Monday, December 30, 2013

About pay-what-you-want

Just a very quick statement for clarification.

All of my releases will, eventually (when i get around to it), be pay what you want via Bandcamp (currently, who knows what the future of music streaming will be?).

I say eventually for two reasons.

  1. Not everything is actually up there
  2. Not everything will be immediately pay what you want from now on
About point 2, i figure that either a month, or when the release is sold out - whichever happens first - is a fair time to wait before you can pay nothing if you want, and you can pay nothing, i really don't care. 

A month is not long to wait, if you want it ASAP it's not going to be expensive.

Regarding pay what you want, my suggestion is pay a minimum of $2 or don't pay anything; less than $2 and you're mostly giving PayPal and Bandcamp a donation and PayPal certainly don't need it.

And for those who might like to know where their money is going (for our tapes and digital sales), this band is as self-sufficient as possible, we only record ourselves and we releases everything ourselves on cassette before it is re-released on vinyl by another label. We consider all releases not on Survivalist to be re-issues or licensed, this is why we do not consistently release music on the same label/s and never will.

So far money from all digital sales has gone back into buying things like microphones and upgrading recording equipment. I do everything on my own, mostly at home, the only part i don't have a hand in is the mastering.

Money from tapes/ merch goes to similar things, and occasionally gets us a night in a fancy beer emporium entirely on the band's dime or a meal on tour/ after a show.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Failures/ Romance

Earlier this year Column of Heaven quietly released two tapes. We didn't announce them for three main reasons:
  1. I don't do mail order, endless "where can i buy...?" e mails don't thrill me.
  2. We wanted to force people to buy from Analog Worship, Iron Lung Records, and Absurd Exposition and to pay attention to their distros more.
  3. They were short run experiments on cassette (Failures 150, Romance 100), and not meant to be held to the same standard as our more widely available releases.
Up until now they weren't going to go online for reason number 3; in the internet age everything is levelled and rehearsal tapes become weighted as the same as albums. But thanks to inevitable uploaders here they are, if you're going to listen to it it may as well be a direct copy and not some terrible rip.

One track from Romance was on bandcamp for about ten minutes, if you downloaded that, be aware that one reason it was pulled was because i made significant changes to it.

The material on both cassettes was culled from  the hours of discarded demos, experiments, audio sigils, unused versions of material that ended up elsewhere, rehearsals, bad ideas, broken equipment, broken thinking, and trans-dimensional communications that i have sitting around on my hard drive.

Art work for both was by the horribly talented Chelsea Watt

If it's important to you then the order of listening goes: Failures, Holy Things 7", Romance. The three releases form a somewhat related narrative, mostly related in my own brain and chaotic stabs at a personalised magickal practices and represent a chapter that has been firmly closed forever. There's some vague information about it all here

Expect advance peeks into the Column of Heaven side of the Suffering Luna split LP and the debut Wolves of Heaven LP, Unconditional, within the next few weeks. Both records will be out at the end of the winter.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


The much delayed Radioactive Vomit split is out now, Analog Worship has them for North America, Feast of Tentacles for Europe, if you're somewhere else in the world pick your king.

I think it might have been out a while, but i just received our band copies so here's my announcement post now.

One of our two songs has been on bandcamp for about a year, i'll upload the other one some time before the end of the year. Finishing up the next Column of Heaven release and the debut Wolves of Heaven release -- more on info on both of those around April time i guess -- has been taking most of my mental energy of late, so sitting about waiting for a file to upload to bandcamp hasn't been my priority.

Our two songs are about the short-reigning, sun-worshipping, sexually "interesting", gender fluid, teenage, Roman emperor Heliogabalus/ Elagabalus.

There's a lot of utter crap out there on the subject, particularly the book Divine Carnage which is possibly the single most spurious nonsense i've ever read (and i have read a lot of spurious nonsense).

It's hard to really get a good sense of what was going on with Heliogabalus, particularly as he was assassinated and undoubtedly rewritten as far more deranged than he actually was, but his continued legacy is in his after-life as a figurehead of decadence, amorality, apostasy, and anti-nomianism.

Our good friends Radioactive Vomit offer up two litanies to filth and garbage on the other side, and are one of the few contemporary "bestial" bands that we as a band can all agree on as having merit. That scene has basically become to the world of metal what power violence has been in hardcore for a long time, ie full of half baked, musically bankrupt, dim-wits releasing sub-par music under the guise of unquestionable authenticity.

Ouroborus endlessly consumes its own tail and complains it has shit in its mouth.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

We Have Seen the True Light

I didn't have the time to post about this before now and apparently it's sold out, there will be a second and final pressing coming soon, then it's gone forever.

Iron Lung records store

As i've said in the past, somewhere on this blog, and probably on tumblr as well, this isn't a power violence related record, i don't know - or particularly care - what genre it fits into. Jensen Ward referred to it as "cultish outsider industrial", take that as whatever you want it to mean.

When i assembled the 7", and assembled really does describe the compositional process here, i was listening to a lot of Terminal Cheesecake, Loop, Head of David, Sonic Violence, Comonauts Hail Satan, Headbutt, God, Splintered, and a whole host of other weirdo UK acts i immersed myself in as a teenager.

Thematically it's another step down the road marked "why i don't think the concept of catharsis is useful " (you empty yourself, you fill yourself up again, and you never break the binging and purging nature of the problem)

At the core the two songs are about accepting that we all have shit headed sides to our personalities, naming those sides as physical presences, and periodically letting them out in controlled situations for short periods of time so that they don't eat us alive from within. Contemporary devil worship if you will.

The release of the records - purely coincidentally - marks the end of a year long experiment i was throwing myself into. The release of Holy Things... is that door being closed once again.

We're waiting for test presses for the Radioactive Vomit split, and the split LP with Suffering Luna goes off to press at the end of the year

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

first public Wolves of Heaven material

I recently scored a 3 minute film for Justin Oakey (who has previously made videos for Column of Heaven, Slaughter Strike, and Death Agonies) called Motherland.

It's an entry for consideration for the next ABCs of Death anthology collection, if you're into it please use your Facebook page to like it and thus cast a vote. Though i suspect something involving a vampire or a corpse will win over a tale of sectarian revenge.

Go here to vote

M is for Motherland from Oak & Arrow on Vimeo.

Mike from Column of Heaven plays the role of the guy getting decapitated and also the guy filming the event.

The soundtrack is part of a longer piece that will see the light of day in some format or another next year once i've got it to place i'm largely happy with.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

shirts and stuff

Anthems of the Undesirable are selling two Column of Heaven shirts and two resurrected Blockade shirts via mail order


Badskulls still has two Blockade shirts for sale on their site


Money from shirts goes directly back into boring things like buying microphones and recording equipment so we can remain self sufficient. We record ourselves exclusively (like so many bands do and many more should) and we self-release all Column of Heaven material on cassette first; we consider all CoH releases to be licensed from us and do not consider ourselves as being attached to any specific label beyond a mutual friendship.

There are three Column of Heaven records currently at various pressing plants

  • split 7" with Radioactive Vomit
  • Holy Things are for the Holy 7"
  • Ecstatically Embracing all that we Habitually Suppress 12"
We're currently working relatively quickly on our side of the Suffering Luna split LP which will go to press at the end of this year.

In other news i recently quit my job and told my boss to stand aside (my girl, as special as she is, is not even close to 16 though) and went back to school (to a program that will last longer than Column of Heaven), which mostly means i will be occasionally unable to respond to e mails, and news will sometimes be sparse. By the end of this year we'll have played a paltry three local shows anyway, so it's unlikely that our unimpressive amount of live excursions is going to be affected.

The Column of Heaven tumblr is the place for periodic short brain farts that may or may not be relevant to anything. Anything longer/ more in depth will go here. Anything really fucking useless goes on our various instagram accounts (do you like looking at pictures of dogs? beer? dogs in the background of pictures of beer? limited appeal noise releases? limited appeal noise release with dogs sniffing them? limited appeal noise releases next to beer and dogs sniffing one or both items? Then feel free to follow wolfagram and be stunned by the simple minded idiocy of my life).

If there's a Column of Heaven (or Blockade) facebook page in existence then feel free to flood it with requests for mail order and shows in your Slovenian fishing village, hell, i insist...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

noise/ listening/ composition/ the future

It's a question I've been asked a lot in the two years Column of Heaven has been playing sporadic live show (we may have played 20 times at this point, possibly less, certainly not much more); "why don't you do the noise stuff live?"

One answer is that I didn't want this band to be seen as exactly the same as The Endless Blockade – the line up is 50% different after all and despite the fact that I'm an unrepentant tyrant and control freak I don't want to diminish Dave and Mike's valuable role in the band.

The main answer is that I want to purposefully move away from the contemporary wisdom that the public performance of a composition somehow has to measure up to or mirror exactly to the recorded version.

The noise in Column of Heaven manifests differently than it did in Blockade. Blockade's records were slightly noisy; but because we were always at the mercy of other people recording us we never really developed it in a way that we wanted. Our live performances, particularly in the last year of the band when we added Bloomer to the line up, were pretty noisy though. In the last five years of the band we had zero silence live; we'd play a block of three to six songs and then we'd use noise to fill the space whilst we retuned. Sometimes I felt the audience didn't really know how to react as we never gave them a space to do something as simple as applaud (or yell "you're a bunch of dicks, fuck off") and the vibe would often seem strained. Or maybe we were just horrible.

In Column of Heaven we don't allow anyone to record us; two of our unbreakable rules are we release everything ourselves on cassette first, and no one outside of the band is allowed to record us for a release. Because of this I get to spend as much time as I want sandblasting everything in noise and generally making releases flow exactly how I want them to flow. My recording skills are not particularly great, but hey, if someone's going to not do full justice to your intent, it may as well be you.

Music and Where it's Consumed

In Blockade I was using the noise primarily to accentuate the dissonance already present in hardcore. It was used to push to breaking point the implied chaos present in the music I'm influenced by.

In Column of Heaven it's used for those purposes as well, but something I've been interested in of late is how the mechanics of consuming music influence the production of it. Stadium rock sounds like it's meant for stadiums, certain types of hardcore sounds like it's only meant to be played in basements with kids piling on top of the band as they play.

The venue of music consumption I've been interested in is related to the ever onward advancement of downloaded music. A quick look at my Mediafire and Bandcamp stats tells me that Column of Heaven has been downloaded around 3-400% more times than we've sold records and tapes, and those are just the stats I have access to. In terms of where people consume music I suspect most people listen to a significant amount on their phones as they're travelling during the day.

In my own listening experiences – there was a span of close to two decades between my last walkman and my first iPod – the leaking through of environmental sounds into my "private" listening has made me reassess how I make music. Walking past a construction site and having the sounds blend with what I'm listening to at the time has made me think in different ways about non-musical sound, which was something I was always interested in anyway. I've lost count of the amount of times I've paused something to figure out if that sound (frequently sirens or a strangely sonorous subway train) was an intentional part of the music I was listening to or not.

Old Punks Don't Die (They Just Record at Home)

When I see a band I don't want a perfect transcription of their records. If they're a hardcore band I want it to be in someone's packed and broken basement and I'd rather the bass player got pushed through the drums mid-song, or I have to duck as the singer throws a mic stand at me than hear a perfect recreation of their 7". 
Most Column of Heaven is not consumed by people seeing us play live, we don't play live very often and that isn't going to change. I'm a 40 year old with a mortgage working towards my PhD, employed in a management job in the social services industry. I don't have the time or energy levels to be touring much or playing 90% of the shows I'm offered, even the local ones.

With that in mind I don't actually want to only compose and release music that's suitable for live replication; it just doesn't matter at this point. The original goal of the band was to be a two piece and not even playing anything remotely grind sounding anyway. Somehow I got tricked into doing another band…

The Holy Things are for the Holy 7" due out on Iron Lung Records pretty soon (I mean it) is an example of a record that's not meant to be played live (we couldn't if we wanted to because it wasn't written or recorded that way) and is influenced by my experiences of hearing other sounds filter through into my private listening experiences.

some wolves and some religious shit, AKA Column of Heaven artwork 101

The Future

We aren't going to stop playing live, well, I hope not, I actually quite enjoy the experience, we play so selectively that it's not something I feel is a burden or an unwelcome necessity. But we are going to be releasing more records and tapes that aren't really for live consumption. This does not mean we will release a bunch of noise records with vocals over the top under the banner of Column of Heaven, we're conscious of the fact that we're first and foremost related to hardcore and grindcore and getting too far away from that for too many records is going to make us an inconsistent experience for most people.

Some future releases will be under the name Wolves of Heaven; I have a release under that title I've been slowly picking away at for a while now that's too removed from Column of Heaven to be released under that name, despite it being the exact same four people involved. That being said there are going to be more releases that don't fit as grindcore records.

As for touring we're currently committed to heading to the eastern US next spring to drink fine beers and meet interesting new canines at house shows.