Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Six Degrees of Craig Pillard, or, New Jersey Extreme Metalcest

Due to circumstances which I will never openly admit are within my control, I live currently in New Jersey, home to the laughably creepy Clinton Road and Ford's dumping site for paint sludge back in the 70's. Thankfully, I haven't had to look too far for some exceptional metal. I've got Disma, who recently got scooped up in this confusing NPR metal thing, and Funebrarum, who Shelby extolled here, and Abazagorath, who, despite this hilariously kitschy intro, put out a totally solid record way back in '97.

(Thee I invoke, glasses of Leviathan.)

As you start to dig through the maw of Encyclopaedia Metallum for info about any of these bands you start to see something strange unfold: everyone is in everyone else's band. Disma shares Shawn Eldridge and Daryl Kahan with Funebrarum. Kahan used to play in Abazagorath with Dave Wagner, who currently plays with Abazagorath, Funebrarum, and Evoken. Party on, dudes!

Who's Evoken? Oh that's just one of the greatest doom bands on the east coast - no, on the WHOLE COAST of the Americas - and one of the bands Craig Pillard has been involved with over the years. Who's Craig Pillard?


He was part of the Onward to Golgotha crew. (Oh and he's also in Disma.) And if it's OK with everyone I'm going to ignore the fact that he actually lives in Pennsylvania because NJ extreme metal wouldn't be the same without him. OK? OK. [ADDENDUM 11/10/11 - our hero shot me a note to say he actually lives in Central Jersey.]

Anyway we're just getting started.

Let's take the seemingly unrelated (but still New Jerseyan) Ossein. They released one metal album before going all experimental ambient. Not really my cup of tea. I don't have enough patience and/or drugs around to be able to sit through a 32-minute track that wanders from dreary black metal to log cabin acoustics to pot-and-pan atmospherics. But I'm no expert on this band because I've never actually sat through a whole album, not even the metal one. A few dudes have, and just explode from the pant seams about it, so I am just missing something.

Anyway, Itay Keren plays in Ossein and Necrofog and Misanthropy Legion and used to play in Seraphim Lament and Angelcide before both bands broke up. Great! Keep it up, man, the world fucking needs you.

Who else played in Seraphim Lament? Shawn Eldridge. See above.

Who else played in Necrofog AND Misanthropy Legion AND Angelcide? Maelstrom - who's currently plucking the strings in Abazagorath.

Okay, okay, you're not convinced this is anything spectacular. Metalcest is no new thing. Metalheads collaborate all the time. I hear you. Now check this out:

That is the result of an embarrassing amount of time spent on EM. And I'm pretty confident it is a nice little enclosed corner of NJ metal, but by no means is it complete. For instance, I left out band members who are only in one band, or are only in some other tangential band, and I didn't count session or live members. (Hey I had to cut things off somewhere.) I have a dream that someday the whole of Encyclopaedia Metallum will be mapped out like this (and my little friend Bjorn will be able to pull it up on the HUD built into his contact lenses).

So let's explore some highlights in there. I'm going to skip Disma because everyone is talking about Disma and I won't have anything unique to say. Their new album crushes. There, done.

I think there's a little bit in here for everybody. Feelin' a little doomy? Here's the absolutely stellar Evoken. Classic doom styling with an occasional blast beat to make sure you're still paying attention. The discombobulating time signatures, clean picking over a filthy backbone of sonic imperialism, and graceful transitions had me at hello. I can't not love this.

Evoken - Antithesis of Light

Like filthy, violent, slow-torture death metal? Here's Womb, featuring 3/4 of the Onward to Golgotha era Incantation, including our hero, Pillard. As this Youtuber says, "Excellent gloomy atmosphere contained herein to ruin your day and raise the dead."

Womb/Disciples of Mockery Split

Like obscure late-80's rehearsal demos that sound like they were recorded in a windowless, moist, and spidery half-finished basement with someone's uncle's half-broken 4-track, but you know Pillard is in it so you force yourself to like it anyway? You're in luck, here's Carnage!

Carnage - Rehearsal '88

Like industrial melodic power black metalcore? I'm having a little trouble with it too, but here's Abysmal Gates, featuring bros from all over the NJ map.

Abysmal Gates - Divine Deception

So what did we learn today? Well, shit, I have no idea. I feel like DoomUnicorn after his neo-folk post from way back in October 2011. But this is what I found out:

-Craig Pillard is the Kevin Bacon of NJ extreme metal
-Chicks totally dig cool graphs

I'm now dreading the very real possibility that I am overlooking something totally obvious, or am leaving someone really famous out of this. Please feel free to lambast me accordingly in the comments. In the meantime cool off with a few honorable mentions and their respective Pillard Points.


Connection to Pillard? Dripping is on Necroharmonic Productions along with Womb. Craig Pillard is in Womb. 2 Pillard Points, cake!

Connection to Pillard? Okay this one gets a little hairy. Joshua Bowens is a former member of Helcaraxe. He also used to play with Kult of Azazel. Tony Laureano played live with Kult of Azazel and in 1998 played for heavy hitter revolving door Acheron. Kyle Severn is a current member of both Acheron and Incantation. Craig Pillard was in Incantation. 5 Pillard Points (I think...). Regardless, QED!

Connection to Pillard? Neil Jameson (Krieg's black heart & soul), like everyone, was at some point in Nachtmystium. So was Tony Laureano, mentioned above. Same trail after that. 4 Pillard Points. HAIL!


DoomUnicorn said...

Holy're on some Arthur Cayley next level shit or some shit. I feel bad for your brain. Top points.

Can't believe you forgot Trixter tho. According to Wikipedia, they've got a 2011 album out entitled Defecation in the Night. I might actually buy that if it were real.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Craig Pillard a Nazi?

Shelby Cobras said...

Finally, someone posts about industrial melodic power black metalcore! That took forever.
Srs tho, great post. I'll definitely be playing 'Six Degrees of Craig Pillard' at my next highbrow death metal cocktail soiree.

these a beast said...

@DU shit... I missed the Trixter train but the one vid I watched of theirs made clear their impact on hipster aesthetics. ps when I googled defecation in the night it turns out it's a good weight loss method. Who knew.

@anon I have NO idea and I'm not going to say I don't really care... but I don't really care. The Norwegian dudes are real fucking bigots and I still choose to enjoy their music. But I'm glad there are plenty of good vibers out there carrying the torch.

@Shelby... make sure i get an invite! I'll pretend to know all the answers since i "created this game" and seduce both women while you guys are all hashing it out.

Shelby Cobras said...

"Both women"? Sorry to dash your pipe dream bro, but my death metal soirees never enjoy such high M/F ratios...

DoomUnicorn said...

wait r both chicks gonna be @ where COBRAS is?