Saturday, September 22, 2012


We at Putrid ascendancy recently caught up with Vanessa Nocera of the horror/doom metal band WOODEN STAKE. Contained herein are extracts of the interview, where Vanessa tells us about her music, influences, and the scene back home.

PA: Across countries, continents, pervading oceans and language barriers, the love for extreme metal unites us. Hails from Putrid Ascendancy! Let’s begin with a brief introduction of Wooden Stake, in your own words.

Vanessa: We are a doom/death band that strives to not sound like anything you’ve ever heard.

PA:What releases have you produced so far, and where are you taking the band at this time? What’s next for Wooden Stake?

Vanessa: We’ve had many releases on many different labels around the world. Our first was a MCD “Vampire Plague Exorcism” released on my Razorback Recordings sub-label called Hexamorphosis Productions. Next was a split 7” with Druid Lord with the song “In the Godless Moonlight” released by Altsphere Productions based out of France. Then we were offered to release our “Invoke the Ageless Witch” 7” with Sarlacc Productions from Ireland. We then did a split CD with Blizaro, our full-length album “Dungeon Prayers &Tombyard Serenades”, another 7” with Sorcerer’s Pledge Records from Germany called “Black Caped Carnivore”, and finally our compilation album “At the Stroke of Midnight”. All CDs (except “Vampire Plague Exorcism”) and “Black Caped Carnivore” are still available through Razorback Recordings’ website.

PA:What are the lyrical themes knitting together your materials? What are the general messages you want to convey to the masses through your music?

Vanessa: The themes in the lyrics are a mix of occult themes, Satanism, folklore, horror comics, horror movies, horror novels, and the dark arts. I’m very much influenced by story tellers and I’ve always loved King Diamond for this aspect, so I try to convey that in the lyrics and music. I tell a story with the lyrics but my voice as well.

PA:What would you define as ‘success’ for your music? What in your opinion are a few essentials for newer bands to keep in mind while making their music to remain sincere to the genre, and its pioneers?

Vanessa: A lot of people start out to make something of his or herself in music and if that fails they take another path, even if it’s compromising to who they are and what they want to do. I would advise to never compromise and to instead sharpen what you set out to do in the first place.

PA: Is Wooden Stake a catharsis of your feelings?

Vanessa: Definitely! When I’m singing, screaming, growling, howling, screeching, or hissing I am letting out the turmoil that I’ve let dwell in me for years; it’s healthy catharsis. I’m most creative in Wooden Stake as far as vocals because it’s more involved than just death metal growling (which can be a tricky talent within itself). I make sure that pain comes through as well as vengeance in my voice.

PA: Do you think heavy metal as a genre has a distinct world view? How in your opinion, does traditional doom metal’s ideology vary from other newer doom metal sub genres?

Vanessa: I’m not someone who categorizes music to the T. I guess there are such things as sludge, stoner, and so on, but to me it’s just doom. For other subgenres of metal it gets more tedious than doom, but many of the subgenres of doom are just doom to me. A lot of bands’ content is interesting, but not enough to keep me wanting more. I’m totally into evil shit! I want Satan, witches, curses, Voodoo, etc. in my themes or I feel like I might as well be listening to Huey Lewis and the News or something like that.

PA:For a musician in this time who has understood his own experience, what are the most important aspects of art? What according to you, does your music portray?

Vanessa: Art should be thought provoking, somewhat intellectual, and have a meaning even if it’s metaphorical and the listener gets a different meaning than the creator. I think my music portrays anger, but also sadness and pain. There is a lot going on. Not too much happiness, but there is a time and place for everything and happiness doesn’t fit in too well.

PA: Growing up in an era, mainly dominated by extreme metal, how would you define the change in the atmosphere of the metal community world wide?

Vanessa: Metal is an ever-changing world, haha! Growing up, I was allowed to listen to metal, but when people found out my parents were letting me buy these tapes at such a young age my parents caught some grief over it. It’s still looked on as being for “lowlife” people in the mainstream, but it has become more acceptable because of how it makes its way into pop culture.

PA: What in your opinion are the weaknesses of old school extreme metal? How do you overcome this?

Vanessa: I guess something that I hear in so many bands that have an old school influence is that they start to sound the same after a while. There will be one aspect that makes them stand out from the rest, but it’s not showcased enough in the music. Running a record label I am exposed to many great demos and then there are some that I like, but I want more from the band. It’s really, REALLY rare I get a demo and take it out of the player after 30 seconds. I give everything a chance, but sounding the same is something I’ve observed from bands lately, or having an arrogant attitude of having to be fast all the time.

PA: America’s ambivalence when it comes to extreme metal is well known. How is the scene back home?

Vanessa: The scene here is okay. It could be better and it could be worse. I think wherever there are metalheads, there will be a dedicated crowd to keep it alive. Here in Kentucky the scene is good, but not thriving like it was a few years ago. When I lived in Chicago, it was the same.

PA: What according to you are the attributes of a perfect extreme metal record?

Vanessa: Originality and putting every atom of emotion into the riffs, lyrics, and vocals. If I hear something and think “they could have pushed just a little more”, I’m not disappointed, but I am left with wanting more from that band. I think anger is a recipe that should be in the forefront of it all.

PA: What do you make of the newer trends like deathcore, metalcore, djent embodying and claiming to be an integral part of metal nowadays? What in your opinion will the music scene be like in the decades to come?

Vanessa: I don’t pay attention to a lot of subgenres like this. I mainly stick with classics, but again, there are those times where I find something new that I like. I could never say what the music or metal scene will become because it’s always changing and always evolving.

PA: What is an ideal response to the parasites feeding on something established by our pioneers?

Vanessa:Quit ripping everything off and create something that will kill all the other bottom feeders. Don’t take advantage of the path made for you and make your own damn path.

PA:We at Putrid Ascendancy have always traditionally, put forth a question enquiring about our interviewees top 5 albums of all time. Fire away!

Vanessa: This is hard only because I have to pick one album from each band presented, but here it goes:
1) Metallica – Master of Puppets
2) Death – Leprosy
3) Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath
4) Black Sabbath – Sabotage
5) Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse

PA: It’s been a pleasure! Leave us with a message for your followers among the ranks of the cult of Putrid Ascendancy.

Vanessa: My pleasure as well! Thanks to those who have fought with us and fought against us. Our supporters are greatly appreciated and hope to see Wooden Stake play live one day. You can get our merch through Razorback Recordings’ website (listed below), and you can contact me personally via facebook, or email:

Wooden Stake
Horror/Doom metal.
Wooden stake are : Vanessa Nocera - Vocals/Bass
                                   Tony Proffer - Guitar
                                   Wayne Sarantopoulos - Drums

Website :
Myspace :

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Putrid Ascendancy has always been searching for new bands that manifest similar ideologies and directions towards their art. San Diego based Ascended Dead is surely one of the bands PA has been immensely interested in from day one and we were eagerly waiting for the demo to come out. We contacted them recently and we had a brief conversation, mainly on Ascended Dead and its music. Putrid Ascendancy presents you JON REIDER, Guitarist and Vocalist of ASCENDED DEAD. 

Ascended Dead

Putrid Ascendancy: Welcome to Putrid Ascendancy, The Indian and South Asian Underground. 

Jon Reider: Thanks for having me.

PA: To start off this interview, lets back up to the point from where it all began. Decay. Could you shed some light on Decay? Decay had Jon and Ian playing in it. It was one of the renowned bands in the San Diego Scene along with the likes of Morbid Gods.

JR: Decay was formed in 2009, it was something I had wanted to get started for a few years until then. We were heavily influenced by stuff like early Death, Nihilist, Possessed, and Hellhammer. That band's history was loaded with lineup changes, more than I feel like going in depth about. I'd say the lineup that stands out the most in my mind was the one with myself, Nick from Phantasm/Archaic Mortuary on drums, and Drew from Morbid Gods on bass. That was the lineup which played the most shows and the one which recorded the self titled EP which you heard. With that lineup, the Decay entity had accomplished what it had sought for from the beginning. Nick was replaced shortly after that EP was released. After that, the sound had morphed to have more of a Necrovore-influence. That latter lineup never recorded anything and only played two shows, the second of which was with Ian. 

Infernal Decay (Demo)


PA: I guess Decay changed its name to Death Knell in later days, probably around the release of the EP, Decay: Armies Of The Dead. And then later the band changed its name back to Decay. 

JR: With that later lineup which I mentioned, in which we had went towards a more Necrovore influence, I felt it would be more fitting towards the end to change the name since the sound had changed so much. I wanted to write a plethora of new songs to go with it, but the band split up before that could happen. I could have continued as Death Knell or whatever, but I found myself not really liking that name too much after a little bit. I thought it would be best to just put that entire entity to rest for good. I changed the name on the pages back to 'Decay,' since all our shows, recordings, etc were done under that name. 


Decay EP (2010)

PA: I, in fact, checked out the EP and it sounded very different from what I had heard on Demo 1 of Ascended Dead.

JR: Of course, the Decay EP was recorded 2 years ago. My influences were much different at that time and our abilities were a lot more limited than that of Ascended Dead.

Nick Baillie

Drew Bischel

Jon Reider

PA: So how did the journey of Decay end? Is Ascended Dead a reincarnation of Decay? Is it based on the same line of concepts and ideologies as Decay?

JR: Decay ended when two members, Drew, and our drummer James quit. I could have reformed that band under the same name with different members, but I felt it was time to start something new. I felt that Decay was representative of my past mindset and influences, it was not something that could be sustained any longer. Ascended Dead is not a reincarnation of Decay. Sure, I write a good portion of the music, as I did with my previous band, but this is something completely new, as I intended for it to be.

PA: How was Ascended Dead formed? On hearing the demo I can make out that it must have been quite a task to find like-minded musicians. Tell me about the initial days.

JR: We formed after the disbanding of Decay. Ian and I had worked together in the latter days of Decay, and I knew that if I was to start the best band possible, it would have to have a guitarist of his caliber. We recruited Charlie Koryn on drums, he was the first drummer we tried out, and we knew he was an excellent fit right away. The three of us began writing songs together immediately. We tried out a number of bass players until Johnny Moreno was recruited, then the circle was complete.

Ascended Dead

PA: Jonathan used to play in the local band Ruminations, if I'm not wrong. So how did he get introduced to the Ascended Dead camp? 

JR: Johnny and I had been acquaintances for some time. While he was in Ruminations, him and I would talk about the possibility of working together in this new band. From what I remember, he disliked playing in Ruminations and didn't get along with them too well. He quit before they could kick him out, and came to jam with us that very same day. We were/are into stuff like Sadistic Intent, Krisiun, and Mortem, and we immediately knew he was a good fit.

PA: I'm a huge supporter of Ascended Dead as it is very much in the same vein of Death Metal that I personally enjoy and like to perform myself. I have been waiting for this demo to come out for quite a long time and I must include that this demo reminds me of Slaughter Lord demos, with the aesthetics of early era of unholy USDM. How was the music written for this demo? Besides these four songs, have you got more material ready?

JR: The songs on that demo were written by Ian, Charlie and I before Johnny had joined the band. Mortification of Souls is our earliest song, and Caustic Decay is actually a rewrite of the old Decay song, Infernal Decay. We have a number of newer songs ready now that are superior to that of first demo.

Ascended Dead - Demo 1 

PA: I'm interested in knowing about the process of song writing and the whole lyrical approach that you guys follow. 

JR: I write a good portion of the guitar parts, show them to the rest of the band, and together we work on structuring the songs, working through the tempos, and modifying some of the riffs. I write all the lyrics. We do not follow any structure in our songs, especially with the newer material.

PA: The only negative criticism about the Demo 1 has been its mixing. Are you guys satisfied with the mixing? Will you guys be working on another demo or can we expect an EP or a full length album in the near future?

JR: The drums were poorly mixed, but I feel there is enough rawness and feeling in that recording to where it serves its purpose. We recently obtained some recording equipment and are learning how to use it, so as to save the trouble of going to someone else for recording and to allow for more creative control. We're going to work on an EP, then we'll start writing for an album.

PA: You guys also seem to be very choosy about record label. How has the response from record labels been? Do you see any potential labels which can promote you guys the right way that you want?

JR: The first demo has been received well from labels/zines/fans/etc. It has been acclaimed by legends such as Takashi of Transgressor, and Mike from Loss. The thing with labels is that they tend to be greedy, I dealt with one in my previous band. It seemed as though it was more about what the label wanted than what we wanted as a band. We just want a label that will portray this music the way we see fit.

Ascended Dead
PA: How's the scene in San Diego at present? I have come across a few gigs that had Ascended Dead on their bills. There is an upcoming one with Bone Sickness. How many gigs have Ascended Dead played so far? How's the whole gig scene? Are there any local bands you guys would recommend for me?

JR: The scene in San Diego is okay. Sure, there are scenesters, but there are also a few devoted individuals and bands who are passionate about Death Metal. We've played four shows so far. Aside from the first show, the turnouts have been good. There is usually at least 10-20 or so people raging their fucking heads off at each gig. Even if there's only one person there who is genuinely affected by our music, I would be happy with how the show went. There's a few good bands such as Archaic Mortuary, Ethereous, Chainsaw Carnage, Tombstoners, Ritual Torture, and I'm sure there's a few others I'm forgetting. I also thought Morbid Gods and Excremation were good bands.

PA: What is Ascended Dead's opinion on this whole NOSDM movement. Among the post-2000 acts, do you guys have any favourites? Do you consider Ascended Dead to be a part of this movement? Or is it more than a movement, something more transcendental? 

JR: I don't consider us as part of any movement. I like a good number of post-2000 bands, such as Ensnared, or Grave Miasma, but I don't think any band should be categorized solely on what year they came out. I can't speak for other bands, but for us, we'd be doing this regardless of whether there is a movement happening or not. So for us, yes, we take it on a spiritual level.

PA: Does Jon have any plans for a Decay reunion? Or is it done for you?

JR: Decay is long done for me, I don't ever see it reforming. That band represents the beginning of my development as a musician, I don't see myself ever regressing back to that. I have good memories with it, but it's all water under the bridge at this point. Not to mention I'm completely sick of playing those songs.

PA: As customary, you must name 5 of your favourite extreme metal albums, of all time.

JR: Possessed-Seven Churches. Slayer-Hell Awaits. Necrovore-Divus De Mortuus. Hellhammer-Satanic Rites. Any early Bathory records.

PA: Thank you brothers for your time and the interview. We wish Ascended Dead the deadliest career and future! Putrid Regards. Hails.

JR: It was good doing this interview, thanks for having me. Blackest regards, ASCENDED DEAD, Jon Reider.

San Diego, US
Death Metal

JR - Guitars, Vocals
IL - Guitars
JM - Bass
CK - Drums

Putrid Ascendancy extends its gratitude to Jon Reider for this interview and wish the band the best in their future endeavours.