by: Vivian Lee
Let’s face it: I am writing this while wearing a sweater with a Magnetic Fields pin. I am very ill equipped to talk metal with KUCI’s Loud Rock Music Director Chris Rigney.
For starters, I ask Chris, who does “Metalmorphosis” from 12-3 A.M. Sunday morning, to describe death metal, black metal, grind core and hard rock in five words or less. Graciously, he did. Even more graciously, he let me interview him for this edition of “Shuffle…” (fun fact: he used an actual iPod Shuffle).
From talking about our respective last.fm sites (our compatibility will probably be “very low”), to giving me a timeline of each band and their respective band origins, Rigney is like a walking, talking encyclopedia of metal.
Gehenna: Devout Dementia
Chris Rigney: This is a death metal band from Northern Europe, I believe. I bought this while I was still in college at Vanderbilt, I think either my sophomore or junior year. I bought it on a recommendation from a friend who worked at a record store. This band’s sound is very aggressive. It’s very death metal, but the vocals are more mid-range. The vocals are not very “gargly” like other death metal bands. [Gehenna] has gone through an evolution: if they didn’t have the same emblem on each album, you wouldn’t know that each album was theirs.
Cephalic Carnage: Lucid Interval
C.R.: This is the title track off of the album. [People] put this band under grindcore, but it’s really very frenetic and fast or experimental death metal. There is a lot of time changes and sudden starts and stops. I saw them live before.
Vivian Lee: How are they live?
C.R.: Extremely energetic. Their stage presence is very old school rock-and-roll. The guitar player would be on the ground “sizzling bacon.” This is easily one of the best bands in grind core because they incorporate clean vocals. Every album I own by them, I absolutely love.
Droid: The Resurrection
C.R.: This is a local band out of Long Beach. This is a little more modern sounding, incorporating metal-core and hard-core. They’re able to do it without sounding generic or other bands out there right now. I would liken it to…[pauses] maybe “Dead to Fall” without a death metal influence.
V.L.: So why is this band so interesting to you?
C.R.: They have very good energy. They are a very hard-working group of guys who are very dedicated. This band is one of the hardest working metal bands that have gotten big. They just came off the “Family Values” tour.
Dawn of Dreams: Eclipse
C.R.: I purchased this on a whim from a good review I had read on Amazon.com. It’s another death metal band [laughs]. I feel like I listen to a lot of death metal. Anyway, this band [is great] because it mixes melody and traditional death metal without being trendy or generic in their process. I think they have a unique sound. They draw inspiration from Sinister, with a good melody.
Susperia: The Clone
C.R.: This band is pretty cool. They combine hard rock with death metal, although their first album was more “old school” death metal—more aggressive and super fast. Susperia has members from both Dimmir Borgir and Old Man’s Child. They also sing about really strange subject matter.
V.L.: What are some of the general subject matters this band sings about?
C.R.: Well, except for this song…these lyrics aren’t very clear. But [in general] they have the same typical metal themes: alienation, difficult and troubled times. Susperia expresses it in a strange and unique way. It’s a good cross-over band though.
V.L.: Because it combines both metal and hard rock right?
V.L.: See, I’m picking up! Ok last song.
Diabolic: Possess the Strength
C.R.: Aaw, disappointing [selection] for a last song. I first heard this as a DJ at Vanderbilt. They’re another death metal band, with heavy influences by Morbid Angels. I would recommend this band if people like Morbid Angels or Angelcorpse. But not everything I listen to is death metal though! I was hoping that Devin Townsend would pop up. I had a 5% chance a song by him would pop up on my shuffle. He is one of the hardest working artist in metal. Period.
VL: Well, that’s it! Thanks for doing this!
CR: No problem. I’m going to send this interview to my co-workers at the Admin. building at UCI.