Friday, December 25, 2009

Vulcano - Bloody Vengeance

Happy 25th of December. If you are celebrating something, good for you. If not, I hope you find something to do. I don't have to work today, and everyone I know is doing their thing, so I'm blogging for a change. I went to work on my entry for top ten of 2009, but Vulcano's 1986 masterpiece Bloody Vengeance was playing on my stereo and I couldn't adjust my focus to anything released in 2009. Following my muse:

The 'bestial' thrash of 80's Brazil sounds like they got ONE shipment of metal LP's in 1986 and no instructions for operation. There were copies of the first Bathory album, Obsessed By Cruelty, Pleasure To Kill, Apocalyptic Raids, Welcome To Hell, Dealing With It, Fuckin' Death and Infernal Overkill. Maybe some copies of Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing. The cardinal rule of "When one guy plays fast, everybody else play JUST AS FAST" was completely ignored in music class, as was tuning or the concept of tempered notes at all. Brazil was too pissed to be worried about any of that silly shit. They just HAD to spew forth profane blasphemies in broken English, and they had to do it faster amd meaner than Pleasure To Kill. The oft-blogged-about "Ultimate Bestial Thrash Album" of all time is obviously INRI from Sarcofago, and for good reason. It's nasty. It's REALLY nasty and amazing and amateurish it foresaw just about everything taking place 25 years later with frightening accuracy. Vulcano was nastier. The production was nastier, the lyrics were nastier, the cover makes Exhorder's Slaugher In The Vatican (which was banned in the US for some years) look downright pious. It's a 23 minute long "full length" with 7 proper songs that carelessly and drunkenly careen towards the old nun hobbling across the street with a carriage full of crippled orphan babies. The 7th track is one of those awesome satanic demon ritual chant interludes (or Brazilian kids playing with vocal filters and effects in the studio) and the final title track is the closest they have to a slow jam on the entire album. Bloody Vengeance probably ISN'T as blasphemous as INRI, but I think it sounds a good bit more evil. INRI is almost cartoonish in it's over-the-top hatred of Jesus and all that is good and holy. Venom never sang "Fuck you, Fuck you, Fuck you Jesus Christ!!!!" Morbid Visions was the warning. INRI was the shock and awe campaign... Bloody Vengeance was the full-on attack. BV was much more direct in it's delivery. There is no "Nightmare" to choke the pace after 3 songs. BV does not relent until the last song, where the tempo slacks a bit and some groove comes out for a scant few minutes before the album is over. It's pretty poorly sequenced actually. The first six songs are blistering and one dimensional. They jump the rails immediately and don't allow you to regain your composure for their 19 minute duration. If there was any more of it, the songs would run together as they all have the same raging tempo and rhythm. They may have no rival in intensity from this decade. Maybe Revenge or Deiphago. I would not hesitate to say that it is one of the most violent albums released in the 80's, Brazilian or otherwise. I ripped this from the 2009 Cogumelo reissue with a DVD live show from 1985 I found a few weeks ago in Columbus. It sounds like it has been remastered, but alot of the noise issues inherent in even the best 320kbps vinyl rips I downloaded are still gladly there, and it is NO cleaner, maybe just a little louder.

I bought Beneath The Remains in 1990. I was probably 13. It was kindof a revelation to me that there was such an active scene in South America. I saw "The Emerald Forest" and it wasn't metal. I figured most of South America had never even worn a proper pair of pants or had ever been in air conditioning. It seemed dense, hot, sweaty and humid. It probably still is. It's probably as gross as I could ever imagine it being to try and play intensely fast death metal in an equatorial nation. There are probably giant bugs that bite people, and drug murders occurring every few minutes just outside the rehearsal room in the kind of neighborhoods I would have come from were I birthed to some family down there. I can only imagine that these conditions are what they fed on to make the music as sick as was coming out of the region in 1985-86. I will tell you what I know for a fact though, I PORED over every thanks list from every tape I bought from 1989 to 1992 and got familiar with an awful lot of names of bands that I only ever got to read about back then. Sepultura and Ratos De Porao was all we got from Brazil up here, and aside from thanking each other and a number of Florida death metal bands I already knew, there were bands who got Portuguese shout out's and a number of names that were not familiar. Chakal, Sex Trash, Overdose and Vulcano come to mind immediately. Sarcofago may have gotten some love, but I don't know since Sepultura didn't reprint their thanks lists in the reissues they put out a few years ago (dicks.) Those names were the real deal.

Hundreds of bands currently go to great lengths to make sure their albums sounds are cloaked in bestial mush and filthy fairy dust to try and get that early 80's mystery that made Venom's Welcome To Hell such a punch to the gut when it came out. Never mind that it was a total pisstake. In my own youthful naivete, I was convinced that Welcome To Hell contained codes and secrets in its murk. I thought it was WILLFULLY recorded like that to mask and disguise the keys to Satan's own kingdom, only available to true Venom fans who were hip and got the decoder rings at a gig or something. Some heads in Norway had the decoder ring in the early 90's and kicked up some hellish dust. Cats in mid 80's Brazil never got the decoder ring. Satan knew they couldn't afford to get to see Venom if they ever made it down there, so he hooked them up personally. They went straight for THEE DUST and snorted deep, straight from the baggie. I'm convinced of this.

click that shit and breathe deep.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What The Fuck?!? - demo

I'll make this one short and sweet as well just to get this demo out there. I already gushed about how ripping they were live. Unlike the Deadmen demo, which is a fine example of the bands songs, but does not represent their crushing presence live, the WTF demo is pretty representative of the live presentation. Noisy and thrashy as hell, except live, they are noisier and thrashier. I guess an easy comparison (because I am too lazy to bother writing an extensive review) would be Haymaker or DS-13... maybe Citizens Arrest? Pissed, hateful, "no slow-all go" hardcore by guys your girlfriend would not be interested in cuddling with. This is right up my alley. Raw and angry with no metalcore, Youth Crew, NYHC, posi, or power violence references. No showoff full sleeve tattoos they got done all at once, no matching lettermen jackets, minimal gang choruses, no bland '77 throwback, no circle pits, but there IS a Dwarves cover. They just start raging and fourteen minutes later, you don't want them to be done raging. This is the most pissed off thing I have posted in a long time. More proof that Indianapolis have some awesome shit going on right now.

too bro, too slow

Monday, November 30, 2009

Deadmen - 2009 Demo

I'll put the quickness on this one just to get it out there. Out of something like 12 bands that I saw last weekend out with Disconnected, Deadmen probably impressed everyone in the van most. The laundry list of current and ex members of bands the members of Deadmen have occupied seats in is long. Seriously, it's worse than Dimmu Borgir's biography. Coffinworm (one of my favorite bands of the moment right now), Lair Of The Minotaur, Demiricous, Angelville, Suicide Note... Some creative googling/wiki-ing even turned up a stint in Birthright by one of the members. You can do your own creative googling if you really want to connect the dots. This demo does not do any justice to what they come off like live. Opening song "Been There Still There" opens with a shameless bite of "Snakes Of Christ" from Danzig, but when the drums come back, it gets driven into the dirt with an EYEHATEGOD/Crowbar groove. Nate's vocals are pure acid. It's obvious the members of Deadmen know their way around writing a good song and have done it many times as they adeptly engineer the song through pacier double kick parts and a few twists and turns, right back into another 2 ton groove. Both the other two songs, "Whiskey Vs. Wine" and "These Gods Have No Eyes" open with horns-down ramming speed Venom-like abandon while going forward to dismantle and reconstruct further sludge, NWOBHM and Celtic Frost reference points, even a few tastefully under-used twin guitar volleys for spice.

The Deadmen demo is regretfully short, and the songs are constructed in such a manner that compel the listener to follow it through to the end. None of them take very long to say what they need to say and a full length of anything more than 35 or 36 minutes is probably all that will be needed to make a properly devestating debut, should they choose to move forward in that direction. This band needs to be felt live though. This is a great start, but after seeing them live, the demo is merely a souveneir to tide me over to the next time I get to see them. Indianapolis has always had a mid sized, but potent and well developed metal/punk scene that has never really gotten it's fair due. Carl and Garrett have a monster here as well as in the mighty Coffinworm. I should be so lucky to be in ONE band this good before I die. Spread this one far and wide.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Off probation and on vacation

...was the unofficial title of the weekend in honor of Disconnected's vocalist, Patrick, finally clearing his probationary period of 3 years. He got in some trouble some time ago. He's better now.

After releasing the split 7" and actually printing up T shirts (you'd think we were a real band or something) we were itching to get out on the road. Will335 has been booking DIY punk/hardcore shows sporadically over the past 2 years. They are donation only shows and usually do pretty well for the scene and for the touring bands. Usually it is ONLY to support a touring band and the first couple of shows required some 'gentle coaxing' of the crowd, who needed to be reminded that 'donation' does not mean free. Back in July or August, plans for Will to call in a few favors and get us out on the road began to be laid. Karma paid back in spades this past weekend when Disconnected hit the road with Under Anchor for three days.

Originally it was to be ourselves and Nightbringer galvanting our way out to Cedar Falls, IA where both bands had some connections. Some of the members of NB had some obligations to fulfill and could not afford the time or the money to do it. That trip will be for another weekend I guess. Damned shame, because NB is Disconnected's favorite band pretty much. They are as close as you can get to being near Motörhead, while still being able to maintain your lawn. The righteous vegan brothers in Under Anchor heeded the call though, and we made the weekend with them. We did the bookings footwork, they provided the van, we secured the trailer, Rorik drove, I navigated, Will335 harrassed everyone and mashed up the van when I played World Burns To Death. The UA guys suffered untold miseries. DJ, the drummer had broken his hand the day before and was told by the doctor that he was NOT playing drums this weekend. Of course, being like 20, he told the doctor to eat fuck and played like a MONSTER all weekend. He was pretty swollen by the end of the weekend. Derrick and Jimmy were both sick (and got everyone else sick by the end of the weekend). Rorik twisted his ankle and had some pain from being gored and skinned by a piece of machinery at work a few months back, so he was limping after every set and by Chicago, was NOT stoked to walk very far for anything. By the end of the weekend, Jimmy was REALLY sick and would not get out of the cargo area where they had prepared a futon mattress. Somehow, they still played like monsters every night.

Thursday, we all met at Will's house about 7pm and loaded the trailer. We headed out for the hour and a half drive to the Leathershop in Lima and got there later than we thought was prudent. Thankfully the show hadn't started. The Leathershop is probably one of the best DIY spots to catch a hardcore show in Ohio. The Lima crew are dirty, crude and violent, but any one of them would probably give you the shirt off their back, if you feel like wearing an unlaundered and slept in Coke Bust shirt that is. They are all about getting a good show together, or failing that, gorging themselves on vegan food and driving a hundred miles or so to wherever a good show IS happening. The show that was put together that we played on contained 4 out of town bands and 2 Lima bands. Of the 2 Lima bands, there were a total of 5 members. Of them, I think 3 of them lived at, and curated the Leathershop. I don't know who is responsible for the abundance of hardcore pornography that wallpapers most of the rooms, but it is pretty surreal and gives the place that 'Gummo' vibe that any DIY spot in the middle of Ohio would do well to cultivate. They had us on top billing, headlining the show. We found this odd since we had so far hardly ever played out of Toledo, but we also remembered that a good number of Lima kids had trekked up to see shows that had us on the bill and maybe (just MAYBE) a few people were stoked that we were playing. Coincidentally, the first picture included is the first Disconnected patch sighting. It's one of the guys from Trontor, who broke up this past year. I was kinda stoked about that and trailed the kid for a good 15 seconds unbeknownst to him to get a clear pic. At least someone was stoked. William refused to take his ski mask off the entire night. He made it about 3 songs into our set before he had to do something. I played the first two songs in my gasmask for fun, but I was hoping I could do it for the whole set because kids in Lima smoke PACKS of cigarettes at a time. It was thick. I didn't make it past the 2nd song of our set before I thought I was going to pass out because a gasmask is hard to breathe in to begin with. The lineup was Domestic Dispute, Pizza Hi Five (the locals) Iron Minds from Cleveland, Karloff from Columbus, UA and us. The house was pretty well packed for all on the bill and kids were all rad and friendly. Everyone got the crowd to dance at least a few times. Kids lost their minds for Iron Minds and Karloff. I won't bore anyone with a blow by blow of the live sets. Everyone was solid. If you want to know what the bands sound like, I give you my hearty endorsement to go catch a live show and dig what you hear. Everyone was fast when they weren't playing slow and if their gear was on, they were loud. This is a blog, not a zine. Never confuse the two.

Under Anchor, Iron Minds and ourselves all stayed at the Leathershop. I think people were up partying until 6 or 7 in the morning. I was in the backroom on a futon mattress on the floor. I couldn't sleep for a damn. Two people in the room were making out and stuff. It didn't get very far past that. I was grateful. I had turned my ipod up so if they did decide to take it to that other level of intimacy, I would hopefully be asleep already. When I woke up, I was on track 35 of 43 of my Leviathan collection and I couldn't hear ANYTHING in the midrange. Anyone who has listened to Leviathan, knows what I am talking about. Leviathan rules everything. His albums are all like 58-70 minutes long, so my hearing was completely whitewashed by morning.

We aren't self conscious about our sound PERSÉ, but we are pretty certain we don't sound like many bands on any bills ever. We're not serious enough for metal shows, and we do not blast. We are a little too aggressive for most punk bills, and we aren't posi or crucial. Hardcore bands are a little too clean for us, and we don't have any breakdowns to tell anyone when to bring the sick mosh. Crusties would love our sound, but we are not in the least bit conformist to their strict guidelines, nor are we are not political at all. We play no anthems and do not print our lyrics, so it's rare that there is a singalong. Aside from speed, abusive volume and an inconsiderate use of feedback, there is very little for kids who are used to the usual happenings and flow of most live sets to grasp. If there ever was a bill that we were tailor cut for, it was probably the Indianapolis show. I had my buddy Dave from Coffinworm/Worldeater put his feelers out for a show that weekend. Boy, did he come through. There was already a show happening at the 1511 House, and he was going to try and get us on it rather than book a competing show somewhere else. SMART!!! The night was originally Adam's idea for debuting his new band Kata Sarka. Adam had been a friend of mine some years ago when he played in the USBM band FOG, but we fell out of touch. I was hoping to run into him the last time I was in Indy, but I did not. I went to a doom metal fest and he was stuck working all weekend. I DID hang with guys who worked with him and knew him and got my information to him to put us back in touch. Dave asked him if we could make it a stop as well. Agreements were struck and HOLY SHIT was it a good show. I'm going to continue to keep it diplomatic and reserve the 'live review' since it has been a week and my memory is not very long. I do know that Garrett gave me demo of his band, Deadmen, and it is sick. They were incredible. One of the best bands of the weekend and some awesome guys. They are kind of a supergroup. Members and former members of Coffinworm, Suicide Note, Angelville, Lair Of The Minotaur and who knows what else. Uploading their demo right now. Expect a post dedicated to them shortly. The sick fellas all crashed early in the van. The rest of us wandered over to Adam's house for some late night hang. He gifted me with a disc of MP3's that have been ruling my Ipod for a week (especially the unreleased FOG material and the Ignivomous stuff) 5 of us (and Adam) crammed into his 80's Toyota hatchback so we could get something to eat. We went to Qdoba in Broad Ripple, which is douchebag city on a Friday night. We ate and left and I wasn't even done throwing my drink out (after getting that last final pull on it) before Rorik damn near gets in a fight with some popped collar chachi-boys right outside the door. I think he did something to them to provoke them. We slept and got up early the next day. Pat had no voice so he was up at like 7:30 making tea for his throat. The rest of us got up pretty soon after that. I grabbed a quick shower and we were on the road by 9:30 for Chicago.

I wore the battery down on my iPhone using the Google Maps app to get us to Chicago and routing us through it to get to Soul Vegetarian and Metal Haven. I think we all got giant heaping plates of vegan protein in one form or another for lunch. The fried BBQ seitan was pretty good, but it was WAAAAAY better after the show. I wasn't impressed with the twist sandwich I got and regretted my decision. I had to order that in place of the much more interesting sounding Marcus Garvey burger, which they were out of. There were also vegan tamales on the menu, which intrigued me, they were out of them too.

After that, we went to Metal Haven. I had heard much about this store, but had obviously never been there. It made me want to move in next door. We only put an hour in the parking meter, so I had to cram, but even with giving the racks a cursory pass through, I still bought 6 or 7 CD's. Dead Congregation full length, the new Cremation demos compilation on NWN, Odal - Zornes Heimat (totally underrated raw pagan black metal without the silly folk influence), Midnight - Total Fucking Midnight, which I could have lived without, but it was there. Cobalt - Eater Of Birds... I downloaded this ages ago and loved it, but no one could get it in stock for me around here. Black Witchery/Conqueror split Hellstorm Of Evil Vengeance... probably the greatest split of all time. Black Witchery - Desecration Of The Holy Kingdom, which I had just been outbid for on Ebay. It sold on CD for $29, I got it for $13. Up your ass high bidder: j****p.

After that, we went to the Chicago Diner so the vegans could pay like $8 for vegan milkshakes or something. It was in boystown, which is the gay area of Chicago. I figured if they were gonna be there for a few minutes, I could sneak off to a coffeehouse and called my girlfriend. I did just that. It took me a few minutes to find a place. She was stressed and it made me feel bad that I couldn't be there for her. I wandered for a few minutes and saw some rather interesting costume shops on the way back.

We went to the Albion house where we were playing with Picked Clean and What The Fuck from Indiana, and Poison Planet and Boiling Over from Chicago. Every band pretty much played a sick set. Under Anchor somehow pulled through injury and illness to play their tightest set of the weekend. We played our third incident free set of the weekend. (how?) I missed most of Picked Clean because they only played for ten minutes and we were loading out due to it being in a tiny basement. What The Fuck decimated everyone all weekend though I thought. I got a demo from them and have uploaded it for posting in the next few weeks, whenever I can get the time to write it up. Poison Planet ruled when I saw them at the Tower in Cleveland some months back. They were a little rough from being on hiatus for some months, but they still killed. Boiling Over were as tight as they were when they played in Toledo. We were the odd band out again. Most of the bands on the bill were of the straight edge fastcore variety. What The Fuck even played a song called "Fuck Metal" which prior to playing it, the guy had something to say about there being other things to sing about than dragons and vikings. I can agree with that. It's just when metal bands try and sing about things that aren't fantasy, partying or satan, it just comes off as preachy and people throw things at them. When hardcore bands do it, kids just ignore them. We don't know what Pat sings about. We know some of his lyrics and they are pretty abstract and/or depraved. When we were loading up, Jas tried to blow a snot rocket or something and it became an epic (and blogworthy) booger.

People didn't leave when we played. There were alot of people in the room. They danced hard (surprisingly) We were pretty stoked about the reaction we got because Chicago is a notoriously tough crowd. They are the largest city in the midwest and have probably the most active and strongest hardcore scene not on a coast. Chicago bands are seriously together when we see them in our hometown and when you play their town, you are up against a very spoiled crowd. They have some of the best bands, and anyone else who is awesome in the US is trying to get shows put together like four nights a week in Chicago. If your band is not on top of their game, the crowd will be outside bullshitting with each other. We didn't have this problem. It was the last night of the weekend and we knew we had to rip faces off from beginning to end. We held our own. We know a good number of kids came up from Indy because of the Indianapolis bands, and a few of them were really stoked on us because we were in top form the night before, but I can't say that ALL the kids dancing were from Indy. The show ended, everyone went home. We got arrangements made for where we were staying and I started punching in coordinates on the iPhone.

We headed out to find food. I think I hit the wrong button on or something, because google maps took us to the OTHER end of Clark St. looking for the Pick Me Up Cafe. We turned around like 4 times, then I hit the right button and it got us there, but it was like 5 miles south and we didn't know it was across the street from Wrigley Field... on a Saturday night... at midnight. It was douche city. They were hailing cabs, their cabs were cutting us off. There was no parking. They were wandering drunkenly and vomiting in front of the van when we were at stop lights. It was bad news and we were getting in a seriously bad mood as a result. The sick guys in UA were giving up the ghost at this point. Jimmy was driving, but he was hitting the wall hard in the H1N1 department. Rorik had driven all weekend and was trying to get a break. It was a bad idea. Once we let Jimmy out amongst the population, it was all over and we all woke up the next day with our sinuses full of cement and our throats full of cobwebs. We said fuck it and found where we were staying. Hopes were high that there would be something open at night that we could walk too. Maybe there would be vegan options? FAIL. Pat, Jas and I headed out to find Burger King, which was the only thing open in the admittedly "yuppie" area we were in. Will came along too so he could get some fries. I avoid fast food for the most part, and when I am stuck, I try and get something reasonable. The other band I play in make fun of me for my "fag food" selections but I really can't eat greasy foods anymore without risking losing a day to illness. We were so hungry though, and the dining room was closed. I walked up to the drive through to see if the lady would let us order something. There was already a guy standing there behind a car. We got behind him. There was no menu board there, and the only thing I could remember that BK served was Whoppers... and it was the best damned Whopper I had eaten in my entire life. I love me some vegan food, but damn, I was stoked to eat some actual meat for a change. We couldn't figure out where the place was. We accosted some fixed gear bicyclist to see what their snob/swine answer would be to our enquiry as to where the taco bell and/or burger king was. They refused to tell us and pedaled off saying "We don't know!!! We don't eat DOG!!!" I thought William was going piss his pants laughing. He's been a strict vegan for 17 years and these snarky pitchforkers were looking down their noses at him. Here's a picture of Will with an axe by which he will split the wigs of false vegans.

Lord only knows when Disconnected is going to get out and do this again. Sooner rather than later we hope. It was fun and we proved a point to ourselves kinda validating what we do. Dunno if we will be able to take it for more than a few days at a time, but hopefully, things keep moving forward.

I've been writing this in little bursts all week, more for myself than anyone else. My memory is not long and before I start forgetting things, I wanted to have a document of what happened, and how the band feels about things just at this moment rather than looking back in time and thinking about events in hindsight. Currently, it is one week after we got home and Disconnected just played a rather disappointing set to a surprisingly good sized hometown crowd. Things didn't go our way and we were not in top form. I guess we deserved a little humbling after having such a great weekend. We'll get it back with some practice. A heap of thanks to Jimmy, Derrick, DJ and Rorik from Under Anchor for providing the van. Rorik in particular for driving nearly every last mile of the weekend without complaint. Thanks to Trashy and Mike at the Leathershop for the rad show, the floorspace and the vegan burritos the next day. Thanks to Dave and Adam for the show, Adam specifically for putting us up. Carl, Garrett and Mike for being in the front row and being stoked on us in Indy, and Mike rolling up to Chicago with the Indy bands. Thanks to the dudes in Boiling Over for getting us on the Chicago show, Mike Banks for hosting the show and graciously having us on the bill. Thanks to the guy in Chicago who put us up... Eric? I forgot his name. He was a good guy and we probably stressed he and his roommates out cuz we are verbally abusive, inconsiderate and thankless fucks who make fun of everything and wrecked his neighbors rock gardens.

Death to false bullet belts.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Disconnected Live footage

This is my band. Pretty wretched sound and dark video, but you get the idea. We have a split 7" out on Idoneum Bello Records with a power violence band from New Zealand called Wasteland. The last song we play is on the split. The split is for sale from Interpunk in the US. The rest of the world can get it from the Per Koro distro. We'll have copies at our next few gigs, maybe through the end of the year depending on how many more gigs we play. We still have a FEW copies of the cassette demo left from last winter. Like, maybe less than ten. The first song we play in the video is off the cassette. The long song in the middle is getting recorded right now. We're getting our shit together to put out a split 12" with a hardcore band from Lansing, MI called Under Anchor. They rip in all the best ways that mid-90's HC bands could rip. Catchy riffs, decent breakdowns (no super slow mallcore style) and a few hooks. I dunno if we are all going to pony up loot for it or if we are going to talk to labels. There may be a forthcoming split 7" with Nightbringer as well.

Disconnected will be playing a weekend November 19th, 20th and 21st with Under Anchor. I still don't have all the details. We may have T shirts by then.

November 19th Lima OH @ The Leathershop (w/Iron Minds and a few other bands)
November 20th Indianapolis IN @ 1511 House (house show with Medusa, Kata Sarka, Deadmen)
November 21st Chicago, IL @ another house show (with 2 of our favorite Chicago bands of the moment: Boiling Over, Poison Planet and 2 other out of towners aside from us and UA.)
November 29th @ Ramalama records, Toledo OH with Expire and one other band (Free show!! 2pm Sunday matinee)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nightmare mega post

By no means can I claim to have been any kind of "old schooler" when it comes to the Japanese hardcore. I wasn't hip to it when it was available to me and 90% of the people who claim some sort of OG cred concerning it are full of shit. If they are under 30, they are absolutely bullshitting. I saw Lee Dorrian and Danny Lilker wearing S.O.B. shirts, so I knew of it's existence at a younger age than most. I read interviews where they talked about how great it was. It wasn't until I started leeching from blogs that I actually got to HEAR any of it.

Some time ago, I found uploads of both the Eye Of The Thrash Guerilla and Starving Dog Eats Master compilations. I can't remember where. They both had tracks from bands I was familiar with on them. I figured they would be a good place to start to check out some of the lesser known Japanese bands. Despite all the hype, cult appeal and fetishism the record collectors (see: pretentious assholes) subscribe to when spending $300 on OG Zouo vinyl, Japanese HC is just like any other scene. There are good bands and there are bad bands. It all depends on your tastes. My tastes run to the more aggressive and fast paced side of things. I've scratched the surface and I know what I like. I can't say I like it all, including some very popular and influential acts that I am just not into. I won't start any arguments about who sucks or who rules. One thing pretty much everyone can agree on is that Nightmare is one of the best. They were featured on BOTH the compilations I downloaded and I had to hear more. I dug a little deeper into their legacy and saw how respected the "Give Notice Of Nightmare" LP was on the internet. I couldn't find uploads of it ANYWHERE aside from the defunct "Fight Against The Plutocrats" blog (R.I.P. Dirk, you are one of the reasons I started a blog) where it had long since expired due to inactivity.

I have since purchased these two compilations that pretty much make up their early 90's output, sans their first 7" which they omitted from their discography for whatever reason. The recordings have been remastered and sound fucking awesome. They were SO full of piss and vinegar. They are still together today, but I have heard varying opinions on their more recent stuff. Few bands in ANY scene maintain this kind of energy track after track. Where Deathside fiddled with OTT guitar arrangements and superior song structure (to great effect,) GISM destroyed clubs with flamethrowers and bulldozers, and Disclose buried their Discharge worship in heaps of white noise and feedback (to lesser effect IMHO,)

Nightmare's schtick was to go straight for the throat. I don't think there is one weak song on either of these collections. Nightmare, along with Bastard, Gauze and Lip Cream are what I always imagined Japanese HC to be like. Fast as fuck, consistently tight and absolutely feral in their delivery.
One think you have to love about the Japanese is their penchant for experimentalism. The tracks for the 'Footprints In the Wind' single on the Bloodsucker Years feature a John Zorn-like freakout saxophone player who plays almost constantly over every track. Of the two, I think I prefer the Early Years compilation a little more. It contains the aforementioned Give Notice Of Nightmare recording as well as the tracks from both the compilations I named. No screwball Peter Brötzmann saxophone, just total thrash from beginning to end.

Early Years

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blood Of Christ - Demos 1991 - 1993

When I was a kid and wasn't old enough to get into clubs or had an income or an allowance that would facilitate ordering things from Relapse, I would dream about being in Florida or Stockholm or some other hotbed of death metal and getting to go to shows and stuff. Blood Of Christ were in the Relapse catalog and were from Ohio and that made them basically rock stars to me.  I think they had actually broken up before I ever even heard of them.  I didn't actually get to hear any of this material until I won this CDR on eBay.  When I finally heard them, I was pleased to find that Blood Of Christ were as good as I always hoped they would be. It sounds like early 90's death metal.  Heavy, but not tuned to drop A or anything silly like that.  They also do not play at 300 bpm either, which is why I find Nile and Hate Eternal albums completely boring.  "Usual suspects" influences like Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation and Deicide come to mind, and maybe even a little Rotting Christ-styled bombast in a few places.  Good riffs, good arrangement, good energy. I really like these recordings ALOT and find it pretty criminal that the only true release these guys ever had was their sole "INRI" 7" released in 92, a dribble in the deluge of trend-hopping death metal releases from that year.  Had they released anything, it would have been forgotten among a hundred other releases that didn't sound too different from this stuff, even if it was superior to Deteriorate, Excruciating Pain or Morpheus Descends.

This contains all the material ever recorded by the band and it was prepared for a 2007 memorial concert for the lead singer who died some years back.  According to Encyclopedia Metallum, this is supposed to be released on vinyl someday, but it hasn't happened yet.  In the meantime, you get to download it and spread some early 90's Cleveland death metal gospel.

Blood Of Christ

Tracks 1-4 Taken from 1993 promo tape
Tracks 5-7 Taken from I.N.R.I. 7"
Tracks 8-9 previously unreleased
Tracks 10-14 Taken from 1991 demo

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cease & Desist!

Holy shit! I got my first cease and desist order in the mail today! I couldn't help but wonder what jackass decided to report me, and WHY of all things. I don't see any reason in posting any current releases from anyone. Most current releases suck anyways. Why should I give a shit about Animal Collective or a John Legend album enough to want to post it? General rule, if you can buy it at Best Buy, someone has their eye on the internet to try and stop dirtbags who want to be the first to leak it. I try and keep this blog centered on stuff you are not likely to find easily...try mind you (like it's hard work or something) Rare shit, demos, and of course the occasional rant (like now). It's my blog. I can post as irregularly as I want and post dumb shit on occasion.

So I'm at a Dungen concert tonight and I get a call from my Dad saying "there is a letter sitting on the thing in the room at home that has something to do with file sharing or something." I get red behind the ears. I fucked everything up and we are both going to broadband prison or something. I know Dad is pissed cuz he doesn't know what the hell any of this means, it's just his son and that confounded internet of his. Dad has his own computer. I am sure it is a porno machine for the most part though. He can't do much else other than check his email and find titties. He has no idea how any of this P2P file sharing stuff works or what I have gotten him tangled into. So I get home from the show and immediately seek out this letter sitting on the thing in the room. It's from the cable company saying that they refuse to disclose any information to the DMCA, unless they are court ordered to do so, but it has been brought to their attention that our IP address has been sharing information of a copywritten nature (Nukkehammer - Pigs All The Time? Death Side? Il Balletto Di Bronzo? The suspense is killing me.) I scan to the bottom of the page and in red it says that the file had to do with "Flash Of Genius" What song is that? It's nowhere in my computer. I get on the horn with a savvy friend and he just says "google it!" So I do and immediately it comes up that it was a movie that came out in 2008 about a stolen windshield wiper or something.

...what the fuck?

I don't even KNOW how to download a movie. I don't even know how to use a torrent for that matter.

Apparently, I don't know how to secure the wireless network at my house as well as I thought I did. My bad.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Coffinworm - Great Bringer Of Night (2009 demo)

I haven't had time to post anything in over a month. It's been a very busy and sad month for me. As you can see, my dog had to be put down a few weeks ago. That was the sad. On to the busy. A few weeks ago, I went to the 3rd and final Templars Of Doom festival in Indianapolis and made friends with these guys who kindly let me post their demo. I had just missed them at the festival, but wound up bullshitting with their guitarist and drummer and decided to buy a T shirt and their demo sound-unheard based on the fact that they were nice guys, the shirt looked sweet, I was at a fest and planned on hemmorhaging money anyways. Thankfully, the demo rips and I got to see them the day AFTER the fest as I learned that Krallice was playing a show and Coffinworm was opening that show as well. I made sure to get there early where they were the best band of the night. Had I seen them at the festival, they probably would have surpassed all the other bands on the bill At the Krallice show, I wound up bonding with the lead singer of Coffinworm over old death metal cassette demos, of which he owns an extensive collection. It was like an episode of Sesame Street, with everyone being friends and shit.

Pinning Coffinworm's sound with a few words has proven pretty evasive, as evidenced by the fact that I have deleted this very paragraph in it's entirity no less than four times now. Describing their sound would probably just be unfair in general. General overview of the music... It's Heavy Metal. It's closest musical alignment would be doom metal, but they have a pretty healthy love of midpaced death metal and crusty punk. Maybe a dash of late 80's/early 90's noise rock ala Amphetamine Reptile records or T&G records. I'm going to cop out on the rest of this because I have to get ready for work now and have been just trying to get this link POSTED so people hear it. I keep getting hung up on the "review" because I have had writers block. Download it and listen to it and if you think I am wrong, go to hell because I don't care about you or your tastes.

Great Bringer Of Night was recorded with Bob Fouts, drummer of Gates Of Slumber, who slipped a copy to the owner of Profound Lore records just because he thought he would like it. Not only did he like it, but before the demo was even mixed, Coffinworm was offered the opportunity to put out a full length with Profound Lore. They were instructed to complete a full lengths worth of songs and report to Volume Studios before the end of the year for recording with Sanford Parker. They will settle in nicely with the rest of the Profound Lore catalog of well thought-out wierdness. CW thankfully lack the pretention of alot of that label's output. Hopefully, they are able to maintain the raw attitude that this material possesses, and are able to BETTER capture what I saw live, which was ten times as mammoth as this demo.

Permission has been granted to usurp vocalist Dave's own bandwidth and post the link he gave me to a 320 rip of the tracks here, 3 songs in 22 minutes.

Grover 1998 - 2009

Happily jumping into endless fetid cesspools eternally. The shadows of angels have something to fear.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Best thing I have seen so far this year.

I couldn't believe this when I saw it at the record store. Shane, my friend who works at the store just gave it to me because I found it so ridiculous. It was in the dollar bin. Someone had to have had a sense of humor when they did this. Pardon the crappy camera phone pic. The vinyl inside is the Simple Minds album from 1979 "Life In A Day."

Reminds me of that Liars EP where they used the Einsturzende Neubauten artwork, but scribbled over it. Comedy gold right there people.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coolest thing I have heard so far this year:

I'm not uploading this album because it just came out a few months ago. The way I see it, music is music and if it is out there, listen to it. If it is available, buy it. There is nothing worse than a chump that has a a fat Ipod and like 22 CD's that they only still own because they couldn't get more than a few cents for them on amazon. I downloaded this a week ago from Ongakubaka after someone got me hip to it and found it at the record store today so I PURCHASED IT like a good little consumer. Death were a three piece from Detroit in the 70's. You can find their bio all over the net, and plenty of download links I am sure. This is a record that was shelved in 1974 because they were doing it for a big label who wanted them to change their name. Death took a hike and the tapes were shelved until February 2009. So I'll add my insignificant freight car to the hype train. I am going to gush about this one to anyone who will listen. Short of a few quieter bits, this record is raging and feral from beginning to end in true 1970's Detroit/Creem Magazine style. Hearing this for the first time brings back hearing Search & Destroy for the first time at age 18, thinking I knew it all and realizing that I still didn't know shit. I have never been a very big punk fan. The Sex Pistols were overrated and Black Flag sucked more than they were good. All the 'proto punk' stuff gets my blood going though. This album belongs in the same pantheon with The Sonics, The Stooges, The MC5 and The Monks like all the critics are saying and are going to say in the coming months. Expect to hear a piece on these guys on NPR at some point.

What's a big drag is that everyone is going to make a big deal about these guys being black and playing hard rock in the 70's. That's a bullshit reason to talk about these recordings. That's about as lame and sorry as saying "She's a great drummer for a GIRL" or something nearly as bogus. What's remarkable about this mini-album (26 minutes!) is that the SONGS are remarkable. Excellent songwriting, propellant, energetic playing, interesting arrangements. The reason to talk about these recordings and this band is that this is some harsh shit! Whether it was MEANT to be this harsh as a final product is not to be known. Columbia would have liked to have polished this up to a high shine and it would have been about as hairy and scary as any Tony Orlando & Dawn album by the time they were done with it. Major labels always have been, and continue to be the scourge of music. Sadly, the members of the band missed their shot at the brass ring, but had the album been polished and released, would it be seen as such a special thing now? Would it be as raw and amazing sounding? Would the label have watered down what they did, or fuzzed it up and made them into heavy metal 'also-rans'? Or would the label have done what they tried to do with everything back then and tried to make it into disco or something to try and market it to the 'niche' they doubtlessly would have tried to market it to based on skin color? The upshot is, these guys were righteous and stuck to their guns and what happened happened and now we all have the bounty of discovering this, the musical equivalent of finding a $20 bill left in the dryer at the laundromat.

Thank you Drag City for unearthing this undeniable gem. Thank you to the Hackney brothers for not just sitting on these tapes, dragging them out for show and tell every couple of years for family members who may or may not give a damn (I know my family doesn't care much about all the dumb albums I have recorded) I know I have given a damn at least a few times a day for the past 2 weeks or so. I wish they would have finished a few more tracks before getting on Clive Davis's shitlist. This is still the best 26 minutes of music released so far in 2009, I just wish it were more like 40 some-odd minutes.

Visit Death's official blog here, then buy the album online, or at your local independent record store with all due haste.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mammoth Volume - ...a single book of songs

pardon the janky pic I posted of this album cover. It's really not that interesting anyways, but that is part of the appeal of the album. I need to scan it myself and post a good jpg, and maybe I will at some point. Promises promises. This album is rather personal to me as Daniel Gustafsson, the guitarist has become quite a good friend over the years over email. When this album came out in 2001, I was pretty stunned. My drummer at the time owned a record store and played me the promo. We couldn't figure out if they were trying to be stoner rock, prog or emo. I guess it was all three really. This album came out some months before "Songs For The Deaf" from QOTSA, at least a year before that kind of stuff became the "it" sound for a hot minute. There is a lot of Kyuss in Jorgen's vocals, and alot of King Crimson and Canterbury prog when the band gets to show it (which is often) and an equal helping of Fu Manchu/MC5 when they open up and rock. There is a healthy dose of folk prog and a proliferation of mellotrons, organs, glockenspiels and flutes when the band deems it necessary, and apparently they deem it necessary in the strangest spots sometimes. We couldn't figure out what they were trying to go for, and the band seems none too focused at some points as well, but the results were pretty jaw dropping. They get one of the most natural sounding recordings I have ever heard. It's all room sounds and mic placement (Kalle Berlin gets a bass sound I would trade my eyeballs for.) It's not nearly as self consciously "retro" sounding as fellow Swede travellers Dungen, but it sounds sufficiently 'dusty.' I can't tell if that was willful, or if it was out of necessity, but man, this record sounds unique and GOOD! I have most of Dungen's recordings, and I have most of MV's recordings, and MV recordings would go with me to a desert island first. This album is definitely a slept on classic. Why overhyped, mediocre boogie metal like Alabama Thunderpussy and Orange Goblin got all the attention escapes me. For my money, Mammoth Volume were making interesting, well recorded hard rock and most of the rest of the stoner genre was just so much tepid rehash.

Back when I was absolutely obsessed with this album, I went on the bands website and hit the bios of the individual members. The other three guys had rather dry lists of their gear and maybe a sentence or two about their lives, and general things like "I like beer" or something. Daniel's was an exhaustive and detailed list of the gear he used on the recording of the album and a rambling thesis on what he listened to and how it influenced what he wrote for the album. (btw, he wrote my favorite song on the album: "What Happened In Antioch including A Myriad Of Sounds" [song within a song, how Crimson.] How about a parentheses inside a parentheses?) I hadn't heard of SHIT he had named, entire progressive rock genres like RIO, Zeuhl, and Canterbury and I had no idea what I was in for. I emailed him out of the blue and asked for more recommendations. From that, we started a pan-atlantic freundschaft that endures to this day. At some point over the next couple of months, I ran across a copy of the very Henry Cow album I posted some time back - Leg End. I heard it and flipped and from there started ordering his recommendations. I went a little nuts, and I still do whenever I find something from Univers Zero or Thinking Plague, two bands I discovered from his emails and love to no end.

After 6 or 7 years of sparse and sporadic activity, MV decided to finally put it to bed this past year, to the disappointment of probably a few hundred die-hards like myself. They never even completed an LP's worth of material for a suitable follow up and only released a 5 song collection of MP3's from their website over the last year. It's all good stuff, they never released anything that was terrible and it's all worth purchasing, but "...a single book of songs" is a crowning achievement. It's one of those albums that you either have to BETTER with your next album, or spend the rest of your career trying to recreate the magic. This one would be awfully hard to better. It's an epic wad-blow that was obviously painstakingly crafted from beginning to end. I've never gotten to make an album like that. I DO know how hard it is to make an album of tepid stoner rehash be even remotely well received, and I know how draining it was to get THAT much finished, let alone something that a vast amount of thought, time and creativity went into.

I play the bass

Gently caressing my beloved Rickenbacker. This is footage of one of my bands called The Retrospectres. We play 70's rock songs. I met these guys all about 11 years ago (1998? I'm terrible at math) We feel no need to bother holing up and writing music or anything, so we just play songs that we want to play. If we did take it that seriously, we would probably start to hate each other, so we get together every couple of years and pick another few songs and go out and play some shows. This is the last minute of a Captain Beyond song called "Raging River Of Fear". The ending is very involved and confusing and took us about a month of rehearsals to get it right. Lots of fun to do and a nice sense of accomplishment when we do get it right. This is pretty much the first footage that has ever involved me on YouTube. It would be nice to get an entire song up there though. Our guitarist posted some footage his wife took. If you look for this on Youtube, there are a few other clips. I think one is a Deep Purple song we do, and one is a portion of a Tommy Bolin song we do.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nukkehammer - demo

I've been a pretty bad mood for the past couple of days. Let's hear it for negativity. I've got it in spades right now.

In honor of said negative vibes, I present all with one of the most negative sounding recordings ever. Nukkehammer's demo cassette was released recently in a run of about 7 copies or something. Oddly enough (and this never happens, because I don't care enough to pay attention to shit) I got onboard early and actually got a copy of the first run. The Sacrosanct Opuscule was responsible for the amazing packaging job, and it was a doozy. Sprayed and screened case (pictured). Printed cassette, obi strip. Very fancy. It's a work of art. There is a second run as well, for info on that, hit the TSO link.

Nukkehammer are crusty, heavy, noisy and brutal. Perfect shitty mood music. They have a song called "Warheads For Coke" What more description do you need? It's punk crusted metal I would say, and the recording is murky as all hell with lots of feedback and hell going on. Fucking inspirational is what I call it. What inspires an even shittier mood than I am already in is the fact that I have to miss their show in 2 Saturdays because I am booked and most likely will not be able to see their set. Pisser.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Disconnected has a logo!

there it is in a small pile of patches we got done this week. We have a much larger stack of them, including the back patch I designed. They are all black ink on either light tan or dark red.

New material is getting mastered by Captain Henry in Nashville, TN as I type. If nothing (else) goes wrong, we should be proofing them next week, deciding what songs are getting used and shipping them out to Idoneum Bello records in Germany. We played last night in Cleveland and short of a few missteps, I would consider it a success, unlike the other show we played which was epic fail. Who knew a triple rectifier running a full marshall stack could equal up to epic fail? Well, we found a way. Last night, the volume was once again totally out of control and nothing seemed to work the way I wanted it too on my end, but we only totally trainwrecked on one song, and we played this show with exactly zero practice since we wrapped up recording. People stared at us, some plugged their ears, but for the most part, everyone stayed in the room. I'll update this post maybe with the full story of how the rest of the show went, but I will say it ended up with the co-mingled odors of red bull, paint fumes, fire retardant, vomit and gunpowder in the air. Quite possibly the pallor of hell itself. Disgusting. Epic fail was not ours this time around. Hell of a story. Maybe I'll get around to blogging about it at a later time. For now, I am glad that I got a logo together and everyone likes it and it looks good.

There is a picture of the backpatch I designed too. I am going to be "That guy" and because I designed it and I like it, and it's my band, I am attaching it to MY denim. This is in a preliminary phase using safety pins to hold it in place until such time as I have an hour free to stitch the bastard on officially. I like it. It's got a guy getting stretched out on the rack and getting hot lead poured down his throat. Awesome.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Univers Zero - Heresie

"redux" story rewritten here, in case anyone's interested:

link removed, buy stuff from Cuneiform instead

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Death Side - The Will Never Die

I had never heard the name Death Side before a year ago. I will admit it. I am a Johnny-come-lately to the world of 80's Japanese HC. If I remember correctly, I got in a conversation with someone about Zeke and how they incorporated sick guitar leads into already hyper-charged punk rock. This particular someone knows alot about hardcore and they pointed me at Death Side and their penchant for incorporating almost POWER METAL guitar melodies and solos into raw-as-hell/fast-as-fuck punk rock. This got me sliding into the world of Japanese hardcore punk. Once I scratched the surface, I dug in a little deeper and found alot of cool stuff. Outo, Lip Cream, and S.O.B. alongside Death Side are now absolute favorite bands of mine. Death Side basically started a little known sub-sub-sub catagory of hardcore punk known as 'Burning Spirit' hardcore, characterized by the combination said NWOBHM guitar heroics and a taste for all things Discharge. I have checked out some other 'Burning Spirit' bands and they really don't do a whole lot for me. Sometimes descending a little too far into their own cliche's for my taste. Deathside had it right. Even some of the bands that formed out of Deathside's ashes leave me cold. It's sort of how Tragedy and From Ashes Rise came out in the late 90's and then all these "Epic Hardcore" bands popped up in their wake and just smothered it.

Japan in the 80's was pretty well isolated from what was going on in the rest of the punk rock world. There was no internet, so news travelled slow and import records were subject to all kinds of tariffs and customs taxes. If an album was not licensed in your country, you had to pay top dollar to get it. Japan couldn't get alot of punk from the rest of the world, so they made their own, and the rest of the world be damned. Death Side obviously did things the way they wanted too. Had an American hardcore band at the time tried some of the stuff that Death Side did, they would have been called out on it in a second. Twin guitar leads? Epic solos? That kinda stuff didn't happen in the US, UK or Europe without some shit hitting some fan somewhere. Death Side broke up in the early 90's and splintered into Paintbox, Forward and Judgement. They and a few dozen other bands picked up the Burning Spirit banner and held it and it holds to this day. Sadly, Chelsea, guitarist for Death Side passed away in August of 2007 of apparent complications caused from heat stroke (or so says the internet.) Very few Japanese bands released anything outside of Japan, and kids like me were left to only see the words on the page in the Relapse catalog with prohibitive price tags placed next to them. That's why the internet is so cool. I'm able to find out if something is ACTUALLY WORTH the money people are charging for it.

I went to a punk show a few weeks ago and someone was selling this in their distro. I paid $30 for it. It's not available outside of Japan. I knew it was worth it because I had already heard it. It's the 2CD version with all their EP's and compilation tracks collected. I just did a cursory check on Ebay JUST TO SEE what this goes for and I couldn't find this particular release. I did however find the original vinyl 7" listed twice. One jerk in Japan is listing it with an opening of $80.00. He has like 25 other listings of original vinyls of Outo, Lip Cream, The Comes and a bunch of other rare records listed for equally ludicrous prices. (up to $120!) The sad part is, there is a whole pool of schmucks that are all gonna pay that and more.

What the fuck? Is it Antique Roadshow? Are you all old ladies who collect Hummel figurines and Beanie Babies? That kindof punk rock vampirism makes me sick. I hate the fact that people like to lord it over each other's heads that they have THIS record or THAT record and then have to compare pressings and colored vinyl and stuff. On one level, collecting is fun and I have a healthy CD collection myself. When it gets to a certain point though, I really do feel that it cheapens the music. I'll see someone creaming about something on some forum and I'll find a download link just to see if it's all that and it just SUCKS. It's cool that it came packaged in a ziploc bag filled with sour milk though. I see people buying albums not because they want to hear them, but because they will be able to flip them in a few years for an outrageous amount of money. HOW PUNK. Does it have anything to do with the music anymore? I have a few neat items that I have picked up over the years that I would not like to part with. Most of them are not worth much, but I don't care because I am not going to sell them. I see more and more people caring more about the FORMAT or the item itself than the music. I am hardly what I would consider a 'punk', but I know it is not punk to be paying $200 for some raggedy ass flexi-disc, and fuck you very much for showing it off on some faceless forum. You got jerked, kid. No punk rock is worth that much. Go spend that on a guitar and MAKE your own punk band for cheaper, or press a 7" for your friends band if you have that much loot to throw around.

Merchandise... It keeps us in line.

rant = over

THE WILL<-- disc one
NEVER DIE<-- disc two

Edit: A friend of mine has mentioned to me that he has had problems downloading the second disc (sadly, the better of the two, it being later material and just better developed in general) I had problems with another upload this week. (rough mixes of the new Disconnected material, not for public consumption) If anyone else is having trouble, let me know in the comments. I log into this thing a few times a week even if I only post something once a week or so.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Disconnected / Wasteland split 7" on.

We met out at Bottom Of The Lake studios tonight for our 2nd session and got all the mics run and got a sound dialed in. The cassette was tracked out when it was recorded, this time, the instruments are all being recorded live. Pat is going to go later in the week to do vocals. Pat expressed interest in doing the vocals on the cassette, but we wanted to get it done NOWNOWNOW, so Will335 threw down some ad-libbed lyrics and it came out great. We got Pat ready for it this time. Ok, he's not ready at all, but I don't even know the songs I am recording tomorrow. Why should he? That's just how we roll.

The tracks are being released on Idoneum Bello records out of Bayern, Germany as a split 7" with a band from New Zealand called Wasteland and they rip. Here them rip here. We will be ripping on vinyl together in April if things continue to go as planned. IBR is doing a whole series of split releases with bands who have never released anything on vinyl, so bookmark that link and keep an eye out. I am a follower of his "Am I Mean" blog. He likes to post sick shit like Catharsis demos and all things Haymaker (2 of my all time favorite hardcore bands) and when he put out a cattle call for hardcore bands to do this split series with, I contacted him.

Disconnected only formed in October as a reason for Will335 to write everything for a project like White Trash Rob did with Ramallah (not the best inspiration, but inspiration nonetheless). He and I were going to do a black metal thing for the hell of it, and then he found Jas from Full Scale Panic (still waiting for a copy of their demo, I'll probably post it at some point) so they started writing hardcore. The intention was just to get together and see what happened. No live plans. Then it was actually pretty fucking good, so we did the cassette just to see if we could do it. Will335 duped them in his living room himself while watching "America's Got Talent" or something shitty like that. Go to my first post ever and download the demo if you haven't already. We weren't even planning on playing live. Now dudes in Europe like us and stuff, and our cassette is in a bunch of distros all over the US. I likely will only be playing live on a few dates here and there as I work on the weekends and fests never get booked on Wednesdays. We've talked to a number of bassists who have agreed to take it to the stage for me if needs be. Sure, I'm salty about not being able to play, but they gotta do what they gotta do, and I have to make the doughnuts. None of them will have my 'full custom leafblower' tone either. That can only be created in a laboratory by me with my two secret pedals that the paint has been worn off of, so no one knows what they are. I have to remember what the knobs are for on one of them just to use it!) I am a tone ninja.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bloodpact - As Good As Dead 7"

I've been looking forward to posting this for a LONG time. This release is why I am doing a blog right now. A year ago I got an ipod and started dumping my music into Itunes. Being the super nerd that I am, I liked to take the discography CDs I have and separate the tracks into the separate releases. I have since decided that this behavior is needlessly annoying and will soon be reconsolidating my OUTO discography, among others, back into single folders. When I put Bloodpact's (a)bastardization compilation into my itunes, I couldn't find coverscans ANYWHERE and realized that one of my favorite bands was TOTALLY unrepresented within the blogs. This was a crime I had every plan of remedying, once I figured out how too. Thusly, after some trial and error, here it is.

I caught Bloodpact at a number of shows and I don't remember being too into it at the time. I was way more into Catharsis and assorted other 'sounds' than the fast stuff back then. Andy's other band, Ruination was much more interesting to me, as were lots of other bands that today I deem far inferior to this release, which I slept on for some years after it's release. I think at the Exclaim show I went to, I bought the (a)bastardization CD in Andy's distro on a whim. It was cheap, I had just been paid and I spend like a pasha at shows if I have the money. Whenever I got around to listening to it, the first 6 songs kicked me in the balls like very little hardcore ever has.

This is my favorite hardcore release of all time. When I saw that it had so little representation on the internet, I actually vowed then and there that I would start a blog at some point to get this record heard, by maybe 8 more people, but heard nonetheless. This record is the reason for the season. Will335 named his band As Good As Dead in honor of this release, and though they are VERY good at what they do, they are a pale shadow compared to the ferocity of this record. This EP is one of the most vicious hardcore platters ever released. Bloodpact were wound tighter than a cheap watch and they were PISSED. Andy's vocals are some of the most focused and intense I have heard since I first heard "Tied Down" from Negative Approach. He has is own trademark rasp that is only marginally related to John Brannon's voice in that they are both yelling. The lyrics I found to be truly remarkable. I am a sucker for some good, well informed social injustice whistleblowing, but tired slogans have never found much of a place in my heart. Bloodpact delivered message lyrics in an odd sort of stream-of-consciousness prose style that didn't question anyone's intelligence, but still made room for hooks and the occasional oddball rhyme scheme without succumbing to repetitive mantra-like gang choruses. Not a tuff guy beat down rhymed couplet to be found, and no fingerpointing or "stabbed in the back" bullshit.

Another gush-worthy point of this record is the drum performance of Dustin Schoenhoefer, who offered his services for some shows and the recording to get the project off the ground. He later rejoined and recorded the final Bloodpact material, which I have never heard. Dustin was playing in Next2Nothing at the time, and went on to be a founding member of Premonitions Of War (where he seriously tore shit up). He plays in Walls Of Jericho now. I'll reserve comment, but I'm glad he's making money and all that. His drum performance on this recording can only be described as unique and propellant. I won't go any further than to say to pay attention to the drums your second or third time through listening to it.

Andy's new band is called Nightbringer, and they are one of my absolute favorite bands right now. Very much more Motorhead/JapHC influenced than Bloodpact, who, though exceedingly fast, were far more thrash metal. I implore you to follow their exploits here or suffer your fate bereft of their influence on your pathetic life.

I ripped these from my copy of (a)bastardization. If you want the scratchy vinyl pops and stuff, tough titty. Go track down the vinyl you snob. In the meantime, enjoy hearing the songs on any format you wish to transfer these to. The original 1999 7" release was only 6 songs. 2 more songs were recorded for compilations. One is a 7 Seconds cover. I put them in too because they were all the same recording session. I borrowed Will's copy of the 7" for the scans I included. This has never been repressed, so even if you have a copy, yours wouldn't look much better, so no bitching about the spot of mold on the front. I think there were only 100 of the red vinyl pressed. 10 were packaged in ammunition cases or something ridiculous like that and a couple hundred came out on regular black vinyl I would imagine. My scanner isn't big enough to accomodate the entire insert at one time, so I had to scan the inside in 2 parts and cobble them together in photoshop. I hope no one can see my splice.

give it up, you suckers

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Exclaim - Critical Exploder

What a kick in the head this album was. Some friends of mine had an extra seat in the car to go see Hellnation back in 2001 (I guess, or at least that is what the Youtube footage of the show says) It doesn't seem to me like it was that long ago, but I guess it was. I had never heard them, but I knew they were a well known name in the power violence/grindcore world and that was good enough for me. They were playing with some Japanese hardcore band too. I didn't know much about Japanese hardcore past seeing the name S.O.B. bandied about in metal magazines in the early 90's because every grind band ever named them as an influence and Dan Lilker wore their T shirts. I figured it would be good shit. I didn't know nothing. Hellnation was totally underwhelming. Sloppy, muddy, one dimensional. Kinda boring really. I spent most of their set digging through distro and spending too goddamned much money. The Japanese guys hit the stage on Hellnation's equipment and proceeded to DESTROY. They weren't necessarily tight, they just sorta hacked away at their guitars, shrieked alot and played the drums super fast. It was just total energy blitzkrieg. I bought this CD and a T shirt and the blitzkrieg continued once I put the album in. This album is the sound of punk chewing it's fingernails off. It's red eyed cocaine anxiety terrorizing a preteen sleepover. This album is the hardcore equivalent of a bandsaw locking up on a piece of sheet metal.

I don't think they even heard each other or cared if they were playing the same song. The crowd tried going apeshit a couple of times, but in grand Midwestern style, did nothing really. Blank stares, jaws agape. Any time a pit was started, it was ignored until it went away. We rustbelters are masters at choking a pit out. Exclaim was underwhelmed with us it seemed. The lead singer pointed at people and said stuff about them to the other band members that made them laugh. We didn't understand what he was saying. It didn't matter really. We deserved to be called whatever he was calling us for being lame. However I have influenced your thoughts, dear reader, I guarantee they have not prepared you for what this album ACTUALLY sounds like. It came out on Sound Pollution, and they are going tits up, so this isn't something you will find anytime soon. This album doesn't seem to have much of a blog presence and that is a shame. I think when it came out, it was a bit of a curiosity. It's shrieking feedback, completely overdriven sound and almost total lack of clarity probably perplexed most. I'm sure it influenced some of the rawer HC bands operating today like Coke Bust and Sex Vid (I know it influenced Disconnected an awful lot). This is fast, noisy and harsh. Comedically harsh. Harsh to an extreme that only power electronics practitioners like Masami Akita and Wolf Eyes take it. Confuse fans take note. This might even be of some interest to some of the Aquarius Records cassette only black metal set due to it's absurdly and intentionally raw nature.

"more scream, high energy"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's time to celebrate the blastbeat!!!!

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned it being Blastbeat Celebration day on January 29th. Guess what? That day is today. In honor of said day, I offer what I name as the SINGLE GREATEST GRINDCORE ALBUM of all time. Discordance Axis - The Inalienable Dreamless. All the elements of this band total up to being the greatest grindcore band of all time too. This band's entire catalog is vicious and precise. It's the sonic equivalent of that SUV that travels in the president's motorcade, but has the popup top that a guy strapped into a Gatling gun pops out of. The CD comes packaged in a DVD case and looks like a video on meditation instructions, then you put it in and BAM! 3,000 armor piercing round a minute. Grindcore. Sure, Napalm Death invented it, Carcass added a little melody here and there. Terrorizer and Assuck made it be worth a little more than the ironic one second song. Since then really, nothing progressed the genre until this record. All since this release have either been slavish followers of this albums design (Pig Destroyer, Magrudergrind) or just have not been that good at it (I won't name names) Judging by the prices on Amazon, it's probably still available, so if you download it and like it, buy it somewhere or order it. I know Hydrahead reissued the Jouhou and Original Sound Version albums too, which total up to the entire recorded output of this band. Jon Chang (vocalist) has a new band called Gridlink that adhere's pretty close to what this album was doing. Discordance Axis imploded like six times during it's existence. The final nail went in the coffin when guitarist Rob Marton was diagnosed with a condition where the loud volume he would play at would caused his entire body to be wracked with pain for days after DA would play a show. Talk about an achilles heel. Dave Witte handles the celebrated blast beats on this recording, and they are numerous. He's still one of the greatest in the world. No bullshit gravity blasts, always one foot.

Leg End by the rock and roll musical group Henry Cow

Continuing in the recent tradition of me making grandiose statements about albums I possess and how they changed my life by being the greatest music ever created, Henry Cow did no less than that about 6 or 7 years ago. I had bought all the REALLY GOOD Yes albums. Being a bass player, I had studied Rush. I had listened to King Crimson and Jethro Tull too. I had even gotten an anthology of Return To Forever. I thought I had nothing left to learn about progressive rock. It was all right there. Prog: Epic songs, silly lyrics, sometimes they used flutes, saxophones and violins, Roger Dean and/or Hipgnosis designed album covers, usually an organ or mellotron was involved. I ran across a mention of the band Henry Cow from the band Swedish band Mammoth Volume. I got into them about 2001 when they released "A Single Book Of Songs". I checked out their website and the guitarist, in his 'bio' dropped the words Zeuhl, RIO and Canterbury explaining about where his inspiration came from while writing the album. I emailed him and asked him to recommend some more to me. Henry Cow is not a band name you forget easily, and when I ran across a copy of Leg End, used, in town for $6, I jumped on it. He and I actually still maintain contact to this day. It's an email 'bromance' necessitated by a mutual love for all things Zappa. Just yesterday actually, I opened up the mailbox to find a DVD he sent me with 38 Swedish prog and psyche albums he burned for me.

This album was music I had been looking for all my life, screwball harmony, neverending arrangements that don't repeat. Leg End was a very weird crossroad where musical improvisation and structured composition met and shook hands. Fred Frith was a name I knew from the band Naked City (Who's album "Torture Garden" I credit for 'weirding' me at a young age.) Henry Cow was his first big endeavor in the late 60's and early 70's. Somewhere along the way, they coined the term "Rock In Opposition" (RIO). RIO isn't exactly a style as it is a group of oddball jazzrock groups from the early 70's who all played a festival of the same name. Over the years, bands who cite Henry Cow and Samma Mammas Manna as influences automatically get tagged RIO. None of them sound the same.

No two Henry Cow albums sound the same either. Some are instrumental, some feature vocalists and lyrics. Leg End is instrumental aside from some wordless choral work buried in the mix at a couple of points. Enough has been written about them on the internet that finding out more stuff about them should not be an issue so I will refrain from misquoting Wikipedia and making this post longer than it needs to be, just know that I LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE this album and you should too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Il Balletto Di Bronzo - Ys

It's odd that two of my favorite albums of all time are both named 'Ys'. This album and the Joanna Newsom album of the same name. At some point, I'll look up what it is a reference to. For now, I don't care too much. They are both awesome albums. This one especially.

Most who know me, know that I have a deep seated passion for dusty old progressive rock. It's almost as deep an obsession as crusty old death metal. This is the album that started me down the path. My band was on tour some years ago and we had the opportunity to play a benefit show on a Saturday night at the legendary CBGB's. We stayed with a friend of the band who lived 6 blocks from the club. We made it to their place the night before the show, so I knew if I got up early enough, I could go spend the day combing the record stores on St. Mark's Place. I know it wasn't the greatest shopping trip I was going to have, but I essentially only had 4 or 5 hours to find a souvenir or two from my first trip to NYC. I asked Dan where would be good to start (Mondo Kim's was the only suggestion I remember) and what to get. I was just getting into 70's prog at this point and I saw he had some pretty choice selections in his music rack. He said the best purchase I will ever make in my life will be if I look for an Italian band called Il Balletto Di Bronzo, as if I was ever going to remember that name. Lo and behold, I remembered enough of the name to recognize it when I saw it and based on Dan's high praise, the fact that he was a published author, and had an extremely potent CD collection, I bought it without having heard a note.
The album is singular and extraordinary. It has a heavy dose of symphonic ELP bombast going on within it, but a darkness and foreboding that ELP would never touch because it might scare away the investors. Evil, baroque jazz? Italy had some sort of connection with the prog in the 70's that no other country came close to. The bands that came out of that scene were some of the most intense songwriters and players of the era. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Museo Rosenbach, Osanna, Quella Vecchia Locanda, AREA. Each one TOTALLY burning in their own rights (especially AREA). 'Ys' is quite possibly the album that I consider the BEST of the whole Italian lot. Lots of heavy, neoclassical organ work, mixed with an almost jazz pulse at points. Vocals have an opera-like quality without being annoying. The music itself can go from Mars Volta manicness to a simple 3 note vamp in the space of a few measures AND IT WORKS FRIGHTENINGLY WELL.
I don't know what they are singing about, but that never seems to matter to me. Like 60% of my music collection is music where you can't understand the words anyways, so what's it matter if it's in a different language. In the grand scheme of things, Yes, ELP and Pink Floyd were good guy prog. King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator and Jethro Tull were bad guy prog. Il Balletto lean totally to the dark side. If you have a thing for minor chords, creepy keyboard sounds, impish backing vocals and an almost occult darkness to the music, this album couldn't be more right.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blastbeat Celebration day is January 29th

no shit, I'm not kidding, click here for the story

Have you hugged a blastbeat today? If not, on January 29th, go over to your CD or vinyl collection, pick up that copy of 'Horrified' from Repulsion and give it a gentle reminder that you appreciate it's very existence. If you don't own Repulsion, (because you are aimless, stupid and bereft of all that is decent) then figure out what the oldest album is in your collection that contains a blastbeat, or possibly the first time you ever heard one and APPRECIATE it. Since I have a blog, I will blog about it.

Mine was most likely in Maze Of Torment from Morbid Angel off Altars Of Madness. Either that or the opening riffs of Premature Burial from Malevolent Creation. Technically, it may have been something off 'Dealing With It' from DRI, which was also the reference that most of the blast-beat progenitors cite as the sounds that ultimately influenced their own creations. I used to tune into the metal show on the local college radio station and listen in every friday night. It became a ritual by about age 14 actually. I'd go to the mall and look at all the cassettes in the metal section at Camelot and take note of what had the nastiest album artwork. Come friday night, I'd tune in to the metal show, call the station and read off my list and make the decision for how I was spending the next week's allowance.

I didn't have cable back then, so people would call me on Sunday and tell me what they had taped the night before on Headbanger's Ball and I would head over to watch them after school during the week. One day, my friend called me and told me I had to come over and watch a video he had taped. I was a budding bassist and it was the video for 'Jerry Was A Racecar Driver' from Primus. Never saw a bass player do THAT before. After the video was over, he tried talking to me about it, but I was already tranfixed by the grainy, film school shitty footage of a church steeple and the opening drum fill of the next video. It was 'Suffer The Children' from Napalm Death. Everything was heavier, faster, and more intense than anything else I had ever listened too. Barney Greenway's roar was massive and their drummer looked like Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley. After about a minute, I got too SEE my first blastbeat. Everything was a little different after that. I started to live for the blast. The 2 beat thrash polka just wasn't enough anymore, no matter how fast it was played. If it didn't have blast beats, it wasn't worth listening too. Terrorizer's World Downfall ranked for a long time as the greatest grind album of all time for me, bumped out of the top spot by none other than "The Inalienable Dreamless" from Discordance Axis. Arguably, THE perfect grind album.

I'm not much for holidays. If they are a day off work, they are usually an annoyance for me when EVERYFUCKINGTHING is closed all over the area and I can't get shit done, or even get a decent cup of coffee somewhere. International Blastbeat Celebration Day is a holiday I can get behind though. None other than Erich Keller is the guy advocating it. He was in Fear Of God, who created some pretty vicious proto-grind back in 86 on some of the roughest recordings ever made. It could have been grindcore, it could have been a microphone placed dangerously close to a running blender with pieces of silverware in it. Hell, if it wasn't for triggers (the scourge of metal if you ask me) MOST blast beats could be that, and most SHOULD.

Goatsnake - Flower Of Disease

Apparently, I am in one of those stoner/doom moods today. This is the BIG DADDY doom album for me. If you are a doom fan and have any respect at all for the doom of yore, in your mind you have a throne carved out of solid black obsidian. In that throne sits the ultimate and first doom album (and arguably, the first heavy metal album at all) The self titled Black Sabbath. It is THEE heavy, it opens with THEE riff, it is THEE alpha. The following five Sabbath albums are a royal court of sorts, but we are not discussing them, enough has been written about the Sabbath. Perched atop that obsidian throne with folded wings, holding all around it within it's steely gaze, clinging fast to it's lord's every command, striving for it's master's approval is the doom of now represented by a single album. It's not in the royal bloodline, it's not even the same species as royalty, but it makes sure that the doom of yore is not forgotten. It is the protector and the enforcer.

The album is different for different people. For some it is Epicus Doomicus Metallicus from Candlemass. For some it may be Forest Of Equilibrium from Cathedral. Others may feel it is Sleep's Holy Mountain or Turn Loose The Swans from My Dying Bride. For me, it is Flower Of Disease from Goatsnake.

I don't know exactly why the stars aligned for me on this one. It could have been any of the aforementioned albums really. It just struck me the instant I heard it. Greg Anderson's molasses guitar tone, the way the riffs swung from Greg Roger's drumming. Pete Stahl's incredible voice. The vocal melodies (dare I say, soaring? Celine Dion it's not.) Everything. In some ways, it betters the formula. It never boogie's, but there is a southern rock drawl to it that keeps it just shy of falling straight into the classic doom catagory. It never drones, but there is something strangely reverent about the way the riffs are treated by the vocals, and how the vocals are treated by the riffs. The songs don't often even shamble past the 7 minute mark. They actually keep pretty close to the 5-6 minute range, which for some of the windier doom bands, can be a radio edit. For the windiest, a snippet.

This is hands down, one of the most stick-to-the-ribs doom metal albums of all time. Every song has that payoff, and you don't have to sit through 20 minutes of mournful wailing to get to it. This is doom metal that means business. The songs are as abrupt and complete as Goatsnake's own abbreviated career (2 full lengths, 3 EP's) This was released long before the current doom-chic trends became de riguer for the skinny pants/fixed gear bike hipster set. I blame Isis.

rateyourmusic has an feed that I peeked at when getting the cover art for this post. Flower Of Disease is currently going for $49.00. This gets my hackles up. Fucking greedheads. When I got this CD, Southern Lord was literally GIVING it away with every Goatsnake T shirt purchase. High five to me for being proactive. Until such time as the price actually comes down though:
put this in your ipod and smoke it