Saturday, March 31, 2007

A place of blight and little chivalry

The North has continued to pay tribute to us. Poughkeepsie was excellent, despite its revolting setting. What an ugly city. The Loft, however, was nicely appointed and intimate and we played to a full room. All the bands have their sets well-oiled at this point, so the package as a whole is consistently dealing sonic death. Nachtmystium took a wrong turn heading to the club and were lost for two hours. The problem was they went to the neighboring town of New Paltz, which also had a Main St. and a club called the Loft. They repeatedly called me saying, "We're on Main! Where the fuck are you guys?" They finally figured out their error but it was a Twilight Zone moment.

As said, the show went well. We met someone from Brazil who had actually seen us perform with Candlemass in Sao Paulo and just happened to be in the area for the show. The world continues to shrink. Things got wilder post-show, as most everyone was in a wired and scrappy mood. Sanguine ended up mock grappling with Ben Goatwhore and evoked the mythical character of Antaeus as he wrenched Ben into a stalemate hold. The end of the night was punctuated with a pathetic bum begging us for money multiple times while we loaded out, and it took a bit of yelling to chase him off. Also, there was a very drunk, very lacivious girl who was hanging around the Goatwhore van. She was loose and sloppy and seemed to be finessing drummer Zach to some unclear end, and when it was time to leave she stepped out onto the curb. From our van, we wondered if she was being left behind with no apparent ride at 4am in a rather nasty neighborhood. The slamming doors of the Goatwhore van clanged an affirmative. The road knows no chivalry, and there is no room for damsels in dysfunction.

We then went to a high-end diner and had far too much food.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Your Scars are Beautiful to God...

... is the title of a self-help book I saw in a truckstop. This nation is doomed. Springfield was outstanding. Jaxx is a well-appointed club with a great stage and PA system, and for the first time on the tour we sounded as massive as our headlining cohorts. The audience was the best and largest yet, and there were even some in attendance mouthing words to some of the songs (which is always hard to get used to, though obviously not undesired). It was inspiring and hopefully it is a herald of things to come. Our first shows were to audiences to whom we were relatively unknown, but it seems we have a larger foothold in the northern territories. It is nothing compared to Goatwhore's small empire, but it affords us the necessary fuel to our fire.

A moment of levity: We did not have our set lists present, and accordingly I lost my place and thought we were on the final song "Battle's Clarion". Paula from Candlelight USA was in attendance so I made a typically dramatic dedication of the song to her. Sanguine interjected from his mic,"Yes, but we still have one song before that," to which I growled, "Ohhhh..." Laughter rippled through the audience, we grinned, and then shifted gears with a a ripping version of "Plagabraha".

We are enjoying spending time with 1349, as their outlook tends to resonate with ours. Seidemann and I were commiserating on how it seems that good Black Metal is invariably made by smart people but then somehow seems to appeal to idiots. This isn't a blanket statement by any means, but every night there are people that I cannot imagine actually understanding or caring about Black Metal in the way it is intended. I suppose this is the nature of making one's art available on a large scale, but in the end it matters little. We do this for ourselves, regardless of who or how many take heed.

En route to Poughkeepsie we just passed through Lodi, New Jersey, which is the birthplace of the Misfits. It was nothing to look at, just a dingy little nothing-burg outside of Hackensack but it also revealed why Danzig looked inside himself to create a new reality to subvert the rawness of the "green hell" into which he was born. Your scars are beautiful to God.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The thanks of a grateful Nashville

Sometimes it seems that the underdogs live to prove everyone else wrong. We were warned that Nashville would be a disappointment, but much like our surprisingly gratifying show in Jacksonville it was quite the opposite of our initial expectations. We played to a vocal and appreciative crowd who completely filled the small room of The Muse, which is a painfully hot and humid venue that left all of us to walk around looking like we had showered while fully dressed. The Norwegians have proven to be interesting and agreeable touring companions, and they gamely field our cultural jibes and offer quite a few in return. Goatwhore still remains the band to beat, as they tend to dominate each show with brand recognition, which is not to dismiss 1349's zealous and convincing performances. Goatwhore are tour junkies, pure and simple. They apparently have played The Muse 5 times in as many months, and then on stage they closed the evening by saying "See you guys in a month!", which was a statement that seemed completely free of irony. I have never met such a relentlessly hard-working band, though I'd like to believe Averse Sefira has the fortitude to become such an animal.

Today's drive to Springfield was not enjoyable, as it was ten hours of contending with eighteen-wheelers and being careful to avoid the ubiquitous speed traps. There must have been one state patrol car for every ten vehicles on the road. In any case, we arrived without any trouble, though I am thankful that our next few shows remain under five hours in distance. New York to Quebec will be daunting but we cannot wait to return to Montreal, our home away from home. Show soon, Jaxx presold 400 tickets so expectations are high. We shall see in about two hours.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Atlanta burns

The Masquerade is a sprawling, cyclopean stone building that was once a
mill. There are three full sized clubs within. We played in Hell, there were supplimental bands (namely Withered, who were quite good) in the next door Purgatory room, and the unused and extremely large Heaven room was upstairs. The show was good. The stage sound was the best so far, and the audience reaction was a welcome turnabout from the bored indolence we experienced in Orlando. No matter, we gave them less than half of our normal effort and they still got a better show than they deserved. Tonight however, everyone was attentive and agreeable. Members of Demoncy were in attendance as well as Danielle from Morbid Thoughts and Mincemoyer from Oaken Throne. It is always gratifying to perform to people we respect. The food tonight was outstanding, with a large array of simple but filling dishes like chicken, mashed potatoes, et al. We were all grateful as up until now the promoters have been taking the buy-out option, which would be fine except that there is often little or nothing of quality to eat adjacent to the venues. The Carcass remained unconscious until show time, played a great set, and then returned to twilight as soon as we finished. It was worrisome. Fortunately, he now has access to antibiotics and has been considerably better in the last few hours.

1349 got their bus back last night, but when they started it up it made dubious wheezing noises that left us shaking our heads. There were several joke references about Han Solo and Chewbacca yelling and desperately throwing tools around. As of this writing the bus has apparently died again for effectively the last time. 1349 is to be transplanted to a passenger van, and for the moment Ben of Goatwhore is going to be the point man for keeping the tour running. This suits us fine as he is reliable and knows his business. We have already gained a great deal of respect for that unit, as they are dedicated, honorable, and often times completely hilarious. We also have just now arrived to the Muse in Nashville, and once again we will begin the process of Detonation.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Breaking the chains

Metal at its core is a patent rejection of what the world expects of us. It is a world we have created for ourselves, for better or for worse. This is not unusual when one considers the number of insular subcultures that exist, but the difference is that Metal is consistently successful in reaching beyond itself and leaving a nasty scar upon the face of the society it chooses to defy. I am reminded of this in small ways when I look at Goatwhore's awesomely huge "I don't have a day job" beards, but more so in my recent conversation with Ravn of 1349. We were discussing how in the US people are quick to discard the band pseudonyms with one another and how this leads to indecision on how to introduce oneself to new people. The European Black Metal contingent does not suffer from this as they are quick to acknowledge one another by their chosen names and thereby keep the mystique intact. I offered to Ravn that part of this may be because Americans are so obsessed with the self and the ego that we cannot look past ourselves to embrace a transcendent persona. I also observed that Americans are fixated on egalitarianism so the idea of some people having titles for themselves is perceived as pretentious and as such most are eager to dismantle it in the interest of "feeling equal". Ravn countered by asking me why I don't just change my legal name to Wrath. I was surprised at this suggestion, and asked if this is what he did. He said, "It's on my passport. When I show it to people I say 'Yes, Ravn. Fuck off!'"

I truly believe that by definition being American means being a slave, be it socially or otherwise. Being Metal in America means you wish to break those chains. We still have a long way to go.

Touring is filth

Exhibit A:

Early casualties and random thoughts

It is day four, Orlando is tonight. All of the bands have come together in alliance without much hesitation, which is always a good sign. We and Nachtmystium resolved to get hotel rooms for the night though it was only scarcely worth the money, considering the overall foulness of the rooms and the disgusting hookers creeping around the parking lot like roaches. The Carcass is already sick, which might be a new record for manifesting illness on tour. 1349's bus had a critical failure on day two, so they are now in a passenger van themselves though with twice as much equipment. No envy there.

Brief recap of Ft. Lauderdale:
- The Culture Room was a nice club and professionally run. The only problem was that we were not supported by local openers this time, so we ended up finishing our sound check and then immediately beginning our set as the doors had already opened and there were people standing there watching us prepare. Fortunately we had the foresight to don our paint and spikes beforehand. It was offputting enough as it was. Decent set, good reaction. We still need to find our footing, though. I think another show or two will do it.
- The strip mall next to the club featured an importer cafe, complete with outstanding selections of fresh made food and sundries from Europe. Thanks to Rick and company for their hospitality.
- The pub next door had an incident in which a drunk patron nearly assaulted the rather attractive barmistress. Nachtmystium and The Carcass intervened and helped chase him off. It is ironic that in this day and age you can count on a Black Metal band for more upright behavior than your average "normal" person.

More soon.

In space, where no one can hear you scream...

Ft. Lauderdale, 2pm. He was there before we arrived, corpse paint and all. The doors opened at 7:45.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Exceeding Expectations

Much to our surprise, the Jacksonville show was a triumphant one. The city itself seemed to be full of idiots who either congregated at the ugly local mall or else drove around in loud, plastic encased cars with the intent of preying on one another. We did not have much hope for the success of this show upon arrival, though one thing I am quickly remembering is that virtually every venue looks lifeless and depressing until the lights are on and the crowd arrives. The show itself was a energetic one, including the receptive audience. We closed with "Battle's Clarion", and it went down like a hammer of doom. A redeeming interval early on, hopefully there will be more to come.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

First strike

Tampa was odd. The stage at the venue was narrow, so our drum kit was front and center which sequestered myself and Sanguine to the far left and right sides of it. This of course made for an awkward performance, trapped as we were in our corners and unable to connect with one another in our accustomed fashion. It was not help that the stage sound was painfully loud and the only lights on us were red and very hot. The short version is that our performance was not to our liking, though it seems that those in attendance enjoyed it. We always appreciate any compliments we receive, though on nights like this they tend to get caught in a mire of our incredulity. Most artists are their own worst critics, and in most cases this is true for our band as well. No matter, we did what we came to do and reached the relatively small audience. 1349 lost over half their audience by the middle of their set, so it seems that "headliner syndrome" is a more far-reaching disease that we realized.

We stayed with Bill (Immolation/ex-Angelcorpse). His house is one of the most metal places we've ever seen.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


All is in readiness.

Ruminations upon embarking on tour


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Intent - the source of all worthwhile Metal

Be advised that this space is not intended for social contact; it should stand as a record of events and ideas. We have no interest in laying bare the artifice that makes AVRS what it is, but as our copious interviews have demonstrated we are also interested in broadcasting our intent. From here onwards there will be no disclaimers, but merely content of our choosing as well as upcoming detritus from our march across this wretched nation of ours. Read on.

In many interviews I am asked, “What advice do you have for musicians who are just starting out?” Usually this means “What can a musician do to make a band that people will like?” And of course the fact is that there is no answer to this question. One simply creates music and if it speaks to anyone then it is a coincidence. However, I do have some words on what must be done to see a band become any kind of success- live like there is no day after tomorrow. Think this over for a moment. When people live as if there is no tomorrow it generally means they are impulsive, maybe self-destructive, and they certainly do not work to create anything with any degree of permanence. Averse Sefira is a product of calculated risk and sometimes when the situation demands it, total abandon in the name of achieving new goals. It certainly didn’t hurt our reputation in
France to spend almost $2000 of our own money to fly from Texas to Paris for a total of 60 hours, just so we could play a show with Antaeus in Bordeaux. It was something we did for the weekend while everyone else watched TV or went out to a chain restaurant for dinner. The point is that you must plan ahead and make scrupulous decisions but if you want to see your band have a name that precedes it, if you want to have experiences with your band that will last a lifetime, then be prepared to walk away from jobs, money, security, certainty, and the mediocrity that defines a life free of risk. Live like there is no day after tomorrow, and you will not regret it.

- WSD 3.1.07