matters has been in an ebb and flow since i was a child.

My first academic interest  - i.e. an awareness of formulised systems by other people who didn’t merely experience ‘weird shit’ as i had been for a number of years - came in my early teens after reading books (and practicing their examples) by Sylvan Muldoon and Oliver Fox and listening to several tapes obtained from Sorcerers’ Apprentice in Leeds.

In my late teens it was Robert Anton Wilson, Peter Carroll, Phil Hine, Ramsey Dukes, Discordianism and others and from my 20s and onwards it’s been a strange mix of doomsday cults, post-Golden Dawn thinkers/ practitioners, hermetic Qabalah, anti-modernist/ anti-enlightenment ideals, antinomianism, Perrenialism and a lot of dysfunctional thought occasionally labelled as ‘transgressive’.

And i view it all as being equally important and equally ridiculous. “It’s” both the most important thing informing my worldview and complete and utter nonsense at the same time.

“Nothing is true, everything is permitted” as Hassan-i Sabbah probably never actually said (but it makes for a nice anecdote).

Do you believe that there is an anti-intellectual streak in punk music or punks in general?

I think modern life certainly doesn’t encourage an inner life or quiet introspection, which could be conceived of as being anti-intellectual i guess.

I haven’t noticed a specific anti-intellectual streak in punk though. If punk isn’t visceral then i’m not really interested in it so i’m ok with it being perceived as dumb.

If you watch any documentary on the development of hardcore in the US the same talking heads will tell you punk was something wonderfully liberating and artistic until all the violent yobs came along in the 1980s and ruined i for everyone. Clearly those pesky working class oiks just had to ruin everyone’s fun and good for them, i’d rather listen to Agnostic Front than X any day.

What do you think of the use of descriptors like power violence these days? Do you think that settings such as internet message boards have created an environment where more emphasis is placed on genres rather than the actual output of a band? I guess what I am trying to say is, do genres matter in hardcore punk?

It’s generally only important if a band is good or not, however you choose to define good. If a band doesn’t have some sense of internal logic and consistency then they’ll almost always fail. Being aware of the minutiae and subtleties of genre above and beyond a “recommend me some power violence like Apathetic Ronald McDonald” level goes part way to accomplishing this.

I think message boards have created an environment where it’s important to be seen as legitimate as quickly as possible and it’s fairly tedious to behold.

Trash Talk and Ceremony were the buzz bands for a while and now they seem to be written off as farts at a funeral; quite what happened is beyond me, perhaps people want to prove they have better taste than everyone else?

With black metal over the last few years there’s been a rush to proclaim Blasphemy, Von and Beherit as the only bands worth listening to, which is great, i love those three bands, and people should pay attention to them, but if it’s only lip service in a quest for self legitimisation what’s the point?

You can see it already with the new Burzum LP [It was 2009, Belus had just been leaked], many people are desperate to be the first to write it off as either garbage or the second coming of black metal based on listening to half of a sub-par download on laptop speakers.

Punk is no different; i heard Fucked Up jumped the shark because they have too many guitar tracks on their recordings or something.

I miss the days when you’d spend a year listening to an album before moving on to the next one.

But regarding your question of genres, it’s hard to say how important it is. There’ll always be people that will call Melt Banana noise, Morbid Angel thrash, Siege power violence, Merzbow power electronics, Slayer death metal, and you get the picture...

I’ve seen that you have commented that the recent split with Bastard Noise was something of a laborious process. Care to elaborate? Are you happy with the finished product?

We’re all very happy with the end product and yes it was a long an laborious process at almost every level imaginable and everyone in Blockade lost their mind an interest at some point of its long and painful birthing process.

What do you think about record collecting? What about record collectors?

I have an extensive and great record collection, what can i say? I’ve gone through significant periods of my life where money went on records or postage for trades at the expense of rent or food.

I think record collecting is less exciting in this time of e bay and download blogs but that’s fine. I still hunt for the stuff that’s important to me.

The Endless Blockade is building up quite a sizeable back catalogue now, is there any release that stands out in your mind or one that you are most proud of?

Probably Primitive, though i like the Bastard Noise split a lot

The “Primitive” lp contains guest vocals from Jello Biafra, how did that eventuate?

Dave Adelson (20 Buck Spin guy) used to be the label manager at Alternative Tentacles and pulled the favour.

I have a fifteen minute CD of Jello saying “Endless Blockade” in more and more ridiculous voices including George W Bush and Elmer Fudd impersonations [if i ever find this again i'll stick it up on bandcamp]

What do you have in mind for the future of the band? Any thoughts of an Australian or SE Asia Tour?

I played some shows in Australia ten years ago and had a great time. If someone will pay for our flights upfront then we’ll consider it carefully.

The future of the band is anyone’s guess, we’ll see when we get there. [we played our last show about a month after the zine came out]

Saturday, February 25, 2012

this weekend

Due to shit we wouldn't wish on anyone Column of Heaven had to cancel last nights appearance in Montreal (though we still drove a total of 11 hours in treacherous conditions) and won't be able to play Ottawa tomorrow.

We'll reschedule something for the summer.

We're still playing tonight in Toronto.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

recent interview

This is a long one, so feel free to either ignore it entirely, or wait until you have a deadline you're trying to sabotage until you read it. Or if you're anything like me you'll save it until the next time you're working overnight.

It's going to be printed sometime this year in Czech in the 'zine Trhavina that Iny from Gride publishes . You lucky English speakers get a chance to read it first.

Interview was conducted in September 2011.

“Hello, my name is Andy. I play bass and do some noise sometimes. I’m 25 years old and I have been in these things since my 18…“ (Interview with EBOLA, Hluboka Orba 16 – 1999, zine done by Filip of MRTVA BUDOUCNOST). Do you remember this interview? What do you feel when you read some old interview with you?

Yes, I remember that one very clearly for some reason, probably because Filip is still active in the scene and even though I don't see him very often I'm still reminded of his presence by his bands.

When I read old interviews I usually feel two emotions simultaneously. One is a vague sense of embarrassment at any of the many sweeping generalisations I may have made and the other is more positive, it's nice to see either the consistency or the evolution of my thoughts over the years.

Sometimes I read myself ranting about totally insignificant things and I think "wow, I used to care about that?" Which is all just part of getting older.

How have you changed since this interview? What is the most important experience of your life?

Well, I'm older now and I'm generally much happier, other than that it's hard to know exactly how I've changed.

I don't want to say it's the most important experience of my life, but the death of Jonathan Shaw from Ebola is the event that's had the most profound effect on my life.

What happened to Jonathan from EBOLA? An accident or disease?

He died on October 9th 2006 of a very rare form of cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei, his daughter was nine months old. A day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t been with him in spirit since then.

You lived in Great Britain… how it happened, that you are living in Canada now?

I moved in 2003, my girlfriend was Canadian and I moved to be with her when she left Glasgow.

What is the main difference between Canadian and British society? Have you been surprised by any special attribute of Canada, when you moved?

I don't know the main difference and to be honest I only really understand some aspects of life in Toronto, as Canada is too big for me to truthfully say I understand the society here.

The hardest thing for me to get used when I first came to Toronto is that the way men interact with each other is much less aggressive than I was used to back home.

I enjoy my life in Toronto a lot; I just wish this city wasn't so physically ugly.

And what about hardcore scene in Toronto, is similar to Glasgow, better or worse? Had you been connected to Toronto scene before you came there?

When I lived in Glasgow there wasn't really much of a scene to speak of. The glory days of Sedition and Disaffect had dried up and gone away. It might be different now, I don't know, it was sometimes pretty dismal when I lived there though.

Toronto has had its ups and downs since I arrived here, but on the whole there's never been a shortage of older, established bands and younger bands into making a noise and yelling at the world. I've always been very impressed with Toronto's capacity to produce good, hungry bands, particularly when you least expect it.

I knew a number of people before I moved over here due to the Network of Friends, aka pre-internet hardcore lifestyle.

You played in many bands (EBOLA, SAWN OFF, SHANK…)… Were you sad, when these band split up? Is there any moment, when you recognize that something is wrong and band is on road to hell?

I left Sawn Off when we told Chris (drums) that we couldn't be in Ebola with him anymore, it would have been ridiculous of me to carry on with him in Sawn Off, especially as I was the one that told him we were through with him. I left Sawn Off at the point where I thought we were beginning to achieve what we set out to do, so I was sad to go, but there was no other way.

Leaving Ebola was mostly the result of me having a fight with Nick, but I knew for at least a year before that my heart was no longer in it and I should have left earlier, it would have been more respectful of me to do that. I wasn't sad that I parted with Ebola, maybe mildly bitter for a short while, but that was my own fault for not leaving earlier.

A part of me misses Shank a lot, but i forget all the stupid shit that was going on in our lives at the time that brought us together as a band and I certainly don't miss the stuff we were reacting to. Shank had pretty much run its course by the time we broke up, my leaving the country was a good end date, if it went on any further I might not have such fond memories of the band.

So yes, there's almost always a point where most people in the band know it's no longer working, it just depends on who's going to act on it first and do something about it. Every time I've left one band I've immediately moved on to something new, so I never really stuck in the past wondering what could have been.

How did you meet other members of THE ENDLESS BLOCKADE? Who brought the idea to start the band?

I put it all together. A mutual friend introduced me to Ryo, who had also recently arrived to Canada. I'd known Ben for a few years from my visits to Canada and it was natural to ask him to play guitar.

“Turn Illness into a Weapon” is your excellent debut LP. This LP is dedicated to Ryosuke Kiyasu, who should’ve been on this recording…what happened?

We recorded the LP with Ryo on drums at Audiolab studio two weeks before he left the country. Stupidly the files weren't backed up properly and the studio lost most of what we'd recorded. We salvaged enough of the recording to release the Come Friendly Bombs 7".

We re-recorded Turn Illness into a Weapon a year later with Eric on drums.

Ryo now plays in Sete Star Sept in Tokyo.

Could illness really be a weapon?

The LP is named after a Socialist Patients Kollectiv manifesto and they believed that psychiatric illness could be used as a weapon against capitalism. I've just realised people might think we're talking about biological warfare with that title, which we're definitely not.

Many members of the Socialist Patients Kollektiv were recruited to RAF, what do you think about this group?

I think RAF are “interesting” in much the same way that bored housewives think serial killers are “interesting”. For those of us in the punk and hardcore world that have our roots in militant politics there’s an undeniable appeal around groups that blow shit up to meet their aims, but at the end of the day - away from some of my angry times when I wish the human race would just fuck off and embrace extinction with open arms - I find it hard to support killing people for politics.

I love your song and lyric Death Ritual… Do you have any your personal rituals besides playing music, which keep you alive?

If you mean rituals in a general sense, then my daily interactions with my girlfriend and my dog give me a sense of joy and sense of life in the world.

If you mean something more esoteric, then I have some outlets, but nothing that takes over my life.

Many reviews of your music label you as a power violence band. What do you think about this term… many bands hate it. What do you imagine, when man says “power violence band”? Do you feel some continuity to US p-v bands of early 90ies?

I think most bands hate the label because most bands described as power violence are pretty crappy. I try not to think too hard about whether or not my music is power violence or even how you would define what power violence is. My music is influenced by the power violence originators, whether or not that means my own creations are carrying on the power violence legacy is not something I can objectively decide.

I feel some connection to the early 90s power violence bands because that was the side of hardcore that captured my imagination in a big way. Some of those people involved at the time have become good friends over the years, so I feel a connection there as well.

You use many quotations in inserts of your records. Are you inspired by these quotations to write lyrics or are the lyrics first and then you find some quotations to confirm lyrics’ thought?

Due to our songs being so short I generally use quotations to underscore my point. I try not to overdose on quotations, but I usually have one on each record these days that broadly sums up my mindset when I wrote the record.

Part of my motivation for using quotes is simply because I'm keen to promote people reading. I find a reading list says more about a person than a play list.

Are there some connections between philosophy and punk? Or are the attempts to find some these connections only efforts to give noise more sense and importance?

Our entire lives are spent attaching meaning to acts that are ultimately senseless and unimportant and punk is no different in that regard.

I think it's generally better for the world if people place meaning onto positive things that will help their own lives and the lives of those close to them. So the punk philosophy that aspires to make a positive change in the world is fine by me.

“Man understands divinity like a dog understands electricity” In lyrics Perfection on Primitive LP you talks about theological noncognitivism, what do you mean?

Of the many questions I've had about this song, and in particular the line you quote, you're the first to ever ask about theological noncognitivism.

It basically means that religious language has no concrete meaning. It means that religious language is unverifiable and refers to concepts that are unthinkable and unknowable and religious language is thus meaningless.

Are you spiritually near to any religion or do you take many influences and find your own way? What do you think about ateism?

On a level that’s partly intellectual and partly emotional I have an interest in Gnosticism –  in both its modern and historical forms – and also in what would broadly be described as pagan (European) beliefs. My interest in these schools of thought is not what they tell us about our relationships with God(s), but about our relationships with each other, with our surroundings, with ourselves, with our past and occasionally with our future.

Human beings are small, inconsequential things that have no understanding of the world they live in, thus they have absolutely no knowledge of their creation or purpose. Humans could never possibly understand God or Divinity; even calling God a “force” is an attempt to understand something in human terms that has nothing to do with humans. I’m not an atheist, a theist or any shade of agnostic because it absolutely does not matter if I believe, or more accurately humanise, God or not.

This is not to say I don’t have some sense of experience with the Divine. When I’m away from the cultural noise of the world I feel the unmistakable presence of something else that is beyond human, but it isn’t God. It isn’t some guy with a highly out-dated moral code where I have to score at least a B+ in order to get to heaven.

Atheism is too bogged down in issuing rebuttals to propositions that are meaningless in the first place. I don’t place human beings at the centre of the universe, which monotheism and atheism have a tendency towards.

I want to be clear that I do not doubt the idea of evolution, but what I call into question is the idea that evolution fits a higher purpose and is unquestionably for the better of all. Many Atheists reject the idea of an after-life (which is fine), but shift the sense of purpose for humanity – in religious terms that purpose is generally act “good” and “moral” on Earth and receive your reward in heaven – onto some strange idea that we are evolving into something better. It’s still the same human centred approach that never once allows the thought that perhaps human beings are completely unnecessary to the well-being of the universe and perhaps life is completely random with no great reason or design.

On a final note, I’d rather the punk scene was full of stupid atheist bands than full of stupid religious bands, and fuck Creationism and Intelligent Design; if there was Intelligent Design in the universe God would never have allowed the Industrial era to start.

THE ENDLESS BLOCKADE use many noise samples in their music and the fusion of music and noise is always perfect. I suppose you do it… What inspires you when you do it? Do you do noise samples before writing music or you find appropriate noise after composing music?

I do the noise after we've recorded, but I usually have a sense of what it should be like and where it should go. It can't be something that's going to interfere with the frequencies already in the track, so a straight up, blown out wall of sound has to be placed between tracks and not in the middle of them.

It depends on the song, some demand complete overkill, like the first song on the Unearthly Trance split - which is just drums, vocals and noise - and some warrant a more subtle approach.

You take part in industrial noise experiment project PIG HEART TRANSPLANT too. Tell more about it…

Pig Heart Transplant is Jon from Iron Lung's brainchild. He asked me to send him some sounds to reuse a few years ago which I duly did. I have no idea if he's used them or not but on their myspace page I'm listed as having been a member, so maybe he did use the material?

You released split LP with BASTARD NOISE, both sides of this LP are awesome… I know you played some shows with BASTARD NOISE, did you try to play this LP together alive?

Unfortunately we didn't try and perform Deuteronomy when we played with Bastard Noise, I suspect it would be difficult to pull off and live I like the safety of shorter songs; though we played a one song 25 minute set in our early days once.

Why did you decide to write only one long song for split LP with BASTARD NOISE? It’s unusually for extreme hardcore band…

Originally it was to be Blockade and Bastard Noise collaborating, before they became bass and drums again, so we wrote our material as if it was going to be reworked by Bastard Noise. The plan changed when they got Danny Walker in the band (before Joel Connell replaced him) and we decided we would shorten it to the 14 minute track it ended up as.

Does Jello Biafra really sing in The Endless Blockade song on Primitive LP? How did you meet them and recruit him for collaboration?

Yes, it's really him; Dave Adelson who runs 20 Buck Spin was the manager of Alternative Tentacles at the time and asked him for us. Jello was in the studio recording something else and recorded about ten-fifteen minutes of him saying "Endless Blockade!" in more and more ridiculous ways. I should find that material again, he started doing George W Bush impressions for us at one point.

When I’m writing these questions, it’s 10 year anniversary of New York’s Twins plane attacks. What do you think about conspiracy theories connected with these attacks? Have you ever seen movie Zeit Geist and if you have what do think about?

I haven't seen the film Zeitgeist.

Conspiracy theories are an expected and natural facet of modern disasters. People feel helpless and traumatised by tragedy, and the idea that a conspiracy behind the scenes that has controlled events for a long time leading up to the crisis is comforting in a sense. It gives purpose and meaning, and on the whole humans aren't very good at the idea of there being a lack of meaning to world events.

But that's not to say there wasn't any conspiring going on in the events behind 9/11; some people are making relatively compelling cases for events not being as reported. And of course some people sound like crazy people shaking their fists at the sky when they talk about 9/11 conspiracies as well.

This Trhavina issue has the main theme: Vinyl and its collection. Are you fan of vinyl? What do you think about contemporary rebirth of vinyl popularity?

I still buy vinyl, a little less than I used to, mostly due to money and a narrowing of interests, but it's my preferred format.

In the last few years I've seen many of friends who were former maniac collectors selling off their entire collections with great zeal. It seems that they amassed as much stuff as possible then changed the game to getting rid of as much stuff as possible. I think there might be a reverse hunter/ gatherer mentality going on there.

In some interview with you I have read that you are selling with THE ENDLESS BLOCKADE fewer amounts of records than you sold with your previous bands. What is the reason of it according to you?

I'm not too sure of the reasons, Ebola sold more records, but Blockade is much better known. You could probably point the finger at downloading, but I don't really know. Partly it’s because releases are only considered “new” for a matter of weeks these days, as opposed to months, or even years, which is how it used to be.

The only way to sell vinyl these days is to play live. I've noticed that we sell much more at gigs than Ebola or Shank ever did, so maybe the only people that buy records in North America are those that go to gigs?

Does Gride sell more records and shirts at shows in the US than in Europe?

I think so, but it’s hard to compare it, because we have never played in US before and we haven’t optimal distribution our records in US... But I agree with you, only chance is playing a lot of gigs or offer to people something special. Are you interested in limited editions, did you release some specialty for collectors?

The Endless Blockade made several tour editions of our releases, mostly so that people would buy them from us instead of the local distro or record store a week later.

It's unfortunate that we have to resort to such tactics to force the hand of the consumer, but you have to do something to make enough gas money to get to the next show sometimes, God knows door prices aren't bringing in much cash in most cities.

Last time I was in Germany I noticed that at every show there was still at least one arsehole with a distro selling records of the bands playing, trying to get a cut of their performance, which is pretty disrespectful; take them out of the distro box until the next show when some other band is playing.

The most uncommon venue/place, where have you ever played?

Shank was the only band playing in a bar somewhere in Poland that turned into a reggae disco. There was a bunch of Polish reggae guys waiting to listen to songs about Lions of Judah, Babylon and Zion sitting patiently through our set.

Not my favourite tour moment to be honest.

Shank also played a show with an anarchist puppet theatre once. Strange times…

Are you going touring Europe sometime in future?

I hope so, but we'll see. Time and money are two things have increasingly less of, so it might not happen.

Plus when Iron Lung, Hatred Surge and Blockade toured Europe in 2007 it seemed like the style of music we were doing just wasn't that popular in Europe.

You told me that The Endless Blockade broke up actually and you have new band... Tell us more, what we can expect?

We played our last show in July 2010, when Ben moved to Bermuda to live in a tropical island paradise. Column of Heaven is the new band, we had a tape available in mid-2011, now sold out, but you can download it pretty easily. There's a 12" ep due out on SPHC, which is Dan from Lotus Fucker's label, sometime in 2012. We have a few other releases planned after that but experience has told me not to mention releases until they're almost out.

Column of Heaven carries on the same lineage that I've been doing for a long time now. In much the same way that Blockade came from the ideas we were doing in Shank, Column of Heaven comes from some of the ideas we were doing in Blockade.

It’s all. Thanx a lot for your time. Any final words?

Hails to all middle age hardcore guys in eastern Europe that I've known over the years.