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Derkéta to be featured on 3-band bill

Miser Photography
Derketa will play Friday night at The Shop in Bloomfield.

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By Brian Krasman
Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

The city of Pittsburgh might not be choked by smoke or coated with industrial soot anymore, that hasn't prevented the area's metal bands from reveling in pure darkness.

Just last year, long-running death metal band Derkéta, the first all-female band in the subgenre's history, put out their long-awaited debut LP “In Death We Meet.” That record not only was the best metal platter to come out of the region in 2012, but was recognized as one of the finest death metal releases in the entire world. Features in magazines such as Terrorizer and Decibel also gave much-deserved coverage to the band, who claim their roots in death's fertile birth period of the late 1980s along with groups such as Death and Incantation.

Friday night at The Shop in Bloomfield (7 p.m., $15 at the door), Derkéta plays on a three-band bill with Wrought Iron and Absu on what should prove to be a devastating night. Sharon Bascovsky, guitarist and vocalist for Derkéta, took time to answer some questions about the band's storied past, how their bigger profile has helped them, and what plans are for spawning a hellish new record to follow up their massive debut.

Brian Krasman: “In Death We Meet” got the band a ton of exposure and publicity not only locally but globally. What has that done for the band?

Sharon Bascovsky: It has kept our drive up as far as writing new material, recording and booking shows. We have had some decent label interest from it but right now we chose to self-release and remain in control of what we are doing. The bigger labels require touring and that isn't something that we are available to do just yet.

BK: The band has a long history and a lot of experience in the death metal world, but the band's really made its mark fairly recently. Do you feel that's been a lot of hard work that paid off? How do you feel about it?

SB: There is a lot of time that has been invested with all of us to get our accomplishments out there, and so far it has been positive. There is still a lot more work to do, though. The Internet has made underground music more accessible worldwide and that has helped increase exposure immensely. In the late '80s, bands got exposure by dubbing cassette tapes and sending them to their friends in other countries, which then they would do the same; as well as fanzines that were circulated throughout the underground. Everything was spread around by the postal service. The work that we did 25 years ago has helped us in present times because we already had a fan base, and that fan base has helped expose us to the newer people that are now in the underground scene. It is something that I feel fortunate and grateful about.

BK : For the portion of the audience new to the band, talk a bit about your origins and the more recent run the band has been on.

SB: We formed in 1988 as the first all-female death metal act and made our mark in the underground death metal scene worldwide. We've had a few small releases with various members throughout the years but it wasn't until 2012 that we released a full-length album. To our surprise, NPR listed the album in their top 10 best releases of 2012, as well as Don Jamieson from ‘That Metal Show' listing the album in his Top 5 for Revolver Magazine. The current lineup is myself on vocals and guitar, Mary Bielich on guitar, Robin Mazen on bass, Trish Muszynski as our backup bassist/guitarist and Mike Laughlin on drums.

BK: What's your feel about the current state of death metal? It seems there's both a mainstream, Hot Topic level and an underground, true death level. Agree?

SB: I think there are too many variations to the death metal genre, to the point that the original concept has been lost. A lot of bands try to be the fastest or most extreme but there is no feel to what they are doing. The scene is saturated with bands right now. There is definitely a separation of the true underground death metal and the bands that the corporations have started promoting.

BK: I could be wrong, but I thought I read/heard of a potential vinyl run for “In Death.” True? And if so, time line? Why is it important to get the record out in that medium?

SB: Yes, that is true. Ola Lindgren, vocalist/guitarist of the Swedish death metal band Grave, is currently remixing our album for vinyl to a heavier version. It should be ready to go to press before the end of the year, so depending on the pressing plant, we're hoping to have it released in spring of 2014. Right now there is a lot of nostalgia for vinyl records and that is what people want. Vinyl is in high demand right now.

BK : Has the band started thinking beyond “In Death We Meet” yet as far as a new record is concerned? If so, what can listeners expect?

SB: Yes, we will be recording this December for a 7” release for a local record store called Mind Cure Records. They are releasing a record every month featuring a local Pittsburgh band. The requirement is one original song and one cover song. As far as expectations, it will sound like Derkéta as we have no desire to try to be anything that we're not. It's honest to what we are about. After the 7” recording, we will focus on recording another full length to be released in 2014.

Brian Krasman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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