Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An interview with DECIBEL MAGAZINE's Albert Mudrian

There have been many new metal magazines over the last decade or so, and most of them have sucked. For example, PIT and Terrorizer. Terrible, terrible magazines, unless you like paying $5 to read interviews with Decide's Hoffman brothers that are two paragraphs long and looking at stolen JPEGs of Hate Eternal. Thank Christ for Decibel, which is well-designed, always well-written, and aside from some regrettable beard metal coverage, entirely credible. Decibel Editor-in-Chief Albert Mudrian was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. Now, please buy his magazine. And his book. He probably also has some old Century Media promos he will sell you for cheap, too.

I know you are the brains behind Decibel magazine and the book "Choosing Death." Can you tell us a little more about yourself? What is your favorite color?
I recently learned everything I ever wanted to know about myself after practicing some self-Googling (it’s the safest form of Googling!). I’ll save everyone the trouble of sorting through the 13,000 “Albert Mudrian” matches and just provide the most defining results:
— “Albert Mudrian is fucking faker who wrote that book is just a joke! reading from the book is not worth anything! Albert Mudrian does not know nothing about death metal because he did not know that there was another band name Heretic was already taken back in 1981 duh!”— hornsofthegoat@yahoo.com, from Blabbermouth’s comment section

—“short-haired and friendly” — Pop Matters

—“Mudrian gaat daarbij in op de Britse, Amerikaanse en continentaal-Europese grondleggers, waar zij de mosterd en darmen haalden, en wat ze teweegbrachten bij hun fanatieke achterban.” —Boleuzia Blog

—“He also has a younger brother named James.” —Wikipedia
I’d say this is a pretty accurate snapshot. Oh, and my favorite color is blue.

LOLOLOLZ! He thinks that posing with the DVD version of the Hard n Heavy Grindcore video will earn him scene cred. Try again when you have the VHS tape, poser.

Many of the Metal Inquisition staffers have first-hand experience with the brutal realities of the publishing industry, so we greatly admire your accomplishments with Decibel. That said, it is unfortunate that you are sometimes forced to feature bands like Mastodon, the Dillinger Escape Plan, and other stars of the beard metal scene. How does it make you feel when you barely devote a singe paragraph to a band like Decrepit Birth while fawning over Earth or the latest Hydra Head release for pages?
Thanks for the kind words. I won’t pretend to love every band that’s ever been on the cover of Decibel, but I really do dig about 90% of them (Mastodon and Dillinger included). And I will say that we gave the new Decrepit Birth record considerably more coverage (not to mention a higher review rating) than the new Earth, but I can understand why you’d wanna send in the false metal police for the occasional unannounced inspection on us. I mean, I like the new Genghis Tron LP more than the latest Prostitute Disfigurement, so can I really be trusted?

Not enough bands thank other bands "For inspiration" these days. Why is that?
I stopped reading CD booklets in 1998, so I’ll take you at your word. The short answer is that most of today’s bands are simply uninspired (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?!) and feel that moving a band they like into their MySpace “Top 24” is thanks enough. I don’t think there is a long answer.

If you had access to Nocturnus' time machine, what band would you go back in time and kill?
It wouldn’t be a band, but instead a person… and I don’t know his name. It’s the dude who was in charge of production at JL America. Seriously, those one-page CD “booklets” still make me angry when I think about them! And I wasn’t about to shell out $25 for the Osmose pressings of those records just to read Blasphemy lyrics.

Hardcore bands seem to emulate whatever was popular in metal a decade earlier. For example, in the 90s hardcore bands emulated Sepultura and Slayer. These days they copy At The Gates and late-period Carcass. What is next for crappy Victory Records bands? Do you think they will ever get into funk-thrash like Mordred?
If only! When Robert Trujillo joined Metallica in 2003, I was hopeful that a new generation of metallers might dig deep into his background and unearth his true musical masterwork—Infectious Grooves—and in the process trigger a retro-funk metal movement! Alas, it was not to be. So if that didn’t set off a 24-7 Spyz-charged renaissance, I’m not sure anything will. I mean, for fuck’s sake, Sarsippius Ark doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia entry. Can someone get on that, please?

We are big fans of wigger slam metal like Devourment, Rest In Gore, Vomit Remnants and Soils of Fate. What do you make of this scene?
Oh, come on. Devourment is still cool, but the Japanese slam metal scene is sooooo 2006! Mexico is the new Japan, people! And Rottenness, who have been ambitious enough to organize the annual Fistfuck Family Festival, are the future of the entire scene! Honestly, the slam metal movement is not my field of expertise, but through that scene I have discovered that Brie is indeed the most brutal of all cheeses!

Nothing says generic 1990s death metal like Morrisound Studios. What do you think Scott Burns is up to these days? Why did he like bass drums that sound like a typewriter?
I gotta defend my homie here. Scott Burns is really one of the nicest dudes to ever come out of the U.S. death metal scene. I think he took an unwarranted beating over the years, because every unimaginative death metal band that walked through Morrisound’s doors just wanted Scott to give their band “that Morrisound sound.” Ultimately, it’s an engineer’s job to get the band they sound they want, so it’s hard to fault him too much for the steady stream of bullshit that was pumped out of there in the early ’90s. And say what you will about that double-bass typewriter sound—it still beats the double-bass lawn-sprinkler system that Cradle of Filth employed in the late ’90s.

Plus, most people don’t know this, but Scott was instrumental in repairing the Nocturnus time machine, which repeatedly malfunctioned during the recording of “Destroying the Manger.” If not for Scott, Louis Panzer would still be limited to thrashing where he was at in Nazareth.

Tell us about writing "Choosing Death." Some of the Amazon reviewers feel that you focused excessively on Napalm Death. I like Napalm as much as the next guy, but why didn't you write more about Suffocation? I am sure that Terrence Hobbs would have been more than willing to speak with you while he was on his lunch break at Guitar Center.
It’s a fair question, but you’ve gotta ask yourself, “Were Suffocation featured on the legendary Hard N’ Heavy Grindcore Video Special?” I think we both know the answer to that. Also, what band that was featured had the longest segment? That’s right, it’s those who were “chuffed and weakened at the same time.” So who was I to question Jennifer and Grob’s vision of the death metal and grindcore scenes?

One of the most annoying things in over 100 years of music is mediocre hardcore bands that think they are funny by giving their songs exceedingly long, sarcastic titles. For example, Every Time I Die. What's the deal with that?
I dunno, dude. I think this should have ended with Drowningman, who (for me, anyway) were the last band to do the funny-song-title-thing well. But you can definitely add this unfortunate development to the growing list of current tired trends, which also includes but is not limited to the following:

— “Pagan” Metal
— Ironic or unironic appreciation of hair metal
— Thrash metal revival (you’ve already got that covered: http://metalinquisition.blogspot.com/2008/02/current-thrashcrossover-revival-civil.html)

I am sure that as part of your efforts to woo advertisers, Decibel conducts reader surveys to find out more about your reader base. How would you describe the average Decibel reader? I will take a guess, and you tell me if I'm off the mark: 32 years old, male, 25 pounds overweight with a neckbeard and a Neurosis tattoo partially covered by his Super Mario Brothers shirt. Also, he is a virgin unless you count the one time he got to second base with the chubby goth girl in 10th grade.
Your question implies that we’ve conducted market research in the magazine’s four-year history. What wishful thinking! The only firm readership data we have to go on is from the comments posted on the Decibel MySpace profile. Based on that evidence, our readership is a 50/50 split between 14-year-old girls who want us to a “HAVE A FUCKING BR00TAL WEAKEND!” and unsigned bands who would like us to “check out [our] new shit that’s up!!!”

That's it for me. Thanks again for your time, and please tell our readers where they can buy your book and magazine!
You can purchase Decibel from Borders, Barnes & Noble, the other usual metal magazine retail suspects and at www.decibelmagazine.com. Choosing Death is available at any fine establishment that sells books about death metal and at Amazon. You guys rule—thanks.


  1. To think that a few weeks ago I had no idea what wigger slam metal was, or that the term 'beard metallers' existed. Now I can educate all my friends on the history of Helloween cover art and Robb Flynn's Disease, to name a few. Thanks to Andrew @ Aversionline for directing his loyal readers to the Metal Inquisition universe. I love it!

  2. i'd give my left nut to be able to make people laugh like you guys make me (albert included).

  3. Now I can educate all my friends on the history of Helloween cover art

    it's my pleasure to provide you with the educational material you need to school others.