Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clandestine Blaze - Deliverers of Faith

1. Beyond the Reason
2. Falling

3. Grave of Gratification
4. Psychopathia Sexualis
5. Tormented
6. Winter of White Death

There's no telling how many thousands of bands have produced how many thousands of Darkthrone rip offs/tributes, but Clandestine Blaze manage to make the rest look like they suck ass with a straw. Deliverers of Faith is the 2004 effort and fourth full length of one man band CB. The lone Finnish swordsman here is the Mikko Aspa, also the current vocalist of French black metal band Deathspell Omega, who have been getting much press as of late, mostly in part due to the amazing Kenose EP. Where Deathspell chooses to stray from the left hand path taken by so many BM bands, the Clandestine Blaze project stays the course, and doesn't offer much in the way of surprises. What CB lacks in stylistic originality is more than made up by the raging quality of the black metal on display.

The production is raw, and defiantly lo-fi. This really sounds like a Finnish black metal record ought to. Another element sticking out of the singular entity is the drumming, which is sloppy at times and loose, but this does not work to Clandestine Blaze's detriment, rather adding to the chaotic maelstrom of hate and misanthropy.



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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bomb 20 - Field Manual

1. The Fall
2. Burn the Shit Down
3. Don't You Know
4. Ultimate Supremacy
5. You Killed Me First!
6. Anyday
7. We Can Fuck
8. Donutz & Blood
9. Innocent Bystanders
10. Lory vs. Bomb 20
11. No Left
12. If I Go Down
13. Round 2
14. Made of Shit!
15. La Belle
16. Just Came Close
17. Edutainment Break
18. Dumb
19. Hoover Boogie
20. Wonder What it Takes?

Since the Fever record is so fucking good, it made me think to dig a little deeper into my own DHR archives and see what I can find. Field Manual is the product of David Skiba, a one time antagonist of DHR head honcho and Bomb 20 muse, as well as the only full length produced under the Bomb 20 name. Digital Hardcore heads will recognize the sound instantly: frenetic breakbeats pushed to the breaking point, vocal samples chopped to fuck and blown apart, distorto synth gurgles and farts, all at tempos that make gabber seem like a Melvins record.

What sets Field Manual apart from the rest of the DHR pack, is not the politics (the firmly anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, anti-everything stance embodied in most of the label's roster), but the fact that this record bludgeons the listener so thoroughly over the head and never really lets up for the twenty track entirety. This is harsher than any Atari Teenage Riot single, jungle more fucked than any Cristophe de Babalon track. Field Manual manages to operate on a level of being so over the top, it reaches a plane populated by noise artists Masami Akita and Dominic Fernow. While the comparison may not be apt in the way that Bomb 20 is infinitely more danceable than either of the two former, the sheer amount of abrasion on display is impressive.



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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hate Forest - Battlefields

1. У Неділю...
2. With Fire and Iron
3. Проведу Я Русалочку...
4. Our Fading Horizons
5. Колискова
6. Glare Over Slavonic Lands
7. Keening.

Ukraine's Hate Forest unleashed an absolute monster with their third full length release, Battlefields. Heartbreakingly beautiful Ukrainian folk music interludes give shart contrast to the disparagingly bleak downtempo black metal fired in a martial forge. Hate Forest is primarily the creative vehicle of one Roman Saenko, who handles most of the instrumentation heard here. Saenko's name may be familiar to listeners of Drudkh, Saenko's current project, carrying on after the now-defunct Hate Forest with former HF guitarist Thurios. While Battlefields isn't the eastern European Slav blackened folkmetal of Drudkh, it foreshadows Hate Forest's continuing progression with the involvement of folk musics.

Each of the interludes between the dark maelstroms features unaccompanied vocal pieces of Ukranian folk singing, titled in Cyrillic. The lone exception to this is "Keening", again an a capella work of women singing, this time with women crying in the background, most likely in mourning of those who fell in battle. Difficult to listen to. Each English titled track is dark, depressive black metal from the deepest of wooded Ukraine. Hate Forest's particular brand of black metal developed over the years since it's formation in 1995, and Battlefields is the apex of their creative output. Rather than relying on sheer speed to get across a message of terror and despair, HF's black metal has attained an impact not found in the earlier work with the slowing of tempos. The vocals are still a little on the death metal side, gutteral and deep. This is also one of the few BM bands that get a pass with keyboards. The keyboard parts never stick out like a sore thumb, integrating seamlessly with the rest of the blackened sum. Hate Forest is one of many eastern European bands to mix black metal with folk musics, but they stand head and shoulders above the rest, as they are peerless and Battlefields stands as a mastery of the genre.



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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hypothermia - Gratoner

1. Gratoner I & II (20:59)
2. Gratoner III (14:57)
3. Gratoner IV (11:31)

It's been quite a chore lately, keeping up with the deluge of black metal bands forsaking their genre of choice and branching out into other forms and textures. Some have been embracing shoegaze, others folk, noise and avant garde composition. What tends to get lost in the translation is the core primacy that gives black metal it's power.

The Swedes of Hypothermia have been churning out demos and splits in spades since 2003 and Gratoner is a collection of leaked demos and rehearsals of the upcoming fourth full-length. Not only have they been creating excellent depressive black metal in a live band setting, they've managed to evolve the melancholy sound into something different, pushing the pieces into sprawling epics drawing heavily upon repitition of droning riffs. The tortured wails are still intact, but those looking for a tremelo-picked thrash-a-thon should look elsewhere. Hypothermia are masters of downtempo blackmetalgaze, not sounding too far from a Malefic-fronted Pelican.

It appears this material will not be officially released, at least not in this form, so grab it while you can. It's fair to say that these tracks are a considerable shift in style from the last release, Rakbladsvalsen. These demos have me anxious for the "real", official Gratoner. Hurry yourselves up, gentlemen.



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Monday, October 29, 2007

Fever - Too Bad But True

1. Rubber Cell
2. See You Runnin
3. Got To Be
4. Two Poles
5. Black Around Me
6. The Button
7. Distill Your Brain
8. Fever

For those of you who are still lamenting the dissolution of the Digital Hardcore label stable, here's a treat from 1998. It's hard to believe this is almost a decade old when Fever managed to put out an album that made hip hop for the next decade sound stale and dated. Fever is the discordant bastard child of digital hardcore and hip hop, helmed by Din ST and Paul PM... taking hip hop out of the twentieth century and putting it square in the middle of a post-apocalyptic future that would make Mad Max think twice about heading out of doors.

As far as I can figure out, Too Bad But True is the only full length release by the duo, but it has certainly served it's purpose: nihilist annihilation... serving the Digital Hardcore Records manifesto of "Fuck all", all too well. Too Bad brings out all of the tricks from the DHR bag: C64 and Gameboy blips, slowed and distorted metal guitar riffs and stabs, blown to fuck drum samples, synths so filthy bleach wouldn't begin to help... and as such, fits nicely within the DHR pantheon next to sonic kin like EC8OR, Shizuo and Alec Empire's Atari Teenage Riot. Empire's touch, however indirect, is felt throughout Too Bad. The entire template had been set before with ATR's digital punk rock, and especially with ATR MC Carl Crack... but Fever do the DH/hip hop much, MUCH better. "Two Poles" is the centerpiece, a loping, breathing and claustrophobic. El-P could only dream of making something so gloriously fucked. Shit, El-Producto stole most of his production steez from this record, the other half coming from Giorgio Moroder soundtracks.

Scooters, vacation, fall:


Re-upped 12.20
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Alcest - Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde

1. Printemps Emeraude
2. Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde
3. Les Iris
4. Ciel Errant
5. Sur L'autre Rive Je T'attendrai
6. Tir Nan Og

Considering Alcest began as a raw black metal project, this record might seem like quite a contrast. However, with black metallers such as Ulver and Dead Reptile Shrine taking their chosen genre to far off aural locales and warping black metal almost beyond recognition, this is not incredibly surprising. The difference here is the fact that those projects still bear the blackened mark of BM, whereas Alcest forgoes it entirely. The lone participant of Alcest, Neige, has created an album of beautiful, sprawling, and at several times Jesu-like metal. The influence of black metal is mostly nonexistent.

In fact, so much of this bears the sonic stamp of Justin Broadrick's Jesu, it could almost be a tribute. Neige is making no bones about his love of dreamy shoegaze. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Smashing Pumpkins (yeah, I know, not so much a shoegaze act) shine through in moments, but the more I listen to this record, the more it sounds like a French language release of Jesu's Conqueror. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. Souvenirs is a prettier record than Conqueror, with floating, ethereal vocals and lilting, delicate melodies.

By far the best non-black metal black metal record of the year.



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Back Up In the Monolith

Regular visitors will have noticed the complete lack of updates in the past month.

My excuse? I didn't feel like it. Last month I set a goal to post and review a record for each letter of the alphabet and I think i got a little burned out with the volume. My reviews/blurbs/ramblings/whatever seem to be getting longer in length, and as such, are taking more time and energy. I took a short break for the better part of this month, but this bloggg has not been abandoned, just forgotten for a couple weeks.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the goodies and bullshit.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Zombi - Surface to Air

1. Challenger Deep
2. Digitalis
3. Legacy
4. Surface to Air
5. Night Rhythms

Z = Zombi. The first thing that came to mind the very first time I had heard Zombi was a nameless action film circa '88 with a faceless macho action movie hero kicking some hopeless action movie bad guy ass. Then it hit me that Zombi are the brilliant instrumental bastard child of Vangelis, Italian legends Goblin, Giorgio Moroder, and that Surface to Air is the soundtrack to a suspense-laden horror/action/sci-fi/psychological thriller the '80's never made. "Challenger Deep" kicks this joint off with a sweeping opening credits sequence, leading into "Digitalis", a chase scene through wooded streets involving members of Kraftwerk and Charles Bronson. The epic finale "Night Rhythms" seamlessly integrates Fulci, Blade Runner, Yes and disco-prog into an 18 minute+ synth/drums/bass jam.

P.S. If you're expecting to sound like metal, even after reading the review, you'll be sorely disappointed.



Sunday, September 30, 2007

Young Ginns - Backline

1. Backline (3:16)

Y = Young Ginns. Featuring members of Nation of Ulysses, Unwound and the Fucking Champs, the Young Ginns rocked the fuck out, Dischord style. A tribute of sorts to the Black Flag guitar god, the band had a discernable influence in the latter day My War-era BF, but NoU, early Sonic Youth, Embrace and Fugazi can be heard. This particular track was culled off of another YoYo compilation, Julep.



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Xasthur - A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors

1. Intro
2. Moon Shrouded in Misery, Part 1 (Burzum cover)
3. Suicide in Dark Serenity
4. Dwell Beneath the Woods of Evil
5. Cursed Be the Memory of Light
6. Possession of Desolate Magick
7. Storms of Red Revenge
8. A Spell Within the Winds
9. Summon the End of Time
10. Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors
11. Kingdom of Burning Crucifixions
12. Moon Shrouded in Misery, Part 2 (Burzum cover)
13. Black Spell of Destruction / Channeling the Power of Souls Into a New God

X = Xasthur. Now that the latest Xasthur record, Defective Epitaph, has been released, the world finally gets to hear Malefic get his black metal on without a drum machine. It's at once a removal of a core element of the Xasthur sound, and the addition of something that totally works in it's favor. That said, Malefic is probably the black metal world's foremost practitioner of drum machine programming. No man before and probably after will be able to make one-man-drum-machine-isolationist black metal as adroitly as he. I ain't gonna say that dude is the new Neal Pert/Hellhammer of BM, but he's no slouch.

So let's take a look at the root of this evil, shall we? A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors is the full length debut of the Xasthur horde, released way back in 2001. Although oft compared to Judas Iscariot, early Xasthur is a different animal. Malefic is extremely talented at creating "atmosphere", which is often assumed to be black metal shorthand for "bad production". The production here isn't Butch Vig, but that's not the point being made. The low fidelity works in his favor, drawing the listener in to discern exactly what's happening, heightening one's awareness of the subtleties. He's building a deeply depressing environment for his listeners through other worldly shrieks and howls, almost psychedelic guitar dissonance and using synths as more than just a "creepy" background, ala Vikernes (by the way, there's a two part Burzum cover here), and it's been working for him ever since. Xasthur has evolved a bit over the six years since this release, but the integral elements that make Xasthur Xasthur never change... they only get blacker.



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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Woods of Belial - Baxabaxaxaxaxabaxaxaxaxa! 666 Yndstr Draconis

1. Lunar Triumphator of Evil (9:59)
2. Into the Woods of Belial (Goatlord Necroemperor) (9:27)
3. Pervertum Margat Nepeht Nommus (5:13)

W = Woods of Belial. Double points for the rediculous album title. Triple double super extra ultra points for the top shelf blackened doom trapped inside this criminally overlooked demo from 1997. Black metal shrieks and atmosphere? Check. Ten minute long songs? Check. Riffs so slow and heavy they make Burning Witch look like the Great Kat? Check. The production values one can only find on a cassette release? Check. There is also a conscious noise/industrial influence present, mostly taking a back seat to the knuckle-dragging guitarring and disturbed wails, taking this demo into territory mostly uncharted at the time of recording.

You know what? It just hit me now... I'll bet that 99% of the world's population wouldn't voluntarily sit through the first five minutes of this. That goes for just about everything that falls into the "funeral doom" or "black metal" umbrellas, but this is a particularly fetid example. I'll also bet that the same folks (as in, damn near EVERYBODY) would think you were a pretty fucked up and strange individual for being able to tolerate this shit, let alone listen to it by your own volition. A third bet I'm willing to make is that you're going to fucking love this, because you're one of those pretty fucked up and strange individuals who enjoys this shit.



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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve

1. 1
2. Avalon Polo
3. Beta Noir
4. Fauna & Flora
5. Genevieve
6. Laudanum
7. P.S. Nautical

V = Velvet Cacoon. I'm not sure about the circulating rumors regarding the members of this duo's drug intake, but whatever they're taking (and in whatever amounts) has been gelled into every second of their second true full length. Imagine Jesu on barbiturates, then attempting Xasthur covers. It's got that kind of atmosphere. The kind that screams "soundtrack for a bad trip". In black metal terms, this is pretty progressive, "out there" stuff, definitely putting itself in it's own category. The controversy surrounding the band (they had stolen another artists songs and artwork and reappropriated it as their own... brilliant) is mostly hype, especially after having a listen. If you dig on Jesu's Silver EP, you're gonna shit your pants with this one.



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Monday, September 24, 2007

Urgehal - Goat Craft Torment

1. Goat Craft Torment
2. Risus Sardonius
3. Antireligios
4. Dodsmarsj Til Helvete
5. Satanic Black Metal In Hell
6. Nefastus Nex Necis
7. Gathered Under the Horns
8. Selvmordssalme
9. Sentiment of Chaos
10. Et Steg Naermere Lucifer

U = Urgehal. Sometimes there's no need for innovation when you're able to do something extremely well. Why progress when there's no room for improvement on what you're already doing? Following in the footsteps of Bolt Thrower, AC/DC and Motorhead, Urgehal have managed to make the same full length record five times (Goat Craft Torment making the fifth). If it ain't broke, why fix it, right? Urgehal have the mid-90's Darkthrone sound down so well, it should probably be known as the Urgehal sound from now on. One thing I do have to mention is the production quality, which is decidedly un-kvlt... the bass is audible, and the drums don't sound like they were recorded at the bottom of a well with a My First Sony. The mix is great, the production clear and sharp and there are guitar solos all over this motherfucker... this is ass kicking, face melting black metal.



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To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - With Brass Songs They'll Descend

1. With Brass Songs They'll Descend

T = To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie. This is a track from the forthcoming full length on Kranky Records, The Patron. TKAPB is the core duo of Makr (electronics) and Jehna (guitar and vocals), fabricating the soundtrack to a vivid nightmare you've never had right before you wake up. Jehna's ethereal vocals remind me simultaneously of the Cocteau Twins, Portishead and Blonde Redhead. The soundscapes are sublimely harsh, often giving way to a blissful dissonance deep inside the abandoned strip mine of your consciousness. Totalitarian tales of an isolated city and the isolated denizens. This record will be released next month, but in the meantime, scam this and absorb.



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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sonic Youth - Live 07.27.1986 NYC @ CBGB's

1. Intro
2. Tom Violence/White Cross
3. Shadow of a Doubt
4. Star Power
5. Death to Our Friends/I Love Her All the Time
6. Secret Girl
7. Green Light
8. Brother James
9. Expressway to Yr Skull

S = Sonic Youth. More SY, because I feel like it. The sound quality on this one is aiight considering it's from over twenty years ago. Apparently this is an audience cassette recording, but it ain't too bad. All the faves (my faves) of the period are repped to the fullest... "White Cross" is hot rippin', "Star Power" is on, and the closer, "Expressway", is damn near perfect. "I Love Her All the Time" still gives me the, I don't want to say the creeps, but... the creeps. This period in SY chronology has them playing songs mostly off of EVOL, which I will rank near the top of my SY album list, if not at the top. That record played quite an instrumental role in my development as a teenager, at least as far as musical interests are concerned. The feeling that something was "wrong" that dripped from the earliest material is still crusted on the songs, but is starting to flake off and give way to the new skin shown on Sister and Daydream. Killer show from a killer band at a legendary venue.



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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Residents - Nibbles

1. You YesYesYes
2. Santa Dog 78
3. Gloria
4. Excerpt From Rest Aria
5. Semolina
6. The Spot
7. Excerpt From Never Known Questions
8. Constantinople
9. Laughing Song
10. Excerpt From The Making of a Soul
11. Skratz
12. Good Lovin'
13. Blue Rosebuds
14. Excerpt From Six Things To a Cycle
15. The Electrocutioner

R = The Residents. The Residents really don't get the recognition they deserve as being the weirdest motherfuckers to record music, or "music". Maybe it's the fact that some artists don't feel like they will be taken seriously when they mention the Residents as being an influence... but I think that's a misconception. The Residents were VERY serious about their craft. Just about every weird/off beat band or artist of the last thirty years owes a decent deal to these guys, and they probably know it. It's just a shame that their legacy has largely been swept under the rug. Yeah, it's not the most easily digestable material, but if you're reading this blog, why would that stop you from grabbing this fucking record already?!?



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Monday, September 17, 2007

Queen - A Night at the Opera

1. Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To...)
2. Lazing On a Sunday Afternoon
3. I'm In Love With My Car
4. You're My Best Friend
5. '39
6. Sweet Lady
7. Seaside Rendezvous
8. The Prophets Song
9. Love of My Life
10. Good Company
11. Bohemian Rhapsody
12. God Save the Queen






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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Peordh - An Obscure Forgotton Path

1. Hail to Those Born In a Lost Age
2. Hate and Mystery, Mystery and Hate
3. Lost...
4. Time of Honour, Gone
5. Though the Darkness Sometimes Fades
6. Under Dreary Pouring Sky and Morbid Waking
7. And So My World Melts...

P = Peordh. Existential black metal hailing from the icy lands of Newport News, Virginia. An Obscure Forgotten Path manages to be extremely alienating, yet drawing the listener further inside the emanating desperation and social solitude. Once the production is accounted for and the atmosphere is set, Dreogan builds an isolationist black metal masterpiece from the lo-fi drones, minimalist riffs developing internal transportation to one's center. This was released late last year, giving this country hope for more outstanding domestic black metal. Oh, dude also released a demo in 2005 under the name Bergelmir.



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Friday, September 14, 2007

Original Silence - The First Original Silence

1. If Light Has No Age, Time Has No Shadow (14:22)
2. In the Name of the Law (46:08)

O = Original Silence. What's this? An improv record by Thurston Moore, Jim O'Rourke (electronics), Mats Gustafsson (sax) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) of the Thing, Terrie Ex (guitar) of the Ex, and Massimo Pupillo (bass) of Zu? Sign me up for that. As a person who normally doesn't get down with the saxophone, I have to say that I really do enjoy Gustafsson's playing, which encroaches on a rude, gutteral place. Thurston provides his trademark hurricane of guitar noyse, which is to be expected. "If Light Has No Age..." emits a no-wave feel colliding with an AmRep sensibility. The second sprawling track is a little more "relaxed", with each musician providing their part without stepping on the toes of the others, which is no small feat for an improv group. They know their place in these pieces and work to a cohesive whole rather than giving individual performances. Suprisingly great record.



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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nile - In the Beginning

1. Divine Intent
2. The Black Hand of Set
3. Wrought
4. Immortality Through Art, Godless
5. Extinct
6. The Howling of the Jinn
7. Ramses Bringer of War
8. Dies Rache Krieg Lied Der Assyriche

N = Nile. If you're not quite sure how the greatest death metal band aside from Morbid Angel got as great as they did, look no further than In the Beginning. If you're not familiar with Nile, they are an extremely creative and wickedly talented brutal death metal unit hailing from South Carolina with strong ancient Egyptian and Lovecraftian influences. The Azagthoth and Vincent influence is a little stronger on this early material (the disc is a comp of the band's early pre-Relapse releases), but the trademark Nile sound is absolutely intact. Karl Sanders' genius is on magnificent display early on, as several of the tracks were later rerecorded and included as part of the debut full length Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka. Elements of the Nile sound make their initial appearances, from the lush eastern acoustic interludes and intros to the near ten minute epics of "Extinct" and "Wrought". The line up featured on the releases contained within is the original trio of Sanders (guitar, vocals), Chief Spires (bass, vocals) and longtime drummer Pete Hammoura, who sadly is unable to drum with the intensity he used to due to, literally, drumming too hard.

Excellent release from the current greatest death metal band, hands down.



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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Merzbow - Rainbow Electronics

8 untitled tracks.

M = Merzbow. Japanese god of noise, blah blah... This record is gold. I can't say I'm a Merzbow expert (anybody who is is probably pretty fucking strange), but I haven't heard any of his work that comes close to matching Rainbow Electronics in it's sheer intensity. Not necessarily in that in-your-face kind of way, but there's a sense of tension permeating this work that gives an unsettling feeling that you should really be paying attention to what's entering those eardrums. It's been said that all Merzbow records sound the same... and to a point, they do... in the way that all Mozart's pieces resemble one another. I'm not going to pose as a noise connoisseur, so I will not make any claims other than a personal recommendation to anyone who has an iron stomach for ears.



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Monday, September 10, 2007

Leviathan - Howl Mockery At the Cross

1. Summoning Lupine
2. Lycanthropus Rex
3. The Axis and Maw of Inferno, Mine
4. Where Annhilation Dwells
5. Liar of Nazareth
6. Just Under Tainted Grace
7. S.W.O.L. (2001)
8. Never For Peace
9. Those Slimy Things
10. Nothing Changes

L = Leviathan. That voice. Truly one of the most talented screamers in the biz, Wrest (who comprises the whole of Leviathan) is defined by his ability to vomit shrieks and howls beyond the reach of mortal man, as well as the uncanny talent affording this sphere his brand of black metal. Howl Mockery At the Cross is a collection of blackened to the core demos and unreleased tracks. "Lycanthropus Rex" brilliantly melts faces in true Leviathan fashion... and at times over the course of the record, as a big "fuck you" to black metallers everywhere, the bass is audible in the mix! True fucking darkness.



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Friday, September 7, 2007

Kayo Dot/Bloody Panda - split 12"

1. Kayo Dot - Don't Touch Dead Animals (11:08)
2. Bloody Panda - Fever (11:09)
3. Bloody Panda - Circle and Tail (7:33)

K = Kayo Dot, even though that's not the reason you're seeing this. While the Kayo Dot side of this split isn't quite doing it for me (their other releases hadn't either, so this wasn't much of a disappointment), Bloody Panda fucking kills it. What's that you say? You're sick of all the bands of nerdy looking white dudes fronted by a japanese woman? This is a far cry from Deerhoof, pal. Funeral doom on the order of Khanate meets Gallhammer is dished up in dirty paper plates and set alight. Another online review made mention of the fact that if you're listening to Bloody Panda, you've probably reached the point of no return in regards to fucked up doom, and it will satisfy you completely. I couldn't agree more.



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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Judas Iscariot - To Embrace the Corpses Bleeding

1. I Awoke To A Night Of Pain And Carnage
2. Bathed In Clouds Of Blood
3. Terror From The Eastern Sky
4. Where Eagles Cry And Vultures Laugh

5. In The Valley Of Death, I Am Their King
6. With Lust And Murder For Our Drink
7. Behold The Lamb Of God Descending
8. Spectral Dance Of The Macabre
9. The Dead Burst Forth From Their Tombs

J = Judas Iscariot. The first truly great and prolific black metal act from the United States, Judas Iscariot is essentially one man from Dekalb, IL, Akhenaten. To Embrace... is his sixth full length album, and marks a shift from the earlier material which displayed a heavy Burzum influence. The riffs are more repetitive and depressive than past efforts, and the record has a more aggressive/antagonistic quality. It's too bad Judas Iscariot was discontinued after this release, because this is their/his greatest work. The opener, "I Awoke To A Night of Pain and Carnage", starts off with the sound of driving rain and from there it doesn't let up until the final drops of the closing track have fallen.

Highly Recommended!



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Impious Havoc - Maleficum

1. Harbingers of a New Era
2. To the Chambers
3. Black Presence
4. My Sign
5. Insanity
6. Desert Filth
7. A Night
8. Dead and Forgotten

I = Impious Havoc. More finnish filth! It doesn't get a lot dirtier than this, kids. This is the latest offering from Impious Havoc, featuring the ex-guitarist of Uncreation's Dawn. Throat shredding howls, guitars that'll put a permanent ring around your bathtub, punk-ish drumming and that lo-fi "atmosphere". This is how it's done.



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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hanadensha - Narcotic Guitar

1. Sanctuary
2. Sun/Sex
3. Sugar
4. Star
5. Stone
6. Space
7. Salamander
8. Sweet/Sky
9. Sanders
10. Spiral
11. Summer/Speed
12. Spiritual
13. Sacrifice
14. Sea/Smoke
15. Soul

H = Hanadensha. Boredoms side project in full effect. Supposedly the name translates to something like "Electric Flower Car". Anyway, this is the side band of Hira, the Boredoms' bassist and happens to be one of the trippiest psych records I've had the pleasure of hearing. Bubbling and percussive tracks give way to droning psych jams give way to lysergic lounge music. "Sugar" is my new summer jam.



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Ginnungagap - 1000% Downer

1. Reasonably Miserable (9:24)
2. Guifang (Casket Orbit mix)

G = Ginnungagap. Yet another in the never-ending plethora of Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O))), Aethenor, KTL, Burning Witch, etc.) side projects. This one in particular is an outlet for his improvised and collaborative works. 1000% Downer features the vocals of Dawn Smithson of Jessamine, along with the drones of Steve Pittis and Fritz Welch. Originally released in 2004 on 3" CD format, limited to 150 copies. Later reissued on blue 12" vinyl that same year. Collector scum gold uncovered!


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Friedman & Liebezeit - Secret Rhythms 2

1. Sikkerhed
2. The Sticks
3. The Librarian
4. Mikrokasper
5. Niedrige Decken
6. Broken Wind Repair Kit
7. Fearer
8. Caracoles

F = Friedman & Liebezeit. A little ways off the beaten path worn by this blog's format, this is a collaboration between german drumming legend and former Can member Jaki Liebezeit and Burnt Friedman. There are a few Can-like moments, and allusions to the krautrock giants are mostly glimpsed (duh) through Liebezeit. Secret Rhythms 2 is an interesting gumbo of modern jazz, glitchy electronics, krautrock, tribal drumming, and ambient atmospherics that should please just about any discerning Can fan and prog head. Great space jazz/rock.


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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Earth - Legacy of Dissolution

1. Mogwai - Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine
2. Russell Haswell - Tibetan Quaaludes (Waveset Sloth Mix)
3. Jim O'Rourke - Thrones and Dominions
4. Autechre - Coda Maestoso In F(Flat) Minor
5. Justin Broadrick - Harvey
6. Sunn O))) - Rule the Divine (Mysteria Caelestis Mugivi)

E = Earth. Or an Earth tribute/remix record, anyway. Most of these tribute happenings happen to suck ass with a straw, but I've ended up liking this one quite a bit. The end result of a tribute record usually has quite a lot to do with a) the subject being given tribute and b) the talents giving tribute. Looking at this roster, there's no way they could fuck this one up. The Sunn track is interesting because it is a departure from the black metal-tinged dirges they've been divining from beyond as of late, but Justin Broadrick (Jesu, Godflesh) steals the show with what could be an unreleased track from the gorgeous Silver. This one's for you, Dylan.


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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Depressed Mode - Ghosts of Devotion

1. Alone
2. So Long
3. Words of Silence
4. Suffer In Darkness
5. Ghosts of Devotion
6. The Sun Is Dead
7. Fallen Angel
8. Dunkelheit
9. Cold

Leave it up to the Finns to come up with the perfect entry for "D". Depressed Mode are yet another band who are quite good, but was Depressed Mode the best name they could think of? Sure, it makes you smirk the first time around, but choosing that as your moniker for your band's career? Questionable. At any rate, this is first class Finnish doom with a strong Paradise Lost influence (although DM's vocalist's growl is in a lower register).


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Countess - The Wolves Awake

1. Endless Mist (intro)
2. Crypt of the Wolves
3. Into Battle
4. The Silent Rose of Sin
5. Aleidis
6. Yr (outro)

I can't think of a better way to do "C" than the 1994 self-released cassette demo by Countess, The Wolves Awake. Rocking old-school black metal that has more than a subtle hint of Bathory. Dirty, sticky repetitive riffs and almost punk rock-ish drumming anchor the vomit screams amidst the backdrop of lo-fi "atmosphere". Even though this was probably recorded on a four-track, the mix isn't too bad... it doesn't sound like it was recorded at the bottom of a diaper pail like some demos from this era (and even today).


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Bardo Pond - Live 04.03.2006

1. Amur (33:52)
2. Walking Clouds (12:14)

Welcome to the second installment in what I hope to be a full month of alphabetical madness. I'm attempting to get something up starting with each and every letter, in order. Here we have exhibit B. Bardo Pond have the distinction of being the very first band I've ever self-described as "drug music". I'm sure they wouldn't take offense, as song titles and records of theirs have been titled with references to obscure psychoactive substances. Unsuprisingly, the music is extremely conducive to "zoning out"... Bardo Pond often create that "transportation" effect I seek out and seldom find. The listener is drawn out of his/her immediate existence and brought into another world where blissful drones and dissonance build into a delta-9 soaked lather. I have never seen them in a live setting, but for now this recorded document shall have to suffice.


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Acrimonious - Perdition Gospel

1. The Curse of Eden
2. Goatrapture
3. Gospel of Perdition
4. On Serpent Wings

There are certain parts of the world that are hotbeds of activity in the realm of black metal. The most obvious, of course, are Norway, Sweden and Finland, and recently, the United States. There are also locales across the globe that seem to generate more than their fair share of talent, and Greece is damn near the top of the list. Acrimonious hail from Athens, a two man hellride with a penchant for thrashing black metal. So far they've only released a demo and two EPs since their 2003 formation. Fans of Darkthrone and Immortal should check this out.


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Friday, August 31, 2007

Queen - The Prophets Song

Warchetype - Goat Goddess Supremacy

1. Itaca (18:47)
2. Marduk's Stairs to Earth (16:33)
3. Manitou (10:58)
4. Hangover (6:59)
5. Death Card (The Sun of the Country Priest) (12:59)

Blistering and epic doom in the vein of Candlemass, Cathedral, Goatsnake and Burning Witch from the magical land of Spain. The vocals soar and riffs roll, pummel and dirge... bathing the proceedings with fine layer of filth. These guys aim to evocate Sabbath-via-Sleep and succeed in spades. Was that a wah bass solo?

Warchetype Myspace

Loaddown Pt. 1
Loaddown Pt. 2

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sonic Youth - Moist Vagina

1. Moist Vagina (Nirvana) 3:01

Here's Sonic Youth's version of one of Nirvana's greatest b-sides, "Moist Vagina" (also known, to the prudes, as "MV"), as a b-side itself on SY's "Sunday" single (which, by the way was the only single off of A Thousand Leaves). What makes this cover even more unsettling is the fact that Kim is singing, giving it an unexpected reversal of gender... odd.



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Dead Reptile Shrine - A Journey Through the Darkest of Forests

1. Bones in the Dungeon
2. A Cave Full of Corpse Lanterns
3. Fire and Flame
4. Songs For the Deadwood
5. Feuer und Stahl
6. Violencia
7. Diabolical Plague
8. The Snakes of the Earth, Pt. II
9. Exekutioner of the Final Solution
10. Above the Ziggurat They Dance
11. Transformation
12. Our Feast of Victory
13. Reversion to an Ancient Form
14. Clouds of Doom Gather...
15. Dawnfires at the Lake
16. A Beastcults Procession

Oft mentioned is the adjective "filth" when describing the recent crop of Finnish black metal. Dead Reptile Shrine is, by far, the filthiest of them all... I don't know if black metal even begins to describe the madness that is DRS. Another review likened this to noise rockers Harry Pussy, and that isn't too far off the mark. This is easily the strangest black metal release I've heard, and that's definitely not a bad thing. This is raw, unhinged, possibly insane "music"... wandering the boundries between ritual chanting, BM, noise, ambient and folk.



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Lesbian - Power Hor

1. Black Forest Hamm
2. Powerwhorses
3. Loadbath
4. Irreversible

I wasn't prepared to take a band called Lesbian seriously, I have to admit. I certainly wasn't ready for the epic ten to twenty minute jams combining all the best elements of Isis, black metal, doom, crust and krautrock found on Power Hor. Yes, unfortunate record title along with the band moniker, but at least the record is solid. Fans of Neurosis, Isis, Pelican, Om, and Can should dig on this...


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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

DEVO - Hardcore DEVO Vol.2

1. Booji Boy's Funeral
2. Can You Take It
3. Bamboo Bimbo
4. A Plan For U
5. The Rope Song
6. Goo Goo Itch
7. Be Stiff
8. All of Us
9. Baby Talkin' Bitches
10. I Need A Chick
11. You Got Me Bugged
12. Chango
13. Freulein
14. Dogs of Democracy
15. 37
16. Bottled Up
17. Working In A Coalmine
18. I Been Refused
19. Fountain of Filth
20. Clockout
21. Let's Go

Raw DEVO! Crude, unrefined, and absolutely the best thing to crawl out of the depths of Akron, Ohio. The pop factor heard on the first volume of the series is largely unfound on Vol. 2... not exactly radio fodder, but then again, DEVO was never a radio band. No band before or since has made cheap synths sound so dirty, wrong and AWESOME. "Baby Talkin' Bitches" and "Bottled Up" are classic DEVO, outshining just about everything on this comp, while "I Need A Chick" is uncharachteristically David Allen Coe on a Stones kick. There's still plenty of totally fucked moments, "U Got Me Bugged" and "Chango" heading up that regiment. "I'm envious of your IQ of... 37 (37)"



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Friday, August 24, 2007

Singles soundtrack

1. Alice In Chains - Would?
2. Pearl Jam - Breath
3. Chris Cornell - Seasons
4. Paul Westerberg - Dyslexic Heart
5. The Love Mongers - The Battle of Evermore
6. Mother Love Bone - Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns
7. Soundgarden - Birth Ritual
8. Pearl Jam - State of Love and Trust
9. Mudhoney - Overblown
10. Paul Westerberg - Waiting For Somebody
11. Jimi Hendrix - May This Be Love
12. Screaming Trees - Nearly Lost You
13. Smashing Pumpkins - Drown

Sure, this soundtrack contained some pretty vile shit (the formerly great Westerberg's "Dyslexic Heart", Ten-era Pearl Jam throw-away tracks, the grunge-lite hit "Nearly Lost You"), and even the Soundgarden song isn't that great. Why bother posting this? Well, glad you asked. While you've got to wade through a pretty deep puddle of garbage, it's all worth it in the end. Literally, the end. The final track is what I would choose as my favorite Smashing Pumpkins moment (right up there with "Starla")... feedback freakouts and space-noodling abound. While Gish and Siamese Dream were great albums, the best tracks were the hidden gems cast off for b-sides and soundtrack compilations such as this one. Go ahead, I won't judge you for bumping Mother Love Bone. I'll never know.



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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sunn O))) - Live White - Northsix, Brooklyn, NY 07.28.2004

1. B-Alien Skeleton
2. Space Bacon Reactor
3. Intone
4. Hell-O)))-Ween
5. B-Witch
6. NN O)))
7. Death Becomes You
8. Caveman Salad
9. Grease Bacon Fire
10. Bathory - A Tribute to...

The almighty Sunn O))) drone machine in full effect. Released by ArchiveCD.com as an "official bootleg", a limited edition of 300 5" CDs (the contents of which are found above) together with the "Funeraldrone" 3" CD which I cannot find. Sold on the Australasian 2005 tour. Anderson and O'Malley begin with a lulling drone before bringing the glacial noise to smash eardrums and skulls.

Loaddown Pt.1
Loaddown Pt.2

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jesu - Heartache

1. Heartache (19:42)
2. Ruined (20:13)

With a combined running time of forty minutes, the two tracks comprising Heartache epitomize the Jesu ethic, albeit on a much larger, more epic scale. Harsh, doom-laden guitar riffs, bludgeoning drums, iced with a beautiful melancholly. Justin Broadrick, Jesu's mastermind, should be known to many as a former member of Napalm Death, Head of David, and especially Godflesh. Jesu, to a point, is an extension of Broadrick's work as Godflesh. The urban anxiety, the internalized frustration of having to live with other people is intact, given room to breathe and grow into it's own organism. And while I'd wholeheartedly recommend everything by Jesu, this EP is as good as any point to start.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Cathedral - Soul Sacrifice EP

1. Soul Sacrifice
2. Autumn Twilight
3. Frozen Rapture
4. Golden Blood (Flooding)

Time to kick off the weekend right with a pair of Cathedral jams straight from the early 90's. "Soul Sacrifice", pulled from the incredible doom masterpiece Forest of Equillibrium, was chosen as a single by the ill-fated Columbia/Earache alliance. The following three spliffs are non-album b-sides. These four tracks also appeared on the oddly titled Earache comp Gods of Grind (of the four included bands, Confessor, Cathedral, Carcass and Entombed, only Carcass was grindin'...), albeit in a different order. Cathedral have always been great at adding psych flourishes to the Sabbathitude, and "Golden Blood" is a prime example.


Cathedral - Grim Luxuria single

1. Grim Luxuria
2. Sky Lifter
3. A Funeral Request 1993

Single from the great and underrated The Ethereal Mirror features a pair of non-album tracks worth grabbing. Decibel magazine recently named The Ethereal Mirror as one of the top 20 "Stoner Rock" records of all time, and I'm in accordance. As far as I know, "Sky Lifter" only appears on this single, and "A Funeral Request 1993" is a rerecording of the track from the epic debut, Forest of Equillibrium.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Prurient - Black Vase

1. Roman Shower
2. Silent Mary
3. Sorry Robin
4. Silver Flashlight
5. The Black Vase
6. Back Cuts
7. Whipped Hole
8. Soft Crack
9. Lord of Love
10. Myth of Love

If you're like me, and enjoy putting yourself through the aural equivilent of sandpaper to the face, Prurient is 40 grit. However, while this record is a great way to piss off those who don't "get" noise, it's also much more than that. Pieces are constructed of violent shards, dissonance colliding with dissonance, and great are the rewards for the patient, foolish and careful. Tread this delapidated boardwalk lightly. Herr Fernow's live act is a spectacle to be witnessed and absorbed... one man, one mic, one amp, one shitload of pedals. Absolutely the most intense performance I've had the fortune of seeing.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sonic Youth - 06-07-2001 Paris, France @ Olympia

1. Intro
2. Having Never Written A Note For Percussion/Voice Piece For Soprano (Part I: Against the Wind)
3. Six/Voice Piece For Soprano (Part II: Against the Wall)
4. Treatise/Voice Piece For Soprano (Part III: Against the Sky)
5. Clapping Music
6. Four6
7. Side2Side
8. She Is Not Alone
9. NYC Ghosts and Flowers (encore)

This is the first show on the short tour SY embarked upon for the fourth installment of the SYR series, Goodbye 20th Century, a record of covers of 20th Century avante garde composers. As you can probably guess, this is the more "out there" Sonic Youth, so don't expect to hear "Tom Violence" (although the set is followed up with an encore of "NYC Ghosts and Flowers"). Cool show with lots of guests, in addition to Jim O'Rourke. Richard Edson, SY's original drummer, makes an appearance on "She Is Not Alone", and William Winant and Christian Fennesz both do their thing.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Khanate - Live @ WFMU

1. Pieces of Quiet
2. G>>>D>>>Work
3. No Joy
4. Skin Coat

Live abject DOOM! With guitar strings tuned so low, you can hear them flapping against the fretboard, the lord of all things DOOM, Stephen O'Malley chugs out a four track set with his non-robed hell unit, Khanate. Unsure of the recording date, because I'm lazy like that. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWGGG!!!!!!!!!


Monday, August 13, 2007

Periscope: Another YoYo Compilation

1. Mukilteo Fairies - Bloody Breath
2. Go Sailor - Last Year
3. Excuse 17 - Sevenwhateverteen
4. Fitz of Depression - Piss Butt
5. Love As Laughter - Super Christ
6. Tummy Ache - Purple Violet Squish
7. Raggedy Ann - Orange Juice Star
8. Cub - Flaming Red Bobsled
9. The Crabs - Chubbette
10. Appleseed - High
11. Bloodthirsty Butchers - I Hate You
12. Neutral Milk Hotel - Bucket
13. Long Hind Legs - Dress In My Bed
14. Tattle Tale - Girls Go To Heaven
15. Team Dresch - Fake Fight
16. Copass Grinders - Bakuoni
17. Beck - The World May Loose Its Motion

I had ordered this through the fine folks at the K Records mailorder way back in high school when this 1994 compilation came out, and it's been one of my very favorite comps ever since. I had ordered this for the Beck track (which appears nowhere else), and was turned on to more bands in the active NW mid-90's scene. This comp crosses all genres of indie rock, from the cuddle-core of Cub to the rockin' punk of the late, great Fitz of Depression, to the homocore of the overrated Team Dresch, to the AmRep-style noise rock of Long Hind Legs. The highlights are the beautifully melancholy "Bucket" by Neutral Milk Hotel, the pre-Isis jamming of the Bloodthirsty Butchers and the contribution by the Mukilteo Fairies (who's singer could have been great in a black metal band), "Bloody Breath". I don't know how many scene compilations I've heard that I can't listen to all the way through... Periscope bucks the trend hard, keeping the quality consistent and creating a solid listen. Enjoy.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Kawabata Makoto - Guitar Solo II

1. Mitsuha
2. Hangon No Shirushi

Makoto, mastermind of the ever-astonishing Acid Mothers Temple, released this droning two-part escape pod in 1998. Fans of AMT wont' find any suprises here, as there is drone to spare, but there is no Iommi-worship to be found on this recording. The atmosphere is set and kept, leaving the listener to discern the subtleties. One of my favorite drone records, period.