Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chelsea Wolfe : Live @ the earl 2013

First off for a Weds night the turn out was way better than expected as the last time I saw here was last year when she opened for Russian Circles yes there's a review for that show as well on here. I walked in as Woman's Work was playing , an indie rock band that I felt combined alt-country with punch to more modern indie rock though a reoccurring nineties vibe kept popping up as I got both Cowboy Junkies and Portishead from them at times, their bass player was in it to win it and when the singer pulled out her violin during the last song the sonic build was what they need to capitalize on in future song writing as it was the highlight, where the Hank Williams cover they did just drifted past me like back ground noise, they were well received and I wouldn't mind catching them again or booking a show with them myself.

Next up was Featureless Ghost who I had already checked out when doing a preview write up for Hiplanta, so I knew what the deal was going to be and it was a mixed bag of dicks being sucked here, sometimes in a hefty sometimes in a ziplock.They manned two tables of key boards and effects and to their credit the sound was fuller than what I had heard, so this was a hummer in a positive light the I'm bobbing my head after doing a bump in the bathroom at the club and the music is thumping into to the lips making some head way. The hefty bad came out in the irony drenched performance of the duos male half who at one point when we started a game to count how many notes would be sung in key only hit three. Like any time of pornographic display of fellatio there are elements I can appreciate , so the eighties throw back Black Celebration era Depeche mode meets new order moment ok...get it girl, but overall it came across like I was hearing weird B-52s remixes in a pseudo witch house style

Chelsea set up her Lear to her lyric sheets, lit some candle and left the stage to let some ritualistic music ply before she emerged with her keyboardist and Violinist in tow. The proceeded to create a very womb like cocoon of bleak beauty. the lights of this being " Boyfriend" from the new albums, and while you would think since she was taking a more stripped approach it would be in order to recreate the feel of the album, she still managed to put a darker more desolate spin on these , this one her vocals really stood out with more resonance than the studio version. Later in the set and I'm jumping around here , when she took over the piano for " Sunstorm " the vocals were delivered from more of singular point do view rather than the layer approach, which she could have done if she wanted as they violinist and keyboardist at times both sang harmonies.

"Flatlands" was met with surpassing applause when she went into it ,so I didn't realize the new album had garnered this much popularity, it was a compelling rendition , I like how she put more emphasis on the word fuck. So the more subdued approach was in no way her trying to be more accessible as I think her audience is broadening by nature of her talent. The weird backwards effect were not replicated on that one but her vocal performance made up for it as it had a more personal quality.

I liked how the older songs translated in this stripped down format live, "Moses" really let her voice shin in this context and it seemed she was in better for this go around and seemed to go into a soaring ghost wail Thea I don't remember her going into last time. Impressively she end the song performing accapella by using a looped delay on her vocals . While I would have liked to have heard more older sons , I think the taste I was give sufficed , the only ohhh I wish she played moment...was the fact I have had "Cousins of the Antichrist" stuck in my head for a few days now and it was absent. When she said after coming out for her encore that she didn't know what to play and asked us what we wanted to hear I yelled for the Burzum cover which was scoffs out and as the chorus of shhhh spread over the crowd before the last song she said its like grade school which I was amused at.

Someone commented that they wished she had been more animated and felt her despaired sulk with which she took the stage with was more of an act as she blew kisses and smiled to the audience when she left the stage before her encore and it didn't feel genuine . If I hadn't had the conversation after midnight I might have brought up what I felt was the most genuine moment energetically and dispelled any notion it was an act, it was later in the set and the exact song I don't recall but she was playing guitar and singing by her self on stage and the red flash of camera caught her stare and it was eerie but not frightening , and I was to under the influence of any drugs and dead serious when I say this, though it must preface this sense by saying due to my occult involvement I might be more sensitive to this type of energy that muffles might not be privy to ...but I saw so something in behind her eyes like she wasn't there , they seem beadier and not human and funny enough "Demons" just came on as I am typing this but it was similar to how possession was depicted in movie the" last exorcism " it wasn't the look of somebody call a Preist her heads about to spin crazy but that there was a very personal catharsis of her inner demons That came to the surface, you see it on stage in the majickal moments where the artist loses themselves and let's the act slip . Perhaps this it where it slipped l perhaps it layers of ego and the id, the music she writes comes for this place originally best she takes on an impersonation of herself in order to present her self to the public, to push past stage fight , to be. Vulnerable but in control. The little I know bout her personal, like how she won't do interview but in email or Message form tell there are layers there. Sure everyone has them but being an artist and not one who hides behind the band they are more open. Perhaps whatever that peeked out for behind her only managed to do so Becuase she was more exposed than the last time she came though with a full band. The shadow that into the light could be literal inner demons, as I know there is a mutual interest in the occult that she keeps personal , addiction , though she has always had water onstage or some other part of her subconscious she keeps at bay, whatever it was getting a glimpse or but her music in a different perspective, she is less of just a pretty goth siren singing doom laced folk but an artist who has grown into their demons ,letting the, out for fresh air only in the delicate sub space of her staged ritual.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Combichrist : No Redemption

Well it's too weird for me to resist reviewing Combichrist doing the soundtrack to a video game. I don't play video games, except for the Avengers game of Face book, but that's not a life sucking vortex which some games turn into. Their last album "Making Monsters" didn't survive in my iPod very long, so perhaps "No Redemption" will have more redeeming qualities. Its taken a few lists to grow on me and I have had to keep in mind this is just music to shoot things to so maybe they dummies down for it. This is the highest profile release for the band if you take into consideration that video games outsell much bigger bands like Mastodon and Megadeth. For any industrial music of any ilk to get this spotlight in 2013 is a big deal because as a whole the genre slipped out of mainstream popularity back in the days of MySpace.

When "Age of Mutation" kicks in I'm reminded of Fear Factory, predominantly in the keyboard. The breakdowns in the song stray from this and I think they are strongest the more they experiment. " Zombie Fistfight" is more straight forwar "Jeus Built My Hotrod" type of thing, which for fist fighting zombies works well enough, more rock n roll in feel than expected from these guys.

"Feed the Fire" is the first song that made me look who from what I was doing. The variance in the vocal performance is an improvement from the first two songs. The hook in the chorus is subtle but caught my ear so check...job done. I think more metallic elements handled more tastefully also give their sound more space and it feels bigger.

"Gimme Deathrace" is back to more straight rock feel, for some reason I thought of My Life With the Thrill Kult when I first heard this, though devoid of disco elements. This is the sort of thing Rob Zombie once did well, so they are carrying the torch well and is a much more commercial step for these guys and even though it's a video game soundtrack it's accessible with out selling out. I like the female vocal refrain and of the more rock n roll sounding songs I have heard thus far this on is my favorite.

"Clouds of war" takes a more Edm turn, this has always been an element of their sound but sounds more focused here. A lot of cool synth sounds so far on the record and truth be told while I'm a fan of Industrial of the more commercial sounding groove oriented stuff and not say Author and Punisher, Pysclon 9 is the only other band of this ilk i like, not today its not something I actively search for on spotify, but tend to return to Front Line Assembly, Leather Strip and Front 242... I've been on a Young Gods kick lately but they aren't remote relations. Any way i like the kick of the synths here. They return to the more rock n roll sound on "Burial Alive" , I guess it's Andy's love of Turbonegro catching up to them.

The more metallic moment we first heard on the first song return on " I Know What I'm Doing" . The brief punkish vocals thrown in help to keep it varied as his normal scream is more one dimensional. Granted when it comes to screaming the bar is set pretty high since I normally listen to black metal. The guitar chug sits more comfortably here, though at times it begins to feel a little stiff in place, though compared to Kmfdm who keeps it pretty rigid as well to give a more militant feel, then im ok with it. They continue the thought process on " Falling apart" which goes more into hardcore feel, though the gallop guitars keep the devil horns over the militant pointing. Theres not a lot of this late nineties type hardcore coming into my radar so this song helps me recall those days, but if you are reading this and wearing an Agnostic Front shirt then I'll put it this way, it's at least closer to Hardcore than some of the more strip club metal moments.

By the time " Gotta do " pops up, I'm resolved to the fact I'll keep this one on my iPod a bit longer and delete the Hansel and Gretyl. It really doesn't pull anything out of left field , Ministry flavored hot rod metal with synth underlay. "How Old is Your Soul" get back to the more electronic feel though still heavy handed on the syncopate rock riffs. The chorus flows more smoothly than most of the albums more rock moments and the vocals are a big improvement.

"Pull the pin" is one of the albums strongest songs. The electronic elements are more balanced with the metal than in some of the earlier attempts at this. It more than likely resonates with me more because it is darker in tone.

Going into to this I thought well they aren't going into this thinking lets out our most killer shit on this video game soundtrack, and I am not wrong but they did put more effort into this than I expected if you are already a fan and have gotten over the fact there are strong rock elements which sometimes over power the electronic band you once knew I think you would enjoy this and even when I think of the more rock side it would be good background for a car chase, so job well done on that front. Take away the explosions and zombie fights and you have a more modern take on the commerical industrial rock sound from the nineties mixed with a little Nu metal jean lowered swagger and hard core dynamics being pised on by Turbonegro. It continues to grow on me and is a pretty good soundtrack for the gym. The vocals become monotonous and varying them up even through the use of effects would have brought the overall album up a notch, it's the only area I find any fault overall I think the band was successful in the type of thing they were trying to accomplish music to kill things too not an experimental skinny puppy sort of album. So for what it is I'll give this an 7.5 as it is picks up a genre that has fallen out of favor and shakes some life into it.

Weekly Shuffle

Ok by now this weekly installment need little introduction, so it's time for me to hit shuffle mode on ,y iPod and review whatever pops up ...

"the Way We Used to Be " by Chelsea Wolfe, This was in my top ten albums of 2013 and since It came out in October but I had to wait around to buy it off iTunes after getting a gift card Becuase I'm just that broke. Lighter in tone than Apokalypsis but more mournful...I'm going to see her tonight so I already listened to this album all the way through. It's a perfect soundtrack to this overcast morning.

"Pulse/surreal" by Lantlos, I know it's hard to keep up with all the side projects Alcest's main man has, this one is darker and harder than any Alcest and might be my favorite song he has ever written, as it has a ram like swagger to it an do have felt like this song sounds back when I did drugs. Neige also has more conviction in his growls on this one, and his cleans don't sound like a pansy either.

"Dwarfstar" by Rasputina, I'm not sure if these gals have popped up on here before, I'm a big fan though, from outside appearences you might not guess it since I'm burly and look more like a Godflesh fan, but I'm a goth from ways back so they touch on those sensibilities, this one is on the weird side almost steam punk in feel, at least more steam punk than what they try to pass off as steam punk rock at dragon-con.

"Strike of the beast" by Exodus, oh good I was starting to feel like a pussy without any in your face metal in the first five yet. "Bonded by Blood" is a classic album, Exodus deserves more credit as they put out some of the best thrash in the eighties, I know it's heresy but " Pleasures of the flesh " is my favorite Exodus album but I have tons of respect for this one.

"Chaos Apparition" by Disma, If you like death metal and you don't own this album you are a poseur unless you go get it now, this is some of the best post "Blessed are the Sick" death metal to have come out in the past ten years and aside from the 80s Tampa stuff I can generally take it or leave as a genre. But these guys are dark and dirty with crushing delivery this albums so dense it sounds great every time I listen.

"Dead Oceans" by Ulcerate iPod is trying to tel something, another great death metal band who new New Zealand could bring it like this , they steer clear of the boring snare patterns I don't like and this drummer is a sick machine so I don't think he could play something boring if he tried, though he doesn't do groove much and these guys can be dizzying with their prowess.

"Cover the days Like a Tidal Wave." by And you will know us by a trail of our dead. I gave these guys as hot because I know the drummer plays with Forget Cassettes, they are indie rock that packs a more sonic punch and does less of the jangling thing you don't like. They hit heavy dynamic but further from metal than say Swans.

"A Looming Resonance" by Wolves in the Throne Room, While I like these guys they tend to work better as back ground music because they wander into their songs and most are over twelve minutes. So if I am riding around town notmy go to metal. I like the female vocals on this one and think when they incorporate clean vocals it does more service to their style than screamed vocals which they fall into Darkthrone worship and the blasting ounces like every thing else.

"the Black Hundred" by Primoridal Another band that when they default to screaming its a cop out, I think the gruff cleaner vocals are more authentic to their sound, when accented by growls it works but they have such a unique and epic sound why spoil it by descending into everything else, so there's some Bathory worship going on at time but I'm fine with that."Redemption at the Puritans" hand might not be their best album but it is a damn good one and I'm looking forward to their next , they make the difference between being a pagan metal and a folk metal band pretty clear to me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Black Heart Rebellion : Har Nevo

My expectations of this band going into listening to "Har Nevo" were wildly off from what this Belgian band put to record and to be honest its a pleasant surprise as everything I had read led me to believe at best this going to be a hardcore version of Isis.

There is a Neurosis like rumble which builds its tension over the songs like a storm cloud particularlly the opening song "Avraham" which takes most of its time building for the release and for some reason this might bug me as a general rule in this instance it's pulled of. The vocals are the first unexpected surprised I figured they would go the way of most post rock either screamed or the unaffected monotone, but here they have a very Nick Cave quality.

"the Woods I run From" falls in a similar gray area which more often than not gets the post rock tag, granted their is a cinematic quality to the sonic scape being crafted here which it's closest neighbor until the vocals set in you be Godspeedyoublackemperor, but in equal portions I hear Swans and the Birthday Party. Psychedelic could also apply as it does carry like a early Pink Floyd vibe perhaps if the were covering the End by the Doors. Dynamically it gets heavy without being metal, it's a very dark and beautiful thing.

The albums dips into a lazy dirge on "Circe" which isn't the albums strongest song but I think they succeeded at the sound they were going for it just doesn't happen to resonate with me, though when Swans do this sort of thing the vocals are a more prominent component. However it picks back up in a big way on "Animalesque" which build into a tribal Neurosis like thing and th vocals get more aggressive tauntly almost a growl. This has th Hungarian minor scale feel I really latch onto. The keep tense without the release where you expect it, it's the unresolved
Builds that work really well when just letting the album play all the way through.

The percussion carries many unique experimental qualities these are highlighted on the beginning of " Crawling Low and Eating Dust". Another long building intro which doesn't go where assume it will I think the vocals on this song are the most powerful performance on the album. they go to show you can deliver a highly emotional performance with out falling into being Emo... Or rather what the general publics associates with the term , which is a more emasculated teenage whine. The vocals are still very Nick Cave, though if you can imagine even darker in tone. The guitar one this song compliments the vocals well, when the howl comes they don't take the easy way out by having to stomp on their distortion pedals. The line " sinner man , I've gone cold to you" is an obvious wink to their influences.

The chain gang swing of "Ein Avadat" establishes this as another Murder ballad. Normally I wouldn't like something paced this way, but the blues mixed with the drone is unique. The vocals begin to steal the show again at the midway point. Oddly I can hear some of the hardcore influence in this one , I know they were a hardcore band for their first album and this is a major forward atop I their evolution.

"Gold and Myrrh" is a weird mix of eastern influence with maybe that Syd Barrett era Floyd again, think"Set the control for the heart of the sun." the percussion veers off into more experimental territories, this is a song that will grow on me as it comes so far out of left field form the songs on the album side for the angular post- rock drift it takes on.

The album closer "Into the land of another" Has a morose Swans type feel, though it could also be the Nick Cave coming back, this song has a banjo and a lot space in the verse, the chorus is more of a build up rather than what adhere to a typical format. This is another that doesn't have to punch to grab me at first but I can tell its a grower not a show-er. In fact theirs no a riff on here trying to be phallic compensation. The heavy ending to this still floats under the aggression of the vocals, which once again don't take on the typical , modern metal screaming.

The one weak song was balance out by the rest of the albums strong points so I don't have a problem giving this a 10 in hopes it continues to grow on me. I hope this album doesn't turn into the years best kept secret as it deserves a larger audience. They have a bit of a buzz from the corners of the underground experimental metal scene ...but they are better than most of the bands Brooklyn Vegan pimps and slay the Metal Sucks type fare with a dark beauty that in its honesty of bleakness is heavier than you lowest tuned djent.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vorum: Poisoned Void

Thinking back to the review of Lightning Swords of Death, I am reminded of the distinguishing factors when review melodically opaque albums by bands like Vorum. It also makes me think about how confining the death metal genre is. Within those confines I think this Finnish band does what it can. This is their first full length album and is pretty solid in more ways than one. It delivers I very solid punch, they execute what they do extremely well. What they do is very influenced by "Altars of Madness" era Morbid angel, though not so much it the soloing dept. So by that count we can debate are their blackened elements, when I first heard Morbid Angel, I would have thought them to. E heavier than what was considered black metal at the time...Celtic Frost, Venom, Bathory, Merciful fate and I know you want me to say Sodom...but they were thrash and to be considered black metal back then you had to sing about worshipping the devil or enough occult references to fool everyone ...see Tom Warrior.

So Vorum takes me back to when those lines were blurred and Tampa pumped put the heaviest music out there. The production value tells me they are looking forward not back trying to get an 80s sound. From the opening blast of "Impetious fires" the tone is established they are flying at ramming speed. The vocals are decipherable to those fluent in rrrrraaarrr, the fingers fleet though not very experimental in the soloing. It's pretty easy to sell me on the first song of any heavy album worth a damn just by my appreciation of the aggression. After that though it's ok now show me what else you can do with the answer more often than not being ...uh, not much more.

The groove "Death stains" starts with hints they might have more up their spiked sleeves. The rest of the song plows ahead in a one dimensional nature until the last minute slows down. However they succumb to the urge of just doing the one thing. the middle solo section of "Rabid blood"reminds me of old Cancer or early Sentenced. Though it makes me wonder if these guys sit around just trying to write riffs that sound good to solo over.

This drummer worships vintage Pete the Feet , in the way he comes out of his fills evident on "Thriving Darkness" the groove midway through that one works but these guys are having a hard time selling me entire songs went I sit down to really listen to it , when it's blaring in the background it's fine, but also means indistinguishable. "Evil seed " really has some outstanding cymbal work, I haven't really heard the bass player on this yet though when I listen I can sense where his pulse is. The straight forward snare hit show up but the gallop cater them makes me forget.

The growl placement tends to fall haphazardly ,rather than forming any type of hop, though there is some chanting of song titles to make a chorus and " Evil Seed " has a cool wink to Slayer in the riff department. "In Obscurity Revealed" begins to prove my theory you have to wait til midway through the songs for them to pull out the really good riffs.

"Dance of Heresy" the tempo changes for the typical fast for the get go but last thirty seconds. There's a groove in the third act and some cool accents here and there but most of the death metal conventions are adhered to closely. The opening riff of the closer "Poisoned Void" let's things get a little dark rather than fifty shades of abrasive gray. This is also e most technical song on the album by my guesstimating. Live I'm unsure how this would come across, we want to believe louder is better but I hAve been to more than my fair share of death shows where it's a booming mess.

I'll give this one a 6.5, they have chosen to work within a restrictive sub genre and managed to catch my ear with a riff or two in each song,but could benefit from more dynamics and even some ambiance floating some where, but hey I can go back to listening to black metal now and get my fair share of that there.

Spectres : Nothing to Nowhere

While they don't have the sleaze or junkie grime I associate with death rock, they do fall into this goth revival. Somewhere in between Joy Division and Echo& the Bunnymen, they offer up concise re-verb soaked punches of post punk. This album sounds great, captures the mood of the time without sacrificing clarity or production value. They do lean in the direction of punk, mainly when it comes to vocal phrasing but I think this helps them establish their own identity rather than being an 80s goth tribute.

The grave dancing begins with"Between to lines" and its slinky Bauhaus like bass line. The vocals are very dead pan almost monotone yet They have enough intonation to carry the somgs. It is interesting how they have a moodier opening to the album, when the bulk of the songs are very straight forward almost punk in feel...well I guess t one time this would have been considered punk.

There is some great sounding guitar on " Passages" . I really appreciate while these guys are going a Cramps meet Joy Division route they aren't skimping on the balls and just pumping put darkly effected indie rock. "Remote Viewing" doesn't change gears too much, melody in both guitar and vocals has a similar pacing as the previous song . It's not until the change in the final third of the song does it really have a life of its own.

The bass leads into "Amnesia" allowing the guitar to hang back and accent, the songs bounce. This song clicked for me after several listens, yesterday I just played the album on an endless repeat and a lot of it blended together for me as a mood rather than as a collection of songs. It going back into this morning this song stands out.

I wonder if they are reffering to the Internet based urban legend on "Slender man" ? the lyrics seem abstract through out the album. The paces shifts from a moodie dirge to upbeat post punk at the minute mark. Very bass driven like early Cure. The guitar melodies aren't as catchy as Robert Smith's work, but in comparison with one of my favorite guitarists of all time it really fair to ask. Their tends to be enough variance to keep me entertained here. I doubt this revival stuff will hold up over time like the originals, but should fare better than the Interpol's and She Wants Revenges.

"Decompemsation" the bass plods in like a train wobbling on the tracks. It's very straight forward and as I mentioned before the guitar work sounds good but on the more simplistic arrangements doesn't compensate. The drums lead into "Missing Time" and while they are competent no where on the album are they asked to be stunning. The addition of synth here and the lowered vocals are additions to the sound here and smartly so as it was time to switch it up. By lowered more noticeably placed in a solid baritone, they never get into the Sisters of Mercy register.

I like the opening riff to the title track, it has a more of a Bauhaus creepiness , which I endorse as if you aren't going to be heavy then I need you to be dark or sonically intense. The vocals kind of playfully bounce off the build up like they are unsure where to go but it's not a distraction, it feels like they were going for more of a "In the Flat field" thing but given the singers limited range vocally it couldn't reach that point, I like the change in the songs third act which makes up for it.

"Maison Gris" keeps it creepy, the guitar hangs back and the singer strains up into the breaking up of his upper register, the production on the vocals smoothes this out and makes it work. I also when the drums switched to the floor toms. "Return to Sea" reminds me of Cult of Youth as it has a little more of a New Model Army frolic to their sound.
while I like it the song takes a weird turn as it transitions into a darker more drum propelled coda where the title is chanted.

I can give this one a nine as though two songs were unoffensivly simplistic I felt they didn't add anything and were filler, but a whole this is one of those albums I can just leave playing and it fits my mood more often than not. The Spectres are deservedly one of the bigger bands In the modern goth revival and I'll keep an eye out for their earlier work.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lightning Swords of Death: Baphometic Chaosium

At first I had an aversion to this band because of their name which I think makes abetter title of a martial arts film. They are the next big underground thing in the hype wagon for 2013, so decided to give the album a shot and I think it's going to work well as an example for the expectations here when in comes to what constitutes a good album. I think the more subjective elements begin to fade away when you looks at a complete work when the questions are asked such as
Are their dynamics?
Are their elements which draw you in for repeat listens?
Is it repetitive or do the have the ability to write different songs rather than rehash?

All these factor in, particular when I'm scoring an album , where the formula is divide the number of good songs by the number of total songs so the score is the percent of good songs on the album. Of course do you think what they are doing? And are they accomplishing the sound they are going for are two big components.

L.S.O.D are accomplishing the later, the album sounds good and is rawly produced in area like the vocals where it serves their sound. Their sound is not that original but they succeed in creating it. The first song " Baphotmetic Chaosium" has a standard thrash like big build intro before the kick in. Here is a good place to explain when it comes to music of this ilk, which often lacks melody and tends to become indistinguishable , what I listen for are the distinguishing characteristics that give them more personality rather than blending in to the thousands of faceless band just playing heavy. The thrash groove here helps do that when set against the song as a whole as well as the solo section so right there we have three elements that stand out to me and are well executed, so good song.

"Acid gate" starts off with straight blasty, which in and of its self is boring. The spoken distortion vocals are unexpected to there is some personality. The thrashier bridge tempo helps switch it up, but the breakdown lands with a bit of a splat, however I like how it transitions back in and the chanted vocal works but they lean to heavily on the blast and it gets boring so only giving this one a half a point...see how that works cool elements but nothing outstanding as a complete song.

"Pyschic Waters" the beginning is a bit a blur, so much so you don't really get a chance to care until the Morbid Angel part pops up for a second and is lost in the blast blitz. The guitars sound like a swarm of bees and nothing draws me in to want to listen.

"Cloven shields" is a sound effect interlude so not a real song onto "Chained to Decay" one of the comparison I had heard that made me want to give this band a shot was Dissection, but don't really hear a lot of their influence , though the slow chug at the beginning of this one is cool. The gurgled rasp of the vocals works better for me than if they had been a guttural low. I like that this song has Ambiance to it and breaks away from the hyper blast. When the guitar rings out melodically it darkens the mood and gives a sense of melodicism.

"R'lyeh Wuurm" back to the blast, which seems to be their easy way out. Sure the drummers feet are fast but it also comes across sounding thin and losing some of their thunder. Though the heavy chug busts in a commands the situation. But one good riff does not make a song.

"Epicyclarium" the clean vocals which are the morbid chant seen earlier reappear at the onset and I think add a lot. It's there almost death rock delivery I like. Sure everything else begins to get carried away in the blur of the blast,but those moments allow the song to breathe and provides the dynamics I spoke of earlier. the crushing riff employed at the three and a half minute mark rocks and the groove that establishes reminds me of Watain. The brief ambiance is unexpected, and let's the bottom fall out but overall I think it works.

"Oaken chrysalis" kicks off thrashier , which at this point a blast beat would have lost its effectiveness. Yet a minute in it shows up for a second to prove my point as the ears are numb to it. The gallop at the end is too little to late and should have been introduced to replace some of the other riffs and it's faded out to earlier into an Ambiant outro which has not real point.

So if you have been counting along at home you know they earned 4.5 points and then doing the math by seven it would give them a 6.4 , so if there had been a unique element I felt made them stud out or realy resonated in some way I could have rounded it up to a 6.4 but I think the monotony of the temps rounds it down to a 6. So still more than halfway solid , it might grown on me and if you are a fan fan of just fast with little need for melody in your trashy black metal you might even be able to call it a seven.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekly Shuffle

If you are a new reader, this is where I hit shuffle on my iPod and review the first ten tracks to play , as it gives me a chance to touch on bands not often covered on here or things I might have missed. If you are a regular to the blog then you know the drill.

"Freewill" by Rush, - I have always thought if you only knew Rush by their radio songs then you didn't have accurate picture of what they really do, this song is a counterpoint to that argument as its actually quiet good,I think the solo is one of Lifeson's best and the do some interesting thing that don't make them comes across as a Styx wannabe.

"Belus Doed" by Burzum, I love Varg, this first post incarceration album I think has aged well so far , I love the drone and his vocals sound like the perfect frothing of a wild creature cornered by a mob of torch wielding Jews. It is Varg we are talking about here. You gotta love someone who is not afraid to stand up for extreme views in metal and say fuck you to political correctness , after all site that what metal is about?

"Lace up your boots" by Cult of Youth, They get some death in June comparisons, but this has an angrier New Model Army raging through the country side doing and Irish jig in combat boots feel to it, I like the aggression even though it's not metal .

"Rainy Day Woman" by Waylon Jennings , For a country song this has a reckless drive lurking beneath the strum of the guitar , happy music for outlaw bikers? He is the real deal no questions asked even if you don't like country music, and I have a respect for the real outlaw shit not the pop stuff getting passed off as country now.

"Epitome xiii" by Blut Aus Nord, the French men descend darker into the murky depths of the restless soul. I love the feel to this one, the moaned vocals floating just under the water's surface like they were drowned in a baptismal. A perfect black metal song without the normal convention you expect like blast beats, granted they took this waaaay further and now sound like they want to be the Cure, but hey I love the Cure so I'm ok with it, this thing is so sonic and dark it's sickening , I am asking myself why I don't listen to it more even as it plays now. The guitar evolves getting creepier as they songs builds awesome.

"Over reaction" by Voi Vod, you should know how if feel about this band and this is classic Killing technology era shit that confirms it, if you haven't checked out my review of their new one do so ,that album kills it almost as har das this era when they has the raging punk fury intermingled with their futuristic take on thrash which is still ahead of its time go ask Meshuggah if you beg to differ. This isn't even what I would consider the strongest song on Killing technology but it still brings it in a manner that more mind blowing then the best shit their peers t this time could manage.

"Womderful Woman" by the Smiths, this has their trademark lazy saunter, the haunting refrain in the chorus, this is classic like the Beatles, in fact even cooler, than the Beatles in my book, the world owes the Smiths because if it wasn't for them every thing would still sound like foghat and Van Halen. O.k shredders, when was the last Van Halens cock rock sounded like it came from anywhere but the eighties? This is timeless, even with the product as it was and Morrisseys croon lurking in the reverb.

"Cold Spring" by, Old Sliver Key, I can't remember if I covered this one when it came out two years ago I was till overlapping with Global Domination back then , this is a collaboration between Neige of Alcest and the dudes from Drudkh, I think this session really helped shape the process for the next Alcest album and made it a little ore rock n roll. I had gotten burned out on Drudkh the time so didn't give this one much of a shot when it came out but it's really good stuff, very uplifting like Alcest but doesn't float off to fairy land.

"Pslam 69" by Ministry, talk about standing the test of time, I have been going back and getting more heavily into industrial again there's a lot of Great stuff to be rediscovered, I think a lot of it I was too fucked up to really hear when it came out, though like this album I played the hell out of it, I think Al's voice sounds perfect on this song, it's mean as nails spit from a possessed Strom trooper as the death Starr goes down.

"the shortest Straw" by Metallica, well...these guys don't get much mention here, I did like them at one time , And justice for all is my cut off point, there is undeniably a lot of great thrash riffs , and is song has a cool hook wedged right in the middle. The chug leading into..shortest straw challenge liberty/ down by law, live in infamy/ rub you raw,'s great your they look like fools in the rain now but this album rocked despite the great American sellout that was the "One" video . Now it's safe to say die hard Metallica fans these days are more likely to listen to Godsmack and Nickleback than any real metal but I'm not deleting this from my iPod either so that says something.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tomahawk : Oddfellows

The fourth album from a super group comprised of the cool kids from the nineties alternative metal scene, Faith no More, Jesus Lizard, Helmet and Mr. Bungle. Earlier in their inception it was easy to dismiss this as another one of Mike Patton's abundant solo projects. The only distinction to separate them from Fantomas , his other super group was Tomahawk came across more like a hipster metal version of Damn Yankees.

"Oddfellows" finds the band has developed into more of a real band, not to say their first two albums aren't good. The first one sounds like Patton fronting the Jesus Lizard and the second one had a heavy Deep Purple vibe to it but either gained an abundance of listens to me though I enjoyed them when I popped them in , this marks their first album that demands heavy rotation.

These songs could have easily been on a follow up to "Album of the year" and sound much more like what you expect from Patton, sometimes to a fault when it sounds like he he's checking off the cast of characters in the vocal range. The song writing is concise and saves the day from this just being about quirky vocals. Age has done Patton's voice favors as it has more grit to it, from wear and tear of a career screaming.

The title track that opens this one has a sinewy riff that weaves its way around the drums. The verse's are sung in Patton's more baritone range and the chorus escalate into Faith no more territory. The ominous chugs are somewhat Jesus Lizard like, but tighter accents despite the angular tone. "Stone Letter" reminds me of "Digging the grave" in it's more straight forward approach, but is not the only ghost of "King for a day fool for a lifetime" that haunts the album.

"I.o.u" has a trip hop vibe in the electronic percussion which starts of the album and while we are at Faith No More comparisons this one would be "Album of the year" at under three minutes it's enought of a taste to avoid being plodding . "White hats/ Blackhats" is more bass driven and a return to the Jesus Lizard feel of the first album. One thing I noticed in the past Patton has said people look for meaning in his lyrics when most of the time he just likes the sound of the words, however it's clear there are themes being constructed here. I like the dissonant ring of the guitar here and Denison explores a lot of tones outside of the sphere I normally associate with his playing style.

"A thousand eyes" is suitably dark and creepy enough to make me happy. There's nothing complex going on musically just every thing is smartly placed and the space each instrument occupies is very tasteful. "Rise up dirty waters" sounds like a Mr. Bungle b-side from the " California days" it's a little silly to me and while it's trademark herky jerky Patton, it doesn't get with the rest of the album.

"the quiet few" gets back to the angular groove and the low throaty chant style. The chorus is another wink at "King for a day...", I do like the tight muted chugs that bridge certain sections, I guess this one could also fall more on the Jesus Lizard side of the band. So in some ways the album acknowledges in equal portions their collective pasts.

"I can almost see them" has a dark western feel despite the Tool like drive of the bass. Patton sings in more of Faith No more like cadence, if you are thinking of some of their more cinematic moments. I think my favorite song is " South Paw" , it's tightly coiled and hard driven even on the more subdued sections of the verses. I like how they take their time getting to the punch of the chorus , it's great song writing all the way around. The melody on the " you rubbed me so wrong/ please keep your close on" is perfect and this is one of Patton's best all around vocal performances.

Patton's vocals rescue the song " Choke neck" whose form and function would have been in question with a lesser singer. "Waritorium" is a tightly chugged winding web of passive aggression, like funkier Jesus Lizard. "Baby let's play" is a David Lynch like stroll, but is so languid it never really takes any form or finds its direction. The album with "Typhoon" which has a palm muted swing amd allows the drummer to open up on the unresolved builds, the melody never finds a hook to catch me in though I can appreciate more where they are trying to go than on the previous song, but it feels the album ends with more of a thud.

Overall this one is really solid and Patton is in fine form , though Trevor Dunn kind of dials it in if you consider his playing in Bungle and the more I think about the talent in the band that's backing Patton, then Denison is the only one who broadens the bag of tricks he brings to the table, the ong writing has with the few exceptions stepped up so I think this one deserves a 9 because the songs that are more noticeably filler are still better than most of the stuff pumped out these days and the dark creepy tone works for me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bad Religion: True North

I have always been more into metal than, though have an appreciation for it and prefer bands with punk leaning or who came after the first wave of seventies punk which run closely to what became thought of as goth, bu i have always respected Bad Religion who brings class to punk rock, they are educated and have a good grasp of song writing. I think this factors into way the band tends to get their fair share of crossover from metal heads.

Their new one "True North" picks up pretty much where they left off. It opens with the title track which is concise commentary on societies moral. It's concise, no surprises, they don't sound like they have aged despite the promo pictures that came with this. Almost to a fault the vocal follow their signature patterns. However this changes with the second song "Past is dead" that is more sung that shouted, though they revert back into form once the song kicks in. The layered harmonies are congruous with what you want from this band. The solo is very rock nroll but doesn't jump up on the monitors with Slash flair either. "Robin hood in reverse" keeps the tempo and I can appreciate the snickers taken at religion, but it's more of the same and has a blandness to which is typical of this kind of punk rock,

"Land of endless greed" I begin to reevaluate loading this onto my iPod as monotony starts to set in, the break down in the verse leading into the solo works, the drumming is fairly boring despite the guitars best efforts to make this not so. "Fuck you" is loaded with more woah ohs than convincing aggression, but their is an maturity in the melodic nature I can respect and I like how it punches going into the chorus.

"Dharma and the Bomb" the very rock nroll approach to the verse is a needed change, though I could just as easily see Buckcherry penning this. "Vanity" we are back to the 1,2,3 go style of punk, which had been done this way so many times over it loses it's effectiveness. The chorus to "In their hearts is right" is a cool change of tempo and melody.

"Crisis Time" starts strong, but the drummer seems to only have three beats he interchanges. Though this is one of the albums stronger songs. "Dept. of false hope" doesn't do anything different until the chorus which seems to be the albums formula. The first song where the ravages of age begin to show on the old vocal chords. In their down time the guitarists must have been really going back into the history of rock n roll on the sunset strip.

"Nothing to dismay" has more of a chug to it than the previous songs, but the wheel isn't being reinvented here. By and large the guitar playing is pretty solid on this album, the bassist might be sleeping on the e string half the time though. " Popular consensus " the wheel they were spinning when they were going back to stock punk riffs must have gotten stuck here, the melody is lazy and follows the guitar but as he sings the " popular consensus doesn't mean much to him" so I'm sure that applies to the laziness which befalls some of the songwriting here.

By the time I have made it "My head is full of ghosts" I'm almost too bored to be objective because I'm pretty much over this album by this point. I'm guessing if you are a fan of the band then real bland riffs is pretty much your deal. " the Island" they are clearly on autopilot and hoping the are going have this pimped out to an audience to young to know better that these songs are all recycled throw away riffs sometimes put to better use than others.

" Changing tide" is a little bit of an irony when you have just tried to force down and album guilty of more of the same. The lyrics which were one smartly written are now regurgitated cliches. The album is well produced and the songs are solidly presented just uninspired. I'll give this album a four , if you are a fan you might be excited enough to hear something new from these guys but would be fooling yourself to round it up more than a five as the creative tank here is running on empty and if you want tousle the well it's punk rock excuse, this is pretty much rock n roll, less removed from Social Distortion than it once was, though they share a similar fan base.

Voi Vod : Target Earth

O.k I'm going into this with expectations set on stun. I have a lengthy history with this band I picked up "Dimension Hatross" when it came out and have been a fan ever since, though that most long term relationships with a band there are highs and lows, in fact I just became o.k with the Eric Forest albums, something I doubt I'll be able to do with the Jason Newstead years, but now we are looking at life without Piggy. The deceased guitarists sound was such an integral part of their sound until I enter this with some trepidation.

The album rooooaaars to life with the title track. Snake employs a familiar robotic chant in his delivery. His weather voice carries a new coating of grit to it which matches the heavier tone than any incarnation of the band he has fronted since "Dimension Hatross" while I love "Nothing face" and " Angel rat" this album has a heavier denser feel to it than either of those, which at the time marked Voi Vod headed from the confines of thrash metal.

First let's get my initial impressions of Chewy out of the way before we get into the meat of the first song. At first listen I wasn't blown away by his tone.But after a few listens it's growing on me. When it comes to soloing he is more of a shredder than Piggy. Though to Piggy's credit I always thought of the more dissonant nature he approached soloing to be an important element in the bands sound...until the took on a more rock n roll direction.

Blacky's bass kicks off the futuristic rumble that's "Target Earth" the guitar certainly serves up a Piggy tribute, the mix is weird when it fades momentarily to allow for it build back in. I like the lower register Snake sings in when his voice floats underneath the pounding. In six minutes a lot of ground gets covered, the songwriting is more progressive that a verse chorus structure and more in movements. There are many of the classic staples of there sound right from the first few minutes, like the angular syncopated churn of the riffs. Away's drumming sounds like a much younger man behind the kit as he is killing it like he did on Hatross and has always been one of my favorite metal drummers.

"Kluskap O'kum" is more straightforward than the opener, it even has the old school thrash gang vocals chime in. The songs strong points are the power of Snakes vocals, the muted chug in the last minute,it has all the elements from say "War and Pain" era but wi out Snakes scream. The more progressive side creeps back with " Empathy for the enemy" which has Nothingface like melodic singing on it but the tight chugging is heavier than anything from than album, the grit on Snake's voice is more apparent here. Its similar to the kind of wear and tear Robert Plant was showing but the time they got to "Coda". The vocals are well produced and Snake is aware of what he has to work with going tinpot this album and makes it sound heavier as a result.

"Mechanical mind" is very Dimension Hatross sounding, and as a whole I would say that's the album this one has the closest resembelence to. This one churns like angular maze, the melody slithers and moans from within. I think Chewy's playing on this really shows his grasp of what makes the band great and it's some of Snakes best singing. In the face of the cyber ambiance , there is still aggression and drive. This a perfect Voi Vod song in many respects, the solo adds to this and while Chewy is a technical graceful guitarist he doesn't allow this to hamper what the band is going for.

"Warchaic" starts slow and reflective, then builds into a forward drive that brings to. Inds some of their more rock nroll moments though it stays darker. Snake's voice really sounds great on this album. There is some particularly tasty guitar work about two minutes in, the drums pound it all into place mid way through.

"Resistance" for the greater part has more of a punk rock feel like something from Angel Rat. It feels like a slight step back into the Newstead days, perhaps it's left over from those sessions, way too straight forward me even with the quick punchy part, though it might grow on me over time. The guitar solo is more Piggy like in dissonance. The slower section at the end darkens it up and provides a redeeming element.

"Kaleidos" has an angular bounce to it, in parts is a little too bright for me. There is a disjointed collision but it's the goal rather than a mistakes it congeals back together when they intend it too. The chug at two half minutes pulls it bck together and the spacey interlude bridging some of these parts is a good touch as well. I suppose this could be their wink at Nothing face. It does darken back up towards the end, but of course on this one being one of my favorite bands faces more scrutiny as I hold the, to a higher standard.

"Corps Etranger" gets darker and militant in the intro reminding us of their Pink Floyd influence before going to thrash. The punches on this are technical and cutting . Every thing grinds like gears on a steam punk space ship of some kind while flying ahead, until the really weird march in the final minute and a half where the French robots march out.

"Artefact" back to the nothing face, before the chords take on their signature dring of discord. the drums drop into tribal double bass at times. I suppose this is where the Hawkwind influence becomes apparent.the syncopation is what brings this back into a more tasteful form I prefer to digest from these guys, something I might appreciate more with further listens. The closing chords of the 1:30 defiance is really only thirty seconds of a song and it weird way for the album to end so I won't factoria in when scoring this one. I will put this one at 9.5, as they more straight forward Angel Rat punk sections bring to mind the Newstead years, when Voi Vod is straightforward I prefer it with the type of sonic scathing they delivered on Killing Technology . But for a comeback album , and one that is missing a key component , they have surpassed by expectations by far, which is an achievement considering how night the bar had been raised. If you have ever had any Intrest not only in these guys but in sort of cyber progressive metal which they might have spawned....Tool, Fear Factory, Neurosis, Meahuggah, then class is in session .

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the Weekly Shuffle

I suppose there's a few album reviews , I could stand to catch up on namely the newest Chelsea Wolfe, but it's the first of the year so not a lot of new stuff coming out though p/r companies have begun sending stuff nothing has grabbed me here's the weekly shuffle to keep you occupied until then, so let's give shuffle mode a spin.

"No City" By Aesop Rock, I like this "None shall pass " album better than his 2012 release as its darker, more experimental and seems to have real instruments on it , which are all qualities I look for in rap music, along with a lack of rhymes about gold teeth and Benjamins. This track has a lazy seventies funk vibe, the bass lines feels organic and keeps a glaze of melancholy under the oddly jabbed time of the rapping.

"Isle of Avalon" by Iron Maiden, From what may or may not be the bands last album of new songs, not that it matters as their shows are time warp of assorted greatest hits, they still have it as the "Final Frontier" was loaded with winding epics like this and reminded me most closely of "Fear of the Dark" which seems to be the last album. Ost fans accept from these guys. I for one really liked " a Matter of Life or Death" and felt like this one was more of a wink backwards to the glory days. The bass groove at the four and a half minute mark leading into the solo is forward thinking and the whole section is proggy enough for kids these days. I think Bruce sounds good on the line "mother earth/ I can feel you" , live his voice was strong but not what it was even on the seventh sun tour granted that's twenty years, in the studio on this one there's notable strain on his voice that I would not have minded if they smoothed out.

"this time We Fight" by Unleashed, My favorite song by these guys. I remember when I first heard opening for Morbid Angel on the " Blessed are the sick" tour, they almost seemed more like what was being considered as black metal at that time , now they sound more like thrashing pagan Tyr not the overly frolicking stuff. The verse riff age is catchy but powerful , is this still being passed of as death metal these days? He almost sings more than he growls, just a raspy bellow and nothing guttural.

"Recycled aire" by the Postal Service, I like the " give up" it's bittersweetly bleak and casts a smirk on the idea of a love song. I like the guitar on this if this Ben Gibbard fellow ever tried to say he never listened to the Cure Robert Smith should strike me dead.

" Incorporeal" by Tiger Army, Not something I listen to a lot, the singer reminds me of if Danny Havok was using a lot restraint, similar dark pop punk vibe . This could be labelled as pyscho billy I suppose and there's some goth crossover, back in the days of MySpace they were pushing the look to get those friend requests. The guitar playing is pretty satisfying.

"Christbait Rising " by Godflesh, a song that was ahead of its time from a band who was ahead of their time . Any of the dreadlocked troll doll looking goth kids of today if they do not know who these guys are and try to talk about Combichrist, need make sure they hang themselves in the dressing room of hot topic. The drums in this be they real or programmed , crush and this sound has influenced tons of band even though it's derivative of early Swans, it still carries enough venom and ambiance to more than hold its own.

"Ancient ones" by Morbid Angel, I think I'm over my disappointment of their last album so I can now listen to these guys again , they use to be my favorite band of this ilk and I guess still are as I don't listen to a lot of straight up death metal. This song is pretty straight forward now listening back a few decades later. Trey's guitar playing was certainly ahead of the curve.

"Song for a Warrior" by Swans, this Karen o, swung ballad could almost pass for a country song, isnt my favorite on the album but I appreciate how it breaks it up and is like some of the more mellow stuff Jarboe used to do on the classics from the nineties and late eighties. The twinkling ambiance in the last couple minutes and the drive like pace helps indentity this.

"Drunk on the Moon" by Tom Waits, a crooned bar ballad, back when Wait's voice had not yet accquired and this could pass for bluesy better penned Billy Joel. Like a rainy day in new York, good music to drink by yourself to kinda a pre depression binge soundtrack.

"Worship Industrialized" by Ortargos, these French black metallars don't get as much play from me as say Death Spell Omega, but when this came out I like it a lot it's very pummeling, dense production and in your fucking face drumming that doesn't let you get a breath in . I like the way the vocals are produced and the eerie guitar in the background are a couple thing I didn't notice when it came out and the thrash chug in the songs second half peels paint.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Night Sins : New Grave

From the ever elusive Avant Records, comes Night Sins this Philadelphia band who gets the death rock label and comparisons to Sisters of Mercy and I don't hear either. Dark wave...yes, in fact the first song it me as a cross between early Cure and Depeche Mode. The singer comes across very Gahan in the vocal department, though the vocals are set back cooly into a blanket of reverb to give a more retro sound.

In the song "Shoot me up" there is a keyboard melody which if you really wanted to reach for straws you could try to draw comparisons to Sisters of Mercy but it could also be seen as be seen as phrased similar to "Love will tear us apart " or even early New Order. I wouldn't call these guys dancey, yet they don't have the punk edge of death rock, but i find their overall sound to be soothing to the cold inside when the medication is worn off...ok or when you don't have insurance to get any if we are going to be honest here and since the winter moths can b the darkest I find this sort of thing very soothing. Though the snare hits in a away that I wouldn't think of a dance , it does lend it self to White lethargic head bobbing.

The Joy Division comes on stronger on "Spectral Bliss", the singer doesn't have the heft on his lower register to pull off the Andrew Eldritch but he makes the most with what he does have. "The stranger" the vocals strain to go lower, but the guitar makes up for where they fall short and overall the guitar playing on this album is where it shines as the rhythm section gets the job done but doesn't take a lot of chances, the bass player if this was going for a death rock thing could stand to drive this a little more , but as it is he still has its presence known, though more of that could be due to the mix which is excellent in capturing the early eighties feel. With "Goth revivalist " stuff I am going to really put it under the microscope because I heard all of it on the first go round.

I like the movement in the song "The Eternal giver" , the vocal placement compliments it well and this could be one of the moments where they come close to earning the death rock moniker. it also happens to be where the singer injest the most emotion into his delievery. the Sisters of Mercy hook, kind of reappears on "Wild Eyes" though it still resembles closer to say black celebration era Depeche Mode, the vocal hooks float more rather than having the aggression of an Andrew Eldritch.

the snare hit harder on Winged thing , the vocals continue to just flaot in a unaffected manner , leaving the guitar to try and bat clean the whole mix on this one is awash in effect, though doesnt have a swirl but gets lost in the descent to the bat cave until the last minute of the song when it picks up some drive .

Knife in the sky takes a stab at get dancier. the remain undefined and continue to wander in the shadow behind the band, they could stand to play better with others and jump into the pocket with the guitar so they melodies would have some punch. I have heard it said that death rock was a bunch of punk rock kids that were really into Halloween , which an over simiplifaction the punk roots of it need to hammered home, a band like Alaric totally gets this, because when 45 Grave and Christiam Death were out the lines between punk and what would be known as goth were blurry at best.

I rounded this one up to an eight for feeling it captures the albums starts stronger than it finishes but it might just need to grow on me , you can even round this up another half a point of you didn't catch these guys influences back in the day so only have Vh1s recollections of the eighties to go on. Despite the microscope I hold this one under and the highbar that's been set for these guys I would recommend this none the less which says something for this as well as my score which means I enjoyed eighty percent of this the other twenty just need more form and function from the song writing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Author & Punisher : Ursus Americanus

This is an album that did not make my best of list as I spend the bulk of the second half of 2012 trying to hunt it down. I first came across the video of this one man band preforming the song "Terror bird " which opens the album, If you have yet to see what this looks like and how enthralling this technological freak show of wonderment is , well take a look below as the how it is done is almost just as important in what this project is about as half the instruments he fashioned himself.

Industrial music these days is like fodder for neon dread locked trust fund kids who are more concerned with shaving their eye brows to care about the kind of music they are listening most of which is industrial in name only and really overblown edm. Author & Punisher is going to be the most oppressive and real industrial you have heard since the 90's . the most original as Godflesh has certainly touched on this landscape before sonic ally, perhaps its execution it might be. this is why that factors into the experience so strongly.

Tristan Shore who graces his album cover doesn't look like someone who would be listening to this sort of music much less making. It looks like a clean cut every man from California. Not that I need him to be steam punked out though welding goggles seem appropriate and as interesting as this is to witness I could do with seeing him less in the projects presentation.

"Terror bird" This song stomps over a dark urban landscape with all the subtlety of Mecha Godzilla, the percussive elements pound like the roll of a tank. The vocals are unintelligible and heavily effected.They work as more of another level of distortion and like a lot of death metal have more of a rhythmic accent as no real notes are sung. The gears of war grind and grunt into motion. This is also the albums strongest track.

More ambiance creeps in here, the vibration of synths and the fact there is more space left open in this song. Shore's distorted roar falls somewhere inbetween Wayne Static and Al Jorgenson, it's a minimal one word chant of the songs title "Lonely". On this song it struck me more daring fans of dub step might like this as it uses odd times for the beat to drop, which is more of a crash landing than an 808 thump.

"Mercy dub" is a noise filler piece I'll skip over as its not real song and I'm not factoring it in when I score the album anyway so it takes us to " Set Flames" a more plodding piece of apocalypse for the ears.It takes it's time pulsing to life, through the crash of robotic heart beat.At ten minutes this does have a dynamic ebb and flow though when I looked at my iPod to see the first seven and a half minutes had passed without a lot happening. In the songs third act garbled vocals emerge from the inorganic ooze. Overall this song strikes me more of a soundtrack rather than song though the chant in the back ground almost has the quality of wining but it echoes too far away in the distance.

The beat of " Flesh Ants" takes on a shift in syncopation, even if from its offset there aren't many new elements being introduced. It takes on almost a doomy pulse, there is a glitch like quality through out . The vocals if that is what I'm hearing on this are buried beneath the thuds and clunks.

" Below and Above you" takes a much different shift and it's what the albums needed. The overall sound of the synth strings and sung vocals is muffled and twisted around in transmission. The tempo almost is trip hop here. The buzz of distortion slides under neath the hesitant click of the lethargic beat. This album is well produced all of the sounds cut though unless they are meant to capture another dynamic but I think whatever the case they accomplish what they are aiming for if something doesn't seem to hit the ears rig it sbecause it's meant to be abrasive and off putting.

"Ill consuming" closes album with a slower grind than the album began with but remains consistent with what Shore does. Sure theres repitiition like an military drill, but it's part and parcel with what he is trying to achieve , when the last song collapses in on it's self into a minimal vibration , it works and the vocals which come back into differ for the delivery found earlier on the album , a similar take to what Wreck and Reference does but not as melodic or focused on traditional song structure or songs in. General , the heavy build back on this one is effective.

The thing I had to wrestle with in scoring this one was, while. The album is powerful and sounds great it's a collage of great crushing dark sounds but there is not any real song writing, I think they introduction more sounds rather than hitting us with the entire battle field at once ,ight have been wise for pacing, but Shore powers through the albums problem areas in the structural components and it's. A success at what it sets out to be so I'll give it an 8.5.

Friday, January 4, 2013

God Bless Ozzy Osborne

It's a slow time of year for new stuff though I have a backlog of reviews 'm finishing up, but I was watching this documentary on Ondemand so I'll write it up. My three year old daughter was trying to figure out what this was about when they went into the history of his life and I told her, "This is about a boy who grew up to become metal". With the surge in stoner rock Black Sabbath continues to be the one metal band acceptable to like from that era. But as a kid before I got into Sabbath , I was into Ozzy's solo stuff. Sure I had "Speak of the Devil" so I knew all the Sabbath songs on there and I even bought the two Dio Sabbath albums before I started collecting Sabbath proper in High school and discovered the Majick of the real Sabbath.

Jack Osborne made this film and it bears a similar formula to the one Sam Dunn applied to his films like the Rush Documentary, my favorite part of this style is the interviews with other musicians interspersed through out, this one features Paul McCartney, Henry Rollins and Tommy Lee.

Of course the beginning digs into the early days of Sabbath which is like watching the origin section of a superhero movie which has been covered in Vh1's Behind the Music, Metal a Headbanger's Journey and the Metal evolution series. I do like hearing the epic drug stories, it sounds like Geezer and Bill ward were his drug buddies while Iommi was more reserved. From reading the Doors biography, I'd sy Sabbath did more drugs than the and a wider variety than Mötley Crüe.

One thing I like about this film though I during the Osbornes I began to resent the buffoonery that Sharon obviously had him play up, do I think someone who survived a addiction doesn't have the wits to use a remote control? Of course not, I was once an addict so you can't fool me sure, I don't know where I put my keys and my phone some of the time but Ozzy has always played up his personality it's part of his brand. I think the image foreshadowed what he does for a time and it's been hard for him to be taken seriously now. This film the act is dropped and it's a more honest look at his behind the scenes.

There a really cool clip of them playing "Never say die" on top of the tops. Most of the other Sabbath footage isn't all that rare the standar California jam clips. I also like the fact there a good balanced look at his firing from Sabbath. Of course Dio is glazed over they go into Sharon managing Ozzy and Randy Rhodes discovery. Of course Ozzy's solo career would eclipse Sabbath for a time. I guess this transition was always something I had taken for granted and without a doubt those first two albums are prefect....10s if you are keeping track of my scoring . Granted Sabbath albums from the first until the technical ecstasy days would be tens as well.

Of course going into his thirties he was bloated from drinking, but until he got sober around no rest for the wicked. I would have been good with less Sabbath and more of the Randy Rhodes years as Randy shows up and then dies why not talk about the sessions and tours for Blizzardand Diary. There's a good segment of him watching his videos for. The eighties, of course he doesn't remember making them. Any fan of Black label Society needs to watch any video from No Rest Days as he is cock rocking.

It puts the pill addled days of reality tv in prespective as he discusses his current sobriety. It's in these moments the most wisdom comes, but after this I watched "I'm Your Man" the Leonard Cohen documentary, which I told some one was more compelling as Cohen actually has insightful things to say where even in his most lucid Ozzy comes off as endearing at best, though far from the fool he has let himself be portrayed as . So if you were a fan of the show, you will be disappointed, but you have no respect of them as legacy to have watched it in the first place so go drink Draino for your suicide solution.

For any fan of the Oz it's a worthwhile watch though maybe not on my top ten rock documentary list.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rosenkopf : L.p

A prime example of why i get so fearful about posting my end of the year album lists prematurely. I saw their singer preform a solo set opening up for Cult of Youth somy expectations of what this should sound like were askew. Live it translated as more of visceral Jarboe gets gang banged by Godflesh and Darktrhone sort of thing. So Soren's one woman show is a different animal than this album and it's like when I found out Wreck and Reference were not called No Youth type of brain freeze, though I found I recovered more speedily in this regard as this album is pretty damn good in its own right.

"Light the way" has more ambiance and groove than I expected from seeing her live show. It's not until her vocals come in that I recognized this as being the same artist. The drone pound of radiant chords bears some likeness to the swans.

The subtle groove to "Burning spirits " almost makes this unclassifiable but if you look at the dark electronic scene or the debates of what goth is has encompassed every thing from the Legendary Pink Dots to Pyschic Tv and I would lump Rosenkopf into a harder more modern taken ont that sort of thing. The vocals are commonly the hardest element present. The mix of live drums with programmed ones creates an almost tribal sound.

The almost surf rock guitar drone of "Heed" goes left feild from the first couple songs until her powerful roars comes in to be met with those pounding Swans chords and a descent into frantic chaos, which I applaud because how many times in the darker electronic genre do we get almost prog playing and don't say Tool as they hold their Rush albums closer to their hearts than their throbbing gristle.

The sample narrated "Human love song" lamds in more familiar pseudo industrial territory , though the guitar line toys with melodies out side of what you would find on a Front Line Assembly track, the layer of live drums continues to add dynamics and provide and additional sense of movement.

"Troth" takes the ritual tribalism up a notch until it goes into the first riff I would consider having any type of death rock influence, the straight up punk beat the live drums goes into has a flat snare sound, I would have given some love on and the live drums on this album as a whole are the only instrument that wavers in sound quality on a production end.

The album closes with "Untitled" which opens with the pulse of a very dark wave sounding kick drum and some really cool shadowy guitar which uncoils around it. The vocals thankfully resurface though sparse , their harshness serves as a good contrast and the live drum sound is more blended here. The break down into the Bauhus like bass thump is great as well as how this part is transitioned out of , all the instrumentation. Flows smoothly across the board on this album, we have seen things like the Blut Aus Nord album where it has thrown me into a brain freeze over the the rest of the album when an awkward transition occurs.

Listening to this album sometimes makes me think of the audience that's missing out on this there are tons of kids out their listening to the same old tired Wumpscut albums who would love this even though the guitars are doing something different than recycling Kmfdm riffs. I think almost a more black metal approach to industrial vocals is what the genre need top breathe new life into an aging machine. Will the experimental elements of this album scare off Industrial kids? Sadly Sotheby's most care more about shaving their eye brows off and looking like a troll doll than they do music. This album has more balls to it than anything Combichrist has put out as of late and a woman is singing on it.

The tracks all succeed in the pictures they are trying to paint of this apocalyptic landscape, my only gripe is I could have used more vocals. I think this would have given the songs a little more definition, they sounds captured are otherwise exactly what I want to hear from music , dark yet transcendent guitar lines they create a trance like state with their serpentine dance. I will give this a 9 as I really want the vocals to bring this more shape,but it's still excellent as is and perhaps from what I saw their singer do live , it will influence them moving forward as I want to hear more in the future from them and they go in the bands Ill consider my self a fan of column.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Weekly Shuffle

The first weekly shuffle of 2013. first time reading ? well, I put the iPod on shuffle and randomly review the first ten songs that play. This weeks should be interesting as my iPod won't synch with one computer so I synced it with the iTunes on my old one which has music I haven't listened to in almost a year. I did load seem new stuff on there and bought a couple albums for myself with a girt card. So here we go

"Hearts a Mess" - by Gotye, yeah the "somebody I used to know guy" the whole album isn't half bad. Some songs like this one have a darker Portishead meets Peter Gabriel vibe to them. He has a good voice and is really a product of the YouTube generation, though he has been a thing in Austrailia for a minute now. I like the lyrics to this one , not a lot of pop songs are about the self deception involved in romance.

"Upon Returning"- Dredg, These guys were awesome, then catch without arms was abut of a poppy curve ball though not a sellout. They stay on the road because they fell inbetween the cracks when it comes to this sort melodic rock, being they are as commercial as Mutemath but not prog enough for the Porcupine tree crowd. This ong sees there sound intact but with a stronger police influnce and any metal leanings forsaken.

"Can't do a Thing" - by Chris Isaak, Was a huge fan, still like the first five albums which is more than you can say for most artists, the tv show through me off, kinda like Ozzy. Spectacular voice great lyrics about his cheating heart I like the line " I couldn't stop my self if I tried because I got you too deep inside." though when I type it it sounds homo erotic. This song is a good argument for poly amory.

"les regrets"Les Discrets, 2011 the year that "black gaze" almost became a thing. More shoe gaze than black metal, didn't give their second album enough of a shot, the double bass rolling under the facade of drone is a nice touch.Alcest pretty much cornered the marketon this sort of thing.

" A Mutiny" - by Red Sparowes, instrumental music can only hold my attention for soloing. It these guys take a pretty good stab at it due to a incredible guitar tone and taking the waves of shimmer into ever evolving passages, this song no exception almost a jazz feel at times and can hear Pink Floyd influences stuffed into the cracks.

"Cemetary Gates" by the Smiths, this is one of my favorite happy songs by these days one day I'd like my band to playa mash up of this and "Cemetary gates" or I could just sing the Pantera song like Morrissey would. The guitar and the vocal melody here are what steals the show here. So let's go where I want to...

"Wavy" by Skinny Puppy, Post the Greater wrong of right albums I have never given a fair shake, I like this song is back to a darker sound but Orge still sings. The vocals are really well produced and every thing is in the right plce the acoustic guitar part phased in like that adds a lot and the midsection is really cool with out percussion. Will have to give Handover another listen as I like this one.

"Vault of membros" by Disma, finally metal and they hit the brown tone on the very first note. This album stands up every time I hear it and I like it better than the new incantation. Though much slower and grime dripping , almost doom but not quite, the growl is a great demon gurgle, though my daughter just fell asleep listening to this. Cus that's just how metal she is.

"Right" by David Bowie, I am of the belief that Young Americans is as good of an albums Ziggy Stardust , though the single "Fame" eclipsed the rest of the album.this song shows Dave is one of the greatest rock singers as he fluidly weaves soul elements into what he does. He doesn't dabble in other forms of music he makes them his own. Earl Slick for the win on the solo.

"Maze of Torment" by Morbid Angel, one of the greates death metal songs ever, they brought the blasty with them here and there are still hooks that keep you banging rather than everything sounding like mush. David Vincent gets credit due to his vocal placement, not the best growler in the game but he knows his phrasing.

Bell Witch: Longing

This Seattle duo decided to open their album with a 20 dirge. While compromised of Samothrace's bassist Dylan Desmond who utilizes a six string bass here. This album has gotten a lot of buzz since its November release on Profound Lore and I can say right off the bat with out having to give many listens that I enjoy their brand of Ambient laden funeral much more than what I heard from the most recent Samothrace.

Desmond plays the bass with the delicacy of a guitarist rather than a bassist, which attributes to it sounding so much like a guitar in fact I had to do some clicking around on the inner webs to confirm there is not guitar on the album. So he must have fairly light stings on his bass to achieve some of these sounds.

There is a lot of space on this album but what is played is very much about placement and there are not any wasted notes on this album. While the first song requires a little patience by the second song "Rows( of endless waves) things really get interesting and melodic. Eight minutes in you hear what convinced me it was a bass all along as it gets oppressively heavy.

The vocals really need to be commended , while if you are used to reading my reviews then you know of course I'm a big fan of actual singing, as just growling can all to often be a cop out, but the growls on this are as impressive as the signing maybe even more so. The singing gets the job more than well done, though there are some choices of vocal tones employed, like his upper range for some reason reminds ,e of the guy from Interpol. I have heard it called nasal and while it's forward placed its not like Modest Mouse in the intonation as there is more resonance to keep it from sounding like a whine. It cool to me because there are already enough Ozzy clones. The death rattling gurgle on the first song earned its place as one of my favorite doom or death metal growls.

The title track slowly crashes together with the notes ringing out into the empty spaces. The droning vocal chant slides in at the four and a half minute mark though the do not relent with the lethargy they hit the accents with. Fans of Earth and Sunno can appreciate this one, for me it's a good background throb, but doesn't catch we like the others.

"Beneath the Mask" Lightly creeps in with Vincent Price sample layered over it from one of the Edgar Allen Poe films he did for hammer, it is almost an intro for "I Wait" which hammers into place from the first dirty note. The six string bass sound particularly dark and creepy under the low vocal moan, before the song crescendos into the higher almost black metal shriek and then plunges into the guttural depths alternating between the two. At about four minutes in a saw there were eight minutes left and wondered where they could go from that point and the answer came in a dreary collapse. There's a solo of sorts , though more of a single note melody that floats along. The vocal take on almost the feeling of Gregorian chants in this part. The song takes almost a jam like quality at it reforms and the track entitled outro really feels like a refrain on a them established before so I think of it as the resolution to " I Wait".

I just reviewed Ahab, and while I liked " the Giant" the despair in this one resonates with me more. What Bell Witch lack in chop they make up for it the passion they play with. I'm not saying they are a better band than Ahab, it's just one of those things when an album clicks with you. Sometimes it just your perspective in where your re at in that moment in your life. So if you want to know how I feel right now on new years eve pop this one on. So though sparse in actual songs four out of six ill give those a 9 and the first song alone at twenty minutes makes this way more than an e.p.