It was a pretty productive weekend, I guess, this past July 4th. The same LA trip that brought me Bruxa also landed me in the middle of Part Time Punks, sweaty and smashed against the katrillion people out for Bowie Night, dancing my way through the undulating masses trying to get to the back patio or bathroom or door or wherever — just somewhere, anywhere, with a cove of fewer bodies. And there’s Sean Tallen hovering by the bar. And here’s my friend telling me about his band Stallengrad, which I’d heard of but hadn’t really heard. And none of this has much to do with anything, except — you know that way certain people have of shaking your hand? How kindness and excitement just radiates through their skin? Sean Tallen shook my hand, and I instantly wanted to love his band. He’s just one of those guys.
And all that warmth absolutely dominates Stallengrad’s pitch-black disco. Aggressive through it may be — and it’s pretty nails-to-bone aggressive — Tallen’s sound is tangible above all else. Sweeping choral breaks, speed-metal beats, sci-fi synths wailing, bending, screaming; it’s like being embraced by the fire-breathing beast itself.
Along with live partners Wes Deraven and Lulu Danger, Tallen (sometimes known as Comrade Stallen) traces a thin line between Skinny Puppy, Giorgio Moroder and seriously demonic black metal—and they hone the combination even more with every new track. The latest “Basking in the Wrath of Eligos” especially explodes the commonalities without fading too far into any particular ether. And it’s straight-up sick to boot.
Stallengrad’s debut EP is slated to drop ASAP on Black Bvs Records. ‘Til then, make do with the wealth of jams on their Soundcloud and (rarely updated) Youtube, and if you’re near LA, what promise to be some, like, nuclear-level intense live shows. Say hi to Sean while you’re at it.