A new paper, led by my colleague Callum McLean, and in collaboration with Charlotte Brassey, both at Manchester Metropolitan University, has just been published. This reports sexual dimorphism within whip scorpion. These arachnids have spined limbs used to capture prey, but we show that they have also adapted through display contests which are used between males prior to mating in the species. An example of the species studied – Damon variegatus – is shown below (photo copyright Steve Smith).
McLean, C., Garwood, R.J. & Brassey, C. In press. Sexual dimorphism in the size and shape of the raptorial pedipalps of Giant Whip Spiders (Arachnida: Amblypygi). Journal of Zoology. doi:10.1111/jzo.12726
Two papers I've been involved with were published this week. The first is a review paper of the Rhynie Chert – a rock deposit in the north of Scotland which preserves an early terrestrial (land-based) ecosystem in unusually good detail. It represents A ~411 million-year-old hydrothermal system a bit like today's Yellowstone National Park in the USA. Hot water flooded patches of land in a valley within a mountainous area, killing the animals and plants before entombing them in a translucent chert (a silica-based rock). This preserved the life that was around on land at this time – long before the earliest vertebrates made it from the sea into this new environment – in exquisite detail, sometimes down to a cellular level. The was discovered a century ago, and provides unique insights to early life on land. This paper, in the Geological Magazine, provides an overview of the history of the study of the deposit, its geology, how the fossils were preserved, and the plants, animals and other organisms that have been discovered at the site. The paper was written in collaboration with my colleagues Alan Spencer at Imperial College, and Heather Oliver, a masters graduate from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester. We hope it provides a useful overview, please do get in touch if you are unable to access a copy at the below link:
Garwood, R.J., Oliver, H. & Spencer, A.R.T. In press. An introduction to the Rhynie chert. The Geological Magazine doi: 10.1017/S0016756819000670
The second paper was led by my colleague Matthew Warke, who is currently at the St Andrews, which focusses on the form and trace element variation of ~2.5 Ga stromatolites, a time of global change shortly after oxygen first appeared in Earth's atmosphere. More details are at the link below:
Warke, M., Edwards, N., Wogelius, R.A., Manning, P., Bergmann, U., Egerton, V., Kimball, K., Garwood, R.J., Beukes, N.J. & Schröder, S. 2019. Decimeter-scale mapping of carbonate-controlled trace element distribution in Neoarchean cuspate stromatolites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 261: 56-75. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2019.07.004
A paper conceived and led by my colleague Jonathan Cox at the University of Bath, has just appeared. This study uses CT scanning, 3D printing and computational fluid dynamics to study the mechanism my which sturgeon smell. Although I am listed as first author this reflects authorship conventions in the field – I had the pleasure of conducting the CT data collection for the paper, rather than leading the work as being first might imply. Please do check it out:
Garwood, R.J., Behnsen, J., Haysom, H.K., Hunt, J.N., Dalby, L.J., Quilter, S.K., Maclaine, J.S. & Cox, J.P. 2019. Olfactory flow in the sturgeon is externally driven. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. In press. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2019.06.013
A new paper which I was lucky enough to contribute to has just been published — it reports new species of spiders from the Jurassic of China, and places these in a phylogeny.
Selden, P.A., Huang, D. & Garwood, R.J. In press. New spiders (Araneae: Palpimanoidea) from the Jurassic Yanliao Biota of China Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, doi: 10.1080/14772019.2019.1584831
I'm very pleased to report that after a decade in development – off and on – my colleagues Mark Sutton, Alan Spencer, and I have published a paper documenting a model for simulating evolution, and a software implementation of this. The program is called REvoSim. The software employs digital organisms, and incorporates spatial relationships, spatial and temporal environmental variation, and recombinant reproduction. The software is highly efficient, and thus can simulate evolution over long time scales, with large population numbers. As such, it can model macro- as well as microevolution: for example, isolation of gene-pools (i.e. speciation) emerges naturally from simulations under appropriate conditions. We're releasing it in the hope that it can act as a multi-purpose platform for the study of many evolutionary phenomena; while it was designed with macroevolutionary studies in mind, it is also applicable to microevolutionary problems. A full description of the model is available in the paper, published in the journal Palaeontology:
Garwood, R.J., Spencer, A.R.T. & Sutton, M.D. In press. REvoSim: Organism-level simulation of macro- and microevolution. Palaeontology. doi:10.1111/pala.12420
In order to release the source code for this, and other software, we have also created a GitHub organisation called Palaeoware. This hosts the code, and features Windows and Mac builds for the software, as well as simple instructions for Linux. The package also comprises a utility program called EnviroGen for creating REvoSim environments. More information is available on the Palaeoware GitHub REvoSim repository, and documentation is available through ReadTheDocs. A release candidate for v3.0.0 of the tomographic reconstruction software SPIERS has also been released recently in a Palaeoware GitHub repository.
Several further software packages are currently in development. Please do follow Palaeoware on twitter for updates.
I'm pleased to report that a new paper has appeared, led by colleagues in Material Sciences at the University of Manchester. In it the team, which I was fortunate enough to be a member of, use very high resolution CT scanning to understand how cracks grow in the exoskeleton of arthropods (in this case a beetle), and how the microstructure slows this process. The publication details, and a graphical abstract, are below.
Sykes, D., Hartwell, R., Bradley, R.S., Burnett, T.L., Hornberger, B., Garwood, R.J. & Withers, P.J. 2019. Time-lapse three-dimensional imaging of crack propagation in beetle cuticle. Acta Biomaterialia 86: 109-116. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.01.031
Interesting times are afoot when it comes to how we try and work out the evolutionary relationships between living groups of organisms. I've written an overview of what is happening for Palaeontology [online]. This explains how we build evolutionary trees, and how this has changed, and is changing now. Please do check it out.
Garwood, R.J. 2018. Patterns in Palaeontology – Deducing the tree of life. Palaeontology Online 8(12):1-10.
It's been a couple of months since I updated my website. In this time, two papers to which I have contributed have been published. The first assess the potential impact of neutron tomography – which we tried at the beamline IMAT – for studying fossils and other life sciences samples:
Burca, G., Nagella, S., Clark, T., Tasev, D., Rahman, I.A., Garwood, R.J., Spencer, A.R.T., Turner, M.J. & Kelleher, J.F. In press. Exploring the potential of neutron imaging for life sciences on IMAT. Journal of microscopy. doi:10.1111/jmi.12761
The second paper is one led by Callum McLean, who has previously completed an MPhil at the University of Manchester, and is now a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University. It provides an overview of sexual dimorphism within the arachnids:
McLean C.J., Garwood R.J. & Brassey C.A. 2018. Sexual dimorphism in the Arachnid orders. PeerJ 6:e5751 doi:10.7717/peerj.575
It's been a great pleasure to be involved in both these studies and to work with such talented colleagues. Also since my last update, two PhD projects supervised, or co-supervised, by myself have been advertised as part of the University of Manchester BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Further details are available via the links below:
Please do email me if you are interested in either.
I recently had the pleasure of collaborating on a paper with two of my colleagues from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Uniersity of Manchester. In it we report the chemistry and structure (using tomography) of some 492 million-year-old, chrome-rich rocks from Shetland, which are also have high concentrations of platinum and palladium. The paper has now appeared in print, details below:
O'Driscoll, B., Garwood, R.J., Day, J. M. D. and Wogelius, R. 2018. Platinum-group element remobilisation and concentration in the Cliff chromitites of the Shetland Ophiolite Complex, Scotland. Mineralogical Magazine. 82(3): 471-490. doi:10.1180/minmag.2017.081.108
This is something else a bit different from my previous work – and also really interesting. Please do email me if you would like a copy.
A new paper I've been lucky enough to contribute to has just appeared, and it's a little bit different. For this publication my colleagues and I have filmed the leaps of jumping spiders in slow motion, and used the resulting videos to calculate the physics of their jumps. You can find more information about this work in the video below:
Details of the paper are as follows:
Nabawy, M. R., Sivalingam, G., Garwood, R.J., Crowther, W.J. and Sellers, W.I. 2018. Energy and time optimal trajectories in exploratory jumps of the spider Phidippus regius. Scientific reports, 8(1): 7142. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25227-9 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
I am pleased to report that a paper to which I contributed that describes a 127-million-year-old juvenile bird, has just been published. I got to play with a rather large synchrotron CT dataset for this paper, in which we showed that the baby bird’s sternum (breast bone) was still largely made of cartilage. This fills in a number of blanks regarding the development of this early group of birds. You can find an accessible introduction to the findings here. The full details of the publication, are as follows:
Knoll, F., Chiappe, L.M., Sanchez, S., Garwood, R.J., Edwards, N.P., Wogelius, R.A., Sellers, W.I., Manning, P.L., Ortega, F., Serrano, F.J. and Marugán-Lobón, J. 2018. A diminutive perinate European Enantiornithes reveals an asynchronous ossification pattern in early birds. Nature Communications, 9(1):937. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03295-9 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4).
In the summer of 2017 I was fortunate enough to contribute to the study of a remarkable fossil arachnid, which has just been published. The paper, led by Bo Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, features a 100 million year old new arachnid species, Chimerarachne yingi. What makes this fossil quite remarkable is that it very spider-like (it even has spinnerets to spin silk), but retains a flagellum, or tail, at the back of the body. The survival of such a lineage, which must have split from the spider line more than 300 million years ago and then survived for a further 200 million, is totally unexpected. The full reference for the paper is as follows:
Wang, B., Dunlop, J.A., Selden, P.A., Garwood, R.J., Shear, W.A., Müller, P. & Lei, X-J. 2018. Cretaceous arachnid Chimerarachne yingi gen. et sp. nov. illuminates spider origins. Nature Ecology & Evolution. doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0449-3 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Here is a reconstruction of the fossil showing what it might have been like in life, with a link to the paper:
Towards the end of last year I gave two talks in quick succession on the research of several colleagues and myself on simulating evolution using custom built software:
Garwood R. J., Sutton, M. D., Knight, C., Gomez, G, Sansom, R. S., Keating, J. N. & Spencer, A. R. T. 2017. Simulating evolution in space and time. (Talk; Invited Speaker). Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association, Imperial College, London.
Garwood R. J., Sutton, M. D., Knight, C., Gomez, G, Sansom, R. S., Keating, J. N. & Spencer, A. R. T. 2017. Modelling evolution in deep time. (Talk; Invited Speaker). Manchester Evolution Symposium.
My very talented friend and cartoonist DrJones of RatBot comics has kindly summarised these with the panel below, which I wanted to share:
You can find a wide range of other cool comics on her website. Also, the deadline for the PhDs available in palaeobiology topics (including those supervised by me, listed below) is in a couple of weeks. You can find more details about these, and other postgraduate, study opportunities here. Do get in touch if you are interested.
Earlier this year there was a meeting at the Royal Society, in London, titled The Rhynie Chert – our earliest terrestrial ecosystem revisited, organised by Professor Dianne Edwards CBE FRS, Professor Liam Dolan FRS and Dr Paul Kenrick. As part of this, I co-authored a talk, which went on to become a paper – that was released today:
Dunlop, J. & Garwood, R.J. 2018. Terrestrial invertebrates in the Rhynie chert ecosystem. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373(1739): 20160493. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0493
This is a review of the land-based animals from this fossil site, focussing in addition on the possible ecological strategies and interactions within this ecosystem. Please do email me if you would like a PDF.
Another paper to which I have contributed has just appeared. This one was led by Luke Parry, from the Royal Ontario Museum, and reports some trace fossils (burrows) more than 542 million years old. We have reconstructed these using CT (shown in the image below), and propose that they were created by some of the first organisms capable of moving through the sediment (leaving these sedimentary structures in the process). This is particularly of note because of their age – they are found in rock layers older than any known fossils of complex creatures like animals. DNA studies (which can be used to estimate how long ago a group originated) suggest the origin of animals may well date from before these burrows were formed. We suggest in the paper that the burrows – which are really small – are evidence that there were animals with muscle control around before their fossils appear in the fossil record, and the reason we have missed them to date is that they are so small. Hence the deepest splits in the animal tree may well have occurred in really small organisms living in sediments >550 million years ago. The full citation of the paper is below; do email me if you would like a copy.
Parry, L.A., Boggiani, P.C., Condon, D.J., Garwood, R.J., de M. Leme, J., McIlroy, D., Brasier, M.D., Trindade, R., Campanha, G.A.C. Pacheco, M.L.A.F., Diniz, C.Q.C, Liu, A.G. 2017. Ichnological evidence for meiofaunal bilaterians from the terminal Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian of Brazil. Nature Ecology and Evolution. In press. doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0301-9
Also, I'm offering a number of PhD projects next year at the University of Manchester, if you would like to come and work with us here. Topics include:
- -- The phylogeny of the insects.
- -- Computer simulation of evolution.
- -- Imaging and chemical analysis of early cellular fossils.
- -- Experimental decay and taphonomy.
If any of these sound of interest, please do get in touch. Full descriptions will be posted when available. You would be joining part a thriving cross-disciplinary research area at the University of Manchester. There are a large group of academic staff and associated researchers here addressing evolutionary and palaeobiology questions through studying ancient life. This is supported by Manchester's Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life and the Computational Biology group in the Evolution, Systems and Genomics Domain.
A new paper, led by Alan Spencer of Imperial College, has just been published. This work uses synchrotron tomography and digital visualisation (shown below) to investigates a ~143 million year old seed from the UK's Oxford Clay. The full details for the paper are as follows:
Spencer, A.R., Garwood, R.J., Rees, A.R., Raine, R.J., Rothwell, G.W., Hollingworth, N.T., & Hilton, J. 2017. New insights into Mesozoic cycad evolution: an exploration of anatomically preserved Cycadaceae seeds from the Jurassic Oxford Clay biota. PeerJ, 5, e3723. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3723
Four of the papers mentioned below have recently appeared in their final form, with the publication of Geological Society, London, Special Publication 448 – Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. The fossils featured cover more than 3000 million years of life history, and multiple groups of organisms, from early potential bacteria, through to insects and dinosaurs in the relatively recent geological past. They represent the breadth of topics in which Martin Brasier — a very supportive colleague, with whom I had the great pleasure of working — was interested.
Brasier, A.T., Cotton, L.J., Garwood, R.J., Baker-Brian, J., Howlett, E. & Brasier, M.D. 2017. Earliest Cretaceous cocoons or plant seed structures from the Wealden Group, Hastings, UK. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 399-411. doi: 10.1144/SP448.21
Brasier, M.D., Norman, D.B., Liu, A.G., Cotton, L.J., Hiscocks, J.E.H., Garwood, R.J., Antcliffe, J.B., & Wacey, D. 2017. Remarkable preservation of brain tissues in an Early Cretaceous iguanodontian dinosaur. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 383–398. doi:10.1144/SP448.3 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). [View]
Hickman-Lewis, K., Garwood, R.J., Withers, P., & Wacey , D. 2017. X-ray microtomography as a tool for investigating the petrological context of Precambrian cellular remains. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 33-56. doi:10.1144/SP448.11
Wacey, D., Battison, L., Garwood, R.J, Hickman-Lewis, K., & Brasier, M.D. 2017. Advanced analytical techniques for studying the morphology and chemistry of Proterozoic microfossils. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 81-104. doi:10.1144/SP448.4
Please do check them out, and — of course — email to request a PDF if one is not readily available.
Another paper has just been published — this one is a review, led by Mark Sutton, providing an overview of the 3D techniques in palaeontology — including serial grinding, X-ray microtomography, and digital visualisation.
Sutton, M.D., Rahman, I.A., & Garwood, R.J. 2017. Virtual Palaeontology - An Overview. The Paleontological Society Papers, 22:1-20. doi: 10.1017/scs.2017.5
Please do check it out — and email me if you would like a copy. I am also honoured to have been awarded the 2017 Wollaston Fund by the Geological Society of London, a prize awarded for contributions to the Earth Sciences on the basis of noteworthy published research.
The second of the two papers mentioned below is now online. This contribution, with colleagues from the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, and Western Illinois University, USA, provides a new overview and analysis of the fossil record and relationships of whip spiders:
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J., Knecht, B. J. & Hegna, T. A. 2017. The phylogeny of fossil whip spiders. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17:105. doi: 10.1186/s12862-017-0931-1
The first of two further papers appearing soon, mentioned below, is now available:
Davies, T., Rahman, I., Lautenschlager, S., Cunningham, J., Asher, R.J., Barrett, P., Bates, K., Bengtson, S., Benson, R.B.J., Boyer, D., Braga, J., Bright, J., Claessens, L., Cox, P.G., Dong, X., Evans, A.R., Falkingham, P.L., Friedman, M., Garwood, R., Goswami, A., Hutchinson, J.R., Jeffery, N., Johanson, Z., Lebrun, R., Martinez-Perez, C., Marugán-Lobón, J., O'Higgins, P., Metscher, B., Orliac, M., Rowe, T.B., Rucklin, M., Sanchez-Villagra, M., Shubin, N., Smith, S.Y., Starck, J.M., Stringer, C., Summers, A., Sutton, M.D., Walsh, S.A., Weisbecker, V., Witmer, L.M., Wroe, S.J., Yin, Z., Rayfield, E.J. & Donoghue, P.C.J. 2017. Open data and digital morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284(1852): 20170194..
This paper, led by a team from the Unviersity of Bristol, proposes guidelines for how tomographic (slice-based) data is archived along with papers. The suggestions are intended to make data more open, and studies more repeatable as a result. Please do check it out!
As a result of a busy term, I've neglected updating my website — but not for lack of things happening. In recent weeks, the following paper has appeared, which is another contribution to the Geological Society, London, Special Publication 448, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier:
Brasier, A. T., Cotton, L. J., Garwood, R. J., Baker-Brian, J., Howlett, E. & Brasier, M. D. In press. Earliest Cretaceous cocoons or plant seed structures from the Wealden Group, Hastings, UK. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. doi:10.1144/SP448.21
This documents a number of structures found in ~140 million year old rocks, some of which we believe represent the remnants of insect cocoons (shown above), and other seed structures from plants. Since my last update, the following papers have been accepted and should appear soon:
Davies, T., Rahman, I., Lautenschlager, S., Cunningham, J., Asher, R.J., Barrett, P., Bates, K., Bengtson, S., Benson, R.B.J., Boyer, D., Braga, J., Bright, J., Claessens, L., Cox, P.G., Dong, X., Evans, A.R., Falkingham, P.L., Friedman, M., Garwood, R., Goswami, A., Hutchinson, J.R., Jeffery, N., Johanson, Z., Lebrun, R., Martinez-Perez, C., Marugán-Lobón, J., O'Higgins, P., Metscher, B., Orliac, M., Rowe, T.B., Rucklin, M., Sanchez-Villagra, M., Shubin, N., Smith, S.Y., Starck, J.M., Stringer, C., Summers, A., Sutton, M.D., Walsh, S.A., Weisbecker, V., Witmer, L.M., Wroe, S.J., Yin, Z., Rayfield, E.J. & Donoghue, P.C.J. Accepted. Open data and digital morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J., Knecht, B. J. & Hegna, T. A. Accepted. The phylogeny of fossil whip spiders. BMC Evolutionary Biology.
More on each when they appear in press - which should be in the next week. Palaeontology [online] is still going strong, with monthly updates since my last post. Do check them out — and admire the site's new look!
On the 10th of December, I'm giving a talk for the Manchester Geological Association:
Garwood, R.J. 2016. Digital techniques for understanding ancient life. (Talk; Invited Speaker). Manchester Geological Association.
It is free to attend, and held in the Williamson Building of the University of Manchester (opposite the Manchester Museum). Please do come along (more details). I'm also giving a similar talk for the Craven and Pendle Geological Society on the 13th of January:
Garwood, R.J. 2017. New techniques in palaeontology, and evolutionary transitions (Talk; Invited Speaker). Craven & Pendle Geological Society.
You can find more details on the society's website. A few more papers have been submitted, so I hope there should be an update or two in the first few months of 2017. In the meantime, happy christmas, and best wishes for the new year.
Another two papers, to which I am very pleased to have made a contribution, have recently appeared. Both are in the Geological Society, London, Special Publication 448, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier:
Brasier, M.D., Norman, D.B., Liu, A.G., Cotton, L.J., Hiscocks, J.E.H., Garwood, R.J., Antcliffe, J.B., & Wacey, D. 2016. Remarkable preservation of brain tissues in an Early Cretaceous iguanodontian dinosaur. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. In press. doi:10.1144/SP448.3 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
Hickman-Lewis, K., Garwood, R., Withers, P., & Wacey , D. 2016. X-ray microtomography as a tool for investigating the petrological context of Precambrian cellular remains. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. In press. doi:10.1144/SP448.11
The first of these reports the possible preservation of dinosaur brain tissue in a Cretaceous (~133 million year old) fossil, and the latter uses lab-baseed CT scanning to try and understand more about a range of 3 – 1 billion year old cellular fossils. Please do check them both out! As ever there have been monthly updates at Palaeontology [online], the latest being an article on fossil acritarchs.
Next Tuesday I'll be talking at a Story Collider event associated with Manchester Science Festival. You can find more details here. I'm also currently advertising a PhD at the University of Manchester. This is based on the computational simulation of evolution, groundtruthed with wet-lab studies on bacteria and yeast. Full details are available here. Please do get in touch if you are interested.
I'm pleased to report the publication of a new paper, led by David Wacey (University Of Bristol, and The University of Western Australia). This is the first in a number of articles to which I contributed that will appear in Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 448, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier.
Wacey, D., Battison, L., Garwood, R., Hickman-Lewis, K., & Brasier, M.D. (2016). Advanced analytical techniques for studying the morphology and chemistry of Proterozoic microfossils. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. In press. doi:10.1144/SP448.4
This uses a range of different approaches — including microtomography — to study ~1 billion year old fossils from Northwestern Scotland. Combined, these provide information on the morphology of these fossils, and their mineralogy.
A new paper has appeared, on which I have been working for a while with colleagues from the Natural History Museum, London; Harvard University; and several institutions in France:
Garwood, R.J., Edgecombe, G.D., Charbonnier, S., Chabard, D., Sotty, D., & Giribet, G. 2016. Carboniferous Onychophora from Montceau-les-Mines, France, and onychophoran terrestrialization. Invertebrate Biology: In press. doi:10.1111/ivb.12130 [View]
In it, we describe three new fossil velvet worms (Onychophora) — a group with a deep history, but very limited fossil record. We make the case that these could be land-dwelling animals, and even if not, they fall at a key point in the evolution of the group. Click on the image below to check out the paper, which is open access.
Finally, as ever, there have been monthly updates on Palaeontology [online] — there are lots of interesting articles to check out, which you can reach by clicking on the link below and visiting the site:
I'm pleased to be able to link to another new paper, this one with colleagues from the Universities of Oxford and Bristol, and the Natural History Museum, London, amongst others. It's something a bit new for me - in it we use a range of techniques to describe structures possibly associated with life in one of the oldest known sedimentary rocks: the 3.46-billion-year-old Apex Chert, Austrlia. More information below:
Hickman-Lewis, K., Garwood, R.J., Brasier, M.D., Goral, T., Jiang, H., McLoughlin, N. & Wacey, D. 2016. Carbonaceous microstructures from sedimentary laminated chert within the 3.46 Ga Apex Basalt, Chinaman Creek locality, Pilbara, Western Australia. Precambrian Research 278: 161-178. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2016.03.013 [View]
A new paper has just appeared, this one in Proceedings B:
Garwood, R.J., Selden, P., Dunlop, J.A., Spencer, A.R.T., Atwood, R., Vo, N., & Drakopoulos, M. In press. Almost a spider: a 305-million-year-old fossil arachnid and spider origins Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0125 [View]
If you'd like some more info, you can read about the discovery here. That's it for now, but more coming soon!
It's been a long time since my last update - not because things haven't been happening, but because I've been a little too absorbed in them to remember to post them here! In fact, several things have happaned in that time. A new paper has appeared, playing with fossils a little older than I am used to - and describing some of the first biomineralising animals:
Streng, M., Butler, A. D., Peel, J. S., Garwood, R.J., & Caron, J-B. 2016. A new family of Cambrian rhynchonelliformean brachiopods (Order Naukatida) with an aberrant coral-like morphology. Palaeontology 59(2): 269-293. doi: 10.1111/pala.12226 [View]
The following finalised papers have also appeared in their respective journals since the last update:
- Giles, S., Coates, M.I., Garwood, R.J, Brazeau, M.D., Atwood, R., Johanson, Z. & Friedman, M.. 2015. Endoskeletal structure in Cheirolepis (Osteichthyes, Actinopterygii), an early ray-finned fish. Palaeontology 58(5): 849–870 doi:10.1111/pala.12182 [View]
- Haug, J. T., Haug, C., & Garwood, R.J. 2016. Evolution of Insect Wings and Development – New details from Palaeozoic Nymphs. Biological Reviews 91:53-69. doi: 10.1111/brv.12159 [View]
- Selden, P. A., Dunlop, J. A., & Garwood, R.J. 2016. Carboniferous araneomorph spiders reinterpreted as long-bodied harvestmen.Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 14(2): 127-137. doi: 10.1080/14772019.2015.1018969 [View]
- Sherratt, E., Castañeda, M., Garwood, R.J., Mahler, L.D., Sangere, T.J., Herrel, A., de Queiroz, K. & Losos, J.B. . 2015. Amber fossils demonstrate deep-time stability of Caribbean lizard communities. PNAS 112(32): 9961-9966. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1506516112 [View]
We've also had monthly updates to Palaeontology [online] - click on the image below to visit the site:
Three more papers have recently been accepted: as soon as those appear I shall post links. I've also given lots of talks, all of which you can find on an updated publications page.
A couple more contributions have appeared. First is a paper with colleagues from Manchester, using micro-CT to better understand pathologies in the bones of birds and dinosaurs:
I also recently wrote an article introducing the basics of using computational techniques to understand fossils for McGrawHill:
Garwood, R.J. 2015. Analysis of fossil organisms using computer techniques. AccessScience. McGraw-Hill Education. doi:10.1036/1097-8542.YB150677
That's it for now, but more on the way!
Another paper to which I have been fortunate enough to contribute was published today, this time led by colleagues at Harvard and the University of New England. The paper documents twenty Anolis lizards in amber with the aid of micro CT. Details below:
Sherratt, E., Castañeda, M., Garwood, R.J., Mahler, L.D., Sangere, T.J., Herrel, A., de Queiroz, K. & Losos, J.B. . In press. Amber fossils demonstrate deep-time stability of Caribbean lizard communities. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1506516112 [View]
Several new Palaeontology [online] articles have also appeared in the last few months. Click on the image below to visit the site:
One of the papers I mentioned below has just appeared in press - led by colleagues from Oxford, this reports the CT-based reconstruction of an early ray-finned fish called Cheirolepis. You can check it out here:
Giles, S., Coates, M.I., Garwood, R.J, Brazeau, M.D., Atwood, R., Johanson, Z. & Friedman, M.. In press. Endoskeletal structure in Cheirolepis (Osteichthyes, Actinopterygii), an early ray-finned fish. Palaeontology doi: 10.1111/pala.12182 [View]
It's been a busy few months (including a relocation!), with a number of papers coming out soon to show for it. The first of these is a new effort which recently appeared reassesses a number of fossils which were originally identified as spiders. With the aid of micro-CT, my coauthors, and I suggest that these in fact represent unusual Harvestmen. More details available at the link below:
Selden, P. A., Dunlop, J. A., & Garwood, R.J. In press. Carboniferous araneomorph spiders reinterpreted as long-bodied harvestmen. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology doi:10.1080/14772019.2015.1018969
Happy new year. I am very pleased to say that on the first of January, I joined the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester as a lecturer in Earth Sciences. Here is the official announcement.
There's also a new Palaeontology [online] article - Dinosaurs down under - available, by Stephen Poropat. To read, click below:
I'm pleased to report that I have been selected as one of the SSI's Fellows for 2015, to provide training in open source packages for tomographic reconstruction. You can find more details here.
Last week saw the appearance of a new paper that I've been working on with Joachim and Carolin Haug from LMU Munich, looking at the fossil record of insect development. In it, we provide an overview of the work on fossil insect nymphs to date, and the impact this work has on theories surrounding wings origins and development of complete metamorphosis in the insects. We also report novel descriptions of a number of fossil nymphs. More details at the link below:
Haug, J. T., Haug, C., & Garwood, R.J. In press. Evolution of Insect Wings and Development – New details from Palaeozoic Nymphs. Biological Reviews doi: 10.1111/brv.12159
Palaeontology [online] also has a new article - this one by Dave Hone, on Tyrannosaurs. Do check it out:
Another new paper has appeared in which my colleague Jason Dunlop and use high resolution CT to describe species from two extinct arachnid groups, based on fossils from the Carboniferous housed in the NHM, London (~315 million years old). The paper, also in PeerJ, also places most of the fossils we have reconstructed to date, and other very well-preserved fossils - into an analysis of the evolutionary relationships of the arachnids. You can access the paper by clicking on the image or citation below:
This is a featured article, and associated with this you can read an interview with me here on the journal blog. We also have a new Palaeontology [online] article on annelid worms by my friend a colleague Luke Parry. Please click on the logo below to check it out:
A new paper with colleagues from the Natural History Museum, and Imperial College, London, has appeared in the open access journal PeerJ. The publication reports a fossil cone revealed through CT scanning in a synchrotron. You can find more information by clicking on the link or image - which shows a CT slice through the cone - below:
Steart, D., Spencer, A. R. T., Garwood, R.J., Hilton, J., Munt, M. C., Needham, J. & Kenrick, P. 2014. X-ray Synchrotron Microtomography of a silicified Jurassic Cheirolepidiaceae cone: revealing and reconstructing the internal structure of an extinct conifer. PeerJ 2:e624. doi:10.7717/peerj.624
Our latest Palaeontology [online] article, courtesy of Rachel Racicot, introduces porpoises. Do check it out:
An article providing an overview of what a bunch of us have been playing with for the last few years has appeared in the latest issue of Science News. This featuring the work of my colleagues Imran Rahman and John Cunningham, and myself, amongst others. It also made the cover of the magazine - click for more information:
The article is paywalled, but please do email me if you would like a copy. There's also been a new Palaeontology [online] article since last time. This one is on Palaeoart, courtesy of Mark P. Witton:
Four papers to which Ihave contributed are now waiting to appear in press, so more soon.
A new paper has just appeared in press at the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. This paper - with colleagues from the University of Oxford and Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin - features a reconstruction of the trigontoarbid arachnid Trigonotarbus johnsoni, and the first cladistic analysis of the extinct trigonotarbid arachnids - part of an effort of mine in the last year or two to learn cladistics (more from this coming soon!). The paper can be accessed by clicking the journal name below, and I've included a neat reconstruction of a range of trigonotarbids to scale by my very-talented coauthor Jason Dunlop (scale bar 10mm).
Jones, F.*, Dunlop, J.A., Friedman, M., & Garwood, R.J*. In press. Trigonotarbus johnsoni Pocock, 1911, revealed by X-ray computed tomography, with a cladistic analysis of the extinct trigonotarbid arachnids. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (* = corresponding author)
Another two papers have just been accepted, and one more submitted since my last update - more details as these appear. In the meantime, do check out our latest Palaeontoloy [online] article on dinosaur palaeopathology by my very talented colleague at Manchester, Jennifer Anné (otherwise known as Indy). Click on the diseased dinosaur bone below for more info.
A new paper has just appeared, in which I - with my colleague Jason Dunlop from the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin - use fossils from the Devonian Rhynie Chert to work out the range of motion in an extinct arahcnid's limbs. We then use the open source software Blender to create a reconstruction of the animal's gait using its centre of mass and limb articulations. The supplementary information includes an introductory guide on how to use the software. This by no means comprehensive, and indeed, the study doesn't make use of all Blender's impressive capabilities, but hopefully it will lessen the application's learning curve. Details of the paper are below:
The paper has picked up some interesting press coverage, including: the BBC news website, New Scientist, io9, Motherboard, IFLScience, Discovery News, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and Entomology Today. I've embedded the video from the paper below, please do check it out!
Televised coverage includes ITN, and I did a live interview for BBC World News at their London Studio. In other news, Palaeontology [online] has just turned three, and we celebrate with a new article looking back over the previous three years. Link below:
That's it for now, but more soon.
There's been a slight break since my last update thanks to synchrotron beamtime and trips to Sardinia then the Faroes. In that time, a new paper has appeared from my colleague Jason Dunlop and myself, in which we use microtomography to highlight the palaeobiology of a Carboniferous arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii, and sort out the systematics of the group to which it belongs. Click on the image below to check out a copy - it's open access:
Dunlop, J.A. & Garwood, R.J. 2014. Tomographic reconstruction and palaeobiology of the trigonotarbid arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii (Buckland, 1837). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 59(2): 443–454. doi:10.4202/app.2012.0032 [View]
The following opinion piece also appeared in Nature today, outlining the two body problem, as it applies to academics, its origins and consequences, and what universities can do to mitigate its effects:
Any feedback or discussion on either of these publications is, naturally, very welcome. There have also been two new Palaeontology [online] articles since I last updated, on arthropod-plant interactions, and a group called the placodonts. Please do check them out:
Two more papers should appear in the next couple of months, so I'll update the website when those appear. In the meantime, in early July I'll be helping out with Manchester's stand at the Royal Society Summer of Science exhibiton. More details of the stand below. Please do come and say hello if you're attending.
A new paper has just appeared, in which my coauthors and I: describe a new harvestman species and suborder; conduct some molecular dating; and identify a vestigial signal in the embryological gene expression of an extant species for structures visible in the fossil. It seems to have sparked an interest, and press coverage so far includes Wired, National Geographic, Discovery, and Huffington Post. A clearer picture of the impact through the article's entry on altmetric. The paper is open access, and available at the following location:
Garwood, R.J.*, Sharma, P.*, Dunlop, J.A. & Giribet, G. In press. A Paleozoic Stem Group to Mite Harvestmen Revealed through Integration of Phylogenetics and Development. Current Biology (* = equal contributors).
Here is a closeup of the fossil itself:
The following paper has also just been accepted:
Jones, F.*, Dunlop, J.A., Friedman, M., & Garwood, R.J*. Accepted. A cladistic analysis of the trigonotarbid arachnids. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (* = corresponding author)
Since my last post there have been two new Palaeontology [online] articles, one on things called latitudinal biodiversity gradient, and one on dinosaur reproduction. Links below:
Finally, since I've just returned from a trip to work with colleagues in Uppsala, I thought I would post an image of one of the smally shelly fossils (the hard parts of some of the earliest animals) we were working on whilst I was there:
So that's it for now - more coming soon!
Hello from Berlin. I'm currently on an EU synthesys visit to work with colleagues at the Museum Fur Naturkunde. Whilst here, the following article has appeared:
Garwood, R.J. 2014. Life as a palaeontologist: Palaeontology for dummies, Part 2. Palaeontology Online 4(2):1-10. [View]
Following on from Part One which is linked below, Palaeontology for Dummies - Part Two is a brief introduction to the history of palaeontology, and how we got to where we are now. I hope it is interesting, please do check it out. The four papers mentioned below, plus a couple more, are now complete and approaching submission: I will post updates as they appear in the near future.
Happy new year! At the beginning of December the following publication went live:
Garwood, R.J. 2013. Life as a palaeontologist: Palaeontology for dummies, Part 1. Palaeontology Online 3(12):1-11. [View]
This provides an introduction to palaeontology highlighting what it is, what it is not, and also providing an overview of the field as it currently stands. I hope it proves interesting! Keep an eye open for part two - which outlines the history of palaeontology - in the near future. The Paleonturología 12 Prize Winner's Book is now also freely available, details below. Please do check it out. Furthermore an updated ebook with glossary, and hardback version of Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology is also now available:
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J.A., Giribet, G. & Sutton, M.D. 2013. Opiliones fósiles. Los arácnidos actuales de origen más remoto / Fossil harvestmen: The oldest surviving arachnids. ¡Fundamental! 23, 1–58 (Paleonturología 12 Prize Winner's Book). [view]
Sutton, M.D., Rahman, I. & Garwood, R.J. 2013. Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology. Wiley-Blackwell: 208pp.
Finally, we have another new palaeontology online for this month - this time about body size in fossils courtesy of Mark Bell. You can check it out at the link below:
I'm currently working on a four papers for submission in the first quarter of 2014, so more news will be forthcoming!
It's been another busy three months, hence the silence. In that time our Wiley entry to the Analytical Methods in Earth and Environmental Science series has finally appeared - currently it is available as an ebook, with hardback in January 2014. It can be purchased here:
The book associated with the Paleonturología 12 mentioned below is now in production and should appear in December. I've also given several talks over the last few weeks, which can be found in the section Publications. We have also posted three Palaeontology online articles in that time - two Fossil Focus pieces, one on encephalized bipedal apes, the other on Heterostraci, and an article on ancient DNA. Links below. Other than that, we have had a very successful beamtime at I12, Diamond Light Source, and been awarded beamtime at SLS, Switzerland. Several more papers are approaching completion, so watch this space!
It's been a while since I last wrote an update, largely because I've spent the last couple of months travelling and scanning. This has included a trip to Berlin to finish a trigonotarbid phylogeny, and build a new arachnid one with a colleague. The trip was a great success, and lots else has happened since the last update. The following paper has now been accepted, and I've included a preview of the model we've created and animated for the paper below:
Garwood, R.J. & Dunlop, J.A. Accepted. The walking dead: Blender as a tool for palaeontologists. Journal of Palaeontology.
The accessible account of our 2011 paper required for the Paleonturología 12 prize is also complete, including 18 figures. It will be used to print a small book in Spanish and English introducing terrestrialisation, CT scanning, and the fossil record of the harvestmen, which should be available from December:
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J.A., Giribet, G. & Sutton, M.D. Accepted. Fossil harvestmen. Paleonturología 12 (Prize Winner's Book).
The following paper has been submitted since last time:
Garwood, R. J., Sharma, P., Dunlop, J. A., & Giribet, G. Submitted. Early harvestman evolution: Perspectives from gene expression data and Palaeozoic fossils.
I'm also giving two talks in the near future, the ToScA presentation mentioned below, and a talk for TEDx Albertopolis Salon in early September. More details when I have them. You can also find me at this year's Science uncovered on the last Friday of September.
Finally, there are two new Palaeontology [online] posts - one on exceptional preservation of fossils in concretions by Victoria McCoy, and one on naming fossil species by Chloe Marquart. Please do check them out!
I've just returned from two weeks of fieldwork in northern Scotland, and the chrysalis paper, mentioned below, is now available to download here. It's open access. You can find coverage of the paper at the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I've also been invited to speak at the first annual Tomography for Scientific Advancement event, or ToScA, at the Natural History Museum, London, this August. More details.
I'm pleased to report that our book - Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology - is now in production, so should be out in the next few months. The chrysalis paper mentioned below has now been accepted and will appear in press next Tuesday - some images from the paper are shown below:
Lowe, T., Garwood, R.J., Simonsen, T., Bradley, R.S., & Withers, P.W. 2013. Metamorphosis revealed: three dimensional imaging inside a living chrysalis. Journal of the Royal Society Interface: In press.
Left is the internal anatomy of a chrysalis of a Painted Lady butterfly one day after pupation, middle is the same individual after thirteen days, and right is the adult immediately prior to hatching from the chrysalis. If you keep an eye on the news you may see it around. In other news, the following paper has now been submitted:
Garwood, R.J. & Dunlop, J.A. In review (invited submission). The walking dead: Blender as a tool for palaeontologists. Journal of Palaeontology.
Which includes a step-by-step guide to using the open source raytracer Blender, and an anatomically accurate reconstruction of the Devonian arachnid Palaeocharinus based on fossils from the Rhynie Chert. This includes the animal's limb articulations and a video showing its likely gait. The following three papers are approaching completion and should be submitted by the summer:
Garwood, R. J., Sharma, P., Dunlop, J. A., & Giribet, G. In prep. Early harvestman evolution: Perspectives from gene expression data and Palaeozoic fossils.
Haug, J. T., Haug, C., & Garwood, R. J.. In prep. Evolution if Insect Wings and Devlopment: New details from Palaeozoic Nymphs.
Jones, F., Dunlop, J.A., Friedman, M., & Garwood, R. J. In prep. A cladistic analysis of the trigonotarbid arachnids.
Finally, we have two more new Palaeontology [online] posts since my last update. April's focusses on fossil communities and palaeoecology, whilst the article for May introduces a major fossil group: the trilobites.
I'm away on fieldwork for the second half of May, but I'm sure there will be another update upon my return.
Since last time the book on 3D reconstruction in palaeontology mentioned previously has been submitted.
Sutton, M.D., Rahman, I., & Garwood, R.J. Submitted. Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology. Wiley-Blackwell fast-track monograph.
It ended up being near 80,000 words - slightly larger than expected, but hopefully a comprehensive and useful addition to the literature for virtual palaeontology. The paper below has also been resubmitted with corrections:
Lowe, T. Garwood, R.J., Simonsen, T., Bradley, R.S., & Withers, P.W. Submitted. Metamorphosis revealed: three dimensional imaging inside a living chrysalis.
New Palaeontology [online] articles have also been posted, one for March on tree-kangaroos, and one new this month on how palaeontologists can work out what's missing from the fossil record by studying groups of living animals. Both are linked below. More papers in the works, so hopefully another update soon.
I've not updated the website for a couple of months, largely because I've been very busy since December! Much of my time has been spent writing 18,000 words on X-ray techniques for a forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell fast-track monograph in Earth Science:
Sutton, M.D., Garwood, R.J. & Rahman, I. Invited submission. Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology. Wiley-Blackwell fast-track monograph.
My work for this is now complete, and the following paper has also just been submitted:
Lowe, T. Garwood, R.J., Simonsen, T., Bradley, R.S., & Withers, P.W. Submitted. Metamorphosis revealed: three dimensional imaging inside a living chrysalis.
Next up is an invited paper on Blender, and then two more papers which should be completed in the near future, on insect nymphs and opilionds respectively. Following this is a foray into arachnid phylogeny and lots more exciting research. I was also part of a recent synchrotron trip to experiment with 3D chemial mapping. Hopefully this will also surface soon (and an explanation of the technique will be in the above monograph!), but in the meantime here are a couple of photos:
Naturally, there have also been new Palaeontology [online] articles for January (on life as a palaeontologist post-doc and February (on shape analysis). Links below:
While I was away at the synchrotron recently, I'm honoured to report that my 2011 Nature Communications paper on fossil harvestman was announced as the winner of Paleonturología 12, an international palaeontology competition. The announcement, in Spanish, can be found here, and press coverage of the prize here.
As part of the prize I shall be preparing a less technical account of the research in the near future.
A new article has been posted on Palaeontology [online] about open access in science, and the impact of the internet on the field. Interested? Read on...
I'm pleased to report that the follwing paper has just appeared in the latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach:
Rahman, I., Adcock, K. & Garwood, R.J. 2012. Virtual Fossils: A New Resource for Science Communication in Palaeontology. Evolution: Education and Outreach 5(4):635-641
In further exciting news, from 2013 the journal will be open access, so the paper will be freely available online. Until that time, please do email me if you would like a copy.
If you're interested in doing an arthropod-based palaeontology PhD, I'm pleased to report that one is being offered at Oxford, supervised by myself and Dr Matt Friedman. The project is titled "A reassessment of the early terrestrial ecosystems: perspectives from arthropods", and is based around using quantitative techniques to reinvestigate terrestrial arthropod origins and evolution. More details can be found at this location, and details of how to apply and funding are here. If you know anyone who may be interested in applying, please do pass the details on, and if you are interested in applying for the PhD yourself please do feel free to email me and Matt for more information.
This month's Palaeontology [online] provides an introduction to the origins and early evolution of life. It's called Patterns In Palaeontology: The first 3 billion years of evolution, and was written by myself. Please do check it out!
Thanks if you voted in the competition mentioned below - I'm pleased to report that my opilionid image was highly commended!
The Manchester Science Festival is hosting an images of research competition, and I am very pleased to report that one of my renders has made it through to the final. You can check out all the entries, and vote for your favourite, by clicking on the image below:
In further news I'm contributing next month's article for Palaeontology [online] - Patterns In Palaeontology: The first 3 billion years of evolution. It is set to appear on November 1st, however, as I'm getting married at the end of the month I won't be around then - so please do check it out when it appears!
Finally, there is a new issue of ZT out. Enslaved grace the cover, and I have provided an interview with Between The Buried and Me for the issue. Please do check it out.
I have just posted a new Palaeontology [online] article by Verity Bennett outlining the evolution or marsupials. It's fascinating stuff - please do check it out!
I'm also pleased to report that today I have officially started a fellowship split between The School of Materials and the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, at The Unversity of Manchester, funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. I'll be spending the next three years looking at - amongst other things - the origin and early evolution of the insects.
The paper below appeared in PLoS one today:
Garwood, R.J., Ross, A., Sotty, D., Chabard, D., Charbonnier, S., Sutton, M. & Withers, P. 2012. Tomographic Reconstruction of Neopterous Carboniferous Insect Nymphs. PLoS one 7(9):e45779. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045779
The paper is based on our work using X-ray micro-tomography to create 3D models of two Palaeozoic juvenile insects. The detail the technique provided has allowed us to say something about their biology, and their mode of life. It was harder to work out which groups they may belong to - but we've tried! The paper is freely available from the website, so please do check it out. You can find more accessible information in this Nature news piece.
A new paper I was lucky enough to be involved in has appeared in press at PNAS. Details and link (to both paper and news coverage), in addition to picture of the beautiful fossil, are below.
Briggs, D.E.G., Siveter, D.J., Siveter, D.J., Sutton, M.D., Garwood, R.J. & Legg, D. 2012. A Silurian horseshoe crab illuminates the evolution of chelicerate limbs. PNAS: In press. (More information:1, 2).
I've also been busy giving talks - 5 new ones have been added to the publications page. In further news, a new Palaeontology [online] article as been posted, written by David Hone. It gives all the basics you may want to know about pterosaurs. Please do check it out! One of our editors, Peter Falkingham has also written a blog post about Palaeontology [online], which you can find here. I've also updated my current listening to reflect some cool recent discoveries. New ZT out soon - until then...
A new Palaeontology [online] article as been posted, written by Jonathan Antcliffe, providing an introduction to the Cambrian explosion. Cambrian explosion. Please do check it out!
A new issue of Zero Tolerance has hit the stands, featuring an interview with Katatonia from myself. More info at the link below:
Zero Tolerance Issue 048, Aug/Sep 2012.
Buy it. Read it. Spread dissent.
A new paper outlining the Devonian scorpion Palaeoscorpius devonicus has appeared. Details below, along with a radiograph of the fossil:
Kühl, G., Bergmann, A., Rust, J., Garwood, R. J. & Dunlop, J. A. 2012. Redescription and palaeobiology of Palaeoscorpius devonicus Lehmann, 1944 from the Lower Devonian Hunsrück Slate of Germany. Palaeontology 55(4):775-787. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2012.01152.x
For the next week I'll be helping out with a Manchester palaeontology stand at the Royal Society's Summer of Science Exhibition, talking about X-ray fluorescence on fossil birds. Below is an image of the bird, taken from the Palaeontology[online] article about fossil colour.
Since my last update, two issues of Zero Tolerance have appeared. These are the last two issues I shall be providing the news for - from next issue I shall be handing over the reins to the website's news editor, but expect more interviews from me as a result! These also have three interviews from my desk, including one with Swedish metallers Katatonia, and a number of reviews. More info at the link below:
I was recently awarded beamtime at Diamond Light Source to CT scan difficult fossils. The beamtime has been scheduled for the next two days, and will hopefully give some exciting results! The building, in Oxfordshire, is shown below.
Three new papers I have been involved in have been posted at open-access journal Palaeontologia electronica. All three are outlined in the PE blog. The references are:
Garwood, R.J. & Sutton, M.D. 2012. The enigmatic arthropod Camptophyllia.Palaeontolgia Electronica 15(2):12p [PDF]
Legg, D.A., Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J.A. & Sutton, M.D. 2012. A taxonomic revision of Orthosternous scorpions from the English Coal-Measures aided by X-ray micro-tomography. Palaeontologia Electronica 15(2):16p [PDF]
Sutton, M.D., Garwood, R.J., Siveter, D.J. & Siveter, D.J. 2012. Spiers and VAXML; A software toolkit for tomographic visualisation, and a format for virtual specimen interchange. Palaeontologia Electronica 15(2):14p [PDF]
This week's Nature features an opinion piece by myself on the current state of creationism in the US, and how it can impact upon scientists. More details below:
A new issue of ZT has appeared - this issue has news and an interview with Psycroptic from myself in it. It was also due to have an interview with David Gold, who sadly passed away before our interview was completed. In its place is a two page feature looking back over our last seven year's worth of interviews. More info at the link below:
Zero Tolerance Issue 045, Feb/Mar 2012.
Buy it. Read it. Spread dissent.
Happy new year! A new issue of ZT has hit the shelves - November and December were, as usual, rather hectic at work, so only news in this issue from me. Do check it out!
Zero Tolerance Issue 044, Dec 2011/Jan 2012.
Buy it. Read it. Spread dissent.
In other (science-based) journalism news, an article I recently wrote with colleague Alan Spencer graces the cover of this month's Deposits Magazine. The article provides an introduction to early terrestrial life.
Autumn has hit, and a new issue of ZT is out - my contributions include a reviews, including the new NecroDeathmort, a feature with The Browning, and the news. Please do check it out!
Zero Tolerance Issue 043, Oct/Nov 2011.
Buy it. Read it. Spread dissent.
Another issue of Zero Tolerance is out; no cover story from me this time around, in fact, this time it's just the news. It's great issue though, check it out, and more from me next time round:
Wolves In The Throne Room. REALLY?!
That's right folks, this issue we were fully intent on busting the vegetables out of these young Americans and their nature metal — but walked away with a smack in the mouth! Staff Writer Will Pinfold confronted drummer Aaron Weaver to examine one of modern black metal's most disputed bands. Thoughtful? Evocative? Or just a load of pseudo-intellectual trash — you decide.
Screaming from the pages of Issue #42 come the likes of Polish legends Decapitated, USBM cultists Nightbringer, Israeli psych-patients Sonne Adam — and that's not all! Glorior Belli, Sol Invictus, Midnight, Evile, Serpentcult, The Living Fields, Toxic Holocaust and Malefice also receive thorough, feature-length interrogations.
For those with more obscure tastes — our regular UGBM, Power Lines and Anger Burning sections are alive with must-hear music — all handpicked from the hidden worlds of underground black metal, power electronics and crust.
As ever, we bring you the most authentic and extensive coverage of extreme music in print history! Discover record labels, artists, industry insiders and new talent in this, the latest issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine.
We are also pleased to announce that former Deputy Editor Nathan T. Birk is now officially installed as the magazine's Editor. After stepping in and increasing his responsibilities after last year's editorial changes, Nathan's work over the past 6 or so issues has been that of a virtual Editor and we think that it's high time his title reflected the influence, blood, sweat and tears he's poured over the pages of ZT during that time. Vision, integrity, professionalism and downright hardwork is what it takes to make a magazine stand out from the crowd and Nathan possesses all of these attributes and more (including a sense of humour when he finds the time for it!) and we're confident that the editorial reins couldn't be gripped by safer hands. Here's to the future!
Zero Tolerance Issue 042, Aug/Sep 2011.
Buy it. Read it. Spread dissent.
Another update, and a new issue of Zero Tolerance has hit the shelves:
In addition to my normal news feature, I contributed an interview with While Heaven Wept who have a new album. I am also responsible for the cover story with Ulver - interviewed at their London show last month regarding their new album, history and future. Please check it out. More details:
Over the hill at 41? Not bloody likely: Zero Tolerance Magazine is just hitting its stride!
More than seven years into our existence and now 41 issues strong, we're still the loudest, ugliest publication you'll find in extreme metal — and extreme MUSIC in general — but we like to flip the script from time to time after all, isn't that 'extreme'? To put our money where our mouth is, we're presenting Ulver as our latest cover story. A band that should be no stranger to any self-respecting punter, over their varied (and stratifying) career, this Norwegian vanguard have evolved from extreme metal to extreme music, perhaps charting the evolution of many of their fans' music tastes: growing up can be bitch, eh? Russell Garwood dives headlong into this subject with all members of Ulver, roundtable-style, delivering the most thought-provoking (and philosophical!) piece you're likely to read on the band this year. But fear not, ye of sturdier constitution: we're more committed than ever to unearthing the most obscure and underground action around, and our regular UGBM, Power Lines, and Anger Burning sections prove this in spades! Elsewhere, we explore the catacombs with reunited legends Autopsy and Hell, the majestic Tyr and While Heaven Wept, the always divisive Morbid Angel and Anaal Nathrakh, and plucky upstarts Portrait and In Solitude. Oh, and did we mention our unmatched Rapid Fire section? More underground action for ya. And if truth be told, our reviews section is second to none in both quality and quantity, breadth and depth. Nope, we're not entering the grave anytime soon — far from it!
All this and more will bludgeon your ears, rot your eyes and corrupt your sickly souls until all is consumed by the kingdom of noise. Louder, faster, heavier...than ever before. Issue #41 out now from all decent newsagents. Check out stockists here or check out our shop where you can buy single issues and subscriptions.
Zero Tolerance Issue 041, Jun/Jul 2011.
Buy it. Read it. Spread dissent.
Since the last update I have completed my PhD, but due to time constraints have unfortunately had to step aside as editor of Ultimatemetal.com. I am still writing for Zero Tolerance Magazine, however, and several issues have appeared since last time:
Issue 39 features news and an interview with To Cast A Shadow from myself, and Issue 40 has news, and interviews with Woods of Ypres and Nader Sadek. I have also updated the website - all the above sections are now current, and I have added a research section outlining my scientific work. Please do take a look around the newly updated site, and the next issue of ZT will surface mid-May.
It has been several months since last updating this website, largely because over the summer I was involved with fieldwork in Sardinia, the conferences in London and China, and finally writing up and submitting my PhD. In this time several issues of ZT have appeared:
Both have news from me in, and another issues hits the shelves this week. Things at UM ground to a halt recently due to workload. This has eased now the PhD is done however, and we are looking for writers to help try and clear the backlog. If you're interested please get in touch. In the meantime we have posted more reviews and interviews with Paul Kuhr of November's Doom fame and Alestorm. Do check them out.
"I will use the word God a lot of times in this interview." - Watain's Erik Danielsson
As the frontman of spiritual Satanists Watain, Erik Danielsson's is not the most obvious person in black metal to express a belief in God, but he does just that in the new issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine. Talking for a specially extended feature to ZT's Alex de Moller about aspects of faith and spirituality and how they relate to his satanic beliefs, Danielsson says, "I would say like most teenagers who are into metal I was fascinated by the devil at a very early age, fascinated by the symbols surrounding this mythological figure. Religious Satanism is born when the spirit is able to absorb these symbols and understand the essence behind them. It is one thing being fascinated with the dark side, it's one thing being tempted by satanic symbols because they have an inherent temptation, but it's when the spirit itself begins to feel a natural bond with the symbols and names that you're confronted with. That's when I would say that fascination stops and religion takes over. That is a constantly ongoing process because Satanism is about transformation... I will use the word God a lot of times in this interview and by God I mean the creator whose intention was to put man on earth and to have him uphold a state of order and perfection." When asked if this means that he believes in God, Danielsson says, "In that sense, definitely."
Talking ahead of the release of Watain's new album Lawless Darkness, Danielsson leads a discussion on how matters of faith and spirituality are relevant to extreme music. Also sharing their thoughts on the matter are 1349, who discuss the significance of occultism and ritual, Grand Magus and Sabbath Assembly.
Editor Calum Harvie commented, "Too often discussions about religion in the context of extreme music get bogged down in pro / anti-Christian rants, which means that genuinely spiritual aspects of some underground music are over looked. But as you'd expect when we're talking to the likes of Watain and 1349, this isn't your typical Sunday School 'Kum Ba Yah' fare."
Elsewhere in the issue we have interviews with Nachtmystium's Blake Judd, Nevermore's Jeff Loomis, we've a bit of a thrash attack in the form of a co-operative of interviews with Annihilator, Exodus, Dew-Scented and young guns Enforcer. Underground black metal, experimental noise and, in our constant quest for enlightenment, features on some of the more obscure artists in extreme music are in abundance throughout - but that goes without saying, right?
Zero Tolerance Issue 035, May/Jun 2010. Onsale from 15th May.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
Finally a new UM interview - Autumns Eyes - Within the Ominous Tone, courtesy of new writer Jason Wick, has also been posted. Check it out!
Things here are as busy as ever, however, some journalism is still happening. You can find a new interviews with Anaal Nathrakh and Whourkrup at UM, as well as a feature on video nasties written by myself. Another two issues of ZT have also surfaced, the latest being:
Issue 034 - Mar/Apr 2010
"I don't really know what doom metal is these days" - Lee Dorrian, Cathedral.
How extreme music and its musicians continually reinvent themselves forms the theme of the new issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine. Joining Lee Dorrian to offer their own take on reinvention are Tom Warrior - a man who has arguably made a career out of reinventing himself - Varg Vikernes, Fenriz from Darkthrone, Robert Vigna of Immolation and Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman.
Calum Harvie, editor of Zero Tolerance Magazine, said: "Although we are often taken aback when a band changes direction or image, there's no escaping that musicians are pretty much always reinventing themselves to some extent. The changes might not always be dramatic may take years to become obvious, but nevertheless they are, as we discovered when putting together this issue, always there."
Elsewhere in the issue we have interviews with The Vision Bleak, Alcest, Armored Saint, Ludicra, Barren Earth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Brazilian black metal nutters Goatpenis, power electronics legends Con-Dom, the visual artist / ordained Church Of Satan priest Coop and a lot more - including a FREE 18-track cd with new material from many of this issue's interviewees...
Zero Tolerance Issue 034, Mar/Apr 2010. Onsale from 15th March.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
Lots more going on, so until next time, have fun.
The last few months of 2009 turned out to be very busy, hence the silence. Nevertheless, UM is being updated constantly, and a new issue of ZT has hit the shelves, featuring news and a Katatonia interview from myself:
Issue 032 - Nov/Dec 2009
Karl Sanders: "This is music, does it really matter?"
Well known for his fascination with all things ancient and Egyptian, Nile frontman Karl Sanders talks to Zero Tolerance Magazine about the extent to which his interest in the past has shaped his music. Addressing the accusations of historical inaccuracy and anachronism which are sometimes thrown in Nile's direction, he says, "I think that music, death metal or any other kind functions as entertainment...The Mummy movies for example, depart greatly from established historical fact. They really abuse history, so much that when that movie was out for the first couple of years I really hated it. I was actively against Hollywood movies about Egypt but then, a funny thing happened. My son, who was nine-years-old at the time, started watching it every day. He must have played that goddamned Mummy movie 50 f*cking times and after having to watch it with him... it finally clicked. This is how young minds are inspired! This is what gives people the drive to actually go to school and learn some history, archaeology and go out digging in the desert! In a similar way I can't look at Nile as being utterly factual because we're playing death metal songs and we lean towards those aspects of history and Egyptology. We're not presenting a fair and balanced perspective of Ancient Egypt, we're finding all the brutal stuff because it makes good death metal songs! There was this German guy, an ethno-musicologist who was very upset that we were using various Middle-Eastern cultures. "How can you play a Turkish Baglama Saz in a song about Egypt?!' This is music, does it really matter?"
Whether it does really matter is taken up elsewhere in the current issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine in which the importance of the past - both real and imagined - to extreme music is investigated. Sharing their perspectives, along with Nile, are Melechesh, Wraiths, Scythian, Allerseelen and more. Calum Harvie, editor of Zero Tolerance Magazine, comments: "The past has always been important to musicians, and the extreme music underground is no different. What has been eye-opening, though, is the sheer variety of ways in which history exerts an influence, whether it's simply providing an image or something deeper and, dare I say, more profound."
Zero Tolerance Issue 032, Nov/Dec 2009. Onsale from 18th November.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
My PhD work has been busy, and in addition to winning the Presidents Awards at the PalAss Conference 2009 for best talk, a new paperhas surfaced. Please do email me if you'd like a copy! Until next time...
Autumn seems to have come round again, and as well as continuous UM updates, a new issue of ZT has hit the shelves:
Issue 031 - Sept/Oct 2009
Marduk's Morgan Håkansson: "I really don't care what people think..."
Marduk's founding guitarist Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson recently spoke to Zero Tolerance Magazine about the band's new album Wormwood and also his hobby of collecting militaria. When asked if he worried that his collection might lead some into making incorrect assumptions about his politics, Håkansson said: "But I really don't care what people think - I don't give a flying f*ck. I have my interests and I don't care what other people think about it. That's their problem." Of his collection, the guitarist said it comprised "mostly WWII militaria, but I've got some older things, as well, more related to Swedish history. I've met people over the years who have the strangest things you could ever imagine when it comes to collecting militaria; it's always fascinating to see what people have in their collection. Mine is quite modest, but I collect things I like - uniforms, medals, daggers, bayonets, things like that."
Turning his attention to Marduk's new album Wormwood and his writing partnership with vocalist Mortuus, Håkansson commented, "We share a lot of views and ideas, so we very much throw ideas at each other and work on the songs together. It's not like one guy writes it all; we share a lot of ideas and we really build it as a band. Also, I don't know if it's been my band - I formed the band, but it's always very much been a group that works together... What I like is that when you get a new member in a band, you want him to participate, to become a part of the unit and work together. That's why you have a band; otherwise, you would have a solo project. It's very much a band, even more than ever before, on this album everybody participates - even our new drummer has actually written music for this album. I'd say we're more of a unit on this album than we've ever been before."
Marduk grace the cover of issue 031 of Zero Tolerance Magazine, which hits the shelves on Friday September 18th. Joining the Swedes are Immortal, gladly proclaiming that all shall fail, Secrets Of The Moon, The Gates Of Slumber, A Storm Of Light, Megadeth, Evile, Horna, Ethnic Acid, HERR and much, much more from across the extreme music underground and beyond. It also marks a milestone in the history of Zero Tolerance Magazine, marking the extreme music publication's fifth anniversary. Commented Calum Harvie, editor of Zero Tolerance: "It's hard to believe that five years have passed already! Ever since our first issue, we have uniquely committed to covering extreme music as a whole, reflecting that, as fans, we don't meekly adhere to the ridiculous notion that musical tastes have to be categorised and thus ghettoised. We absolutely thrive on celebrating the diversity of the extreme music underground, which is why everything from grind, punk, black, death and trad metal through to noise, industrial, power electronics and neofolk find a warm welcome in our pages."
Zero Tolerance Issue 031, Sept/Oct 2009. Onsale from 18th September.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
That's it for now, but there's loads happening, so hopefully I'll be able to post more soon.
Following a short holiday I'm back and catching up on both PhD and journalism work. There is news from both - I recently had a paper published in the journal Biology Letters. If you are interested in the research you can find out more on NERC's Planet Earth and the BBC news website. You can find the paper here. On the journalism side, a new issue of ZT has hit the shelves, more details below. There have been the usual continuous updates on UM. That's it for now, but more news on both fronts soon.
Issue 030 - Jul/Aug 2009
"I have no respect for politicians and presidents. They're such backward-thinking human beings." Nergal, Behemoth.
Behemoth frontman Adam 'Nergal' Darski speaks in the latest issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine about the conclusion of his recent defamation case against Polish politician Ryszard Nowak, head of the Committee For Defence Against Sects which, similarly to the PMRC in the '80s, has attempted to have various rock and metal artists - Behemoth included - proscribed in Poland. "In a 20-minute interview, he [Nowak] called me a criminal several times because of what I did," Nergal relates, referring to a Behemoth show in Poland where he was filmed tearing a bible. "But the fact is that I didn't do anything that he could consider criminal because I wasn't sentenced or convicted. It was lawless to call me that. I didn't feel offended, of course, but I played that I did and I went to court. It was a small YouTube channel and maybe 15,000 people who saw it. I thought, 'You know what? Maybe this guy, maybe someone's gotta f*cking put him in his place,'... So I'm gonna do it. I invested some money, I brought him to court, and I won everything. He's got to pay for this homeless dogs' asylum, pay all the costs in the case, and apologise in the biggest Polish newspaper. I think it's a fair deal. We have free speech, but y'know, we also have a genetic condition...I don't know what to say - I have no respect for politicians and presidents. They're such backward-thinking human beings."
Turning his attention to Behemoth's new album Evangelion, Nergal reveals that an epic three-year tour is planned to promote the offering: "I love touring, and I love staying at home. I've been at home for months; it feels like forever, and y'know, I'm loving it. I have my regime, my discipline, my training, my work, my home and my hobbies. At the same time, I can't wait to get my ass on the road and wake up in a different place every day. I'd never change a single thing in my life because this is a good place for me to be - talking about my new record. It gives sense to my life; it defines me as a human being."
Behemoth aren't the only Poles to feature in the new issue of Zero Tolerance - this issue also sees the return of the legendary Vader, who talk about the changes extreme music in Poland has undergone during the quarter-century-plus they have been active. And proving that Vader aren't the only 'veterans' with plenty to offer, Suffocation, Obituary and Current 93 all join in the fun, along with Shining, Municipal Waste, Slough Feg, God Dethroned, Anaal Nathrakh, Job For A Cowboy, Man Must Die, Asphyx, Grunt, Death Pact International, Diocletian, Tetianblood and many more!
Zero Tolerance Issue 030, Jul/Aug 2009. Onsale from 15 July.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
My PhD seems to be taking up an increasing proportion of my time in recent months, hence the silence. As a result I'm also doing less for ZT. You can, however, still find news from me in the latest issue, in addition to an interview with power electronics project Dirt Como. Full details:
Issue 029 - May/Jun 2009
"Black metal is not something you can invent: it is natural. Either you got it or you don't." Ravn, 1349.
As Norwegian black metallers 1349 prepare to release their new album, Revelations Of The Black Flame, frontman / vocalist Ravn has been sharing his thoughts on black metal's visual aesthetics. Speaking to the UK's Zero Tolerance Magazine, he said, "Well, there is corpsepaint and then there's wannabe corpsepaint... Some metal people seem to think that if they put on corpsepaint, the music turns into black metal when it is performed. For us it is kind of the other way around. We first and foremost make black metal and then the corpsepaint is the ritual added to the whole package so to speak, so when you see 1349 live you will hear the music and see the performance. Of course it all has to make sense and for us the only way that it makes sense is to use corpsepaint. It is a ritual to put it on and so you get into the mood and everything, of course you can say that it's a lot of hassle and everything - put on the corpsepaint, put on the spikes. But it's all a ritual before the concert that makes you get into the mood. When it's all on, you're ready to go on and you look in the mirror and it's kind of the inside coming out. At least that's how it feels for us. I definitely see the point of it. People see it as a cliché, but it's only because it has been used and overused by so many people that totally misunderstand it. And of course posers you get in every scene and genre. It's an easy trap to fall into, 'We made music which is like black metal. Oh f*ck, we need to get some corpsepaint to put on, oh yeah, that would be great', and then they just smear something on. It needs to be right and needs to come from inside and black metal is about the feeling of the music and black metal is not something you can invent: it is natural. Either you got it or you don't, that's the way I see it."
1349 are joined by a host of black metal luminaries in the new issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine, each sharing their thoughts on the aesthetics of black metal. As well as lengthy contribution from Nuclear Holocausto of the returning Finnish BM cult legends Beherit, the likes of Impiety, Old Man's Child, Altar Of Plagues and Absentia Lunae also enter the debate. Zero Tolerance editor, Calum Harvie, commented, "What makes black metal so compelling, to me at least, is that it's a heavily stratified genre: take two bands like 1349 and Beherit and you'll find as many differences as you will similarities. So what is it that makes something 'black metal'? That's the question we put to the bands featured in this final instalment of our Sounds & Visionaries series, as black metal's grim aesthetics are laid bare."
Zero Tolerance Issue 029, May/Jun 2009. Onsale from 15 May.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
Despite a lack of announcement, new interviews have been posted on UM as well, including London's Razor Of Occam and Finnish virtuoso Stratovarious. New reviewsare also going up regularly. I'm hoping to get some new photos up soon, but until then, have fun!
Thanks to term time and associated teaching the last few months have been a bit quiet. Thankfully term is now over, however, and things are happening. First, finally, there is a new UM announcement:
Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue.
Charles Darwin was born 250 years ago last month, so now would seem an apt time to steal some of his words of wisdom. He once said "A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life." We agree, and while things have seemingly been quiet at UM HQ lately, we certainly haven't been wasting our time - just lacking some spare to post what's been going on! New interviewshave been posted with Scottish pirate-metallers Alestorm, the recently revived Pestilence, US deathcore troupe All Shall Perish , Swedes Thyrfing, and Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) and Southern Lord Records. As ever you can find lots more new stuff in our reviews, live reviewsand non-metal reviews sections, as well as all the latest metal news. That's it for now, so until next time, have fun, and I'll leave you with a couple more snippets from the renowned naturalist:
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
"A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth"
There is also a new issue of ZT out. Due to streamlining at the magazine, and PhD commitments, the amount I'm doing each issue has been cut down, but the latest still has my news and some reviews in there:
Issue 028 - Mar/Apr 2009
My Dying Bride: "I don't think the songs that we write are particularly blasphemous, but other people really do."
The conflict between alleged blasphemy and freedom of speech is common place within the context of extreme music, but for English doomsters My Dying Bride it has led to some unexpected attention, namely from the Syrian government. Speaking to the UK's Zero Tolerance Magazine on the cusp of the release of new album For Lies I Sire, guitarist Andy Craighan said: "We were offered some gigs out there [Syria] and we got a list of lyrics we wouldn't be able to sing because of their religious content. It basically made a mockery of our songs... it was like the CIA blacklisting all of our words. We realised that we were quite anti-religious and it was a bit of an eye opener when the government came back saying, 'This band can't play in our country because of their forthright anti-religious stance.' It was mainly songs like 'The Cry Of Mankind' that upset them. We usually play it because it's a favourite of ours. Once they'd latched onto that and a couple of others, we didn't have a show to play! I don't think the songs that we write are particularly blasphemous, but other people really do. I can reel this stuff off without even knowing it, but for some people it's horrifying! I don't even realise I'm doing it!" Turning to the tendency within Western extreme music to target Christianity specifically, Andy comments: "With Christianity we can attack all religions by using it as the pinnacle but all of them are effectively the same. Everybody knows it...We don't genuinely mean any harm, we just want to rattle the cage a bit and say, 'Look, [religion] isn't everything you think it is.' The idea of blowing yourself up just so you can be with 12 people who've never had a shag sounds ridiculous to me! I'm gonna get 12 virgins? They're the worst shag ever! You want someone filthy!"
The role of religious imagery - blasphemous or otherwise - in extreme music forms the core theme of the current issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine. Blut Aus Nord and Hellsaw discuss the differing ways in which black metal embraces blasphemy, while Candlemass' Leif Edling opines on the appropriation of Christian imagery by classic doom metal bands, his own included. Calum Harvie, editor of Zero Tolerance Magazine said: "If we take blasphemy to mean the deliberate crossing of the divide between what a society considers to be sacred and profane, then it's no wonder that it is commonly expressed within extreme music which, likewise, tests and challenges the boundaries of what is considered by others to be sonically unacceptable. And even though blasphemy is technically no longer illegal in the UK, it doesn't take a great deal of awareness of current affairs to realise that mocking or parodying a religion isn't without its risks. That's why this issue of Zero Tolerance hones in on the fine art of blasphemy, seeking to examine the extent to which it is embraced in extreme music, as well as the implications it has for freedom of speech."
Zero Tolerance Issue 028, Mar/Apr 2009. Onsale from 15 March.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
So, lots happening, and no doubt more soon. Until then, have fun!
We have finally posted new interviews at UM, one with Greg Anderson of Sun 0))) and Southern Records fame, and one with Thyrfing. A Proper announcement coming soon. Issue 27 has also hit the stores, featuring the usal from me (news, lives, reviews and crossword), plus an interview with the ever impressive Ephel Duath. More details below.
Issue 027 - Jan/Feb 2009
"There's a lot of problems in the world, and death metal just isn't one of them.
Alex Webster, Cannibal Corpse.
Censorship and extreme music have clashed on many occasions, and more than once death metal's Cannibal Corpse have been the catalyst for conflict. Speaking in the new issue of the UK's Zero Tolerance Magazine, Corpse bassist and founding member Alex Webster reflects upon his band's run-ins with censors over the years. "There's a lot of problems in the world, and death metal just isn't one of them... Listening to a band that sings about crazy, f*cked-up things or watching a violent movie isn't going to inspire people the way they might think it would. Censors take it for granted that others are easily influenced, and I don't think that's necessarily true. I think that people definitely know the difference between a crazy, blood-soaked fantasy going on in a movie and reality." And turning to the decision by German censors to ban some Cannibal Corpse material in the early '90s, Webster says, "Some German version of the PMRC that had originally started to crack down on neo-fascist type music decided to just crack down on anything they didn't like, anything questionable. I have a feeling they were using laws that had been made to monitor political hate speech for just anything, though I could be wrong... I'd say that just being successful is a good way of getting back at people who've tried to stop you...I think [censorship] made our band bigger. It was really a failure on the part of anyone who took us on - nobody was stopped. We're lucky enough to have the freedom of speech, and it wound up winning in our case. Censorship is probably seen as a waste of effort by a lot of people because we're still here.
Censorship is the subject of a special investigation in the new issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine, in which Napalm Death, Behemoth and Sepultura relate their own thoughts and experiences. Behemoth's Nergal discusses how the actions of one would-be censor in Poland have ended up in court, while Barney Greenway of Napalm Death explains why he thinks freedom of speech should be protected at all costs.
Calum Harvie, editor of Zero Tolerance, said, "Although it might raise a smile or two when a self-appointed 'moral guardian' is shocked by the imagery and lyrics frequently employed in extreme music, it's less easy to brush their indignation aside if they then go on to try and have an artist or a piece of music banned. But as the musicians featured in this special show, there are no easy answers. Are there no-go areas in terms of lyrics and imagery? Or should extreme music exist to challenge taboos no matter what? That's what we've been looking at this issue.
Zero Tolerance Issue 027, Jan/Feb 2009. Onsale from 21st January.
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
More news soon, in the meantime, have fun!
It's been a few months, and issue 26 of ZT is now out - full details below.
Issue 026 - Nov/Dec 2008
Tom G Warrior Interviews Giger For Zero Tolerance Magazine
In a rare interview, Tom Gabriel Warrior, once of Celtic Frost and now heading up Triptykon, speaks to Swiss surrealist visual artist HR Giger for issue 026 of the UK's Zero Tolerance Magazine. The interview, conducted by Warrior over two sessions at Giger's Zurich home, is an intimate and revealing look at the artist's life and work, which has included Oscar-winning designs for the film Alien, not to mention numerous paintings and sculptures, many of which have graced album covers such as Celtic Frost's To Mega Therion and Heartwork by Carcass. During the interview, Giger reveals to Warrior just how he feels about the use of his art on album covers, and much more.
Warrior's interview with Giger is the inaugural feature in the first of an all-encompassing two-part special on the relationship between extreme music and visual art. Among those sharing their thoughts on Giger and beyond are Jello Biafra, Cradle Of Filth, Darkthrone and Satyricon. The story continues in issue 027 when the murky world of censorship is laid bare.
Elsewhere, Jarboe tells us about the art of collaboration, her latest release Mahakali sees the coming together of such prolific artists as Phil Anselmo and Attila Csihar, while Six Feet Under, Psycroptic, Hammers Of Misfortune, Thyrfing, Agathocles and many others all join the action.
Issue 026 also marks the first of many contributions from Alan Averill (aka Primordial's Nemtheanga). In his first View From The Bunker column, Alan's feeling thoughtful about the rise to popularity of bands such as Nightwish: "When did metal become so f*cking safe, so emasculated and so f*cking dull and danger free? Where is the livewire energy, the danger, the rebellion, because this is one very small step from Eurovision. Even after two minutes of this I feel like I need to rinse my mouth out, it's peeling the enamel off my teeth. I'm being force spooned treacle. This is the anti-metal, the antithesis of what shaped metal back in the late '70s and '80s and that a grown man can see himself in this and not hate it with every ounce of his soul confuses the hell out of me."
Zero Tolerance Issue 026, Nov/Dec 2008. Onsale from 15 November
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
This has slightly less than usual from me due to a number of deadlines, but features news and crossword, as well as a few reviews. Work is well under way on the Issue 27, which is looking to have several features from myself, as well as the full compliment of my usual contributions again; the magazine will hit the shelves January 15th, more details nearer the time. While things are a little quiet at UM due to the workload during term times when many of the core staff are teaching/working, we have sorted out top ten lists for 2008. Mine are as follows:
Bardoseneticcube + Noises Of Russia – New Orthodox Line
Between The Buried And Me – Colors*
Bloodbath – The Fathomless Mastery
Falconer – Among Beggars And Thieves
Opeth – Watershed
Sigh – Hangman’s Hymn*
The Berzerker – The Reawakening
The Sin: Decay – Rehabilitation
Whourkr – Concrete
Woods of Ypres – Woods III
Herrschaft – Tesla
*Technically late 2007, but I only picked them up this year… The full lists will be posted on the site in the next few days.
So that's it for now, but there should be another update when the next issue of ZT is out, and some news on the UM front, as the next few months are looking less busy than the previous three. Until then, happy new year, and best wishes for 2009.
Issue 25 of ZT has hit the shelves, full details below. It has the usual from myself (news interview is with Necrophagia this time around, and agony aunt with Dragonforce), and it also features an interview with London's De Profundis. I've just completed a major project for my PhD, so am hopeful I'll get the chance - after finishing work on ZT26 - to get some more content on UM. The the mean time, here are full details for the next ZT:
Issue 025 - Sept / Oct 2008
Gojira's Joe Duplantier: "We are citizens of earth... we have to protect what we have."
Marking the release of Gojira's new album The Way Of All Flesh, vocalist / guitarist Joe Duplantier speaks in the new issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine about his hopes and fears for the future of the planet. “I feel... terrified and very sad about what's happening on earth right now,” he says. “I feel deeply - and I'm not the only one, a lot of people and everyone in the band agrees - I really mean it, it's not to be trendy or whatever, because it's true. We are destroying a lot of things, we are killing endangered species - we are killing sharks, we are killing whales and that's an aberration to me. I cannot help it, when I get in the practice room and we play this music that is so powerful and stuff, I start screaming about it, I cannot help it. We truly feel concerned and we hope that if the band gets bigger we can do more concrete things, raise money for a cause - we already give money to Greenpeace, but that's a personal thing. We try to do our best not to waste water or gas or electricity, we try to be more conscious of what's happening on earth. We are concerned, that's a fact. Even if the main message of the band is more about the soul or the mysteries of life in general or what happens in the afterlife or our inner fears - to know ourselves better - that's the message of the band. But we are citizens of earth, so we have to talk about that in our songs. I don't want to sound clichéd, but we have to protect what we have. It's more than important, it's crucial."
Of the new album, Duplantier says that expectations to surpass 2005's From Mars To Sirius came from within, rather than outside, the band. “The pressure from outside the band is not as big as this pressure that we already have spontaneously or naturally. We're very happy to be on the cover of magazines and to have good reviews, it's very rewarding. But we don't pay too much attention to it - we have been a band since 1996, it's a long time, 12 years, that we're a 'new' band! People still think that we're a new band, but we worked a lot and toured a lot in bad conditions and didn't get paid for years and years, so being on the cover of a magazine is nothing compared to how hard it is to stay strong as a band and as human beings, to stay together all the time and overcome the tensions inside a band. So when there is a cover or something it's more like joy and something very positive, not pressure.”
Gojira lead the way in issue 025 of Zero Tolerance magazine which examines the relationship between extreme music and ecological / environmental concerns. Joining the discussion are Enslaved, The Triple Tree, Kampfar, Green Army Fraction and more. Elsewhere, Cynic tell us about their decision to create a successor to their near-legendary album Focus, while Amon Amarth, Albert Witchfinder, David E Williams, Warning, Bloodbath, Benediction, Lord Belial, Horna and many others all join the action.
Issue 025 also marks the fourth anniversary of Zero Tolerance Magazine. It comes in at an extended 148 pages, each issue accompanied by a free double CD. Since its inception in 2004, Zero Tolerance has set the agenda for extreme music, representing the sonically unacceptable without compromise, exposing the darkest, most obscure recesses of the musical imagination and celebrating its diversity. From black, death and folk metal through to industrial, noise, power electronics and neofolk, Zero Tolerance has consistently covered the music that other publications simply don't even know about - and while they play catch-up, ZT remains several steps ahead.
Zero Tolerance Issue 025, Sept/Oct 2008. Onsale from 15 September
Zero Tolerance Magazine
Representing The Sonically Unacceptable
Buy It. Read It. Spread Dissent.
Due to some fieldwork and lots of PhD stuff, this is a very long overdue update. Two issues of ZT have hit the shelves since the last update, with #24 arriving in stores yesterday. This has loads of cool stuff, including from myself an agony aunt with ArnoCorps, interviews with Gojira and Berzerker, news, tourdates, sponsored tours, crossword, and a few CD reviews. Work on the next issue has already begun. Things have also been happening at UM - a new update:
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
So said Oscar Wilde. He was also responsible for words of wisdom such as "The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for" and "Know Thyself was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, Be Thyself shall be written." To be yourself, you have to know yourself, and to know yourself it can't hurt to know your contemporaries. Which is where this somewhat tortuous route is leading, as UM has recently posted We Who Are as Others - The Metal Lifestyle Mapped. This is a summary of Andreas Rana's culture sociology bachelors thesis on what it means to be a metalhead. If you want to see how you fit into the spectrum of metal fans, or know more about the 'average' metalhead look no further. UM's Ryan Starr also recently caught up with ICS Vortex. You can read the interview here. As ever we've regularly been posting new reviews, non-metal reviews, metal newsand lots of live reviews. Finally, if you're interested in helping UM clear our promo backlog by writing for us, check out this thread. So that's it for now, but I'll leave you with more Oscar Wilde, and until the next UM update, have fun!
"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."
"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
"I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability."
I think that's all the news for now, so have a good summer and hopefully another update will be online before too long!
A not so long overdue update. We're currently working hard on Issue #23 of ZT, which will have all the normal stuff from me. It hits the shops on the 15th of May. In the meantime, a new update from UM is posted below:
I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
"People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think." George Carlin is sometimes bang on the money. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls." And again. Although the wolves I'm talking about are Norway's Ulver. After two years of silence the lycanthropes have returned with Shadows Of The Sun, and last May I caught up with frontman Krisstopher Rygg to discuss the record, the band's future and struggles of life as a musician. . UM has teamed up with Zero Tolerance Magazine to bring you the interview - check it out. In further updates, UM's Jack Deming recently caught up with doomy Scandinavians Sahg. Their conversation, covering topics such as the band's new album and history, can be found here. As ever since the last announcement our reviewsforum has been updated almost daily, and additions include some initial impressions of the new Opethalbum. There's more new coverage in the live reviewsand media reviews forums as well. That's it for now, but I'll leave you with some more observations from George Carlin:
"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"
"The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live"
"'I am' is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that 'I do' is the longest sentence?"
Until next time, have fun!
In other news, two of my photos have been used for cover art by UK progressive metallers Blackfire Well, shown below:
The album is currently being submitted to labels, but in the meantime, you can hear the songs on their myspace. That's it for now, but more soon.
A long overdue update. Since last time two issues of Zero Tolerance have hit the shelves, the latest being Issue #22, with Meshuggah on the cover. It features news, crossword, and all the usual stuff from me, including an Agony Aunt with To-Mera, and interviews with Dark Suns and Nucleus Torn. It's in shops throughout the UK, Europe, Aus, NZ and the US now. A new UM update has also been posted:
It's one thing to want someone out of your life, but it's another thing to serve them a wake-up cup full of liquid drainer.
"I like it. It's got that what-a-cruel-world-let's-toss-ourselves-in-the-abyss type ambience." So said the shady JD in that bizarre slice of '80s black comedy Heathers. I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear (yeah, right), that there's been none of that here in the three months since the last update. In fact, despite the silence, all at UMHQ have been busier than ever with the site. We've posted new interviews with Týrand Eluveitieas part of continuing coverage of the Paganfest US Tour, and another is up with the always entertaining Impaled Nazarene. As ever, we've posted more reviews(2700 and counting), non-metal reviews, and all the latest metal news. Also up is coverage of several tours, including live reviews of Wolves In The Throne Room, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Between The Buried And Me, Dark Tranquillity, Omnium Gatherum, Sonata Arctica, and Myopia. More coming soon. That, however, is it from us for now. Until next time have fun, and I'll leave you with some more quotes from the darker side of '80s high-school life.
Principal: Now I've seen a lot of bulls**t... Angel Dust, switchblades, sexually perverse photography involving tennis rackets...
Veronica Sawyer: If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn't be a human being. You'd be a game-show host.
Veronica Sawyer: All we want is to be treated like human beings, not to be experimented on like guinea pigs or patronized like bunny rabbits.
Veronica's Mum: When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it's usually because they are being treated like human beings.
Veronica's Dad: I don't patronize bunny rabbits.
Over the christmas break I have finally had the chance to sort out some of my photographs from the last two years. These include a few taken for an album cover of a friend's project, Blackfire Well, and many others from around London and from travels. Some favourites are posted below, and the rest can be seen in the completely redone Photography section of the website. The Journalism, About, Music and Links pages have also been given a long overdue update.
A new UM update has also been posted:
End of year lists from UM.com and, of course, happy new year!
W.H. Auden said "The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears." The latter's not my style, so I'm about to do the former. But first I felt I should draw attention to UM's end of year lists. Another piece of Auden's wisdom was that "music is the best means we have of digesting time" - if this is the case it's second only to making lists of music, so why not come and join in the fun? If you liked a lot of stuff in 2007, or disliked everything you heard, post in the thread and share your opinion! While researching for the end of year lists it has also become apparent that the fine doom metal band Middian are in trouble and need the metal community's assistance. If you have a moment to spare please check out their website and see if you're able to help.
I'll leave you with another of the Anglo-American writer's sayings: "A poet can write about a man slaying a dragon, but not about a man pushing a button that releases a bomb." Let's hope there won't be any need for poets to deal with the latter next year - here's to a peaceful 2008. Happy new year!
Work on Issue 21 of ZT is also complete. The magazine will be in shops on the 13th, a week later in the US, NZ & Aus. It features the usual from myself, an update will be posted when the magazine its on the newsstands. But first, as promised, some of my favourite new photos:
Another two months has passed, and another issue of Zero Tolerance is in the stores. This time around Gallhammer are on the cover, and my work includes the news, featuring an interview with Mikael Akerfeldt, tourdates/sponsored tours, a feature on France's Hangman's Chair, an Agony Aunt with Hank from Turbonegro, and the normal reviews, as well as a film column on Lucio Fulci. Work is just starting on Issue 21. A new UM announcement has also been posted:
No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.
Not that I need much excuse, but the fact that William Blake was born 250 years ago - almost to the day - seems like a fine reason to quote the fine gentleman. He was an excellent poet (and writer) in his time, and once said "Love seeketh not itself to please, nor for itself hath any care, but for another gives its ease, and builds a Heaven in Hell's despair." Things have changed in the last 200 years, but good writers still have a place, and if you think you are one such talented individual, maybe yours is UM. We're currently looking for new staff writers to help us cope with an ever-increasing promo backlog and innumerous interview requests, so if you know a lot about metal and want your voice to be heard, then please get in touch, there's no better way!
It's been a long while since the last UM zine update, during which time interviews have been posted with Immolation, Blut Aus Nord, Circus Maximus and Gorefest. As ever, new reviewsare posted daily, including a roundup of recent Peaceville reissues in our latest instalment of just browsing. New non-metal reviews have also been posted, along with all (and I mean, all!) the latest metal news. Finally, new live reviewsare now up, in the form of Job for a Cowboy / Behemoth / Gojira / Beneath the Massacre and Stolen Babies/ Creature Feature/ School Yard Heroes/ Try Cognition. Enjoy all of that, and until next time, have fun. I'll leave you with a few more Blakeisms, because that guy was a cool, if slightly odd, dude!
"To see a world in a Grain of Sand, And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour."
"Innocence dwells with Wisdom, but never with Ignorance."
"Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache; do be my enemy - for friendship's sake"
"He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity's sun rise."
In other news, I'm working on some new photography for a friend's album cover, which will be posted in due time everything allowing, along with some more of the photos I've taken in the last year but not had time to upload. Lots is going on, I hope to be able to report some more news soon!
The summer has been busy as ever: Issue 19 of ZT is now available in the shops. This has Ihsahn on the cover, while my contributions include interviews with Awake and Alestorm, Type O and Awake live reviews, news, tourdates, an agony aunt with Screamin Daemon, music / DVD reviews and a film column. A lot has also been going on with UM, here is our new announcement:
Wacken Reports Posted
The astronomer Carl Sagan once said of the Earth: "The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived here - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." I pretty much only used this quote because I like it, but to tenuously link it to our latest update: This mote of dust is also home to innumerous metal fans, 70,000 of whom recently congregated for a celebration of all things metallic - Wacken Open Air 2007. UM sent along a team of writers, whose reports of this auspicious event have just been posted. You can learn all about the highs and lows of the festival in Jason Koszowski's report, and the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the festival in thisaccount from Greg Hasbrouck. A series of interviews from Wacken will be coming in the next weeks. Also posted since last time are interviews with Evile, 1349and Nachtmystium. As ever new reviewsand non-metal reviews. But, on that note, I'm going on a week's holiday, so I'll leave you with some more cool quotes from Carl Sagan:
"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."
"Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people."
Until next time, have fun!
Thus - despite the silence - lots has been going on. I'm just taking a little time off prior to starting my PhD, but I'm hoping to get some new photos up before starting, along with more journalism.
Two months have passed since I last updated the website, during which time I got my degree results, and then had a short break. Sadly, with a new summer job and a lot more going on besides, it seems things are about to get a lot busier, hence the update. Issue 18 of ZT is now available in stores throughout the UK, Europe, Aus, NZ and America, and features news, crossword, tourdates, and reviews from myself. Also in there from me is an interview with Chronicles Of Adam West, and an exclusive with KGR of Ulver, who reveals lots of details about the band's upcoming album. Please check it out! We're currently working on issue 18, which should be available in early September. In other news, we have a new UM announcement:
Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.
"I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there." So said the most excellent American physicist Richard P. Feynman. To tenuously link this great mind to the contents of this announcement, we move from one famous experimentalist to a lesser known trio with a predilection for experimentation, Indonesia's Kekal. UM recently caught up with this avant-garde group's frontman Jeff Arwadi to discuss their new album and singular music. Further additions to the interview section include a conversation with Ireland's For Ruin, and young Norwegians Ansur.
As ever our reviews and non-metal reviews have been updated on an (almost) daily basis, while the news is updated most hours with the latest feeds. With several interviews coming up and a full Wacken report, hopefully it won't be so long until the next update, but until then, take care, and I'll leave you with some more words of wisdom from Mr Feynman:
"If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part."
"Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more?"
"I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong."
The new Kekal interview was conducted by myself, hopefully it should make interesting reading. Additionally, in the near future - as soon as time allows - I shall post a lot of new photos from the last few months. I've also updated the links and about section of the website. Hopefully the next update won't be so long coming. Until then, have fun!
It's been a busy few weeks with exams, then uni fieldwork and the subsequent write-up, hence the silence. First off, a new UM announcement is up:
Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.
US poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a sentimental guy. "Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time" is one of his better known snippets. At UM, we know all about the sublime, having recently talked to Sepia Dreamer about this very topic. Interested in learning more? If so check out the interviews section in UM's zine. Longfellow also said "Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night." This seems true of Amon Amarth, who have got to where they are through perseverance and toil. UM sent along Mr Josh Phillips to talk with the band; you can find his interview here. Also posted since the last update are interviews with All Shall Perish, and Job For A Cowboy.
Longfellow believed critics to be "sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews". I wouldn't go that far, perhaps, but UM's writers have been busy as ever, with new reviews up every few days in the metal and non-metal reviews section. Our news feed is also updated every few hours, so if you're after the latest goings on in the world of metal look no further. In addition to these a live review of The Haunted, Municipal Waste, and Wolf has also been posted. That is all the news for now, however, so I leave you with more words from the most excellent Henry Longfellow. Until next time, have fun.
"For age is opportunity no less Than youth itself, though in another dress, And as the evening twilight fades away The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."
"Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied."
In other news issue 17 of ZT is now available in shops throughout the UK, Europe, Aus, NZ and - for the first time - the US. From me it features the normal stuff (crossword, film column, news, tours, agony aunt), as well as interviews with Elend and SnowW.Wwhite and a review of To Mera live. The magazine also features the normal interviews, with bands including Immolation, Mithras, Dimmu, Mayhem and Whitehouse. Check it out if you get the chance. We're currently working on the next issue, which should be available 07/07/07. Until then, take care.
A few months back I mentioned more news on the writing front - this is finally complete. I spent a couple of weeks in October editing a book by Paul Kuhr of Novembers Doom. Entitled The Wayfaring Chronicles, it documents the band's history, and contains the lyrics from all albums, along with explanations for each. It has finally surfaced in a limited edition package with the great new album The Novella Reservoir. Please check it out. On the photography front I recently took photos from a To Mera gig, a few are included below. The camera's inability to do short exposures in dark conditions shows, but I thought I'd include them nevertheless - someting to improve upon:
In other news the next issue of ZT is almost done, should be in shops a month from now. I have some more recent photos which will be posted as soon as I find time to resize and upload them between revisions for my finals & ZT.
My MSci has now been handed in, after almost a year's work, and a PhD in London confirmed for next year. With these out of the way hopefully other stuff may get done a little more regularly. Work on the next issue of ZT is currently underway, all the usual stuff being featured. The magazine will be out in early May. As time allows UM stuff will be starting to get more regular - if you're interested in writing for us drop me an email. Additionally I'm going to be designing some websites over the summer months - if you happen to be reading this and a new website is something you're interested in, get in touch.
It's been another nearly two month gap since the last update; finishing off my MSc, coupled with other uni work, PhD applications, and the last issue of Zero Tolerance have made finding the time to update tricky. Anyway, with these things done (PhDs) or almost done (MSc) hopefully there will be more updates soon. Since last time Issue 16 of ZT has been printed, and is now available in the usual places. This one has news, crossword, agony aunt, DVD and CD reviews, tourdates and a film column from me this time around, along with the usual cool stuff. This issue has a Marduk cover and is part one of an industrial special. Check it out! More info here. Additionally, a new UM announcement has been posted:
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself a fool.
"It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion" French author Anatole France once wrote. As we're probably not very wise around UMHQ, you have to shudder at the thought of the absurdity of our actions. Nevertheless, when Deron floated the idea of a redesign, caution was thrown to the wind, and you can now see the results by visiting the forum main page. "All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy" Anatole wrote, and we hope that even if your reaction to the new design is tempered by such sadness (hah, unlikely!) you can get on board with the new colour scheme Let us know what you think. There are more changes to mention - we have a new metal news forum taking feeds from some of the biggest metal news sites around. If you're after the latest goings-on in the world of metal, please check it out (and thanks to the sites involved).
We're also in search of two new North American writers to cope with an ever increasing influx of promos to review for UM's zine. Interested? More details here. Anatole once said "The good critic is he who relates the adventures of his soul among masterpieces." We wouldn't go that far but if you have something to say, and want it to be heard, get in touch. On that note, I'm out of news - we have more reviews, live reviews and non-metal reviews posted, as ever, while in the works are a new column, interviews and a whole host of further changes - but until next time, have fun. "When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it." wrote the most excellent Monsieur France, so I feel no guilt in stealing a couple more quotes to sign off:
"Innocence most often is a good fortune and not a virtue"
"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't."
I also have a couple of new photos taken a few days ago during the lunar eclipse:
More coming soon, including some from Edinburgh. Until then, have fun, and thanks for reading!
Just a quick update following exam week. Issue 15 of ZT is now available in the shops. My usual contributions for this one include editing the reviews and writing the news section, featuring interviews with Ephel Duath, Hecate Enthroned, and Finns Omnium Gatherum. Also in there from me are Opeth and Ephel Duath live reviews, crossword, film column on Quentin Tarantino, 15 CD/DVD reviews, and a feature/agony aunt with King Diamond, along with a whole host of other cool stuff from the ZT team, all well worth reading. Check it out if you get a chance! That's all for now, the next issue is underway, and the MSci is making life as hectic as ever, progress updates will be up as time allows. In the meantime, if you're based in the US, can write, and are interested in reviewing CDs, email me - UM is currently looking for new US based writers to assist with our ever growing influx of promos.
It's been a couple of months since the last update - things have been busy with my MSci, ZT and UM - lots has been happening. First off ZT14 is now available in sotres throughout the UK, Europe, Aus and NZ. More details here. It features the usual from myself - news, film column, film reviews, music reviews, crossword, and a small interview with Finland's Shade Empire. I'm also responsible for editing the reviews and the sponsored tours this time around, as well as an agony aunt feature/interview with Dani Filth. Check it out! ZT15 is now finished and should be in shops at the beginning of 2007.
A new UM announcement has also been posted:
Now listen up, you primitive screwheads. See this? This... is my boomstick!
"The 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about $109.95. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?"
I bet you're wondering how I can possibly link a quote from Ash in Evil Dead 3: Army Of Darkness to a metal band — other than the fact, of course, that it doesn't come much more metal than being a loud-mouthed braggart fighting deadites in 1300AD with a chainsaw for a hand, and a shotgun. But I digress, Agalloch recently released Ashes Against The Grain, and I'll take any excuse to quote Evil Dead (see what I did there?). We sent along the ever intrepid UM scribe Zack Attaran to find out more about the album, the band's recent European tour, and wine! You can read all about it here. Also posted in our interviews section since last time is a conversation with Axamenta.
It's been a while since the last announcement was posted, and since then new reviews have been posted almost daily. We've decided from this point onwards to stop numerically rating albums; the average score was climbing above five, and since we instigated the system it has become clear there are extensive personal and cultural differences in how these ratings are viewed. But if you check out the continually updated reviews section for our thoughts on all the latest releases, you can let everyone know what you think as well. Several live reviews have been posted including The Haunted, Enslaved, Soilwork, Ephel Duath and Zyklon, and there are lots more non-metal reviews for you to peruse. We've posted a few new reviews in our media section, including DVDs from Sentenced, Autopsy and Isis. Finally, in the near future UM's end of year lists will be up, so look out for those.
Until next time, have fun, and best wishes for a great Christmas and a happy new year from all at UM. And, if you get bored, why not try and fit in every one of these lines at some point this holiday season, courtesy of Ash & co:
Gimme some sugar, baby.
Hail to the king, baby.
Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun.
I may be bad, but I feel good.
Bring on the wench!
I can guarantee you it will bring spice to your life.
Please note that UM will accept no liability for anything that happens as a direct or indirect consequence of you using these lines. You're fairly likely to get slapped. In a worst case scenario they could, in fact, bring around the end of the world. Should you be attacked by a heinous horror hag we expect you to have already identified your local zombie stronghold, and calculated the best escape route in the case of the apocalypse. Thank you, and good day.
Finally, I just got back from a few days in Norway - some photos from Oslo and Tromsø:
Until next time have fun, and have a great 2007.
Lots of news this time around. First off, we have a new UM announcement:
What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
It's been a month since the last announcement, but not because we haven't been busy. Quite the opposite, in fact - UMHQ has been so hectic that there just hasn't been time to post one until now. Oscar Wilde once said "But what is the difference between literature and journalism? Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all." We've tried to prove the most excellent Irish playwright wrong on this one, by posting lots of interviews that we hope you'll find as interesting as we did. First off is the legendary Cynic, who have confirmed a reunion tour, and their sister band Aeon Spoke. Also to be found in our interview section is a conversation with Swedish stoners Harm's Way. Our final new interview is with Nightingale; "I don't play accurately - any one can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression" Algernon said in The Importance Of Being Earnest. We figured he could take a lesson from Nightingale, who have always managed to do both.
New live reviews include Ephel Duath, Tangaroa, and You've Been Lied To, and God Forbid, Cataract, Maroon, and A Perfect Murder. As ever you'll find lots of new non-metal, media and metal reviews up. That's about it for now, but I'll leave you with more quotes from the insuppressible wit of Oscar Wilde:
"I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability."
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
In further news one of my photographs has been featured on the cover art for a release from TuMoR UK. You can find samples and the cover work at their myspace, please check it out. The next issue of ZT is now being printed, and should be available on newstands at the end of this month. Also coming sometime in the future is an interview with me about my photography in the magazine Zeitschrift. More info when that appears. Also there is more news coming soon on the writing front, but until I next have a chance to update this inbetween my masters, have fun!
A new UM announcement:
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!
"This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that Cellar Door is the most beautiful" goes the line in Donnie Darko. Cellador obviously took this to heart, even if they did change the spelling. UM sent along the ever busy Mr Brandon Strader to talk to the band, and the resulting interview can be found here. Also posted is his conversation with Wastefall, just so you can't say we're lazy.
As always we've posted a bundle of both metal and non-metal reviews, and several live reviews including Zyklon and Enslaved. An unsigned spotlight with Gwynbleidd is also online. That's it for now, but hopefully the next announcement won't take a month again! Some more classic lines from Donnie Darko:
- Do you see this? This is an Anger Prisoner. A textbook example. Do you see the fear, people? This boy is scared to death of the truth. Son, it breaks my heart to say this, but I believe you are a very troubled and confused young man. I believe you are searching for the answers in all the wrong places...
-- You're right, actually. I am pretty troubled and I'm pretty confused. And I'm afraid. Really, really afraid. But I think you're the f*cking Antichrist.
- Mom said the school is closed today because it's flooded, and there's faeces everywhere!
-- What are faeces?
- Baby mice.
We're currently working on the next issue of ZT, which will be out early November. I've also updated all the pages on the website, so please let me know if you spot any mistakes!
As a result of lots of work towards at university, and a vain attempt to try and clear UM's promo back catalogue, it's been a month since the last update. UM still has a big backlog to wade through, I'm sorry to say, so if you're waiting for a review, and have been for a long time, my apologies. But, in more positive news, issue thirteen of Zero Tolerance hit the shelves recently, which features Suffocation on the cover, and is part two of a three-part death metal special. My work for the issue includes the news, crossword, film column, some reviews and tourdates. More info here. There should be a new UM announcement in the next few days, and some new photos as soon as I have time to choose favourites and upload them.
In the meantime here is a Battle Royale desktop I made recently, totally ripping off the Airside shirt (click on the image for a high res version):
A new UM announcement:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people are so full of doubts.
Bertrand Russell made a great many pertinent observations in his time, about a huge number of aspects of human nature. He liked to talk about religion, humanity, and maths. "Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom," he once said. Now, "how can you possibly link this pretentious rambling to a metal band", I hear you cry. Well, the answer is Zao, whose new album is entitled The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here. We sent along the ever affable Mr Jason Jordan to find out more about the new release, lineup and band history. Further updates have seen a new interview with Necrophobic, and unsigned spotlights with Envy, Subject To Thoughts, and Satanic Dirge posted. The usual reviews, non-metal reviews and media reviews have also been posted. But, as ever, I've run out of stuff to say, and Bertrand Russell has a great number of insightful quotes, far more than I could ever hope to fit in here. So to pick a few favourites:
"Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."
"It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."
"I believe in using words, not fists... I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex."
The sign of a great man. Until next time, have fun!
Ive finished work for the next issue of ZT which should be available on shelves at the beginning of September. More photos, including some from Norway, and a load of UM stuff still coming.
Following a brief trip to Oslo, I realise I haven't posted the last UM update:
You believe the world's 12 thousand years old? "That's right." Okay I got one word to ask you, a one word question, ready? "Uh huh." Dinosaurs.
Bill Hicks wasn't keen on creationism . In fact, his exact words were - "You know the world's 12 thousand years old and dinosaurs existed, they existed in that time, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the Bible at some point. 'And lo Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth. But the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus...with a splinter in his paw. And O' the disciples did run a shriekin': "What a big lizard, Lord!" But Jesus was unafraid and he took the splinter from the brontosaurus' paw and the big lizard became his friend.'"
And why all this talk of creationism, I hear you ask. Well, UM's James Willcock recently interviewed Clutch, whose career is comparable to the gradual development of life we see throughout the natural world. How's that for a tenuous link? Any excuse to quote Bill Hicks... Also recently posted is a conversation between Stephanie Lynne Thorburn and the cult English band Leaf Hound, who are to stoner what Australopithecus afarensis is to human evolution. As ever, new non-metal and metal reviews have been flowing in. Finally, there are also several new live reviews. Enjoy!
To finish with Bill Hicks: "You ever noticed how people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved? You ever noticed that? Eyes real close together, eyebrow ridges, big furry hands and feet. 'I believe God created me in one day' Yeah, looks like He rushed it."
In other news I'm currently working on the next issue of Zero Tolerance around my summer job, and then it's back to clearing UM's review backlog. More photos coming as soon as I have time to choose favourites and upload them.
Yeah, so it turns out I was wrong - it's almost two months since the last update, and things have been busier than ever. With fieldtrips, summer modules, and a host of ZT and UM things to do, I haven't quite had the chance to update this website. First off, issue eleven of ZT is available in shops throughout the UK, NZ, Aus and some of Europe - check out the website for details. My work for the issue includes the crossword, film column (this time around looking at the career of the legendary Wes Craven), and news, plus some reviews and an interview with the most excellent Lazarus Blackstar - check it out! I've also just finished my work for the next issue, which will be out early next month - it's looking like a really cool issue.
In addition to this, some of my photography is set to appear in the artwork for a forthcoming CD, more news on that soon. I have also just posted a new UM announcement:
Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.
Albert Einstein may have known a lot about theoretical physics, but he also knew a lot about beautiful women. Plus he had some good advice to give — "Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow - perhaps it all will." And so is the tenuous link to our newest interview, a conversation between Mr Brandon Strader and Coldseed. You can also find a conversation between James Willcock and the most excellent Clutch in the interviews section. In case that isn't enough, since our last announcement an unsigned spotlight with Dendura, and a live review of Pelican / Russian Circles have also been posted.
As ever, the metal and non-metal reviews sections have also been updated with all the latest releases and a lot of demos. Lots more will be posted soon as we clear a backlog. Here's to the next announcement taking less than a month to post! As Einstein said so many great things in his life, I find it nigh on impossible to leave you with a single quote of his, so here are several:
"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
"One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought."
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
Until next time, have fun!
Finally, Smdge has recorded a new single - I wasn't involved this time round, but I have no doubt it will be great, well worth checking out.
Exams are finally over, and I've just posted a long overdue interview with Screamin' Daemon, which can be found here. My work on the next issue of ZT is also done, and that should be surfacing sometime soon. Also, a new UM announcement:
A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life - Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist, had certainly grown to appreciate the importance of time. Here at UMHQ we have as well, which is why we like to keep busy bringing you more to read. This time around Mr Jason Jordan has posted an interview with Yakuza, entitled Evolution. Any excuse to quote Darwin. Meanwhile I recently spoke to an ordained reverend. Yes, if you read the interview with Screamin' Daemon all will be explained. The live reviews forum has also been updated with a Yakuza / Blood Tribe / Deliver Us From Evil gig. In the unsigned spotlight section you'll find a new interview with Hokum.
As ever, you'll also find new non-metal reviews and metal reviews. Even with all these updates, we're building up a backlog of work, so we're also looking for new writers. Get in touch if you're interested!
And on that note, I'll quote Charles Darwin once more:
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
That's it for now, but I'm hoping to provide more updates soon; I have a bit more spare time now.
My photography has appeared on a new webpage, which can be found here. This is part of a larger collection of work from numerous friends which is all posted on the Patched Up But Still Melting (label for Smdge) webpage. Please visit and check everything out. All of the sections have been updated, so please have a look around and see what's new here as well.
Also, a new UM announcement:
Captain Zapp Brannigan: Kif, I have made it with a woman. Inform the men.
Forgive the tenuous link here, but the above quote is from Futurama, and Aborym play futuristic black metal. Kind of. Ok, I admit that was poor, but UM's Nathan Pearce recently conducted an interview with the post-black metallers, and that wasn't so poor! You can read his conversation with Fabban here. Since last time we also sent the ever-intrepid James Willcock to an In Flames And Sepultura show, the review of which can be found in the live reviews section. You can also find there a live review/interview with Jahred of (hed) PE, manfully conducted with pen and paper after a moshing/Dictaphone incident.
Professor Farnsworth: You were all for preserving Hitler's brain, but putting it inside a shark's body...THAT'S GOING TOO FAR!!
Fry: Drugs are for losers, and hypnosis is for losers with big, weird eyebrows!
Bender: Yeah, well I'm gonna build my own lunar space lander! With blackjack aaaaannd Hookers! Actually, forget the space lander, and the blackjack. Ahhhh screw the whole thing!
Have a good easter!
I've just redsigned some of the site - the photography section has been redone, photos added, and should hopefully look a lot neater now. A few other new features have also been added. Currently I'm doing uni work and finishing off my stuff for the next issue of ZT. As soon as the latter is finished I'm going to try and make an impact on UM's promo backlog.
Sorry for the total lack of updates. The last three weeks have been a panic to finish work, sit exams and much more before the end of term. It's all finished now, so hopefully between the revision and essays I'll have more time to do something, starting with Issue Eleven of ZT. More UM reviews coming too. First off, a new announcement on UM:
Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law
I know I've quoted Voltaire before, but I can think of few more worthy to being extensively quoted than this Parisian gentleman. "I hate women because they always know where things are", he once proclaimed, and that has certainly proven the case for UM, for our fine writer Katalin Sipos knew just where to find Falkenbach. You can find her interview in UM's interview section. We also sent the most excellent Miss Amanda Carlson to talk to Rage.
Our unsigned spotlight section has also been updated. The ever-busy Mr Jason Jordan posted an interview with The Photographic recently, in-between putting the finishing touches to his debut book. More news once it's printed, but all at UMHQ wait with baited breath for their free copy (ahem).
As ever, since the last update we've posted 20+ new reviews, including Bal Sagoth - The Chthonic Chronicles, Kataklysm - In The Arms Of Devastation, Sepultura - Dante XXI, Witchery - Don't Fear the Reaper and Amorphis - Eclipse, as well as many more obscure gems, such as the new Filii Nigrantium Infernalium. These can all be found in the reviews section. We have also sent the ever intrepid James Willcock along to see Cryptopsy/Grave/Dew Scented/Aborted/Vesania/Hurtlocker in London for our live reviews section. He seems to have recovered, but with James you never really know. Finally on the updates front, it you look in our non-metal reviews section, you'll find new reviews of Fields of the Nephilim and Slacks.
Our apologies for the format of the zine sections, we're working on getting them back to how they should look ASAP. Finally, if you're on myspace, we just got an account, so come and say hi!. To leave you with some more words of wisdom from the great Enlightenment writer; "it is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished, unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
Have a great couple of weeks!
Also, some new photos from a few weeks ago:
Another update later in the week.
We have a new UM announcement:
Peter Griffin – “You know those Germans; if you don't join the party, they come get you.”
Since I used Shakespeare last time, I felt I should lower the tone a bit this time round by going with quotes from the almighty Family Guy. The tenuous link to the Family Guy quote is German band The Ocean, who recently talked to UM’s very own Sam Brokenshaw. The interview can be found here. For another tenuous link:
Stewie Griffin: [controlling a robot Peter] Blast, you vile woman!
Peter Griffin: Blast, you vile woman!
Stewie Griffin: Ugh, that'll never do... translator. You there, with the severe aesthetic deficiencies!
Peter Griffin: Hey, ugly!
Stewie likes the word, and one of our writer Chris recently interviewed the death metal band that go by this name - Vile!
Katlin Sipos also recently talked to Ireland’s For Ruin. You know, it was a very different place before alcohol was invented:
Peter Griffin: Now, Chris, it's important you learn about your Irish heritage.
Speaker: Archeological evidence indicates that Ireland was a much different place before the discovery of alcohol. Most experts believe it was something like this.
[Flying cars whizzing]
Irishman: Today we, Ireland's top scientists, have found a way to convert our entire population to pure energy!
Irishman 2: It's a glorious day.
Irishman 3: Michael McCloud's just invented a new kind of beverage in his basement… Whiskey!!!
[Rowdy drunken yelling & fighting].
FR’s John Murphy proves the old ways still live on, with his PhD and eloquent answers.
As ever, we have posted more non-metal reviews, and many metal reviews. So, enjoy! We have also finally got a Myspace. If you're already one of our writer's friends then we'll probaby add you eventually, but if you have an account please do add us! I leave you with the true cause of the dinosaur extinction. Chixilub and the Deccan Traps had nothing to do with it. The true cause?
Young Peter Griffin: Why did all the dinosaurs die out?
Museum Curator: Because you touch yourself at night.
Until next time, have fun!
"Oh, I hate it when your mother worries. She usually says things like 'I told you so' and 'Stop doing that, I'm asleep.'"
Also, I have posted for reviews in UM's review section, more coming.
It has been a long time since an update, as it's been insanely busy here. Since the 15th I have handed in my dissertation, and finished my work for issue ten of Zero Tolerance. Expect all my normal stuff (news, crossword, film column), plus some reviews and interviews. A Lot has been happening at UM as well. The latest announcement:
The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
"The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted." - The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
My apologies for disappearing up my own - well, you get the idea - but decent music quotations are hard to come by, and you don't get much better than Shakespeare. The great playwright once wrote "France is a dog-hole" (All's Well That Ends Well, Act II. Sc. 3.). We respectfully disagree, as Jason Jordan recently interviewed Wormfood, and they were really rather nice chaps. Also in the interviews section you will find Josh Phillip's chat with black metallers Asguard and an interview by Amanda Carlson with prog metal group Zero Hour. An interview with Bleeding Through and a review of their live show can be found in our live reviews section, here. As ever, we have new non-metal reviews, media reviews and lots of new metal reviews. These are all assessed according to our new review rating scheme. Finally, we also have new unsigned spotlights with Chickenhawk and Altere. Enjoy!
So, until next time, as Shakespeare once wrote "This music crept by me upon the waters, allaying both their fury, and my passion, with its sweet air." Lets be mellow man!
In addition to this, some new photos taken from outside my new place:
I have also designed a banner for the site:
Finally, it may not look different, but the entire site has been re-written and cleaned up as I finally learned XHTML. More changes coming as I learn Java. Now everything is out of the way, all that's left is more college work and UM reviews, so expect lots happening and more frequent updates.
A new UM announcement:
Before going on to our usual updates, we have some sad news this time around. UM regular Florian, a.k.a. the_joy_of_grief, who some of you may know through Escape The Day, recently passed away. All our thoughts are with his friends and family in this difficult time. To quote Peter Greene – “As anyone who has been close to someone that has committed suicide knows, there is no other pain like that felt after the incident.”
Everyone at UMHQ has been busy over the festive period. We have two new interviews for you, Norwegians Frantic Bleep speak to (self-appointed staff concubine) Sam Brokenshaw, while the fine Jason Jordan has a conversation with Woods Of Ypres. We have also posted the staff picks of 2005. We found it so difficult to choose we all did it in different formats, so come and let us know what you think! As ever, we have 30+ new reviews and non-metal reviews.
So, until next time, take care!
Finally my dissertation is due in a week on Wednesday. After that - for the first time in months - I shall have some spare time again. Once I have finished with issue ten of ZT anything that has been waiting should appear on UM fairly soon.
Happy new year. Due to exams and coursework - whose deadlines have been extended until mid-January, everything is still going a bit slowly here review wise. At least ten of my reviews are now up in UM's reviews section, however, and more are added daily by our newly expanded team of writers. A new Woods Of Ypres interview is also up, along with the staff picks of 2005. A UM announcement detailing all of this will go up on Friday. My website has also been modified to make it easier to browse, with most of the other sections also having been updated. Also my address is changed, so if UM is on your mailing list and you haven't got the new addy get in touch. A lot of stuff is likely to be coming through in early February, so keep an eye out then, and the new issue of Zero Tolerance is available in shops throughout the UK/Aus/NZ and other parts of Europe currently. My work includes an interview with Kekal, crossword, news, film column and tourdates.
I've finally caved in and got a myspace account, which can be found here. I feel so dirty! In additional news, The Polar Bear has set up a Smdge myspace page - with samples - which can be found here. I have a finished copy of the Whispers EP in my hands, thanks to the moxt excellent Polar Bear, who reports that the full album should be arriving on the 6th. Link to Patched Up But Still Melting, where you can buy both of these, is on the links page. Also, I have made a wallpaper with one of my photos and some Godspeed You! Black Emperor lyrics (thrown together in a few minutes, nothing special, I'm afraid); click on image for a full version if you like it.
I have about 10 UM reviews ready to post, which will be going up later in the week, and an interview. Have a great new year!
Some christmas photos:
Holidays have started and things are getting into gear at UM, and elsewhere! First off, the news from UM:
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant, around the whole room, and he took every present!
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Well, Dr Seuss, at UM, it certainly does mean more..
More new content than ever before! (No? Ok, I’ll get my coat…)
Having just realized I can’t really be bothered to do this entire announcement in rhyme, I’ll just delve straight ahead with the latest UM news. We’ve been busier than ever, and have found three brand new writers for you to say hello to. Their profiles are posted in the UM staff page. Since the last update we have posted two new interviews, one with Daylight Dies (note: if this was done in rhyme, I’d totally use pies for the next line), and the other with Rosetta As if that wasn’t enough, check out the live reviews for a new Mastadon show, and non-metal reviews for a classic Porcupine Tree album. We’ve posted way more reviews than I can list individually, but these include the latest Katatonia, 1349, Grimfist, Drudkh, Cephalic Carnage, High on Fire, Lord Belial, Gorefest, Thyrfing, Helloween, Municipal Waste, Bruce Dickinson, Twilight, King’s X, Biolich, Divine Empire, Distorted Mind, Taken, Vile, Fall of Empyrean, Rosetta, Deathspell, Omega, Shroud of Bereavement, Slough Feg, Fireborn, The Chariot, Wormfood, Destinity, Falkenbach, In Flames, Burst, and Gojira CDs. Finally, some best of 2005 staff lists will be posted in the next couple of weeks.
That just leaves me to say, best Christmas wishes from all at UM, and may your new year be totally metal! More coming soon.
My contributions for issue 9 of ZT are now done and dusted. Although university is still very busy, UM has three new writers, and the holidays are about to start, so we hope to clear our promo backlog by January. More news including address changes and a new position @ ZT as soon as everything is confirmed!
No word for a while as I have been absolutely snowed under with uni work. The dissertation is taking a huge amount of time. That said, stuff has still been happening. My work for Issue 9 of ZT is almost out of the way, and at UM we're looking for more writers to help clear our promo backlog and get some more interviews up. If you're interested, please look here then get in touch! A quick guide to what's going on at UM:
"Without music, life would be a mistake
Nietzsche also once said, “Art is the proper task of life”. As well as quoting the famous existentialist in their lyrics, Indonesia’s Kekal clearly agree with his sentiments. You can read more in UM’s recent interview with the band. As “all of life is a dispute over taste”, come and disagree with us over our new media reviews, and reviews. As ever, we’ve been busy!
We’re also looking for new writers – if you think you’re up for the job check out this thread. I would end with the quote “Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man” (cheerful guy, wasn’t he?), but I think that’s too much of a downer, so instead how about something more would agree with: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”"
My website now has a brand new URL - www.thestarryattic.com! It's all very exciting. In other news, the Smdge website, featuring a shop with the debut album and EP for sale is up, expect lots of additions in the next few days. Go over and have a look around. Hopefully more news on the music front soon. Three reviews on UM have been posted, with more coming as soon as the work for issue nine of ZT - and my dissertation - is out of the way. An outstanding interview will also be posted when studies allow.
Because I was procrastinating, the music and journalism pages have been updated, as has the collection page - about 50 CDs added. More updates coming soon.
My apologies to labels waiting for reviews - due to the fact I'm currently writing the dissertation for my degree, and one our senior writers Jason is on tour promoting his new book, there is currently quite a backlog of promos waiting for review. I recently sent out over 50 promos to our writers, and the reviews of these should start coming through soon. That has left about 40 CDs still waiting for review, however. We're currently trying to find new writers to help out with this, but in the mean time, I thought it would be useful to add something every now and then here to say how we're getting on.
The following reviews are written and will be posted soon:
The Absence – From You Grave
The Black Dahlia Murder - Miasma
Next up for review are:
Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force
Falkenbach - Heralding
Wormfood - France
A Crown Of Amaranth - Manuscript/Winterupt
Ed Gein - Judas Goats & Dieseleaters
The Mist And The Morning Dew - The Mist And The Morning Dew
Skinny Puppy - The Greater Wrong Of The Right
& several demos and self-releases
That's one or two releases from everyone that is waiting for one or more reviews. If nothing of yours is there, the CDs have been sent to another writer, and a review should materialise soon. Either way feel rest-assured I will link you as soon as a review is posted, everything will get a review (we've reviewed every CD we've been sent in the last three years, and don't intend to stop that now!), and that I'm doing my very best to get the situation sorted ASAP. Once late December comes around we should get back to a turnover of less than a month as per usual. In the mean time, further apologies, and if you want your releases reviewed in a certain order, or want to check up on how everything is going, please do feel free to bug me - I know where every CD is, and we can do our best to accommodate. Thanks for your patience.
The new ZT hits news stands today. My work for the issue includes four interviews (To Mera, Wetwork, Yob and After The Last Sky), the news section (which features interviews with Head Control System, While Heaven Wept, Frediablo of Grimfist, and Necrophagia), nine reviews, and a crossword. This month's film column looks at the work of the George A Romero. Check it out and let me know what you think!
If UM is on your promo list expect an address change in early December. No sign of the Smdge website as yet, the address will be www.smdge.co.uk. Some exciting news coming soon!
I just added my CD list to the site, so if you are interested in any trades or anything else just get in touch...
The photos mentioned below have been posted, some in B&W, others in colour. As always feedback appreciated. A new interview of mine should be posted on UM within the next week, with another few in the works. Reviews are slowly coming along as college work allows. There is quite a backlog so apologies if anyone has been waiting a long time... Issue 8 of Zero Tolerance is out a week today. It's another 132 page edition so should be good, check it out!
The Smdge website will be going live on October 31st (spooky!), with an online store where you can buy the first pressing of the new album. Links will magically materialise in the future. I have several pictures I'm happy with from Putney Vale Cemetary. Hopefully these will go up next week. Uni has now started, so things may well slow down a bit for a while.
I have finished everything I contribute for the next issue of ZT, which is due out in early November. It looks like it's going to be a good one, so please check it out! UM reviews are starting to get under way and be posted, lots more soon as well as a couple of interviews, uni workload allowing new term starts tomorrow, with a big project to do by December). I found a new cemetary in Putney as well, so new photos from there should be appearing soon.
New website uploaded, please have a look around and let me know what you think, as well as any mistakes! Currently working on stuff for Issue 8 of Zero Tolerance, as well as a huge pile of promos for UM. If your CD hasn't been reviewed, hopefully it will be in coming weeks. Also getting ready for the next term at uni, which is taking up a fair bit of my time. The Smdge masters have come through, and are sounding very nice, more news as and when. About 15 reviews of mine have also been posted at Raw Nerve, please check them out if you get the chance.