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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