I am the founder of Decibel Magazine, based in Philadelphia, and have just released a revised and expanded edition of my book Choosing Death, which you can buy here. What do you want to know?


EDIT: Alright, folks, it's been real. Thanks for taking an interest in metal and some of the things I'm specifically involved with. Now go buy this - I have two kids to put through college: http://store.decibelmagazine.com/collections/books/products/choosing-death

Comments: 92 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

megalulz_20157 karma

darin ruf's at-bat music is "rebirthing" by skillet. will we see this lefty-mashing fan favorite in a future installment of decibel's extreme annual baseball preview?

AlbertMudrianDb9 karma

I'm not answering that, Andrew.

Deerhoof_Fan4 karma

What's your opinion on Deafhaven? They've received a lot of backlash for not adhering to usual genre definitions, but I think their music is pretty good. Are they true metal to you?

AlbertMudrianDb15 karma

I like their albums. And I like that they elicit such visceral reactions by doing shit like Deafheaven pillow cases or whatever. Seriously, if this stirs something in you, come work for me, because you have too much time on your hands and I have way too much shit to do. I have no idea what true metal means. I meet people who think Pallbearer are hipsters, which is a laughable accusation. I’m pretty sure personally nerding out with me about Solstice and Mournful Congregation (which those guys have done) is one of the least cool things human possible. So, yeah, I’m totally over worrying about all that shit.

sandvigdrummer3 karma

How would you rank the best extreme albums of the first half of the decade?

AlbertMudrianDb7 karma

I would rank them 1 through pretty much any other number. As for my favorites, they’re mostly a reflection of our albums of the year since 2010; Agalloch’s “Marrow Of The Spirit,” Pallbearer’s “Foundations of Burden, Carcass’s “Surgical Steel.”

sandvigdrummer3 karma

What are your favorite non-metal artists?

AlbertMudrianDb8 karma

In no particular order: Bad Religion, The Afghan Whigs, Sleater-Kinney, Catherine Wheel, Bettie Serveert, Deafheaven.

time2die3 karma

Does your NAMBLA card get you into Noisem and Unlocking the Truth shows for free?

AlbertMudrianDb5 karma

I let my NAMBLA card expire. Now I just show up with Alt Press subscription confirmation number.

sonofcat3 karma

What's the most metal breakfast I could eat to start my day?

ampworship3 karma

Albert - can you reveal some of Decibel's most high profile subscribers (outside of the metal world)?

AlbertMudrianDb2 karma

Honestly, our biggest “stars” are all incarnated for murder. I’m not joking.

jweedy3 karma

What are your thoughts on Dethklok and Brandon Smalls (respectful, in my opinion) skewering of the genre? If you have watched the show, does anything stand out as a particularly funny in-joke?

AlbertMudrianDb9 karma

I enjoyed the first few season of the series when I had time to watch it. I think a lot of it probably cut TOO close to home for some people in the industry. I have a friend who manages bands and he couldn’t watch the show because every episode literally made him anxious since Dethklok would invariable do something nearly as stupid as something his own bands regularly did.

stevej283 karma

What relationship do you see between the proliferation of metal blogs and glossy metal magazines in the contemporary metal "scene?" Is there an ecology of news sources offering different views and ideas or a cannibalizing of the limited groups, artists, and individuals to talk with, critique, and cover?

AlbertMudrianDb7 karma

I actually kinda suck at keeping up with all of those because of my schedule. I mean, I’ll check in on Steel for Brains, Invisible Oranges and stuff like that every once in a while, but, yeah, I’m kinda out of that loop in a lot of respects. If I had to offer one criticism of the 8- to 10-hour metal blog news cycle, however, it’s that it allows for very little editing and quality control. And based on the functionality of nearly all the sites, it feels like everything is equally weighted in importance. Like if the dude from Emmure (sp?) drops a duce, that is provided the same amount of real estate as new album announcement from a band that people might actually care about.

diggtrucks10253 karma

If you had Bill and Ted's phone booth, what bands would you put together for your presentation at school so that you would pass music class and not get sent to military school?

Follow up question: Is Wyld Stallions the greatest band ever?

AlbertMudrianDb8 karma

Bolt Thrower, Hail of Bullets, Marduk, Warhammer, Bestial Warlust. I might get sent to military school, but I graduate with honors (which would be a first for me).

Follow up answer: No, I’m more of a Lone Rangers guy.

Frajer3 karma

is there anyone cooler than Rob Halford ?

AlbertMudrianDb6 karma

Yes, Rob Halford's mom.

NostalgiumDirective3 karma

Hey Albert, it's ya boy Asa here.

  • What's your best J Bennett story?

  • Do you think you could convince Scott Carlson to do a swimsuit calendar? 10/10 would buy.

Congratulations on the book release! I engulfed the original in about 1.5 days, so I'm stoked to pick my copy of the expanded edition.

AlbertMudrianDb5 karma

There was the time J. Bennett made me hold cocaine for an artist I’ve since become good friends with, and has been featured on the cover of Decibel more than once. Said artist is unaware of this story. I’m down with Carlson calendar, as long as Bennett is shooting. See you at MDF, Asa.

DudeIncredible3 karma

Thanks for AMA and here's my question, which may sound banal: What are your so-called "desert island" 5-10 metal albums of all time? Especially i'm interested in black and death metal. Thanks in advance!

AlbertMudrianDb5 karma

OK, these don’t really change ever (whatever that says about me):

Paradise Lost “Gothic” Carcass “Necroticism” Napalm Death “Harmony Corruption” My Dying Bride “Turn Loose the Swans” At the Gates “The Red in Sky is Ours” Entombed “Left Hand Path” Obituary “Cause of Death” Cathedral “Forest of Equilibrium” Tiamat “The Astral Sleep” Carcass “Heartwork”

xlakebeachx3 karma

Why did the decibel tour this year skip the south? I was able to go see it last year on Austin and it was amazing. This year the closest it got was Chicago.

AlbertMudrianDb3 karma

We really wanted At the Gates as the headliner and ATG really wanted to do the tour (we’d be taking about it for years, in fact). The problem was that the band could only tour a little over two weeks at a time because Tompa and Jonas have full-time jobs, so we did our best to cover the entire U.S. in 17 days. Obviously that’s not possible, so the south was a victim of that constricted schedule. We will, however, be back in 2016!

ammoking2 karma


AlbertMudrianDb2 karma

No, we don’t sell the flexis independent of the magazine. That would require a completely different set of accounting to the artists that no one here has time for. I’m hoping by the end of the year for the digital version of the Doom Special issue. We’re looking to bring that publishing in-house. Currently it’s farmed out to another publisher.

want2bpretty2 karma

Is there bad blood between you (Decibel) and Devin Townsend? Read something recently that hinted there may be.

AlbertMudrianDb3 karma

None at all that I’m aware of. We’ve always covered his music with an even hand. In fact, I’m personally not a fan of it at all, but I feel like he always gets positive reviews in the magazine, so I don’t think he’d have a reason to be unhappy with us. I’m sorry that’s such a boring answer. But you did ask me about an “angry” Canadian, so that’s as spicy as it’s gonna get.

jfkaos2 karma

What's your favorite metal themed movie that is not a documentary?

AlbertMudrianDb6 karma

Does Hesher count? Because I actually liked that. I don’t really care for metal-themed movies, as much as metal being an element of the presentation.

highonnoopept2 karma

if Bathory never existed and Quorthon appeared on the scene today, playing the exact same music, how do you think he'd be received?

AlbertMudrianDb2 karma

I guess that all depends on what era Bathory he first appeared with. If we’re talking the style of first three albums, he’s probably playing an early afternoon slot of Hells Headbash. If “Hammerheart” was the first thing people heard from him, he’s probably doing regional support on Paganfest tour.

C1155512 karma

What was the process like in starting your own magazine?

AlbertMudrianDb2 karma

I started it in 2004, which might as well be a different century as far as print publishing is concerned. I’m not sure what part of the process you’re asking about. There were many.

AcesCreed22 karma

Hey, I just finished reading Precious Metals! Awesome read.

My question - what are the standards when creating the Decibel Magazine Tour lineups? This year's was absolutely killer, loved the show.

AlbertMudrianDb2 karma

We curate the lineup with our partner in the tour, Nick Storch. Basically, I want the lineup to a reflection of the magazine as well as a group of bands that complement each other in an interesting way, which I think we completed succeeded in accomplishing this year. It’s difficult to pair bands you wouldn’t normally see together because promoters fear it will alienate certain audiences. I’ve always felt that if it’s done under the Decibel banner, it will make more sense to people. Like, yes, a doom band CAN play with a hardcore band and a death metal, and (mostly) everyone can still be into it.

want2bpretty2 karma

Were the LaSexorcisto or AstroCreep2000 ever considered for the Hall Of Fame? Realize Zombie wants nothing to do with past members, just curious if ever came up.

RenegadePM2 karma

I don't really have much to ask you, I just wanted to thank you tremendously for the older edition of Choosing Death, which I used when it was brand spanking new 10 years ago to write papers and get great grades in classes that would allow me to use heavy metal as my muse! What inspired the new edition? 10 more years of history or additional stuff from the olden years?

AlbertMudrianDb3 karma

Thanks! It was equal parts of both, really. I wasn’t completely satisfied with parts of the original, so I wanted to correct those issues without George Lucas-ing the fuck out of it. And obviously, a lot has transpired in the past decade that needed to be addresses, it just made the most sense to tackle it all at once. Also, I kinda hate you for being able to write papers about death metal. My high school experience was devoid of that!

frozen_barbie_head2 karma

What is your favorite non metal song?

AlbertMudrianDb3 karma

“Amish Paradise.” Apologies for not including “Poodle Hat” in my desert island picks earlier.

bsharp82562 karma

I've really enjoyed the Decibal tours. Last year's lineup with Carcass and Gorguts was incredible, and this year's At the Gates, Pallbearer, and Vallenfyre (who I had never heard of and was blown away by) was also incredible.

Sadly, for both I've had to drive 8 hours to Chicago. Given the fact that I've done it two years in a row, I'm clearly willing to make the trip for a good lineup. However, it would be super cool to have closer dates...as there any chance of metal fans in the southeast getting some love next year (coughNashvillecough)? In Nashville in particular, Mastodon and Carcass have both sold out here in the last year, and Amon Amarth did the year before that. There's lots of venues here that would be perfect such as the Exit/In or Marathon Music Works. Decibel pls.

AlbertMudrianDb2 karma

(Same answer as above) We really wanted At the Gates as the headliner and ATG really wanted to do the tour (we’d be taking about it for years, in fact). The problem was that the band could only tour a little over two weeks at a time because Tompa and Jonas have full-time jobs, so we did our best to cover the entire U.S. in 17 days. Obviously that’s not possible, so the south was a victim of that constricted schedule. We will, however, be back in 2016!

sandvigdrummer2 karma

Are there chances of there being a Decibel Festival sometime down the road?

AlbertMudrianDb3 karma

There’s always a chance. I mean, I fucking hate sleep, days off, ever seeing my wife and kids, so, sure, why not? If we did ever get in the festival game—and, Christ, there are waaaaaaaaay too many fucking festivals right now—it really would have a different feel than everything else out there. There’s no reason to further glut the market unless you have something special to offer. That’s the thought that guided the birth of the magazine, the tour, the flexi series and just about everything else we do, so you never know…

BenekThePole2 karma

Hey Albert, I am a journalist with 5 years of experience in doing Music journalism and Metal journalism in particular on a semi to professional level. What tips would you give me in trying to start working with any of the big magazines like Decibel or Terrorizer? what advice would you give me in general as a writer?

Much thanks, Benek

AlbertMudrianDb2 karma

Just write as much as you can. But write for yourself. Don’t post every review of every Moribund release you’ve ever written so people can see it, or fucking “comment” on it. Develop it over time and when you have something you're exceptionally proud of post THAT and ONLY that.

KimmoTargaryen2 karma

Hey Albert...what were your sincere thoughts on everyone else on the "metal round table" in 2010?

I remember you posting it on your FB years ago and I just couldn't stand how everyone else didn't know who Agalloch was and you being the only one who knew your actual metal, with Jose Mangin shutters calling your taste "underground."

AlbertMudrianDb5 karma

I dunno, the metal scene is a big place. And I’m sure Blasko’s metal and In this Moment’s metal isn’t necessarily my or—from the sounds of your question—your metal. Ultimately, they brought me there to get my take on what they considered more “underground” acts, and that’s actually pretty cool. Because they could have easily just fucking ignored it and talked for 10 minutes about Ozzy and Deftones records we’ve never heard. But they let me talk about Agalloch on MTV for 5 seconds. No harm in that.

M_wman4221 karma

So I feel that metal stopped growing as art form around the end of the 90s, as black metal became increasingly avant garde and ambitious. Ulver, in a nutshell, seemed to follow the trend pretty precisely. Bands like Arcturus, In the Woods, Solefald, Therion, Empyrium and the Prophecy bands, Summoning and the Napalm bands, in my opinion, took the genre as far out as it could go.

Do you feel that metal is still progressing and improving or has it been stuck in a rut, doing more of the same over the past 15 years or so?

AlbertMudrianDb5 karma

I dunno, I feel like a lot of the bands started disappearing up their own asses (Sorry, Jeff Wagner!) and “progressed” completely out of the genre. Obviously, you always need bands who are willing to push the envelope, but once you turn into Alcest, well, is that really a good thing for ANYONE? I think there are different ways to progress and improve that don’t necessarily involve taking on non-metal influences. You can just become better songwriters, for starters. I mean, look at Paradise Lost; they moved outside of the genre, but came back eventually. Taking chances is exciting, but, ultimately if you’re bored with metal, then don’t listen to metal.

iheartmpls1 karma

Any chance of getting Carcass signed on for another US tour this year? Also, can I have a job!? :-)

AlbertMudrianDb3 karma

Jesus Christ, they were here TWICE last year. Jeff Walker needs a year off from you as much as you need a year off from him at this point.

AcidBastard1 karma

Have you guys ever done an internship program or anything of that nature? I'm a literature and publishing student and I'm looking for something to do this summer.

AlbertMudrianDb1 karma

No, not in a long time. I actually don’t work out of the main office in Philly (and have not since late 2008), so my location makes internships at Decibel all but impossible to manage and execute.

tommy_s890 karma

Will metal end up "mainstream" much like rock did?

When will we start hearing "death metal" during intermissions and the superbowl?

And what will new artists do to take the music back from the likes of these record companies who are really only out for their own profits and creating huge amounts of starving bands.

AlbertMudrianDb7 karma

1) No. 2) Fuck no. 3) Really, record labels still make money? That not what they tell me everyone month when we go to collect their money for ad placements.

brotherjonathan0 karma

My friend has band called Razor Ride. Have you heard them and if so what do you think?

AlbertMudrianDb1 karma

I’ve heard Razor and I’ve heard Ride. And I don’t like either. So, your friend’s band sucks, sorry.

mayonesa-8 karma

We know you're on the SJW side of #metalgate. Why did you take that side, and what do you think it does for metal, vis-a-vis what it does for your profits?

AlbertMudrianDb9 karma

Sorry, I’ve never read the Wall Street Journal and I never heard of #metalgate. I’m almost 40. If something has a hashtag in front of it, it’s a signifier of non-relevance to me.