Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grave Babies : " Crusher"

This Seattle band tries to claim to be influenced by Nirvana and Nine Inch Nail while pumping out from the hipster gutters some very intentionally under produced goth rock. It is not the first place we have seen 80s goth influences married to shoe gazing. Here it's domes in a very weird manner, the thick wall of fuzz My Bloody Valentine often applies is slapped on what would otherwise be very straight forward almost anthemic punk feel that album opens with.

The rough edged bass line of "Skulls" has enough of a pulse to keep you interested, while the vocals and the guitar moan for under the wall of grit they are obscured by almost in the same way a lot of witch house music was overdriven to create a dark cloud of static around it.

"Slaughter" is the first song that really connects with me as the vocals take on a more morose melody. "Count Cuts" has a melody that is not hampered even by the best attempts of the fuzzed out production. So live they are just going to be loud? Is that the solution ? The vocals seemed to be more often than not doubled up. "Breeding" sounds like I was listening to the Pyschedelic Furs while I the swimming pool and the Walkman feel into Torche water but kept playing. Maybe this is what Witch House morphs into when no one was looking. The melody to "Pain Cycle" is infectious despite for them trying to give you every reason not to like it In the presentation.

"No fear" also dances into the same dirty corner of the dance floor that " Love my Way " does. They way the vocals are recorded disguises if the vocals are in fact in key all the time or not, though there are hints that suggest they might not be, the songs are all on the shorter side, with pretty crude arrangements which are normally only two parts. In the case of "Blood on My Face" it's more thn enough s the choru is Ing poorly on purpoe nd only redeemed through the post chorus melody. "Death March" darkens things up, I have seen things written on this band saying there are parts that come close to being metal and since we actually know metal here I'd like to dispel that rumor.

Though the vocal melody is different the accompaniment to "Haunted" is very similar to some of the albums previous songs. The vocal melody on songs like this is the only thing that changes as the music just drones on behind them. "Hate Repeats" gets Joy Division on it and at only two minutes I think their intention was to keep it simple. The album closes with "Prostitution" another more in the Joy Division zip code, it's slower than the albums other fare. I like the lyrics on this more than the others songs. I think this song the production is justified but as a whole it does get a little monotonous and while the band would argue that it's part of their sound, I think it's slightly lazy on their part.

I like this album despite its hipster cop out. I think they could take a lesson from Merchandise who's new e.p even sounds better than their previous releases which had a similar sound. So with the Hipster irony factored in I have to round this down to a 7.5 as I think they are trying to justify the music they are making but trying to present it as hipster fair and there is not enough of any other element of the whole My Bloody Valentine sound to compensate for the underwater sound as nothing else is all that surreal.

Aeternus : "...And the Seventh his Soul Detesteth"

While this Norweigan band has been around since 1993 this is only the their 7th full length. This is not to say Main man Ares doesn't stay busy with his craft as he has been a session/touring player for bands like Taake, Gorgorothand Immortal. Bands sound often falls closer to them being categorized as death metal rather than black metal to which he has been more closely associated with. One thing is for sure he has finely honed his art. This album sounds great and their are a lot of different elements that are carefully assembled to make this monster.

The drumming hit me from the first song, if this Phobos guy isn't playing with trigger his feet are insane. Even at their faster speeds there's an element of groove and finesse . In the same neighborhood as Behemoth but with have the cheese, though some of the pitch harmonics add a little in the same way they do for Morbid Angel, but for some reason the delivery here strikes me as sounding less dated. I think the black metal elements help with this.

The groove that leads into the title track is pretty biting and the solo thats cascades against the perverse riff feels a little like Dissection, who by some Cvlt definitions might not be black metal either, but I'm able to turn of my blackonomicon for the duration and let it just be good metal. It is most importantly for me dark enough for me not to worry if it's black metal or not. It's a good solid listen all the way through but I noticed when placed under the microscope to break it down song by song, they do tend to run into another and the first three could be one long song."Spurcitias" the guitars chug less and caress the drums like a velvet rape. The cadanc elf his growl also shifts from being quite to stacatto and flows over the guitars which do take a noticeable know in the direction of Domination Era Morbid Angel when they are slowed and when they pick out the chords more melodically Dissection. The break down at the end of "Spurcitias" is really cool has a tribal vibe like something from a Rotting Christ album.

The fact that Morbid Angel no longer sounds like Morbid Angel, some how makes it alright when these guys do particularly since they tend to sound more like post-Blessed are the Sick Morbid Angel when the comparisons are drawn and era not many other bands influence pay homage to .

I am a big fan of the immortal like croaked vocals that first float o the surface on "Ruin and Ressurrect" they sound almost like a Gullom croon. They make other appearences like the more narrative form at the beginning of "The Confusion of Tongues" the growls for the most part are in the lower more death metal David Bincent ranges, though a more old growl that his which are more barked,these are growled making the lyrics sometimes murky especially when he drops even lower into the more gurgle side of his register. The lyrics for the most part they sound overly esoteric more like Therion than Dissection and in some cases seem like they are gnostic bible stories.

The thunder their drummer rains down makes a big impression at first then midway through the album you tend to take him for granted despite his attention to detail when it comes to accents. He can hold down a solid groove and use his double pedals to bring it up a notch for them to travel into the next realm of heavy. By the time they get to "Reap What You Saw" the heaviness does become a blur of low tuned chugs and some of the riffs those their dynamic range as theta reall variation on the same field of heavy, so grooves are what holds it together along with the more soaring melodic passages which are more often than not soloed over. The last minute and a half tends to be the section of a few of these songs where the band congeals everything for giving it one last blast.

"Saligia" has an almost rock feel to the verse, though utilizes speed in other sections to keep fans from crying sell out, sometimes this faster pace which is still slower than most black metal build a blur of momentum that carries you way with it but keeps you from making any differentiation the song. Saligia does have a dramatically melodic part in the middle that reminds me of Metallica and the part in the middle of the song master of puppets. The songs congeals for a minute into a victorious gallop before it descends into the dark waters of the death metal sea.

"The Hand that Severs the Bonds of Creation" kinds heads into a "What if immortal was death metal" place. It has more of the gallop feel, with syncopated punches littered throughout, by the point the momentum of their assault has been numbed and it loses some of its blackness the result being the result of most death metal, it all begins to sound the same. The more melodic sections which are darker and more black metal are the only things that separate the songs.
The closing song "Spirit of Illumination" doesn't skimp on the speed at first slowing on the chorus to give it a heavy accent, but even here the chords are picked out in the Dissection manner we have already heard before so all seems like its being revisited

These guys get credit as they are more death metal than not I think it's the Dissection influence that keeps me interested as most death metal is boring do to its lack of sonic mbiance which black metal uses to create a heavier and more hypnotic mood than sounding like guys with guitars who sit around sniffing glue. The album is holy proficient at what it delivers and very well played and produced, all the sounds fall in just the right place and are crisp wi out forsaking the heaviness. I'll give this one an 8.5, as it's masterfully constructed and while the influences aren't hidden they are a combination of two bands I really like so it works out well for me. It is possible for this to wear on me either way depending on if the more death metal elements tire me out or not.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Weekly Shuffle

Ok it's that time for me to hit shuffle on the iPod and review the first ten songs that pop up. So let's see what we got ...

"The Zodiac" by Kamelot...A duet with original singer of Savatage. One of my favorites from "Poetry for the Poisoned". Roy Khan stepped up his game for this one. While there's a very conceptual element to the song it doesn't feel like it tries to hard to become a rock opera. Their two voices balances each other out Jon Olivia's preformance on "Gutter Ballet" has long been a favorite of mine and this hardens back to that era. There's also a really spectacular guitar solo.

"Opium" by Dead Can Dance...the metaphor of drugs and freedom here's more reflective than romantic, Brendan Perry sounds amazing his voice so smoothly glides over this and his overall preformance on this really solidified him as one of my favorite singers, when I used to think he sounded like Neil Diamond. There's more depth to his baritone croon. This song would win the goths over for sure, it drips sex like a serpent the same seductive allure drugs have but is sensual with being a love song or coming across like Sade.

"Only girl(In the World) by Xiu Xiu, One of the best covers ever.There is a darkness here that Rhianna can't conceive not matter how many times her ghetto fab boyfriend beats her. The impish "and we can make sandwiches " is a nice touch as it makes fun of the source material at the same time they are really creeping this out . The anthem for stalker queens everywhere.

"Isle of Avalon" by Iron Maiden, the Final Frontier album has held up maybe better than the other post "Fear of the Dark" albums and I think this is one of the stronger songs on the album. The whole groove surrounding the proggy solo section is good jam tht I would have liked to have seen live but when I saw Maiden last year they were recreating the Seventh Son tour which I saw the original version of the in 88 so I was I. The die hard minority that wanted to hear what the new sounded like live because I have already seen them do the trooper . I think Bruce sounds raspy with with age here but otherwise strong and he is never going to be the same age he was when the recorded Peice of Mind so here's what we have to work with.

"Fire on the Mountain" by Vreid, I think for a cross over black metal band they almost sound commercial here. They roughed it up for the newer alway but I can appreciate the thrashy melodic nature of the "V" album. The vocals sound like a less croak ridden Immortal on this one at times and the riffing reminds me of Kreator. In comparison I think the drumming stopped it up on the new album and I think they have gone back into a more Windir direction. This is good for what it is closer to say Enslaved perhaps.

"Big Black Backwards" by Agents of Oblivion, Well the trip from Acid Bath to his current solo career has had so e pretty cool stops along the wat. I think vocally this album outshines his solo work or what he did with Acid Bath and is under rated. He really reaches, I think we hear hints of an Ian Gillian influence here with outro going into rock god screams, his restrained warbling croon is allowed some breathing room. The guitar is very dark and there's something teetering of homo,Ing unhinged haunts the songs.

"Half a Person" by the Smiths. The opening lines of "call me morbid , call me pale, I've spent six years on your trail" might be some of the greatest lyrics ever written and encompass what the myth of Moz is about. The lyrics alone sell the song for me they are just kind of strumming along behind him and it's what makes them work is being I these two different emotional places musically than lyrically and the juxtaposition creates and third dimension of ambiguity.

"Sky Burial" by Inter Arma, I have been meaning to get around to reviewing the album and it's going to happen this week I only have one other review cued up before it then I will dig into this one, it's sludgey and sonic yet has some melody to it and cool space for the guitars to float around. There is a Neurosis vibe to it which might be the firs thing you notice the vocals want to go more black metal but u like the smiths I don't think the music going Ina different place than the vocals creates the same effect.

"My Ass is On Fire" by Mr. Bungle, Interviews with Mike Pattonellude to the fact he prefers to use words that sound cool when sung rather than tell a story or mean something, I'm not sure this was happening when this song was written on their first self titled album. I mean this song is pretty close to perfect , the redundant part is redundant as it was intended but everything else gleams of awesome in any light you set it in. If I were to review the first Mr. bungle album it would be a ten unless I decided to come up with an 11 for ionic albums of this type. The riff when the chorus part comes I is just ripping even though by today's standards none of this is really all that heavy.

"Stripped" by Rammstein, I need to remind myself to go back and delete this one when I'm trying to conserve disk space on this iPod. It's a cover of the Depeche Mode song and I would be better served to have their version on it. Not that I don't like Rammstein, I wold rather here them stick to what they are better at. Do I like Depeche Mode as a band better ... Yes. This is kinda stuck in the nineties where I don't feel Kmfdm are or even Skiing Puppy but they do have some good mindless entertainment going on at times , it's like watching a Nazi circus.

KMFDM @ The Variety Playhouse

It was a younger crowd up front than I expected. The venue seemed a little odd the only other band of a heavy nature I had seen at the Variety was Anvil and the Swans. Anvil was during the promotion of their documentary and the Swans are heavy of a more sonic nature rather than metal. I liked what I caught of Chant's set and Legion Within seemed like they should have been playing Dragon-con instead. The song writing seemed to be the biggest point of contention as they did an alright job with their cover of Bowie's "Hello Space Boy". The vocals were the glaring weak spot as their front man was energetic enough and had a very dramatic prescience, his imitation of Peter Murphy was hampered by his lack of range in the upper register. However he did a pretty decent job handling Tim Skold's vocal parts on the song Anarchy when he came out toward the end of KMFDM's set.

KMFDM came on with a bang and never really let up. Their songs lend themselves to maintaining a high energy set. I noticed going back the next day to listen to the studio recording how much fuller the songs sound live, which is rare for an electronic act which are more notorious for sounding like karaoke to backing tracks. The live drums factored heavily into this as well as the dual guitar attack. The crowd's reaction was interesting to watch as the range of what the band does draws in every one from the headbangers who got the mosh pit going toward the end to the Black Number One set of girls who were just their to dance. There were a couple of screaming queens which ran with wrists flailing when the pit broke out , I mean what other crowd still has that kind of diversity ? The last time I saw Nine Inch Nails most of the crowd was drunken ex-frat boys. Granted the fact the we're playing with Jane's Addiction might have attributed to that and KMFDM had more songs in the clubs than on the radio waves most of their careers.

I do tend to forget at the Variety the monitor mix is rather low upfront so you are getting hit by stage volume alone when standing close to the stage making the vocals a little thinner than if i had been standing at the outer edge of the pit. Still I could hear the vocals when it mattered. They pumped out the new stuff I was curious to hear live like "Quake", "Kunst", "Ave Maria" and "Animal Out" as well as their solid older material such as "WWIII","Son of a Gun", "D.I.Y", "A Drug Against War","Hau Rock" and "Megalomaniac". I did think it was odd "Juke Joint Jezabel" was not played since it was a hit of sorts for them, but I don't have any emotional connection to it as most of the drugs I did to them back in the day were to the "Angst" album. The first time I ever free based heroin I was listening to it. But now with those days behind me the music stands on its own and I have less romantic drug attachments associated with it than I do say Skinny Puppy's "Last Rights" album. I think where KMFDM has the edge over a lot of their peers is hooky songwriting , where the fans appeared to have more of a connection to the songs than simply being lost in dancing or moshing.

Their light show was much different than the tempest of strobes and blanket of smoke. This time the neon lit glow of the midis work stations both used as pulpits of sorts. But they didn't rely on too many bells and whistles. The Female singer Lucria exuded the most show stealing charisma of the night. She prowled the stage with the intensity of a dominatrix but could shift into a flirtatious siren or cyborg go-go dancer. She could also add almost a metal like quality to her voice to match Sasha's more aggressive delivery.

If you are a fan of the band or just industrial strength Edm then you owe it to yourself to catch these guys live when they roll through your town. The tickets were very mid-priced and Chant sounded like they would have been worth the effort to have gotten their a little earlier. The band is also offering a chance to grab some of their more vintage merch from previous tours if you wanna roll up into goth night looking a little more legit, so bring an extra twenty bucks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cathedral: "The Last Spire"

This U.K doom band was worshipping Black Sabbath before doom was really much of a thing in 1989, along with Candlemass, Celtic Frost and St. Vitus...yes it back when Pentagram still sounded like Kiss. Lee Dorian left Napalm Death because they were making the transition from punk to death metal that he wasn't to happy about. Dorian's vocals on their Debut were a sticking point for me for some reason. I remember thinking he sounded like Scooby Doo, but his approach was not too unlike Celtic Frost's Tom Warrior and on the new album they have improved up to Wino quality. So no Ozzy but making a stab at it.

This is their last album, as they are not sort of act I can imagine they have a hard time making a living in the current industry climate. Compared to the doom of today this really sounds more like stoner rock. It's fairly straight forward when you compare it to a younger band like Pallbearer. Speaking of whom that's the name of the first real song , there an intro thing but you the actual guitars a nd metal sounds begin with this song. The churning chug took its time to grow on me. Dorian benefits from today's production as his drugged sneer benefits from some delay to create the illusion he is not just oddly talking his way through the songs. The female vocals which creep in with an oddly timed accent are certainly a quirky creative touch nd the first of a few that pop up through the course of the album. The songs does take enough twists and turns to justify the eleven minute running time. The chant of "War, famine, drought, disease" doesn't really do a helluva lot for me but the song balances itself out. There is an acoustic interlude and a tempo change which creates a greater sense of dynamics.

Dorian takes another stab at singing on "Cathedral of the Damned" is more of a stacatto shout like what Tom Ayraya might do on something mid tempo. There is a spoken section that sounds like what Iggy does in Balck Sunshine for White Zombie, so it could be Iggy again or Rollins or Randy Blythe or Phil Anselmo for that matter. It's a pretty straight forward song , yet the chorus gets stuck in my head despite its lack of melody so they are doing something right and working wi what they have got. It slows down into some'ore menacing for "Tower of Silence" it shuffles into a more solid groove, the riffs are thick and metal any way you take a sword to them so it's hard to dislike them. I'm not sure how the younger metal heads will take to the vocals as they are not quite sung by not growled either and kids these days don't think something is metal unless it's screamed In some fashion.

Its slows down to the speed of rigor Mortis setting in on "Infestation of Grey Death" the vocals turn in a more Celtic frost direction in the phrasing though when he tries to sing actual note she sounds like Wino. The change in the vocals on the second verse don't flow as well. The guitar in parts picks out the chords like the song Seasons in the Abyss. I remember when they came out in 89 thinking the album felt weird and it still does though a little more familiar of a feeling. The drums when they build into double bass stay away from getting thrash, though their is an aggressive stomp to it.

"An Observation" darkens things with a descent into a string section. When the band kicks back in it has more punch and proves very effective. The effects on Dorian's work really . The odd section where everything drops out from under the guitar is really different and makes the transition even more powerful than the first. The really weird angular proggy section totally comes unexpectated. The keyboard solo pops out of nowhere. I had to check my iPod and see if it switched bands by mistake. The heavier riff in the last minute is pretty cool as well, I wouldn't call it trash as how the bass amd drum pound at a slower pace behind it.

"This Body thy Tomb" toils out with the ring of another dirge. The lyrics are vaguely interesting even if the song does plod a bit. the song takes a turn for the sentimental before the four minute mark. The harmony guitar solo is a nice touch but not really wowing anyone. The soundscape that follows is hereof and gives them more bang for their buck when they bust back in. They do hang on the riff a bit excessively and don't build it up to really go any where but jam land.

Overall they aren't looking to upset Voi Vod's come back on this one, the doom riffs sound food as does the album as a whole, but these guy have been in the game for sometime so quality product should go with out saying.I will go ahead and give this an 8 because when they hit it they does so in a pretty spectacular manner I don't remember them sounding Thisn good back in the day, so the maturation of age and the willingness to experiment with different sounds plays into their favor here. Who kows which way this one will grow me.

Kvelertak : " Meir"

For an band whose name means chokehold, this album really lets you up for air. The biggest change is in the production, there is a much slicker and less raw sound to this album the guitars don't' hold any more grit than say some one like Kings of Leon. It isn't until the third song that I am really convinced of any aggression. I was even more surprised when I learned Converge's Kurt Ballou produced this, if this album was half as gritty as the last Converge album there would be a big difference, though come to think of it the last Converge wasn't as gritty as they have been so maybe almost as gritty.

"Apenbaring" Or Revelation is to the point almost though there's a cool riff in it nothing has time to develop and transition. The intro riff is cool but by the time the song really kicks in almost two minutes into it the song is over its verse, blast into chorus that's almost a little too MySpace emo then were done , like a half of a song.

"Spring Fra Livet" the guitar tones are so bright and ringing it reminds me of Liturgy.then there's the Kings of Leon type groove they saddle up to. They guitar mix on this song I particular is weird. Over production seems to have brightened the heaviness out at first. While there is tremolo picking this doesn't feel like black metal but rather a really upbeat Sliversun Pickups song that someone came in and screamed over, with a country outro.

"Trepan" is the first heavy song on the album, it's impact is somewhat diminished by the high treble guitar tone, everything needs more bottom to it as its over compressed to the point of sounding like Def Leppard' Hysteria album. Not to say the instruments aren't well played they are and the songs go some interesting places. It's really a guitar players album for the sense of the playing but the tones are so thin, a metal player would have some objections.

Guitar heroic surface on the single " Bruane Brenn". There is no way around the fact this album is way more rock n roll than it is metal. There is even Days of the New sounding acoustic guitar that leads into "Evig Vandrar" which sounds like Jet like boogie with screaming over it. This is a very well written song and the guitar tone begins to improve on this.The more punk sung vocals on the chorus feel like Queens of the Stone Age to me, in their phrasing. I think the fact this album is not sung in English helps diminish this fact. The very free bird like guitar melody in the songs third quarter the tone improves in the lead channel. Like the first album they still throw a lot at you I think the production looses e bulk of the chaos in translation.

"Evig Vandrar" or eternal wanderer starts like the Kenny Wayne Sheppard radio hit. The guitars thicken and hit a bluesier shuffle that resembles the White Stripes on meth. There are some cool harmony guitar parts buried here and there that come up for air. The vocal delivery from their front man remains the same but the backing vocals are more melodic. There are moments where it sounds like he is attempting to scream actual notes making it one of the albums stronger songs.

"Snilepisk" is more akin to stuff from the first album as its briskly paced and punk tinged, the black metal parts seem obligatory rather than the first album where they blended more organically,There is a middle eastern guitar melody which even seems more natural than the blast beat. "Manelyst" or moonlight, pretty straight forward and driven almost to a fault and one of the transitions makes it seem like this was a snag that didn't make the cut for the first album and I think is the only song that was too much same old same old and bored me.

"Nekrokosmos" shines a light little on what the problem with this album as been for me which is e lack of grit on things that might have sounded heavier not played different but produced different. The blast beats feel a little more at home here. I like the breakdown at around the two minute mark it goes into a groove that really redeems the song for me. There are some Mastodon moments here for me , maybe if Mastodon was into black metal and not thin Lizzy and rush but maintained some of the seventies beer rock influences that crept into some of their hooks. The playing I think might have even stepped up a level on this album,I hear evidence of it on this song. I think trying to capture the more Ambiant nature of black metal isn't as effective for them I the mood they create As a whole however it's pulled off on this song.

"Undertro" has some straight up AC/DC moments.Sure there's more chug to it than Angus Young would use.The chords in the bridge have a cool dissonance to them before the Ac/dc moments begin at a minute and a half. There are also elements of this album that remind me of Shining's last album. The bass playing is more straight toward on this album which keeps some of the rumbling momentum at bay. "Tordenbrak" or thunder clap has an almost Bad Company feel to the opening, though I can also hear a little bit of the Who mixed in. The vocals here take on more of a hardcore rasp.the guitar melodies compensate for the low risk vocal arrangements the screaming seems like a default as the vocals are going against the grain of the song. At over eight minutes this song does ramble on a bit and I think the has certainly made a better use of time to throw in more transitions with less playing time . Not that I ned them to be Mr.Bungle or prog it out. midway through this one I don't feel like much is going on and begin to get a little bored. I think a lot of the more rock roll riffs are allowed to almost drone on into a jam is because they know they sound better not being screamed over.

They close with a song named after themselves that feels like highway to hell. It's tight and hooky but just cock rock with the wheel not being redefined as it could also at one point be TNT . I have never liked Ac/dc, their music bored me and sounded like beer commercials or something for a pep rally, but this song in parody is at least better than that. I think where some of the more straight forward filler holds this back from being as good as the first album , the production is what holds the band back from being as explosive as their debut. Though there is some good playing on this album and the song writing is strong more often than not. I like the guitar playing even if the tone is thin at times and thinks the guitarists stepped up there game and these songs would all transition well live. . I think even though this is more of a rock album it still has sharp enough teeth and driven enough to keep it from being too middle of the roads but the changes might be to commercial of a direction for black metal fans who thought the first album was just fun filled black n roll. I'll still give it an 8 despite the cries that shall come of the band selling out which was only done on a production level, the trong moments are strong enough to pick up the slack and once I get use to it not being the first album it will grow on me .

The Last Temptation of Morrissey

So Morrissey cancelled the remaining dates of his North American most of these were rescheduled dates from previous cancellations. It was the third for my city , the first date cancelled because his mother was I'll, the second because he had a bleeding ulcer and now the third for health reasons where the diagnosis has varied depending on the source double pneumonia seems the consensus. At 53 he's not ancient, and considering his healthy lifestyle of the course of the 80s and 90s you wold think he would be more well preserved that his peers who indulged in those years. But oddly enough I feel a sense of relief. Each time I have seen him his voice is a little more weary and I think I want.

Another situation I have mixed emotions about are the rumors David Bowie touring to support his new album the Next Day , a great album but how would 66 year old Bowie hold up on the road? I think when I saw him at 56 on the Reality tour his voice was amazing and he seemd ageless but at 66, it's another story altogether. His voice sounds good on the new album, their are the fragile moments of cobwebs but he was smart in the studio and realized what he could and couldn't do. I recently went back and watched a compilation xfinity had of Bowie's Jools Holland performances and while Bowie was still smoking cigarettes on some footage which would effect his voice, it was pretty impressive how he handled the songs ten years ago, but I am afraid since he hasn't Used his voice on a regular basis, what his capabilities would be. So it's a catch 22, if he did I would get a second job or do whatever I had to do to see him as I have seen every tour since 87, so since I have seen him multiple times and have something to compare the experience to I almost prefer he didn't so it remains intact , all my thoughts of Bowie are maintained on the perfect untainted pedestal on which they sit. I don't care their is an entire generation who hasn't seen him as long as that remains intact. After what version would they be getting? I think Bowie is very conscious of this and hope he keeps making studio albums and retains his integrity and dignity.

Now the fate of Peter Murphy's tour might hang in the balance as he was recently arrested for a DUI in L.A. and the cops found methamphetamine in his car. Which at 55 as you can see below might lead to Murphy looking older than grand pa Munster. But another case where I might want the 97 run of the reunion tour to be the memory I hold dearest in my mind. Murphy has taken cues from Bowie over the years so he could stand for a lesson or two in class, sure I wanted Bauhaus to be dark and drugged when it was age appropriate but the aged rock star on drugs archetype loses its appeal as they lose their hair. Murphy's work is less demandingn vocally then Bowie's so I don't think it would be a question of could he sing it unless he dipped into certain portions of the Bauhaus catalogue. I have sources close to Peter Murphy which have said well its not the whole story. I never think the news tells the whole story. Most rock concerts cancelled because of exhaustion is a industry code for going to rehab and last minute illnesses are often hangovers gone wrong or other chemical mishaps. At the same time when I was doing drugs, my family was never like oh yeah Will left an empty Baggie in the car again, Becuase they wanted to remain I the dark about my problems. So we are going off the facts presented here, does he look like shit? Yes , so it's easy to assume he looks that way because of drugs rather than he has just let himself go.

So Morrisey, please stay at home get your shit together and give Johnny Marr a call before he reunites The The instead.I will write off the cancellations as you being a diva . I can take that even if I don't under stand why you have these problems since you were a vegan and straight edge and all that in the eighties it's not like you were David Lee Roth. Diamond Dave hav eating at Jack In the Box while you were eating tofu and he is strutting round like Some ones embarrassing dad just fine. I know you don't have management or a label deal and record labels are ting to pressure you about the Smiths thing. I feel the same way about the Smiths though don't think I don't , if you can't sing the songs please don't let me remember how you sang them on the solo tours I saw.

Metal heads don't think you are out of the woods on this in fact you are next, how much lower of a key can Sabbath move the songs into? King Diamond sounded pretty fucking good at Hell Fest but how much longer can he pull it off. Preist has bowed out before embarrassing themselves , now to keep them off American Idol. Next up the first waves of des and black metal will be hitting the golden years, Tom Warrior hasn't held up as well as Cronos but neither of them has anything demanding to do. How will the growl age? Glen Benton pulled it off but will he for the next ten years or are we going to start seeing those retirement tours in the next five years.

Some one asked why kick Peter Murphy when he's down? Why not just hope Moz gets to feeling better? In th case of Murphy if I am getting ready to shell out the bucks to see you then I'm sure how you think you are going to be able to give me my money's woth if you aren't taking care of your instrument , last time I checked alcohol isnt known for keeping the vocals chords hydrated and meth doesn't allow for the type of rest and recovery a singer needs on the road as for Morrissey let's do it with some style and class, let's maintains your legacy because as sad as it is one days that's all I will be left with.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Intronaut : Habitual Levitations

Intronaut now occupies a rather middle of the road position as the shift into prog rock, not unlike other bands which were once considered metal like Mastodon, Opeth , Tool and Neurosis, who are now all hard rock as the climate changes and what it means to be heavy elevates. It's hard to keep up, you'll never win at the who's the heaviest race,Becuase for every Batilus album that comes out something LikeThe Nails is meaner and beats your face with low tones swinging at you with more anger than the first guy . It's kind of like the old say you hear people tell bullies that there's always some one bigger and badder out there than you. So if you are a bully you can take this two different ways you can either go looking for that bigger badder guy under the idea the food chain might end with you or you can give up on that all together and chill out , smoke a joint and read a book. This California band did the latter.

One thing that can be said of thinking in Los Angeles is its easy to get caught up in the hustle and the marketing mentality, so even if you aren't thinking " Hey I'm going to go sell out" you are round so much pitching and sales outruns off like the pitch for this could have been "o.k we are taking the grit tht got Mastodon big and combine with Opeth's mellowed out jams and throw a little Tool in..." sounds like a plan they could play Bonneroo.

The album opens with some mid tempo stacatto what could now be described as post-metal riffing and then wanders into more melodic Toolish territory the vocals remind me of Porcupine tree or Isis' better vocal moments. The bass and drums are more adept than the guitar. Some of the patterns might even appeal to fans of djent though they don't have the slick mall metal sound. The guitar goes into a very Adam Jones sonic solo as the drums are coming around the kit in very Danny Carey rolls. It's not a bad song and would have a cool feel to it'd the influences don't glare of almost plagiarism. The last minute and a half the seem to find their own personality .

"The Welding" rougher edges , gruff ear vocals still sung more along the lines of Mastodon. Has more of an indie math rock feel. I can also here some Helmet mixed in, however this sounds more original than the first song, the hints of say Mastodon are I the back ground melodies in the guitar and the vocal the vocal harmonies are arranged. I Like drift of the melodic jam in the songs middle section, it sounds original. "Steps" they begin to take a darker and heavier turn but it has a blatant Meshuggah feel, melodic vocal redeem it, as I often wish Meshuggah had them as their vocalist bores me . Though when they branch out from this the song loses form. The melodic vocals while tuneful keep a very neutral indie metal midrange , the kind where they are like Justin Broadrick and dont want it to seem like they are trying to hard to sing and float in a lazy haze over the music.

By this point I can appreciate while the guitarist is no shredder he knows his way around his pedal board and is more interested in making soundscapes. On songs like " Sore sight for eyes" the guitars coil around tight Tool like patterns, but neve reach a chug or gallop to convince me this is heavy music. The Meshuggah mimicry are the only heavy moments. When Sore sight goes into the space jams midway and then creconvene for some rocking it soundalike they have found themselves.

"Milk Leg" starts off with the off time flirtation with djent, but keeps the post hardcore second clothing feel.
The bass is pretty impressive on the song and I suppose some listener who aren't prog mind could find it overindulgent at times but regular readers know one of my favorite bands is King Crimson so I have a pretty high threshold for this sort of thing. Saying this song has some heavier points would mean heavier than there normal post rock prog, it's mainly just accents. In the last two two and a half minutes the Tool thing gets a taste of what I think these guys are about and morphs into something their own. The trend on this album is cool parts but not songs.

"Harmonomicon" well...I don't think they are capable of making anything dark enough to wink at the Necronomicon, some take a fleeting issue with that. This is in Jesu like territory with Tool ish accents. I know at the. Heart of any band is a soup of influence you hope comes out tasting like something new, the key is throwing in peanut utter smothered is something that doesn't just blend in with the other ingredients and these guys are pulling for to close of zip codes. This but be the codex for the bland as the song really only invokes sleep, I think if I still smoked pot I might appreciate it more and this album As a whole.

At last a children of the grave type chug comes out, though it could be by way of a more modems source and goes all Tool on us again. The tribal nature of the drums are from the jungles of Los Angeles. The Troy Sandersgruffness of the vocals, we know can be traced to other sources as Mastodon aren't terribly original in and of themselves but have a smart sense of hook that this album tends to lack. I remember hearing more Opeth on my initial listens and hear less of that now a few times through this one. I think on some of the songs where the fat could be trimmed if some of the name that band game wascut out and we took all the parts that sound likethey are being authentically them we might be onto something.

From the first minute of "Blood from a Stone" I think if this kicks in then it means the power ballad is not dead. Bit instead. They just get touchy feely for three minutes , doesn't sound bad but more like a middle section to another song rather than a standalone piece or an intro for the following song but intro it's naut.

"The Way Down" the effects are heavy almost Pink Floyd, which I can respect ripping off Floyd much more than say Mastodon. The attempt to get heavy arises but it's almost like some guy bragging out benching two hundred pounds unless you are twelve it's not much are into lifting. If you are into metal then this is not that heavy either and boring more often than not. I'll give it a 5.5 there's some great playing but every other riff while not a direct rip off is colored by their influences too closely for me get into it , if you just like great playing and are o.k with middle of the road stuff round it up a point. I don't see the rather bland middle path holding much ground on my ipod despite the few melodies which caught my ear and stellar bass work.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thrawsunblat: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings

From the ashes of Woods of Ypres former members have put together some really convincing blackened folk metal, that for a Canadian export has a surprising European feel to it. After the piano intro of the first song blasts off into the great northern wild with epic galloping harmonies and then revisits the opening theme with almost an Arcturus like swing to it. There is a blend of clean vocals and harsher one that will satisfy most and make this a must for fans of the late David Gold.

Tracks like "Once Fireveined" have a more mournful quality to them, with clean vocals handled really well on the chorus and the growls aren't shabby either , the playing all the way around on this one is pretty mean but still grounded very much in melody, so with this being the case fans of the droney blast mc nasty side of black metal might find it to hold too much of the power metal elements that folk metal tends to embrace. I would put this on the more Moonsorrow end of the black metal spectrum, if you need to throw a black tag on this which seems to be contagious these days.

"We the Torchbearers" starts of slow but is not dark enough to fall under what I consider doom before it sweeps you up into the great gallop. It breaks down into a whispery accapella section and charges off likes warning that winter is coming. Of all the clean vocal melodies that wander into this song the one in the last minute works the best.

There are some acoustic moments that are straight up folk like "Goose River" , which while I keep a twenty dice nearby at all time is a little too Renn Fest for me, but it's executed in a genuine fashion and well played but I normally just go straight for the Jethro Tull, even though the melody was starting to grow on me.

"Bones in the Undertow" helps keep it from being to jarring transition back into the meat of the metal to the album, and think its effective as it doesn't jig around the campfire too long. Some times the vocals remind me more of Tyr than Woods of Ypres, they are normally baritone and don't drop down into the lower Type O negative register. I like the fact that in songs like this one where the folk elements are present it still maintains some darker grit. The fact the clean vocals aren't alway waaaay forward in the mix helps too.

The tile track returns to the big epic gallop and duelling clean/harsh vocals. The chorus soars in with a major transition which is interesting and the song doesn't switch it up until three minutes in with a break down that leads into the solo section. Thrawsunblat's strong point is the attention to detail in the songwriting. "Maritime Shores" falls back into the folk. The influence of David Gold's ghost haunts them when they go into this sorta of thing as it keeps them from sounding too much like minstrel. I do think fans of folk metal will dig these guys...and gal. I am going to avoid telling you what she plays and let you find out on your own as I think you will find it surprising and it's one of those things where just listening gender wouldn't color your judgement as she is as competent at her craft than male counterparts in this genre.

"View of a Million Trees" is more straightforward than most of the songs up to this point , there's a little jig to riffs and the cleans float more at the edges than taking the spotlight. The riffing towards the end takes a more commanding chug which caught my ear. "Borea" starts off looking to be the albums heaviest song and transitions into to more melodic territory which is not to faulted as it makes the song much more interesting and I like the fact they got more blasty on the solo section. The cleans vocals are most effective here where they color the corners of the song and provide texture. There's a really tasteful use of double bass at the end.

"Elegy Across the Silence" is an instrumental organ interlude that feels more like the intro to the following song than a stand along piece. "Song of the Nihilist" has my favorite intro on this album. There's a great balance of the folk and the metal elements on this even though the folk vocals sound like they are being sung by someone who has had too much mead in the pitch department , but this must be for effect. The dark syncopation is pretty much what sold me on this one. The song gets back on the horse to gallop off into the sunset, the clean vocals remind me more of Agalloch here. The album closer gets more medieval on that ass, the chug around the bridge I like as it has a more Dissection attack to it, whose influence I can hear with the stacatto riffs and there is a similar rasp to the vocals. But who can be faulted by being influenced by those guys and like Woods of Ypres they aren't putting out any albums any time soon so I'll take the breadcrumbs. The guitar solos I'm no wowed by but they work well for where they placed through out the album.

Overall I can see this album surviving for some time on my iPod and growing on me much like the last Khors album.
The folk is darker than most thanks to the impression their former band mate left, overall I like the dynamics and how they switch it up and I think that Khors album was the last folk infused album I can remember liking, I did pull an twelve hour Lord of the Rings marathon last week and found the experience to be very metal, while the black metal elements that are on this album are more along the lines of "Storm of the lights bane" era Dissection it's more foly than black metal but superior to the cheese of an Eluvietie so it made a good first impression on me due to songwriting and creative use of clean vocals so I'll go ahead and round this up to a 9 which up in this camp says something.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Weekly Shuffle

Here's where I hit Shuffle on my iPod and review the first ten songs that pop up

"Shelia Take a Bow" by the Smiths, o.k the Lalas I have always found pretty silly , but like the flaming waltz on this and Moz's vocals sound great, like a very regal sashay , even if Johnny Marr was just sitting back on this one.

"the Conductor ( the Thin White Duke Remix) by the Faint, This is off the Danse Macabre remix album. Not sure what they think it has todo with David Bowie to be subtitled in such a way. Danse Macabre is my favorite album by the Omaha electro rock band as its their darkest. This has more of a gay house feel to it even without the Gloria Gaynor on it. But i suppose for dancing nonsense this is as good as anything perhaps better when you factor in the source material.

"Bye, Bye, Missy" by King Diamond one of the strongest songs off Them which I consider second only to Abigail when it comes to his solo stuff, though Mikkey Deewho now wastes his talents on Motörhead is really on fucking point on this album, thought he drum mix seems more sedate as the album goes on, this has a great guitar solo on it maybe the Heston the album. I like the riff before " I saw Missy struggling in Grandmas wrinkled hands." that tea made grandma pretty strong .

"Subterranean Inittiation" by Wolves in the Throne Room...some Epic woodsy hippie black metal from the Celestial Lineage album, this is one of the bands shorter songs at seven minutes and why they have not occupied more of a foothold on my iPod as their songs tend to be sprawling, though I always enjoy them when I hear them.i think they really have avoid grasp on the sonic element and though some might view them as hipster metal, I think they have enough Lord of the Rings to their sound to be for real even if they are into nature like Agalloch.

"Our work was Good" by Chelsea Wolfe, Well if you don't know how I feel about Chelsea Wolfe then you must have just started reading this blog. Unknown rooms took its time growing on means then this song took even more but I like the delicate interplay of piano and how her whispery vocals drift like the Cocteau twins in the background.

"Two Hearts " by Chris Isaak...He is dreamy...I mean has a great voice. Without Chris Isaak I could have not gotten over Roy Orbsion dying . He has on of the best falsetto registers outside of metal and despite this being tainted by occupying the trailer of too many rom comedies.

"Trajedy " by Christian Death, I have grown less opposed to Valor and the Sex Drugs and Jesus Christ album has become an argument in his favor. He's no Rozz Williams but Rozz is so goth he's dead. This isn't the best song on the album but it's still good and points out the fact that when they developed more of a cure sound they lost some of the punk edge but life's rough when you are drugs in L.A.

"I am the Future" by Alice Cooper, I love his new wave days. They occupy the same place in my heart that I hold for Vegas Elvis, Disco Kiss and Hair Metal Celtic Frost. The songs in all cases even Cold lake have a unique out of their comfort zone feel to them and work despite the bands missteps. For some reason metal snobs take less offense with Alice Cooper's phase and it is better than his cock rock Trash period.

"I am the Black Wizards" by Emperor, Most black metal bands from this era created more of a sonic drone from the storm of blast beats and the minimalist element of ambiance while Emperor let the chaos create an avalanche. Their wall of sound was more grandiose like the soundtrack to victorian horror movie.The keyboards with these guys always sit in the right place and Ihsahn's real singing voices rivals his growl, though he does have one of the best hateful raps in black metal.

"We Prick You" by David Bowie, I think " Outside" is an underrate album and Bowie's darkest. This song really defies for with the tell the truth vocal line holding it together almost like cyborg jazz for blade runner.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Horna: "Askel Lahempana Saatanaa"

The Finnish black metal band features members of Behexen and Sargeist formed in 93 as Shadowed and while they have a slew of splits and. this is their eighth studio album. Held in high regard on many a metal message board, these guys have few bells and whistles and play pretty raw straightforward black metal. Most of the songs ur together for me so in breaking it down to look at by a track by track basis will be a little weird. It opens with the title track which is at a more Burzum pace, the lo if drum sound paints it into that sort of corner, the vocals are angry but one dimensional and the guitar panned hard and fuzzy on either side. It doesn't take them long to run into some big sloppy blast beats and drunken battle moans. I like the momentum it gains as one of the guitars picks the chords out little more melodically. The more bestial the howl the more variance the vocal haven leeks of scathing intensity, some times they sound like a Neanderthal who is making a complaint to the suicide hotline. Do they play this with conviction that I am convinced of...yes are they breaking any new ground

Their is that classic black metal drone to the ambiance of the feedback in the way the guitars ring out and this is what lulls me into multiple listens. Sure "Kunmi Herralle, Kuninkaalle" sounds like a temper tantrum in motion. The riff a minute in hits a trashy sweet spot for me. The temper tantrum is tempered with a little groove to head band to where the same emotion allowed to run rampant on the next song sounds like a method out cookie monster trying to explain something during an anxiety attack. There are traces of death metal in their sound whether they like it or not mainly on the very straight snare patterns and the more a typical blast default settings. The drums do have a bit of thunder here and there.

"Yhdeksas Portti" begins to sound like the song before it and in side the blasts I hear the life expectancy of this album dismiss as I try to find what is separating this songs aside from a riff here and there a Knute and a half in. The vocals become more one dimensional as this album continues on and I find my self realizes this only on the fourth song. It makes me wonder if I'm asking too much and why these guys are held I such high regard and what does this say of the people who hold them there.

The riffs at the beginning of "Ei Aikaa Kyyneleille" could be more boring and repitious if they tried , the riffs are sinking in the production as the guitar looks for the openings as the drums gives them with the base lost somewhere on the mixing board. There are riff here and their but lone riffs doesn't makes a song . They just make a riff which is only as good as what it is connected to.

The ugh and the punch of the bass before it disappears are the only thing that separates "Karsimyksin Vuoltu" for. The other songs. It loses it blackness to blandness, the tremolo parts touch on a few wood notes here and there. Theres the feeling you are rolling through waves on the Baltic ocean and stumbling drunkenly across a battle feil. It those moments only come when the songs one cool part surfaces.

"Aamutahden Pyhimys" Is more straight ahead blasting I have heard a thousand times and unless.ayerdwith something intresting or transitioning into some intresting ns become boring to me when just left it it's own devices, I guess this is where the connect. Etween black metal and punk kids lies, we like boring repetitive fast playing which requires. I songwriting and little musicianship. The gods forbid it would be something you would have to think about.

The album closes with " Pala Tai Palvele" and "Ota Omaksei, Luoksesi" the song are pretty interchangeable and tread indentical ground fast blast tremolo pick , the latter goes into a little more of a gallop but. Itching to broaden their range any more than. A half step here and there.

I'm not the biggest fan of modern bands coming across raw and unproduced , though Cultes Des Ghoules certainly pulled it off well and when I have them in my iPod there isn't really room in my iPod to clutter it up with this sort of thing, so I'll give this album a four as its good white noise in the background and I guess a riff that stands out here and there is good enough for some people.

Cultes Des Ghoules : Henbane

This Polish black metal band formed in 2004 so they have had almost a decade to refine their cvltishly unpolished sound, which despite its roughed edges hooks you in and grows on you over time. the Attila like vocals groan and croak their way into your dark heart. " Idylls of the Chosen Damned" has subtle hooks and murky punches that make the 11 minutes breeze by. Its one of those albums I can just let play on repeat over and over, it part due to the drone that creeps in. The riff at the five and a half minute mark really kills it and they don't over do it with the 24-7blast beats instead they are employed in bursts. The rough production isn't quite they Necro sound though it does give the overall feel of mid period Mayhem or Darkthrone so Cvlt enough in the right places.

the songs are sewn together with varied horror movie samples " the Passion of a Sorceress" has more of an old school Celtic Frost lumber to it. Another ten minute drone opus, dramatic dialogue floats in on top, in a why reminding me of La Sexcisto, sorry if a White Zombie reference isnt cult enough but i think the effect is the same and if you think back that was a fun album in its day. The bass being discernible contributes to giving it a more retro almost Venom sound at times, and the vocal delivery reminds me of Cronos as well in places. The double bass builds up to a Slayer like fury two and a half minutes in. The drummer more than gets the job done through out this album and is one of the stronger elements of this unit, some of his cymbal work is a little on the Iron Maiden side but no complaints there. There is a lot of groove to this album , the riffs come together into it with a natural flow out of the more frantic paced builds. There are some weird maybe keyboard layers that float around behind the howling before the single note guitar section in the last four minutes. I like the fact I'm always notching little nuances with each listen.

" Vintage Black Majick" ambles with clean guitar and explodes out into a dramatic drum entrance, with keyboards bridging the feel to transition against a tremolo picked section that floats in on a cloud of re verb. Dynamically this is the strongest song as there is the simmering clean guitar which is croaked over and then the more Merciful Fate feeling power chord section where the chanted clean spoken part comes in, with spaghetti western undertones underlying the space left in the verses. Six minutes in before the song build its sounds like King Diamond is having a mental breakdown and the Nazis are creeping into take over as it darkens into something that I had to see if I hit my iPod and it switched over to Laibach or a heavy Pyschic Tv song I had some how missed out on. The lyrics are Satan gibberish, which I'm all in favor of I just catch a lyric here and there so probably just need to sit down with them in front of me, because even with all the theatrics in presentation they might be serious and the pageantry is part of a sonic ritual.

"festival of Devotion" starts off with a crunch That picks up where the previous song left off instead of the sample interlude they seem to favor. It feels a little Darkthrone's mid period transition into black n roll. After the opening groove have noticed become more blast heavy and defaulting into the more a typical black metal sound. The really like the punches in the riff at the three and a half minute mark which has a solid groove to it, at one point it reminded me of "Total Funeral" by Watain.

The closing "The Devil Intimate" opens with delicate guitar in the first minute before launching I to the more Bathory like riff. Where the last Darkthrone album took winks at the camera with the more vintage black etal stylings they are more integrated here but not hidden. it descends into a dirge like rumble that build back up into a midpaced shuffle. Here they don't let the riff drag and there are more dynamic peaks and valleys similar the approach of The vintage black magic song just a heavier delivery from the guitars and more doomy trappings. The guitars don't reinvent the wheel and revisit rather straightforward terriroth at time, but they are good at establishing groove amd sometimes happen on intresting sounds, I think the elements work stronger as a whole In their regard.

Overall this is an album I can just leave on, I think the more scrutiny in which it is placed, it hold up but the rough edge appear rougher, primarily in regards to the guitar and how some of the riff can be allowed to drag on. They are long epic pieces and sometimes more justifying of their length than others. But on some level every song has something that peaks my Intrest as the ore experimental elements wane songs like Vintage black Majick balance the album out as a whole so I'll anticipate this one growing on me and give it an 8.5 for now and see how it holds up by time , if I'm still listening to it by the end of the year then we will round it up to a nine the places where it drags could dampen my now fanatical listening.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pissed Jeans ;" Honeys"

O.k don't worry I downloaded a shit ton of new Metal to hit up this week so we will be getting back to real metal here soon enough, I do think thes guys will appeal to metal head as they have a dirty sludge ruckus to their sound and are heavy more often than not and this for what I have heard so far is more than likely going to whet the appetite created by what Kvelertak's newest might fail to deliever just with out the blues fetish.

Pissed Jeans hails from Allentown Penn, not what you would consider to be the hot bed for punk rock in fact I would think the bue collar city would be more partial to Bruce Springsteen and John Cougarmallcamp, but the hard working non sense approach this band takes heeds the call of what I ask for From punk this is what I want , in some ways this album reminds me of Rollins band End of Silence if recorded by angry misanthropic drunks . Sure it might not be the definition of pure punk and it had dirty metal leanings like the Jesus Lizard influence dripping from the sludge fest that is "Chain worker" , but there are lots of tight in and out gang bangs from these guys that are a mix of Black Flag and Fear to offset the metal in some of the delivery which is some of the tight playing and error detail that is not found in punk.

The fuzzed bass that rumbles up from the albums opener "Bathroom Laughter" takes the wheel like Motörhead driving Fear off of a cliff. I think its moments like these bring us back to what i mentioned are these are the sort of riff fans might embrace this in the same way they embraced Kvelertak and from what I have heard in rumblings online about their new album Pissed Jeans might be taking their place as the punk influenced bands for the modern Hesher. For some reason the Vocal delivery on this one reminds me of a faster version of D.I's "Richard Hung Himself".

"Chain Worker" is similar in feel to listening to Lard while drinking on pills. There is no question these guys have just as many Melvin's albums as they do Black Flag. The rant over these tortured chords is some type of social statement as are the he bulk if not all of the albums lyrics. The inner Rollins comes on strong in "Romanticize me" it's snarly scorned middle finger that runs a title over two minutes. The songs are certainly punk in the short and too the point punch lines. The vocal delivery is more Black Flag on " Vain in Costume". The bass player is certainly getting the job done and then some which is another factor that gives this the same kind of Sinew found on the first couple Rollins band albums in the nineties. Which after listening to this album I find myself tempted to go back and revisit just to see how they have held over time.

I think the playing is so competent it keeps this album for ever really reaching true punk . Not that there's anything wrong with this akin fact I prefer it as what passes as real punk tends be pretty poorly executed musically. "You're Different in Person" snarls into amd swell out of an angular riff which reminds me a little of Mudhoney and the ghosts of the nineties keep haunting the chapel here as I hear Butthole Surfers in the song " Cafeteria Food" which has very deadpan almost sung vocals narrating a social commentary .

The Rollins tribute continues on "Male Gaze" the guitar is pretty competent here's is sways like a drunken ballet around the tag team assault of the bass and drums. The vocals take on such a Rollins like tone, it not only is imitation is the sincere flattery here but is a distraction until he goes into more of the spoken vocals tht have a little more apathy in them than Hank would tolerate. The punkier side returns on "Cathouse" a very straightforward song with almost a rock n roll shimmy to it.

"Loubs" has an almost southern lumber to it and the vocals go in more of a Gabby Haynes direction, as they are more than shouted in the beefy manner they are delievered most of the time, the boogie that sets in get even to the Queens of the Stonage neighborhood. "Health Plan" hammers Obama care with the chant " you wanna know my secret/ I stay away from doctors" the message deliever with conviction enough to sell me on the song. " Teenage Age Adult" wrapps things up with a sludgey rumble on the Rollins rant we have gotten earlier on the album, though the more I listen to this song the more I can hear old Corrosion of Conformity in it. I'll go ahead and give this album and eight if you love nineties post hardcore then round it up, not that I don't I think the influences are just worn so brazenly on their sleeves it makes me want to go to the source material , but it's an album that I can listen to with little effort repeatedly and would recommend to my punk friends.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

David Bowie "The Stars Are Out Tonight"

Bowie is no stranger to the cinematic, it's almost second nature to him so when he makes a video it's going to be done right. His newest and first for his new album Next Day is almost David Lynch in tone and co stars Tilda Swinton, who of course has had her likeness to the godfather of rock androgyny brought up countless times. They portray and older couple reflecting on their youthful present throught the voyeuristic world of pop stars and head trips ensue. If you are sold on the new Bowie yet this video presents a convincing case for it.

Your Guide to South x Southwest

For all the plethora of bands going to be there the majority are going to be the same run of the mill limp dick inside rock Paste magazine pimps, and the few that actually rock are far and few between as you see even when the better acts do play they are clustered in the same time frames in spread out venues across the event,however some of these artists are playing multiple times through out the course of the weekend to solve some but not all of these conflicts. so I'm going to help you make the tough choice, aside for Death Grips I am just focusing on rock as while it's cool Master P is still making them say ugh, rap boils down to bad karaoke live .

Tuesday...noise is being made but none of it worth a ring of the ears so just make sure you are there by 7:45 weds for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds who are playing Stubbs, if I have to give you a description of Nick Cave just go back to huffing glue to Five Finger Death Punch and ingore the rest of this post.

Merchandise is at Viceland at 9:00 p.m and oddly booked at the same time Murder by Death is playing the next night so if you find yourself choosing between Merchandise fuzzed out effected homage to the glum eighties or Murder By Death's dark and boozy Americana punk which get thrown down at the Continental club, you might want to have proximity help you in this decision.

Pinkish Black brings there heavy murk of drone doom throb to to the six lounge at 9:30

Thurs the 14th

Pissed Jeans displays what a marriage between the Rollins band and The Jesus Lizard might sound like at the 1100 Warehouse at 9:20

Then round out the night at the dirty dog bar where Royal Thunder brings their retro blues vest rock to the stage at 10:35 and Goatwhore rips into their set at 12:40, their last album was good for what it was but a little repetitive but they would still be fun live and there's nothing else worth a half a shit going on,

Fri the 15th

Today is the Day brings their crazed punk metal to red 7 at 10:3o

Then the next Murder by Death vs Merchandise conflict arises at 11:00 Murder by Death is at the 1100 Warehouse and 11:15 is at Mohawk out door.

One thing to consider is the little outdoor stages tend to sound like shit so catching Merchandise the night before and Murder By Death this night is your smartest bet.

Destruction Unit who I just reviewed plays Hotel Vegas at 11:20 so if you need a proximity default they would be worth catching. Some of the clubs can get too packed as well so something else to keep in mind.

Sat the 16th

8:55 on the patio of Red 7 blackened sludgsters Inter Arma and five mins later Merchandise does on inside
But Pinkish Black is playing then at North Door at the same time to really boils down to who you have already caught

The north door is a good place to hang this night as the much Hyped Thrashers Mutilation Rites also plays at North door at 11:00 followed by Pallbearer at 1:00 who is bound to have better sound than they got at the earl last week.

Other points of Intrest would be A Place to Bury Strangers at Brazos Hall 12:45 and Death Grips at 11:45 at 1100 Warehouse, I got turne off by their rushed follow up to money store which was a middle finger to the major label and just not much thought invested.

If I was going to rank these acts as the must sees it would be as follows

1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
2. Pinkish Black
3. Merchandise
4. Murder by Death
5. Pallbearer
6. Inter Arma
7. Pissed Jeans
8. Destruction Unit
9. A Place to Bury Strangers
10. Royal Thunder

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Destruction Unit : "Void"

This is far from the Arizona band's first rodeo as they have been around for ten years now and banging out synth punk before the kids with mustaches got ahold of it and to be honest those same where sporting angular bangs and intending to a bunch of MySpace emo at the time Ryan Rousseau was banging around with Jay Retard, and now the synths are buried amid the rest of the feedback as the band is now less what is being call Krautrock and more punk than not, though they fire out swinging with noisy out burst holding more in common with the Mc5 than what kids at the Warp Tour consider punk rock. the sprawling swirl of unitedly distortion comes straight at you from the opener "Evil Man" that falls some where in the feedback like if Thurston Moore had laced the bong with pcp in the early days of Sonic Youth...think pre-Day Dream Nation.

the cavernous croon on "Blame" keeps this from falling into the cut and paste garage affair and puts the band in a zip code close to A Place To Bury Strangers, though their restraint gives way to the predictable caterwauling. The tone still remains fairly dark so goths who like the explosive elements of songs like "The Passion of Lovers" would still be able to bat away cowbells in the club to this.

Of the albums six songs one of them "Drug Lore " is less of a somg and more of an interlude of feed back and noise , scratching at strings and other almost ritualistic sounds as if the drug gods of punk are being invoked. So when it get to my little scoring calculations I'm not factoring it in to the formula.

On the driving "Great Wall" I like the punch where it kicks back in from the vocals and admire the guitarist ability to fill the space with noise and allow the bass some breathing room to the song down the dark winding highway. By the time it gets to the raunchy stomp of "Exterminate" I've decided these guys are sardonic enough for me, this one has a lot of punch to it, more aggressive than death rock but darker than punk they remind me of when the two genres where more merged and bands like T.S.O.l and the Dammned held the middle ground appealing to both genres. The difference here is the Halloween elements in the feel of goth are not present instead it's more of a murky dark created by the labyrinth of feedback.

For all the scruffy edges there is still a dark depth to "Smoke Dreams" it rolls through a subterranean wasteland in a rambling jam, where the feedback takes the spotlight, it's an odd premise for an instrumental almost like surf rock For the lower level of Mordor. I think more open minded metal kids cold get into the drive this has though it never touches on metal itself. As a whole I think this album serves as a fine advertisement for the bands live show which I can imagine from hearing this is an excercise in ringing ears and fevered clamouring. They happen to currently be touring with one of my favorite new bands Merchandise, who I have yet to review on here unless they happen to pop up in a weekly shuffle, so I'm looking forward to ruining some more of my hearing and wished Iceage was filling the throu slot rather than Milk Money but those are the breaks. While the instrumental is good for the back ground an dim sure lends itself to an interesting jam live on album it's not my thing as when it comes to instrumental you either have to be Mogwai or King Crimson to keep me listening but the other songs are solid and I was pleasantly surprised at how dark they were so I'll give this one an 8 and see how it grows on me.

Monday, March 4, 2013

David Bowie " The Next Day"

Well it's been worth the wait I had resigned myself that Reality was going to be his last studio album, so this was a surprise. The single I wasn't really wowed with and after listening to the album it seems like an even odder choice taking the other songs into consideration, but this David Bowie so who am I to call his marketing choices into question. One thing that is clear on this album and it supports something I have said before that when your favorite singer starts getting over the hill and you find yourself making excuses about their voice then it's time to listen to this album because it's clear cut as to why even to this day Bowie is one of the best Rock singers that ever was. Their at times is an aged delicacy to his voice , particularly when he goes into a voice that imitates the tenor of his youth and I would prefer him to use the more resonate baritone he uses on the "Lets Dance" which served as my entry point for him in the eighties , and he does pull it out to satisfy and over all his singing is superlative , despite not being active for almost a decade he knows where his voice is supposed to go and at 66 is aware of which strengths he needs to play up.

Production wise the album sounds pretty flawless, credit here goes to long time Bowie Producer Tony Visconti, who goes all the way back to "Space Oddity" and up to the 2003 "Reality" and as well as the Bowie album I think the bears the closest resemblance to "Scary Monsters". but this is not to say while it covers more ground stylistically its too far removed from "Reality" as it features retreads from the Heathen/reality era such as guitarists Earl Slick, Gerry Leonard and David Torn. As well the rythymn section of Gail Ann Dorsey and B52's drummer Zachary Alford.

The album kicks off with the manic tension of like a Joe the Lion, Bowie uses his lower more stacatto delivery with the pace picking up into a more almost Tin Machine feel, it's clear former Tori Amos session guitarist David Torn is filling the void left by Reeves Gabrels as he forms soundscapes out of elastic feedback.

There a Morphine like swagger to "Dirty Boys" another one that holds more in common with "I Can't Read" from the Tin Machine days. The guitars have that hollow metallic ring to them , yet here are juxtaposed by the warmer sax ound, the accent are rather " Fame " at time so it draws from all my favorite Bowie colors.

"The Stars are out Tonight" which is guess is the first official video for this album and I'll post it up here later. The song has the more post eighties Bowie feel. His voice sounds youthful and unhmapered by a decade of unuse. This is what I expect from for him the guitar lays back giving blues licks to the edges. It's smoothly crafted and Visconti really has an ear for detail even on a more straightforward Wong like this giving it a flawless sound.

You might forget unless reminded by the keyboards to "Love is Lost " that goth would not exist without Bowie. The drone of the bass and the keyboard darken it up, it makes me wish he had put this out when Iwas doing drugs as the lyrics would have been the perfect description of how I felt and perhaps Bowie is reflecting on his own Sodom and Gammorah he created back in Berlin. There's some interesting electronic accents added to the drums. So far these are my favorite lyrics on the albu,and I love the way the back ground vocals add to the subtle build, Peter Murphy step aside this is how it's done.

the languid lounge of " Where are we now" sounds like it was written on a rainy morning by an introspective Bowie sipping tea in his pajama's, a contrast from an album like Heroes which sounds like it was written in the back of a Limo in between lines of Coke.But this reflective ballad which underwhelmed me on the first listen, has now grown on me and i appreciate some of the subtle layers, there will be a morning where this is going to be the perfect soundtrack and this album reminds me how Bowie has provided the soundtrack to my life, he has been lthere for me often when I was too isolated within myself to interact with the real world and has had a comforting croon to substitute for a parent who always knew the right thing to say. I guess thats why I sometimes dont like to hear the delicacy of age that shadows his voice on a song like this is because I don't want to think of Bowie's mortality. I've lost enough people in my life and losing him would pull the emotional safety net out for under me , even in the last decade where all I have had is his body of work to live off of and well...Morrissey.

Another straight forward and fairly simplistic pop tune with coat of lo if grime on it " Valentine's Day " still works surprisingly well. Its on the happier side of what is an otherwise darker album than anything we have heard fromBowie since "Outside", the gears switch into almost prog on " If you can See Me" but with King Crimson bassist Tony Levi in the studio you can get as prog as you want. This song is experimental even for Bowie, it still holds his sound well but Icant pin it to any specific era. Regardless it's a great song.

It is strange for Bowieto look backward with the rather retro psychedelia of "I'd Rather Be High". Sure I have always know he was influenced by the Beatles and Stones and more than likely smoked more than his fair share of pot during that time period. In some ways there sn anti war undercurrent to this, which I have never though of Bowie as a passifist not that his music even in its harder moments aside from Under the God on the first Tin machine has a violent vibe, but I never took him for a hippy either one of the few songs that is still growing on me but all the sounds are there.

"the Boss of me " has different swagger to it than " Dirty Boys" it's not in as dark of an alley. The bridge out of the chorus pretty much wins me over on this one. With age I think the more sensual nature to what he does isn't thereof this was on " Young Americans" it would drip of sex and have more of a s&m undercurrent, here it kind Adele odd, but works in an asexual contemplation.

" Dancing Out in Space" kinda feels like its from the "Heathen" sessions , I like the vocals melodies here the weird rubbery guitar in the back ground is weird against the bass holding it down solidly like this is "Lust for Life"The chorus to how does the grass grow sounds like it was written to be a duet with the Muppets. but overall this songs doesn't sound like it would have been out of place on Scary Monsters and even all it's yayayas get stuck in my head and there's some great guitar work on this. In the last minute and a half what I think of as the classic Bowie baritone croon come out and like I told some one yesterday during initial listens I don't care what he does with his voices just wan to know he pulls it out as some point to prove to me he can still do it.

Wow , "Set the World on Fire" gets pretty heavy...not metal but on par with say Queens of the Stone Age , until the chorus. His voice is where I want it and I'm getting heavy guitar...check please I'm sold. When I listen to "You feel so Lonely You Could die " I know that in some hummus filled European hotel room Morrissey is listening to the same song and feels the same ways do about it. Bowie knows how to do a ballad. It still has the same swoon inducing majesty. I am at peace with knowing he's not going to tour again and I saw the last go around for him, ok I saw saw several times from 87 to 04 but I'm good with here these songs right as they are recorded.

The album closes with " Heat" it hangs on the simmer of bass as his voice creep over it .this feels like his only wink into the Nine inch Nails days of the mid nineties, I love Outside so I'm fine with that. This song is a slow crooned dark pondering, I. Not sure what prison or father he is referring to here I'll just assume it's all metaphor this is an interesting not to go out on but not sure where else it would have fit on the album so it's a very introspective goodbye.

Don't think I haven't really held this under a high powered microscope in my mind , don't take my word for it when I say I'm one of Bowie's biggest fans ask my friends who have had members of Bowie's band tell them that I am , o.k so there was that little thing where i kinda stalked him in the nineties, he was touring a lot I couldn't help myself . But I rating this album I was tough and it actually worked out that this album would have scored a half a point higher than a ten but since ten is the highest any album can get here it goes with one as to be able to sit next to the rest of Bowie's body of work in good standing it would have to have one as Bowie is incapable of making bad music he just went above and beyond the call of duty to prove it to himself this time and made this album because he can and really gives a shot whether it sells a single copy sincere doesn't care about the money.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Iceage : " You' re Nothing"

The young Dannish quartet have ironed out enough of sloppy garage punk edges that irked me on the new album. You can now make out the notes and chords they are playing rather than just the collision of rusty strings being banged on. The vocals also show much improvement tuneful enough with out compromising attitude. Where the first album was more attitude over substance. It opens with what I think is the albums best song and the only moment where the singer finds his actual singing voice. Not only is it the albums best song but one of the best new songs I've heard this week, when if you take into consideration how much new music I listen to very week is saying something. They cover a lot of ground in under three minutes and I do wish. PRefo this vibe was touched on in the rest of the album as their is a reckless sense of adventure .

"Coalition" is back to business punk and prettymuchloke what the first album dished out with better production on the guitar which still have the garage grim on them but the single note line sound more like Hisker Du to me. "Burning Hand" takes on more of a gallop almost like the riff to Holy Diver if it was dragged throught befitted of Europe and thrown up on , i like it better than the previous song, the noisy quality to what they do has taken on a ore sonic ambiance md in some ways it's even so ice Ike Sonic Youth and in other it's white noise that propels it in more of a post- punk sense.

"In Haze" has lee of a rock n roll feel , particularly in the interplay between guitar which not unlike Ceremony kinda hails back to a band like Wire or Televisio, the vocals are raw and ravaged. H discontent yet hold the melody of a pub song. the simp of the bass juxtaposes against the piano of of "Morals" and the gasping desperation of their singer mumbling towards a melody he can't grasp until the song takes off. It feels pretty sincere , they aren't faking the punk any step of the way nor are they setting of to be anyone but themselves.

Bass begins to hold everything together like duct tape in the ghetto. "Everything drifts" makes up for in heart what it lacks in melodic smarts, the vocals are still spat out with self contempt the guitar parts hum out of the ruckus with more me.oy than you might expect, their assault is simplistically but well placed and this album grows on me the more I listen. "Wounded Hearts" is similar in tone to the previous track as the. Ass anchors every thing for the guitars to drunkenly dance around and the singer to blurt out his coma tie insecurities.During this back end of the album we do get a lot more of the same vibe of almost cockney swagger.

The beginning barrage of " It Might Hit first" has a metal pound to it but it relaxes back into a punkier slouch the song is only a minute and a half so a minimal time frame to really establish much and most of the metal seems to be in the drums. The closing song default back into a sloppier simplistic punk ditty, it's another one that clocks Ina t two minutes so pretty much to the point and the more rudimentary style of punk that has always been to short on shred and dynamic for my tastes, but if you are into that sort of thing they execute it well for what it is and by the next album it would seem at their current rate of progress the will have grown out of the need for that sort of thing. It goes back into the old when a punk band learns how to play their instruments they become metal. Though in their cas I could see them going into Joy Division territory as eighties goth is the new metal.

I this this album as astep in the right direction for Iceage and a big improvement in their sound from their debut, iLife most things in the universe it's assets are the flip sides of its short coming and sometimes it's youthful ness is a little shortsighted, namely their default being sloppy punk rock, when they have some really intresting things to say so I'll give this one an 8 and leave it with room to grow on me fans of punk might round it up a point as they are very genuine at what they do and put their gray hearts into it.

Rotting Christ: "Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy"

This greek band started off as what was considered black metal in the eighties and now are often just labelled as dark metal, which I can understand as the trapping of what sonically would be considered black metal is sparser with each album. They have continued on a similar diresction as that of " Aealo".the Drone the groove of a riff for the duration of the song with little by the way of changing sections of the song are normally just built upon rather than transitioned into a different section.

Lyrically and thematically it's like the it's a small world of the left hand path every song explores a different cultures expression of the dark side. Some of these are conceptually mashed up like the opener "In Yumen Xibalba" where Yumen is related to the great wall of china and Xibalba refers to the Mayan underworld the great wall of china is the gateway to Mayan hell? Um...o.k, the song it's self is a good uptempo opener they build on the riff and the vocal chant runs an undercurrent against more forceful vocals.

P'chunchaw Kachun-Tutankhamen Kachun - is from an Inca hymn. To be Inca it has more of a european feel. The chanting monks in the back ground lend to this, the guitar harmonies work, the song is other wise pretty straight forward , working off varied build up and some throat singing ringing out amid the chants. It's uniquely Rotting Christ but it feels with their last album they came too far to default into something so similar to that.

Grandis Spiritus Diavolos is Latin for asking to have the spirit of the devil supersized, though spirit can also mean breathing , deep breathing devil could apply, the. Metal version of the Omen soundtrack is what's going down.the chants is now becoming not just a novelty but just what they do, the main verse riff is big though straightforward and pretty punching almost in a more rock n roll sense. It has the head banging drive some of the other chants lacked. In some ways it sounds like Rammstein, manly the baritone vocals. While its repetitive the epic nature of what they are doing makes that more easily overlooked. I like the way the vocals are layer on this one and it's a big production when ever the goth men's choir chimes in with their bellowing . they get credit here for the choral break down because it's not just them pounding away at the part until the guitar solo comes in.

Title track means every thing from "Do what thou wilt" to the enscription on Jim Morrioms grace that's a variations FYI slime of thought, the riff is very similar to the owner but with breakdowns and chanting accenting this riff, it's a rhythmically more variant change , though the fast palm muted guitar is where the repition lies until the harmony past kicks in , it's a different take on a theme already established on the album , and the feel changes half way through so I can live with it for the excellence is more in the execution here.

This is weird and given the nature of the county it's derived from so,what Negura Bunget as this is a song by a Romanian singer it's translates into ...who loves then leaves so this is their break up song . The femal vocals add needed varied this album was begging for at this point the chug of the guitar even switches it up. There's a weird break down in the last two minties and the chanting comes back. At this points it had begu. To feel a like
A more aggressive Therion album to me.

Iwa Voodoo, now we are jumping around Majick systems here, the vocals take on more of a scream, the chant more guttural as well. This one is short and sweet , very straight forward, almost to a fault. Two minutes in the first change takes place , the more mid tempo pace is smart on their part and the guitar solo blazes out of it fairly well.

Gilgames is one of the great floods from Sumerian mythology , where the whole Noah story is stolen from, and while we are talking about theft, they stole the riff to this song from their, I don't really feel it brings much new to the table though the guitar solo in it. Is pretty cool.

Pycanka comes from a Ukranian myth about the fate of the world resting on an Easter egg. It s a quicker tune with so e whispers vocals layer under the blast, feels a little like Samael to me. The half time part at the end is cool amd helps me as I was n the fence about this one. The guitar work at the md is pretty incredible .

Anura Mazada in this one is the Iranian Sky god. It has a slight build and their are so e almost dead can dance like trapping on the outskirts , the muted guitar trick befor we builds works pretty well to me in so,e ways it feels
Ike the Nine imch nails song wish to me, though the builds and break downs feel like so etching Soulfly would do, so it's safe to safe these guys aren't trying to be black metal anymore.

666... Well gosh I wonder , the chants are back but have they really left, this one starts off feeling more like folk metal and it wouldn't be an unfounded label to slap on this album. It takes a good two and a half minutes for this one to kick in and the Soulfly low end bounce returns. Blackened folk Nu metal perhaps? It's get real rock n roll by the end. With welcome to hell and no not a Venom cover they go out on a very epic, though when every thing is this epic it loses a little of its impact.

The Greeks aren't one trick ponds on this one but hopefully they will explore a broader range of dynamics as this is the last album I can except like this. To their credit the album sounds good and would be a decent entry point for newcomers to their sound who would not be any the wiser to this being a tad of a rehash, though with the epic chants dialed up a notch. I'll around it up to an 8 as they did a good job capturing a feel i already like though almost too close for comfort which might drop it down to a seven over time so we shall we how it grows on me.