Playlist: Demian Johnston

Demian Johnston is a musician who has been involved with Undertow and Playing Enemy, and is currently releasing music under his given name and with the band, Great Falls (formerly Hemingway). His artwork has graces the covers of albums by Playing Enemy, Kiss It Goodbye, Al Qaeda, KTL, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, and several releases on aRCHIVE. His record label, Dead Accents, has released many of his solo recordings and recordings with Hemingway/Great Falls, as well as the likes of Mamiffer, Trap Them, and Sparkle Girl. For more information, visit

1. Sutekh Hexen - everything so far. These guys have yet to disappoint me. Long before I knew who these guys were, I had the opportunity to review their "Constellation" cassette on Fragment Factory and I was blown away. Grim and bleak black noise with songs that don't go on forever; that was exactly everything I love. When I did find out they were a couple friends of mine that I have played with before I was almost embarrassed of how much I praised it as you never want to tell your friend what a good job they are doing. Ever. (Full disclosure: I did the artwork to their Wands 7" uncredited.)

2. Janaza "Burning Quran Ceremony" demo - It's pretty fucking legit. This one woman anti-Islam (and probably Christian) black metal project from Iraq is about as real as you can get. She will get fucking murdered for doing this. This goes way beyond me talking to all you young whipper snappers about my old band (undertow) getting robbed by cops or pipebombs thrown at us back on our 1993 U.S. Tour. This is getting beheaded because you are blasphemous. It's also fucking great.

3. Deathspell Omega "Paracletus" LP - I have listened to this record almost every single day since I got it. I listened to it twice today. My baby knows every song on this record. It's fucking amazing. This band has been good for a long time but the last few releases are unbelievable. I am sure I am preaching to the choir but for me this record is taking the place in my brain that was once set aside for Integrity's "Those Who Fear Tomorrow" when Overkill Records first released it. Daily.

4. A Story of Rats "Thought Forms" LP - Amazing work from Garek Druss. It could maybe be the best record of this year... At least in the drone/ambient genre. Fucking gorgeous. Best new record from the best new label (Eiderdown Records).

5. Glass Coffin "Laying Waste to the Kingdom of Light" CS - You have to love Josh Lay. Fucking brutal "bedroom" black metal. I think Josh's taste level really carries most of what he does. I am never bummed about hearing something from this bearded lunatic.

6. Japanese Women "order" CS - Awesome dirty, skronky noise rock... Rad artwork, rad vocals, rad music. Just fucking great.

7. Blue Sabbath Black Cheer/Irr. Apt. (Ext.) collab LP - Maybe the other contender for best record of the year. Truly frightening. Almost comically dark and grim. It's the first record that I played around my baby that made me actually feel like maybe I am being a shit father for letting her listen to this shit. As I got the end of the B side for the first time I remember thinking "well, I hope I like a teenager into horror movies, body modification and dating serial killers... 'cause that what I just made." Most everything Blue Sabbath Black Cheer does is brilliant (as well as their off shoots, Dried Up Corpse, Nervous Corps, Plethora, Broken Penis Orchestra, a project that I can't name...) but this collaboration with Mathew Waldron (Nurse With Wound) is absolutely crucial.

8. Codeine "Frigid Stars" LP - I know this came out 20 years ago but it was the first cd I ever bought when I finally got my first cd player. I remember my best friend at the time saying "will any of the bands we like ever put music on a dumb cd?" I thought he had a point but i decided to head to the only music store in Marysville Washington that wasn't a Fred Meyer and look at their selection. I bought it because I liked the cover, the photo on the back and the name. I was floored at 15 that I could find something this dark, sad and beautiful that I liked on cd. It wasn't DRI, Slayer, Metallica or The Accused but it was great and I still listen to this almost once a week. Twice this week already... It's funny what my friend said. 20 years later and I am starting to wonder if any of the bands I like ever put music on cd again.

9. Knelt Rote (live) - The records are great and you should totally get them yadda yadda yadda... but what you need to do is see this band live. Gordon (oscillating innards) is the singer front man and he is fucking nuts. You know when people describe what it was like seeing Black Flag back in the day and you imagine this whirlwind of violence and blood that even riot cops were too frightened to stop? Then later you watch that live Black Flag video that came out right after they broke up and Keira was playing bass and they were fucking BORING? Well, Knelt Rote is exactly that whirlwind of violence and blood. There is nothing boring about their live shows. There is no time to get bored when some little shit keeps elbowing you in the mouth so you decide to drop him with a bottle to his very own mouth because fuck it... You are at a Knelt Rote show. Gordon is now going to start playing second guitar so I have fears that the live show will become more examining the juxtaposition of noise and grindcore within the confines of your modern day "venue" instead of remembering that even though you are 35 years old, when you watch a band you are fucking invincible and no amount of blood loss is going make you stop standing right up front. Right where Gordon can reach you.

10. Earth "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light" LP - What can I say? I like it. A lot. When I saw them live with this lineup last time I hated it. I was bummed that Earth was bad. I liked them when it was just Dylan and Dave and they were the band in Seattle that went "BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" every time they played and I loved them when they came back and started doing the southern rock/blues/Neil Young/country/drone thing. It was great. I was very disappointed by this lineup when I saw them though. I love Karl Blau, the guy is a genius and the girl who played cello with Nirvana unplugged... awesome. It just didn't gel for me. Then I heard this record and something wonderful happened. I came back. I was ready to sign them off in the same way i have pretty much signed off Boris (that's another story. Those new records are not good.) but they kept me. This record may not be as good as Hex or The Bees Made Honey... but it's much better than I had even hoped. I am excited to see them again soon...

11. Ted Mckeever Library books 1, 2 & 3 - A very good friend who works for Image comics gifted these to me this week and I can't be happier. One of my top three cartoonists of all time and one of my biggest influences on my artwork and it's a giant black and white collection of some of his best early work. I couldn't be happier. I got rid of all my Eddy Current, Transit and Metropol comics (along with all my comics) years ago in a large move/break up so this was like getting a big part of me back. Thanks man.

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