INTERVIEW: Rae and Kayhan of Wretched Blessing (Yautja, Immortal Bird, Coliseum) Breakdown Their Debut EP

In this new episode, we chatted with the new Chicago-based extreme metal duo Wretched Blessing released their debut self-titled EP! Featuring members of Yautja, Immortal Bird, Coliseum, and other projects, the duo of Rae Amitay and Kayhan Vaziri are united by their love of all things, heavy, and complex, but also curious to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves. In this wide-ranging chat with Keefy about the formation of the group, the writing process, a track-by-track breakdown, the artwork, hot takes about Chicago living and much more!Continue reading

Errant (Immortal Bird) Streams Entire Debut EP, Out this Week


Errant, the solo side project from Immortal Bird/Thrawsunblat artist Rae Amitay releases her debut EP this week, on April 3rd, 2020, via Manatee Rampage Records. Recorded by Pete Grossmann at Bricktop Recording in Chicago, Illinois, the EP includes three original songs and a cover of Failure‘s classic ‘Saturday Saviour,’ and Rae played everything (synth, guitar, bass, drums, screamed and sung vocals) herself. Pre-orders are live at the link below. Brooklyn Vegan is streaming the entire release now on their site right now!Continue reading

CONCERT REVIEW: Immortal Bird – Glorious Depravity – Concussion: Live at Union Pool

12/11/19, Union Pool, Brooklyn NY

Union Pool is a short train ride from my spot in Brooklyn, but admittedly I don’t get there often. I am not super cool and Ghost Cult is not “hipster important” enough in the Brooklyn music scene to have any kind of clout to get us invited to stuff there. Still, when a band as important as Immortal Bird comes through town, I get my ass to the place on time. Not only that the band is touring behind their amazing recent album Thrive On Neglect, out now on one of the premier labels in 2019, 20 Buck Spin. Coupled with the strong openers Glorious Depravity and Concussion, it meant it was going to be a sick time in an intimate venue.Continue reading

Immortal Bird – Thrive on Neglect

Thirty-seven minutes of dark passion. That’s what we get with the second album, Thrive on Neglect from Chicago troop, Immortal Bird. The production was handled by Dave Otero (Allegaeon, Archspire, Cattle Decapitation, Khemmis) at Flatline Audio in Colorado. Immaculately produced, the album sounds great in headphones or full on with speakers.

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Thrawsunblat – IV: Great Brunswick Forest

Fans of the legendary Doom outfit Woods of Ypres (RIP David Gold) are aware of bands’ legacy in the North American Doom Metal scene. Former WoY members Joel Violette and Rae Amitay (Immortal Bird) have carried on a kinship through their work together in Thrawsunblat. More of a doom and Dark Folk side-project, it is their link to to the past and boldness to move forward which courses through fourth album IV: Great Brunswick Forest (Ignifera Records).Continue reading

Theories, False, Immortal Bird, Anicon: Live At The Archeron, Brooklyn

Theories, Immortal Bird, False, Anicon Live At Archeron ghostcultmag

Writing this review on the heels of the news that Archeron will cease to be as a venue, I may get a bit misty-eyed for this place before too long. I headed down to the cool Brooklyn venue/bar/eatery to see some excellent metal bands on a Friday. As I walked around the up and coming Williamsburg neighborhood before the show, I reflected on how cool it is that New York once again has all these cool venues for live music, especially so for metal right now. Just ten years removed from when a shitty former mayor shuttered classic venue after venue and outcries the fans of live heavy music as a “nuisance”, it seems to be alive and kicking it at night in The Big Apple.

Getting to the bar early it was prime people watching from the bar. While I drank a smooth Pale Ale from Bronx Brewing Company and took note of the nice selection on tap, the food at the bar and restaurant was reflective of the bill tonight, excellent.

Brooklyn’s Anicon’s thick sound blew up the small rectangular space early with their instrumental black metal. Progressive, yet classic sounding USBM, Anicon performs with no pretense beyond their music. They want you to feel it as much as they do, so all their songs are more like a journey than a song. Little chatting to the crowd with very little moving around; they just showed up, played beautifully, acted like old pros, and bounced. The way it should be. Their new album drops in early July from Gilead Media, so please be sure to support them.

Chicagoans Immortal Bird returned to NYC will a bag of new jams from their Empress/Abscess long player and a reconstituted lineup. Having followed this group from its inception, to the stunning début EP Akrasia, to now, this is the tightest and best lineup of the band they have had to date. Led by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Rae Amitay (Thrawsunblat), the band ran through tracks both recent and old. The entire room was feeling it and having many “holy shit” moments, as was I. Coming into their own now and gelling with the new players, it is exciting to see the growth of an up and coming band mirror that of the greats of the scene. Once they get off the road later in the year, they’ll be writing a new album with this lineup in tow. Big things are coming from this camp in the future, so don’t sleep!

False, man. False. I am tempted to just leave it at that, because words will likely fail to do justice to the six-piece crew from Minneapolis. OK, I will try to take you there with me after all. False is not a band, but a force. Seemingly put together by some cosmic chess-master selecting all the members exactly to compliment each other seamlessly, they hit your heart and mind simultaneously. Avant-garde, progressive or whathaveyou, False simply rules. One thing you notice right away about the band is their fantastic sonic mix live, perhaps better than on record. Even in a tiny room, they sounded immaculate from several vantage points I had. They wring every emotion out of their music and themselves, and ultimately you too. This was my second time seeing them, and honestly I am sad for that reason alone.

Theories frontman Rick made a vow to the crowd about crushing your enemies and enjoying their downfall early in the night during their set. That pretty much sums up the tenor of their well-crafted, but savage grindcore anthems. If you want to slam, spill your beer, and exorcise your demons, Theories has the elixir for what ails your soul. Just in your face, well-played grind that has no fatty parts, just streamlined sickness. There were a few people right at the front of the pit, spilling their beers and exorcising said demons, but really the drama was all in the speakers to me. They were having a lot of fun on stage, which some bands in the scene seem to forget about these days. They were so powerful and provocative, that the fierceness is smarter than other bands in the genre. Theories is thinking people’s’ angry music, which is one of the best compliments I can give to a band.



Thrawsunblat – Metachthonia

Thrawsunblat – Metachthonia album cover ghostcultmag

Thrawsunblat initially started as a side-project of Wood of Ypres members Joel Violette and later, David Gold. Thrawsunblat became the Joel Violette’s main project since the passing of Gold and the end of Woods. Sadly, until being asked to review this I’d not heard anything by them, something which was rectified very quickly after hearing this.

Metachthonia (Ignifera Records/Broken Limbs) is their latest album and is released on Ignifera records. The title Metachthonia is Greek for “the age after that of the earth” and this concept album addresses that which we are yearning for and has been taken away in the modern world. Describing the style of the new album as ‘folkened black metal’ the anticipation is that Metachthonia shifts from their folk sound to a much blacker sound.

Opening track ‘Fires that Light the Earth’ begins sombrely with cello courtesy of Raphael Weinroth-Browne, before being joined by the guitar and drums which begin a short-lived lament but then branches into blackened blasting drums from Rae Amitay (Immortal Bird) and the bass of Brendan Hayter (Obsidian Tongue) and the tone for the album is set, and it is considerably blacker.

The folk elements and blackened parts juxtapose well, and give a better balance to their sound than before: emphasised by an ebb and flow to the track. The more subdued folk elements provide beauty and the enhanced blackened elements combining with excellent production which gives it an immediacy and a very satisfying sound.

Whilst very much a different band from Woods of Ypres, their enhanced blackened style creates sections where the similarities in tonality and pacing are very difficult to ignore. This can mean that if already familiar with woods it can take a few listens before appreciating Thrawsunblat in their own right. Those few listens however, are truly worth it as this album is incredibly well-crafted and a wonderful listen.

They display a much more palpable sense of optimism and rebirth in their work, which is further emphasised by the organic feel of the folk elements woven throughout. A yearning to what has been lost in the modern era and the desire for its return. The feeling being similar to seeing nature reclaiming abandoned places, that sense that no matter what the natural world can and will survive humans be damned.

Ultimately, Metachthonia is a fantastic album from opener ‘Fires that Light the Earth’ right up until the phenomenal final track ‘In Mist We Walk’, highly recommended!



On The Road… with Eight Bells


In just a few short weeks this year is already proving to be full of tectonic level shifts in the musical and metaphysical landscape of our lives. We often start looking at the calendar for the next year of releases in late fall with a mix of anticipation and at times, bracing anxiety. Before we hear one note of new music, the questions start gnawing at us. What new alliances are formed? What new music to pick up first? What about my old favorite bands? Will anything challenge the status-quo of typical sub-genre doldrums. If your tastes are anything like ours, these questions can all be answered with two words: Eight Bells. Hailing mostly from Portland, OR and made up of members of SubArachnoid Space, Curezum, Immortal Bird, and Thrawsunblat; their musical make up is an uncommon mix of spacey psychedelic rock and brooding, otherworldly heaviness. Eight Bells kicked off 2016 with a string of shows to support their new album Landless out on February 12th from Battleground Records, one of the must hear underground releases 2016. Melynda Jackson and Haley Westeiner trade riffs and parts intermingle like a dank, earthy swamp. When they sing together, it’s outright majestic. Recent addition Rae Amitay brings in her considerable range behind the kit. In the run up of west coast dates before joining up with Voivod and Vektor across the rest of the country, we caught the trio at The Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, AZ. Their intimate show was captured here by Melina Dellamarggio of Melina D Photography for Ghost Cult.

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography


Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography


Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography


Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography


Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography


Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

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Immortal Bird Announces Upcoming US Tour

immortal bird

Chicago blackened death grinders Immortal Bird will be doing an upcoming US tour. They will be doing songs off of their new album Empress/Abscess, out in late June. The album was tracked by Pete Grossman (Weekend Nachos, Harm’s Way, Dead In The Dirt) at Bricktop Recording in Chicago, Illinois earlier this year and mixed and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice, Nader Sadek, Atheist, Origin etc.) at Menegroth, The Thousand Caves in Queens, New York. Empress/Abscess includes a guest appearance by John Hoffman of Weekend Nachos and finds former drummer/vocalist, Rae Amitay, trading in her drum stool for a full-time position at the mic with longtime live drummer, Garry Naples (Novembers Doom) taking her place.

Immortal Bird 2015 Western Migration Tour:
Apr 27: Diamond Pub – Louisville, KY
Apr 28: Turn One – Nashville, TN
Apr 29: Vino’s – Little Rock, AR
Apr 30: Ozzie Rabbit Lodge – Fort Worth, TX
May 02: Lost Well – Austin, TX
May 03: Nesta – San Antonio, TX
May 04: Sandbox – El Paso, TX
May 05: Flagstaff Brewing Company – Flagstaff, AZ
May 06: Yucca Tap Room – Tempe, AZ
May 07: The Hub – Colton, CA
May 09: All Star Lanes – Los Angeles, CA
May 10: Moonlight Lounge – Albuquerque, NM
May 11: Flux Capacitor – Colorado Springs, CO
May 12: The Bourbon – Lincoln, NE (w/ Inter Arma, Yautja)
May 13: Hexagon – Minneapolis, MN
May 14: The Wisco – Madison, WI

Empress/Abscess Track Listing:
01: Neoplastic
02: Saprophyte
03: The Sycophant
04: To A Watery Grave
05: And Send Fire

My Favorite Concert Memory … Rae Amitay of Immortal Bird

Immortal Bird, by Black Pearl Photo


As I’ve been to too many shows, I can’t possibly answer that! I will say that my most memorable concert experience recently was seeing Ihsahn at MDF last year (Editor’s note -2013). He and his band were incredible. I’ve been wanting to see them for so long, finally getting that opportunity was mind-blowing. Another memorable show that took place a bit further back was seeing Dillinger Escape Plan on my eighteenth birthday. That was absolutely insane. Anyone who has seen them can tell you that their live show is unparalleled.”

Ihsahn with Emperor, photo by Emma Stone

Ihsahn with Emperor, by Emma Stone Photography

Dillinger Escape Plan, by Meg Loyal Photography

Dillinger Escape Plan, by Meg Loyal Photography

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