Tartarus Records has recently released the LP edition of “Gape” by ALL YOU KNOW IS HELL, a sensual, experimental sludge solo project formed in 2016 Brooklyn, NY by Joseph Merlini. Without utilizing guitars and placing the spotlight on multiple basses, synths and effects, the inspiration for this unique project was to create thick sludge metal that leaves a taste of pain and despair in the back of your throat.
Consisting of dual basses, drums, keys/synths, samples and vocals by Joe Joyce, and backed by a live band, ALL YOU KNOW IS HELL comes as an intriguing entity with a lot to offer. “Gape” marks the 2nd album of a trilogy, focused on the tough subject of the struggles of addiction/depression.
“I was never able to afford therapy. Or maybe i was and always made excuses to avoid doing work to understand myself.” – comments Joe. “Either way, writing all of my struggles down and turning them into songs has kept me from sticking my head in the oven. GAPE, like the title suggests, opens up a lot of issues i used to hide. It is a look into the deep, god-sized hole that i carry in my chest. It also sets up the next album. GAPE is a look from up top, down into the crater of suffering. Its personified as a lover/partner and was supposed to feel like a heartbreak/break-up album, much like Converge’s Jane Doe.”
We have teamed up with Joseph to give you a quick track by track commentary, and his thoughts on the pandemic, his local music community, and share his noteworthy artists worth checking out.
Written and performed by Joseph Merlini. Tracked, mixed and mastered by Chris Weingarten at Bananappeal studio in Brooklyn, NY. Additional vocals on tracks STOMACH and WET : Chris Weingarten / Valerie Russo
“Death – Isolation – Despair – Depression – Anxiety – some of the words that come to mind as I listen to the music by the one man sludge unit All You Know Is Hell. On his last offering, Gape, this human laid down some suffocating tunes that were laced with raw emotion. If you like your sludge pure and uncut with an out of the box approach, then this project is for you.” -CVLT Nation
Track by track commentary
The sound clip is from the movie My Left Foot. This song is about depression and lack of self worth. Its about thinking the worst about yourself and always feeling it in the pit of your stomach. Youve become the disease.
This song, like most of my songs, is about addiction and different phases of it. In particular, this song is about the feeling of loving something you know is bad for you. You accept it like an unhealthy relationship. Its the lvoe you think you deserve.
Soundclip from The Panic in Needle Park.
A sensual exchange of words between the drug and the user.
This song is about my father and the irreparable damage he has caused.
This song is about remembering all of the painful goodbyes
Its about getting your fix, knowing it might be your last and getting lost in a false sense of euphoria. Its about ignoring your judgement and finding yourself seduced by death/devil.
This song is about looking in the mirror and not recognizing who you see. The person is grotesquely thin and sick looking and you can’t help but feel like you’re burning in your skin . You want to crawl out.
Words by Joseph Merlini
The pandemic, as well as a bunch of other things that happened in 2020, has definitely kept me in a state of LOW. But i truly believe this year is a time of transition, and that we all will learn something from it…. whatever it may be. I’m deeply saddened by how some people have handled this situation and by the people who have died from it. I try to keep them in my prayers, and thats all i have to comment about that.
Local music scene
I always felt more like an introvert/loner and most of the time feel out of place in the music/local scene. But deep down…. I always wanted to be part of the community. I’m currently working on my people skills. There are a lot of great bands here in nyc and I hope to meet/play with them all.
Other bands worth checking out
All of these bands have helped me out in one way or another and im forever grateful for them. Plus, they all make rad music that I listen to on the reg, and I hope to collab with them in the near future.
Amazing sludgy drone feels. Tanyas bass tone/rig is disgustingly heavy and her vocals have the power to reach deep into your soul and squeeze.
LIVID (from Wisconsin 262). @livid262
In your face straight edge powerviolence duo and super cool dudes.
DREAMY D. @thedreamyd
Psychedelic rock that keeps you in the groove and makes you wanna take a roadtrip through the desert. Donnie is a super talented musician and great guy.
A kind of dark pop rock with a bunch a great songs that all sound different from eachother. Also, Chris C. is also a talented director and did the music video for my song “THIN”.
Some other notable mentions:
Closing words – “things important to me”
Things important to me? Hmmm. No longer causing harm to myself or to others, including this planet and all of its inhabitants. I’m a vegan and believe in animal rights as well as womans rights/human rights/trans rights/anti-racism and being of service to anyone who needs help. I hope people can listen to these songs and realize that you aren’t alone with your struggles. This world is incredibly dangerous/scary/ uncomfortable and difficult. But it is also very beautiful. You just have to work for it.
𝑊𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠/𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠/𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟/𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠/𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑠. 𝐺𝑒𝑡 𝑖𝑡 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝐻𝐸𝐿𝐿. 𝐴𝑠𝑘 𝑓𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑝 𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑦.
I am also always available to talk or listen.
– Joe AYKIH