Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Favorites: Non-Metal

A recurring joke between a friend and myself concerns "muggle music." Basically, the idea is that it's music you keep around or happen to like that isn't so overtly aggressive or abrasive so as to confuse or intimidate squares. There are plenty of people who aren't "squares" at all who don't "get" aggressive music, too, of course. They are often my friends. Not everything on this list is muggle-friendly but here are some of my favorite releases of the year that I'd be more likely to throw on at a party attended by meek, hipsterish 20-somethings.


My introduction to Title Fight came sometime late in high school. My friend's Lifetime/early Saves the Day-esque pop-punk band had played with or was in contact with(?) the aforementioned group, and they, too, were very Lifetime-like. The timing was perfect, I loved Lifetime, so I thought Title Fight was the shit.

With that out of the way, while I've changed this past few years, so has Title Fight. Shed, in addition to being my undisputed MVP Summer Album, is probably the single release from this year, of any type, that I've listened to most. I guess they decided they couldn't play sped-up pop punk forever -- Title Fight circa 2011 has some slower songs, a tiny bit of alt-rock, more overt emo influence (real emo, goddamn you), but still keeps their hooks and creative, nuanced songwriting. I wish I could write any type of song as well as "You Can't Say Kingston Doesn't Love You," was written. Fuck. For a band that attracts the attention of bazillions of tweensters, you'd think they wouldn't be anywhere as good. There it is.
"Where Am I?"

I would never have heard of Cities Aviv were it not for a good friend. Digital Lows is a brisk, hypnotic journey throw a skeezy party on codeine. Prime example of an album that transports you somewhere else, only to leave to suddenly, in a state of withdrawal. Chill hip-hop. Drug music. Slick lyrical flow.
Bandcamp


Rapper Big Pooh, best known as one third of the dissolved Little Brother, brings a Biggie flow and a keen sense of world-wise story telling reminiscent of Ghostface Killah over huge samples, barn-burner beats and huge hooks in Dirty Pretty Things. Listen to "5.13.11" and wait for your expectations of the power-dynamics of a relationship to be subverted. This was my introduction to Pooh as a solo artist.

Andrew Jackson Jihad, one of my favorite bands, mercifully, pumps out music pretty regularly. This year they released a full length, Knife Man. Similar to Can't Maintain, they're pursing more of a "full band" sound, which in this case means more electric guitars, drums, different types of instrumentation and studio doodling. This, I'm alright with. I kind of wish they would revert to just acoustic instruments again for a minute. There are some songs I hate, which isn't a first for me and this band. What's more important is the songs that I love still break my heart and speak to the saddest, smallest parts of my soul.

First Aid Kit joined the list of bands from Stockholm I listen to this year and they definitely are the first of whom that don't play death metal as they are in fact two doe-eyed folk musicians with completely arresting voices and an unbelievable sense of harmony. They didn't really release anything this year to my knowledge (Uhhhh, maybe they shouldn't be on here) but they did do a Hear Ya session in March. In my mind, the live-in-the-studio songs of these are the definitive versions. Especially on "Ghost Town," with the extraneous instrumentation on the album out of the picture and with just their voices carrying the weight of the emotion in that song, I get goosebumps. Oh baby...
First Aid Kit, Hear Ya 2011 (oh my god Vimeo suuuuuuuuuckkkkks don't fucking use Vimeo, you idiots)


I finally caught Watch the Throne during its descent. Having Kanye West and Jay-Z collaborate on an album created an insane level of hype in anticipation. When it finally dropped a lot of people were disappointed and they let it be known. When I got around to listening to it, I had lowered expectations and was blown away. While it may not be as good as it could have been and it's definitely not as good as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch the Throne is a fucking monster with unbelievable production, which sometimes honestly overshadows Yeezy and Hov's own lyrical contributions. While Disma probably has the "heaviest" album of the year in a traditional sense, Watch the Throne is the soundtrack to getting crushed.
"Why I love you (ft. Mr. Hudson)"
"That's My Bitch"


Bon Iver released a self-titled album this year and, well, the proof is in the pudding. There are plenty of "in" artists and bands right now that I think are over-exposed, puddle-deep garbage but this album proved to me that Bon Iver is the real fucking deal. With a few exceptions, he never really clicked with me but I'll be damned if there aren't some amazing songs on here. Choruses of Justin Vernons, synths, melanges of strings, and crackly, overdriven guitars meet in compositions that leave thousands of neck-bearded urbanites scratching their heads as to how exactly they're going to cover these songs at the next open-mic at their local coffee shop. One caveat: the last few songs bore me to tears. That one soft-rock song is a fucking snoozefest. Just thinking about it is making me yawn. Let that not detract you! All that boring shit happens at the end of the album, the first 4/5ths are solid gold. This also goes into the category of albums with songs that are so good they make me angry.
"Towers"
"Perth [Live]"

Grouper, is a one-person drone project I love. She released a double album, comprising of the two pieces Alien Observer and Dream Loss. One music journalist from NBC described this as "post-rock," which completely misses the mark: there is nothing "rock" here, just soothing, minimalistic, sleep-like drone with hauntingly beautiful vocals. Grouper, aka, the soundtrack to your dreams. To be enjoyed alone and as removed from the rest of humanity as possible. If you like either of these, do yourself a favor and listen to 2008's Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill, which is your new favorite album.
Dream Loss - "I Saw a Ray"
Alien Observer - "She Loves Me That Way"


Honorable Mentions

David's Town is a "compilation" of numerous "bands" from "Byrdesdale Spa," that runs a gamut of musical styles from post-punk, to oi!, to early Alt-Rock. I never actually got around to listening to the new Fucked Up album that came out this year...not that those things are related in any way. This rules. I recommend it. To you.
Redstockings -- "Unrequited Love"
Hateful Coil -- "Bull Thunder"


Punch dropped the Nothing Lasts EP this year and they count among the few hardcore bands active today I can think of worth giving a shit about. (Side note: I don't know anything about current hardcore bands right now. I could be missing out.) Impossibly heavy, outrageously fast, with POLITICALLY/SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS LYRICS for all you apathetic dipshits who are dangerously out of touch with reality. I resist labeling bands based on the gender of their lead vocalists, but if it does interest you to know, Punch is fronted by a female person with amazingly vicious pipes.
"The Chase"


Other stuff came out this year that I've not yet listened to enough or haven't even heard of. You know how it goes. You'll spend your entire life catching up. I'm leaving for Providence for a few days on Monday. I don't think I'll finish my metal list before then. I'll do it when I get back, or, whenever I feel like it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Long Line at the Breakdown Buffet

I have not been motivated to write lately and almost all I've been listening to for the past four or five days has been Guided By Voices, who I just recently "got," figuratively speaking. I've been a little busy, too. Oh well. To get the gears turning again, I'm going to dig out another high school favorite. This is from my hardcore phase, that lasted the better part of two and a half years, roughly speaking.

File this under "ear candy"

With Honor was a hardcore band. Around 2004, when they released Heart Means Everything, their stylistic influences had converged into an gratuitously catchy union of American-by-way-of-Gothenberg metalcore and Youth Crew hardcore, a la Champion. How many gang-shouts is too many? You'll find yourself wondering that.

(EDIT -- this hasn't been sitting well with me. I don't mean to suggest that With Honor circa 2004 deals in triumphant Nordic riffs that would seem to belie their fairly generic posi lyrical content but rather the phrasing and rhythmic emphasis is distinctly mid-2000s metalcore -- consonant, thrashy, etc. You know. You know.)


With lyrical themes so overused they border on parody -- changing your life, standing by your friends, doing your best, etc. -- and what sounds like possibly the cheesiest potential fusion of styles (and make no mistake, this album is cheeseball) imaginable, Heart Means Everything sounds like garbage on paper. It also has the worst kick-drum sound on any album except perhaps Apocalyptic Feasting.

(Oop
, here comes the twist)

This album rules, though. If all the breakdowns, catchy major-key riffs, and gang shouts at any time seemed forced or clumsily telegraphed, I wouldn't still put this on for the occasional spin, like I'm doing today. The word "tasteful" continually comes to mind, which is ironic considering how vulgar the constituent elements are but this album as a listen is streamlined and has little to no filler, which is very welcome. As corny as the lyrics can seem, too, they're delivered with conviction and sincerity, which is in short supply.

It's been a while since this was my "thing" and its interesting for me to look back to the mid-oughts (that's what we're calling the last decade, right?) and remember how I used to cycle between this and Annihilation of the Wicked as my go-to metro album. Check this shit out. You know you want to.

"YOU'RE NOT ALONE!!"


"TURNED YOUR BACK ON THE ONES WHO WAITED!!!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens: Asshole, Genius, 62, Dead.

"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."

I can't imagine life without atheism. This doesn't come from fanatical devotion -- and the lazy assertion that atheism is in itself some kind of a "religion" is a major crock of shit and frankly, very tired -- but rather, there is only one way I see and experience the universe, and that is informed most strongly by philosophy which rejects the irrational. For me, it means making a better world. That's quite enough about me.

With that being said, one of the things I hate most is other Atheists. There are exceptions with some I know but otherwise, all these rare figures with whom I might have felt some measure of solidarity have been arrogant, pseudo-intellectual loudmouths (see: Glen Benton). There is something extremely prideful about this worldview; (and why shouldn't we be to some extent? By "we" I mean everyone and anyone.) and I do struggle with the feeling that I often find myself unwittingly arguing from a "nyah, nyah, nyah, you're all wrong," viewpoint so, mainly I keep my mouth shut and don't push my views on others for that very reason. There's a time and a place for that kind of discussion and while I'm completely enmeshed in a civilization with institutions, constructs, and intellectual traditions that I abide in, struggle against, reject, and/or accept (depending), that are often very Christian in origin, rarely do I ever find someone in my face telling me how wrong I am. I try to extend the same courtesy and respect.

With that established, I thoroughly enjoyed Christopher Hitchens for all the reasons I typically hate atheists -- he was viciously polemical, unbelievably rude (at least publicly), and completely inflexible and unwilling to compromise. One of the main distinctions is that Chris Hitchens had both the rhetorical precision and intellectual firepower to back up what he said and to his credit, he completely owned his actions and viewpoints, and though I do not agree with everything he ever did or said, I've long admired that kind of stubborn consistency.

For me, what set him apart from other writers was that the dream of a world without religion for Christopher Hitchens was not a matter of greedy self-fulfillment where he was finally proven right but instead a moral imperative to save humanity, as guided by ethics and compassion ("Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it"). Not petty contrarianism (not a real word) but an essential crusade to impose a state of sanity.

"We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true - that religion has caused innumerate people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow."

I'm indebted to him for what he's shared. His works persist, even if he's dead and buried in the ground, or cremated, or being loaded into a cannon so that his remains might be shot into space.

You may like his writing. Consider him.

-W.F.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Existential Malaise

I'm working on a year end retrospective. Pain in the ass. I think I need another coffee because right now I'm spiraling downwards into a pit of negativity.

Speaking of which, a shoo-in for my top however-the-hell-many is this year's new full length from Corrupted, Garten der Unbewusstheit, which is, if you're acquainted with Corrupted's previous material, a natural continuation of their patience-pushing, colorless, and unbelievably bleak doom. If you're feeling a little soul-crushing despair, listen yourself to some "Garten," the first track. The words "dirge," "funeral," and "burial" come to mind.

For your reference, the youtube video is about an hour long, although "Garten" itself is around 28 minutes.




Stay fresh.
-W.F.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Submission Blow-out, Pt. 1

I'm editing a longer Kanye West post right now and I decided I shouldn't do two non-metal posts in a row. So, instead I'm going to promote a band from whom I received a submission. More on the way, for that matter. Speaking of which, to all the bands who have submitted so far, thanks a lot for the consideration. I really appreciate that!

Homicide hail from Brazil and playing, loose, punkish Death-Grind. Total Decay, which was recorded in 2007 ,will apparently find it's way on an upcoming split. Contained within you will find vicious blasting, a monster bass-tone, and harsh dual-vocals. There are also plenty of time changes and groovy cut-time sections, but my favorite songs, "Scurvy" and "Calamity and Terror," are for the most part full-speed-ahead assaults. There isn't a lot else to say. This will fit right into your grindcore collection, next to Wormrot, Brutal Truth, and Disrupt.

Take some time out of your day and jam on this independent band

Official Myspace


Total Decay

-W.F.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Long Line at the Gore Buffet, Pt. 2

Disclaimer: At a certain point I realized how I can and will continue to do non-metal posts if I feel like it, hence one million posts with me talking about pro-football and uninteresting personal bullshit. So is my way.

So, on the bus a few minutes ago, I reconfirmed that Situationist Comedy is by far my favorite Dillinger Four album.


Pop-punk is a dirty business these days. I don't think I need to remind anyone what the early 2000s were like. Dillinger Four have always kept it real as motherfuckers. Did I just say that? I'm just going to go ahead with that statement. Don't let them being on Fat Wreck Chords fool you, if you're unfamiliar -- they're nothing like NOFX...you know, deplorable and annoying.

At first glance, there aren't a lot of defining features that set D4 apart (Is this the central theme of this blog? "At first glance, there might not be much to differentiate x...."), it's gruffy, gritty, spunky, catchy, powerchord punk. It's something in the lyrics, the vocals, the deft songwriting, and the signature bass tone (yes) that draws in diehard fans/suckers who will eat up anything the Dillinger Four puts out. I'm a part of that group. Situationist Comedy is them doing what they do best. Honestly, just about all of their albums have pretty similar characteristics to a degree. I could dissect this album more ("Wait, isn't that the point of this post?") but I've gotten really hungry all of a sudden.

Just for kicks, I read two Pitchfork reviews of different D4 albums. Don't read those. If you give them a chance, this band will help you feel feelings. How's that sound?

"You're going to fuuuck them after allll!!"

POST SCRIPT
I listened to Corrupted on the way in. Maybe I could have talked about their newest album....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Long Line at the Gore Buffet

You know, there was a time when I wouldn't have been able to look past a band having "Maggot Infested Fuckhole" as a song title.

Visceral Disgorge - Ingesting Putridity

So, right there you have perhaps four of the most commonly used words in modern slam. The only things more brutal and slammy sounding as a band and album title would be "Disgorged Visceral Cranium - Ingesting Cephalic Putridity," or something close to that. It's almost like a Black Metal band forming under the name "Pagan Forest" and releasing an album called "Nocturnal Winter" (Which I'm sure has happened at some time, somewhere, on both accounts)

One thing I love about slam as a niche genre is it's about as unpretentious as music comes. The vocals are almost universally unintelligible, the composition is typically completely unambiguous and frank in its aggressiveness, and the lyrical content typically sticks to old Death Metal standbys such as eating and/or fucking dead bodies. You don't just casually skim slam from the surface of extreme metal the way hipsters have infiltrated black metal. That'd be like trying to make professional football hip: impossible. This assessment may only make sense to me. Whatever.

So instead of seeming passe, "Visceral Disgorge, Ingesting Putridity" sounds like a good pair of jeans to throw on, or something equally familiar and comforting. I just finally heard this band early Monday morning and I am so pleased I did. I was definitely familiar with the name (I'm banking on the probability that this has been a post at The Living Doorway at some point this year) and I'm glad I can place a sound to a band who I may have otherwise overlooked.

I'm going to set the scene. Sunday night/Monday morning, me, three friends, and two strangers are driving back to Boston from New York. Four of us are crammed in the back of a sedan and everyone is extremely uncomfortable. This goes on for about four hours. It doesn't take long for me to get real exhausted, since I'd been going on very little sleep that whole weekend. Also, an incredibly thick fog had rolled in. What that meant for me is I would nod off and then snap awake because I was afraid we were going to fly off of a bridge or something and fucking die because we were packed in like sardines and I felt a little claustrophobic. We advanced in the mix for the drive and Visceral Disgorge came on, only I didn't know what we were listening to at the time and I had to find out because I had just been inspired to stay awake. The next day, I found out who it was. Since coming home I've been listening to Ingesting Putridity a LOT and I think it's fuckin' great.





'Disgorge (not to be confused with Disgorge, or Disgorge (Mexico) writes songs with groovy, idiotic slams, blast beats, goofy sound clips, and has the decency to include some catchy, melodic riffs. It's kind of hard to say a lot about bands like this but if you like like bands that sort of sound like Devourment, you probably already listen to Visceral Disgorge. Or if you don't, you should.

I'm buying a shirt. You should buy a shirt.

"blrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh urrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggghhhhhh morrggggghhhhh"

Visceral Disgorge Merch Store (Investing in Putridity HA HA)

-W.F.

Resuming

I'm back, baby. I've got some good stuff on the way. For now here's a video I just found of the guy from Ulcerate playing songs off of The Destroyers of All. Good thing I'm wearing a scuba suit.




-W.F.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Out of Town

I'm shipping out tomorrow to Brooklyn to see a reunion show on Sunday and coming back Monday to do real posts about extreme metal/extreme farting. Or, whenever I damn well please. Big cities are still completely foreign and slightly terrifying to me.

Have a pleasant weekend!

-W.F.Link

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Putrid, Vile, Rocking Noise

Well, first off, I've been sick all day. Either I have some bug or it's something I ate. Either way, my day's plans got a little fucked. Oh well.

I don't know much about noise, harsh noise, or.....uhhh, power-electronics (that's a noise thing, right?) but I always love when bands like Pissed Jeans can pump out ugly, rough songs that end up sounding way heavier than many standard death metal bands. Or maybe not even "heavier" but maybe "tenser," if you like.




So, Drunkdriver is such a band although they are definitely dirtier than the Jeans. Their final release Drunkdriver runs the gamut from vile, abrasive rock to disturbing, harsh, non-music, like "Look Back and Laugh." Right down to the name, Drunkdriver was confrontational and dangerous sounding band.




This is in some ways an alternate approach to some of the gratification I seek in heavy metal and it may be the same deal for you but check them out. They were really something.

The band ended under very ugly circumstances but Pygmy Shrews, which shares members, is still active and is also very, very good. I could do a whole post just on the time I got to see Pygmy Shrews play, which was actually a pretty funny story and they were probably the best live act I had seen in months, at the time, but ahhh, I don't see the point.

Drunkdriver Blog (now handling Pygmy Shrews info)

Self Titled

-W.F. Link

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More Wall-Punching Music

First, I was kind of joking about the Black Friday thing and then boom, it happened and crazy shit that exceeded my wildest expectations, like a shopper using pepper spray, happened. Please don't do that.

Holy shit, also a deal has been reached between the players and the owners of the NBA! Basketball!! The season will start on Christmas. That's good timing, I was in danger of forgetting everyone's names.

So, it took a while but this year's Putridity full length clicked for me last night. The trick was just playing it really loudly. If you're new to the band, in terms of Italian Death Metal, Putridity fits more into the camp of Septycal Gorge (with whom they share at least one member) in that they play a similiar style of unflinching, mechanical BDM, and have less in common with, say Hour of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse (especially now, with their new, weirder symphonic stuff), who both generally have a more grandiose, mythic flair.




You could say once you've heard one modern BDM band, you've heard them all and there is a little bit of truth to that. I can't really pick out much on this album that is unique per se and every song hits you with so many different riffs and time changes that it's almost impossible to tell them apart but, it's still just so, so good. One thing that can be noted is rarely on Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria (until I double checked, I had always read that as "Anthropological" and it made even less sense to me) does Putridity wind up for any big slams. Instead it more or less barrels forth like some kind of gruesome freight train.

PURCHASE -- Willowtip


Sample

Support that band! It must be exhausting to be so brutal. You'll also be funding the purchase of more dictionaries for the band to use when they're creating song titles.

-W.F.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Alternate Histories

(Yes, that is Dan Seagrave's doing)


Crappy Thanksgiving, America. As much as I would have liked to be current with Sweden's Death Metal explosion, I wasn't even a year old when Nihilist put out the Drowned demo. I've spent a lot of time gazing back and I have (and still do, typically) operate under a lot of safe assumptions/general understandings about certain times and certain places and how extreme metal evolved in these categories (earlier -- later, Stockholm -- Gothenburg, Sunlight -- Abyss, for some examples).

Until a few days ago I did not know shit about Seance, who have been around since 1990 and who absolutely defy my expectations for Swede Death from that time. Part of me always assumed there would be exceptions to the rule and here you go. Musically speaking they've got more in common with Suffocation and Deicide than any Swedish contemporaries. I've so far listened to Forever Laid to Rest, which is what I've stuck at the bottom of the post. This came out in 1992 and it is very good. Again, something I didn't expect for this time. Check it!





Out of here. Maybe tomorrow you might consider driving to a mall to see the darkest side of humanity, fighting for tablets and 3-D TVs.

Reincarnage


The only relevant official link I could find was to their Myspace. If you like Forever Laid to Rest a lot, I guess you can shoot them a message, in case they still check theirs.

-W.F.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This leaked in 2010

Man, it's weird to think how long Parasignosis has actually been "out". This album, which technically was released at the start of this year, has aged well. This is merely a refresher on what is for me, one of the more baffling, chaotic things that's come out with recent memory. Mitochondrion, like Portal, have an undeniable knack for impenetrably bleak, abrasive, crushing filth. Here's the title track.




-W.F.

Profound Lore

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm Demiserable...

Like I was saying, Demisery and their first album are worth giving a shit about. It's likely that you've never heard of them, as this is a relatively new project by virtual unknowns, who just got an entry on the Metal Archives TODAY (11/16). You may ask why you should still be giving a shit and to that end I will break it down, as there are a few things at work here.



Demisery play modernized, meat and potatoes, old school Death Metal. Check. For their LP, Demisery effectively bridges the gap between classic Swedish and American Death Metal very well (not to suggest those two international scenes didn't cross-pollinate. Tape trading. Heavy metal nerds of yore) -- you'll pick up moments that are very Morbid Angel alongside visceral, buzzsaw Dismember riffs, all of which mesh together very well. It's more of a soup than a salad, if you catch my drift. The vocals and drums are both pretty decent but they play second banana to the guitar playing on this album, which is impressive without being overly technical. Maybe the only flaw that I can pick out is that during my first listen through there weren't too many memorable moments but on the other hand, it is consistently very strong for the duration of the album. There's also a Death cover. Good. Also, by dissecting the mechanics of this, I don't want to sound un-enthused because I'm not. This is top shelf Death Metal and speaking as a guitarist, it's always exciting (and sometimes a little bit frustrating) to hear a person or a group succeed in hitting that sweat spot between aggression and precision, dissonance and consonance, etc. etc. etc.




Nice. It's Death Metal. Not reinventing the wheel or anything like that but it's definitely well-conceived and exciting.

The other aspect of this project that is so interesting is it's status as a studio project by two musicians. This is, as I understand it, mainly a side project of Keith Merrow, who's better known for instrumental metal compositions that kind of remind me of Cloudkicker (Check it. Cloudkicker.) and may or may not be associated with djent (though truthfully, what solo material I've listened to has been much more interesting than quote unquote djent groups/artists), which may or may not be a little bit of a silly trend with some redeemable qualities. To me, the redeemable, interesting, and otherwise important qualities that seem endemic to what has been referred to as djent in particular are to what extent processes that yield a complete product, musically speaking (recording, mastering, distributing, etc.), are done DIY by fewer and fewer people with less pricey, "professional" equipment in favor of software, musical production suites, digital drum plug-ins and what have you.

This is in some ways almost the spiritual opposite side of the coin to the explosion of bedroom Black Metal bands in the Myspace age, who in many cases may well have had the requisite passion but in no way possessed the technical knowledge to make an even remotely listenable project. Speaking from my limited experience in digital home production (postponed indefinitely), it's a pricey hobby but far less expensive than paying for time in a studio or investing in the kind of recording and production equipment you'd find in a professional studio. It's a really promising idea, giving one full creative control in every aspect of the final product with a sliding deadline. All the more time to dial in the most suitable guitar tone, refine one's riffs. Everything. I somewhat facetiously tagged this post as "the future" because I think this will only become more common. It's more than likely established bands will do as they've always done and go to trusted studios for what they need but I'm counting on more groups like Demisery popping up, having produced sonically perfect albums all by themselves.

Bleccchhhh, this is really poorly written but you get what I'm saying. I don't really care to proofread this since I'm already past my self-imposed deadline. Don't do as I do.
I recommend checking out Demisery, as I keep saying. You can stream/download Hives of Mutation on Keith Merrow's site, as well as order a copy on CD.

KM/Demisery

-W.F.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Smithing Lvl. 30/Total Nerd Shit

Well, first and foremost, for some dumb reason I bought Skyrim. Not much else to say, I'm just trying to keep that from eating my brain/ruling my life.

Also, Sunday's game against the Jets was really cool. I can't say as to whether it was more a case of the Jets skidding or some major improvements by the Pats or a combination of both, but this may have been the most convincing win all season and I'm pretty happy about that. We actually got sacks. Amazing. The Jets' offensive line isn't a bunch of slouches either -- Nick Mangold is a pro-bowler. I couldn't believe it. One thing that I can give the Pats credit for without any reservations is working Gronkowski and Hernandez in the back field. The Jets have a pretty decent secondary (especially Darrelle Revis, who I still think gets away with some absurd fouls pretty regularly -- Oh, also for a bit of fun, check out Darrelle Revis' incredibly slanted Wikipedia page where someone left out the huge touchdown pass Randy Moss burned him on in the 2010 season. Digression.) and seeing our tight ends using their physicality and reach to make those huge catches was really gratifying.

Anywho...Here's a video. Why should you give a shit about it? Find out tomorrow...




W.F.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quandarousness

So, I get Terrorizer on my iPod. I like Terrorizer a lot and I was really excited when I figured I could get issues thusly. This might be harkening the end of printed media but whatever. That said, I don't know what bothers me more: how this month there was a huge feature on Slipknot (who are described as having "changed the metal world," or something equally, nakedly misleading or misconceived as that assertion) or the sheer volume of folk metal coverage. And that speaks to a quandary I'm having -- I feel like I can't objectively look at folk metal (e.g. Turisas, Finntroll, or...eughhh, Alestorm), all of it just seems like gimmicky, wishy-washy bullshit to me. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the sheer boyish enthusiasm and adventurousness of classic heavy metal and I can kind of see traces of that in the aforementioned bands but...uhhhhhhh I think they suck and I can't seem to force myself to appreciate them in the slightest. That's all.

W.F.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Worth Giving a Shit About/A Good Piece of News from this Week

"Personhood Amendment..." The Guardian, 9/9/2011

This is the best news I've gotten all week. I so glad enough people voted against this -- and that is, while I don't think voting and participating within the system is the most perfect way to enact, protect, or promote social/sexual/economic justice, in this particular case, I am beyond relieved that enough people worked to/(voted for) derail(ing) this insane piece of legislature that could have potentially opened up the floodgates in other states.

The actions of organizations like Personhood USA aren't guided by science, nor compassion. Anti-choice groups/individuals, generally speaking, who stand outside clinics to intimidate women, threaten doctors and healthcare professionals who administer aid (and these aren't all idle threats, if we go back to the murder of George Tiller), and stigmatize private procedures are zealots who want to turn back the clock to when women didn't have rights. Speaking of which, how can so many so called "Libertarians" like Ron Paul say they want to scale back incursions by the state into day to day life, yet support backwards, fascistic legislation that divests women of their privacy and access to safe medical care? Because if you ask me, that's as enormous of an incursion by the state into one's affairs as goddamn possible.None of your business.

If we're ever going to have a just society, challenges to freedom from lunatics like Personhood USA must be beaten back ever step of the way.

-W.F.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Realm of Chaos

Another frustrating Sunday. Were the lows not so low, I don't think the highs would be quite as high. Football season.

Here's something worth revisiting.



What I really enjoy about Realm of Chaos (1989), by the one and only Bolt Thrower can be summed up in a few features. First, the sound, even today, is heavy enough to flatten a human being into paste. Not to use a buzz word that is often utilized for retro and period death metal, but the sound is "cavernous" and is a perfect compliment to Karl Willetts apocalyptic soothsaying. The guitar is appropriately reverbed out and the tone is appropriately muddy and thick.

Stylistically, what's really interesting here is that while it's unmistakably Bolt Thrower playing Bolt Thrower-isms -- those distinctive riffs, that certain rhythmic emphases -- there are features of their playing that would gradually be ironed out by ...For Victory, five years later. One such feature is the loose, frantic blast sections that aren't all that unfamiliar to their contemporaries Carcass and Napalm Death, which nods to the primordial soup that all three came from. Also in Realm, between the riffs that are, again, so unmistakably Bolt Thrower originals, the album is replete with vestigial thrash riffs that wouldn't sound out of place on Seasons in the Abyss, not even mentioning the atonal, whammy-abusing, squealing solos.

Eventually the songs got a bit slower and more triumphant and the leads became a little more consonant. This is a great "throwback" (awful, awful, awful pun) from a band who I've never heard a single bad song from. The 'Thrower. While it's not my favorite, this album is definitely worth a spin and not a bad place to start if you've never listened to them. They're still around. Go see them! Buy some albums?

Title track, live 1991




Fantasy War Nerds

-W.F.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Double Feature

I'm still privately being a big, pissy baby about my Rosetta post getting mostly deleted, so I'm going to put a cap on tonight with the new Burial Invocation split.



I had no idea this even came out but I really love Burial Invocation and their side of the split continues with their A+ death-gloom -- for new listeners, kind of like Incantation in a cave sitting on a pile of Autopsy-isms. Dark, cosmic mysteries. I haven't even bothered to listen to the other band (Anatomia) but if their Metal Archives profile is accurate, there's a chance they could sound like Coffins.

I've already dropped what I was doing to order the 7" and you should do the same because at least one half of the split is crushing, evil death metal done by professionals.

Buy this

Try This (Thanks to Prophet of Death)

WF

Oft-delayed Rosetta Post

EDIT: I wrote a LONG fucking post which Blogger deemed unworthy of preserving and instead deleted 82% of. What a treat! The best part is how I repeatedly hit "Save Now" during the process and I'm still only left with the nucleus of this post, which I wrote this afternoon while I was applying to jobs. I also really love how this was the culmination of an earlier post which I also spent a stupidly long time writing and is now basically devoid of a satisfying conclusion.

First, a salutation to all Kansas City Chiefs fans:

You have a great team and I have had a especially pronounced affinity to the Chiefs ever since Matt Cassel came aboard. Now, do me a solid and please stop dressing up as American Indians. You wouldn't come to a football game wearing blackface, right?...Right?

No, that is NOT heavy metal.


Here's the ultra abridged version of my thoughtful, exhaustive post that I spent hours writing. Trust me, before it was flushed down the toilet, it was a pretty convincing argument as to why this full length is so much better than Wake/Lift.

Rosetta's newest (2010) full length is pretty good and much more directed and terse. At times it sounds like they're incorporating bits of 90's metalcore, which is a plus. This song gets good at a fraction of the speed required to find enjoyable parts in most of Rosetta's back catalog.





Support, please.

A Determinism of Morality


Fuck. You. Blogger.
-W.F.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fucking Hero



All it takes is a little prodding and BOOM, I'm back on another screamo bender. City of Caterpillar, who were part of the unbelievably incestuous confederation of Virginia-DC screamo bands (pg. 99, Majority Rule, et al) and who I was completely unaware of (because at this time I was a little baby) when they were actually active, were the shit.

As with a lot of music I like, my appreciation of City of Caterpillar is more of a feeling than something I can clinically dissect, so, I would say that their full-length makes me feel unsatisfied and fed up with the world, which is similar to the feel I get from Welcome the Plague Year. So, jam on this shit and maybe unearth some angst. They didn't have a ton of music recorded, but here's the full length. Good spot to start.

City

Willard Flemming out.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I really like the new Rosetta but hang on for a second...

Just like the title says.

This was in the editing stage for a looooong time. I think I finally narrowed down my central thesis. I felt like I couldn't talk about Rosetta without reflecting on the sub-sub-genre they are usually grouped into, being atmospheric sludge (or "Post Metal" but let's discontinue the use of that marker, eh?). That reflection turned into an enormous, unwieldy essay. I gutted that and started over.

In brief, rarely do I find groups within the constellation of this "P.M." genre that good anymore (with the exception of Isis and Neurosis, who are often imitated with middling, unrefined results) -- which is odd, considering how much I typically like the pairing of aggression and atmosphere [link -- case in point]. SO, I did some reflection, and remembered a discussion with a friend I had one time that is somewhat related to the matter.

Atmo-sludge bands typically play an aggregate style of heavy music that encompasses elements of sludge, doom, post-rock, and hardcore, which should be AMAZING -- Passionate, confrontational, heavy music with an atmospheric flair that you can headbang to -- yet rarely that's the case. Rarely do things "click" for me the way they did in 2008.

I present the example of the first (and only so far, come to think of it..) time I saw Rosetta. In a hyper-condensed version of that set, they played "Red in Tooth and Claw" and I got AMPED. That is, I got about as excited as possible and I thought "This is going to be the best show I've ever been to" and then the set continued for what felt like 45 minutes as I became exhausted, drained, and annoyed.

To me, this speaks to this style in general. First, thirteen minute hardcore songs are exhausting. There's only so much of yourself to give, which must be what Neurosis figured out as they began to experiment with weirdo industrial textures and odd instrumental interludes in the 90s. So, the music (and this ultimately is what I'm diagnosing as what doesn't work for me with this style of music in general) wasn't as immediate or primal as normal hardcore, AND it lacked the pure grit and absurd heaviness of some good, modern harsh sludge/doom (such as Grief or Corrupted), and lacked a developed sonic landscape that if I really wanted to, could find elsewhere, in any number of Explosions in the Sky clone bands.

Finally, returning to that conversation I mentioned earlier, the issue that we agreed upon is that (and please forgive the very broad terms I'm speaking in...generally speaking) these groups that have one foot in the door in several places never fully commit to actualizing what's so good about the genres they're dabbling in in the first place, so you're typically left with an only half-decent hodgepodge that can be entertaining for a little while but will ultimately have you reaching for something better. For example, "Quietly," [link] by Mouth of the Architect is a pretty good song but then everything else I've tried to listen to from them has been totally forgettable and boring.

There was a definite period of time where this niche genre was in heavy rotation for me but then I got serious about listening to black metal as well as other things that were new to me at the time and suddenly I no longer saw the point. This is all, of course, dependent on my lived experiences and I'm not trying to suggest I have some sophisticated musical taste that makes these bands inferior and unimportant, or whatever. It's just that I've found very little I've cared to listen to in this stylistic family outside of Isis and Neurosis...well, except for the new Rosetta.

I'm done writing. I'm going to get to what brought me here in the first place next time.

Put it on the Pizza
-W.F.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Half-Post

This video just got dumped onto my Facebook.

Listen to this fucking monster! This is Verminous (SWE), they have a full length which I just downloaded as hard as possible and there's not a lot I can say that the music wont say for me. This is the vilest thing I've heard in weeks. Insane.



As I said, other posts are in the works.

-W.F.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Half-Post

...while I'm drafting up something else...

Re: Football

It was New England bye-week. Please fix our defense.

Seeing Tim Hightower (Redskins) get knocked out for the season is heartbreaking. He's been phenomenal and having this on top of Washington's QB problems is troubling. I want to see this team succeed, they've had a rough time.

Speaking of, same game that Hightower was knocked out, it was good to see the Panthers get another win. They've got all the tools and they've looked impressive on paper, yet haven't had a winning season for whatever reason. I think it's safe to say that they risk coming in last place in their division but they're still competitive and Cam Newton is still having an amazing rookie season as QB.

Remember when the Seahawks beat the Saints in the playoffs last year? How weird that was, considering how they look now.

Enough about this.


Here's something to chew on




And then two years later he joined the Genitorturers.

-W.F.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This Horrifying Force

While listening to the new Skeletonwitch, I can't help but imagine during the writing process, they turned up the Dissection and Emperor knobs. I've enjoyed this a LOT, thus far. If you listen to "The Infernal Resurrection," wait around for a spell and you'll hear this one winding riff that you'd swear came straight out of Samoth's asshole. The only missing thing is some synth strings mirroring that. Great surprise, I didn't even know the Witch was putting out a new album this year until relatively late in the game.







Support
Link

What a magnificent group. I'd love to see them play again. Football calls.

-W.F.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Holy Goddamn

This just crossed my path. Systems is a NC band from Chapel Hill. I remember the first time I saw them maybe two or three years ago, I arrived late at the show space, came in through the pouring rain and was just floored. Ol' Systems, who were previously known as Chiaroscuro, started by sounding a lot like Circle Takes the Square and subsequently got wayy more metal. I'm not sure where this new release fits in or how many they've had up to this point but a few songs in and I can already tell that Ghost Medicine is definitely a winner.

At first glance, it would seem to be nestled into that vague quote unquote "Post Metal" (or atmospheric sludge/post-hardcore, maybe?) sound of the mid-oughties popularized by Mouth of the Architect et al but but but after the emphasis on atmosphere and the oppressive heaviness, that's where the similarities end. Systems brings a huge repertoire to the table with hypnotic riffs, more tempos than "slow", constant changes, while introducing inventive, unpredictable movements in each individual song .

I can probably reduce a big part of my acute appreciation of this record down to two points. First, is that this band doesn't halfheartedly embrace that they are a metal band. So many adherents to this, errr, crossover style seem to almost contemptuously eschew, for example, real riffs, double bass parts, etc and strike a fairly minimalist tone because it's not "punk" to actually play heavy metal, or some bullshit like that -- I know I'm speaking rather generally but this is a phenomenon I've seen firsthand. To say this is just heavy, atmospheric hardcore would totally miss the point. Secondly, bands like this usually end up with this hodgepodge sound where you'll be listening to them and think "Okay, here comes the black metal part....here comes the Stoner part..." and on and on (like how The Atlas Moth sounded to me last time I heard them) but honestly, this is the first time in recent memory that I've heard a band that is definitely metal that doesn't neatly fit into any of the major subgenres. The seams don't show. Systems convincingly utilizes an enormous pallet of textures and styles and never once did I find myself thinking "Oh man, they totally stuck a death metal part right there."

This ruled. Please check out their bandcamp.

Systems - Ghost Medicine

Monday, October 17, 2011

Please Don't Sweat the Afterlife

I fixed my goddamn computer, finally.

Last month, I had missed my bus. I was waiting to catch it in town to see a battle of the bands between a Slayer cover band and a Pantera cover band (featuring $3 Geary's drafts). I was already pretty tired but I decided it was worth the effort to get out and hope the Slayer cover band would shy away from all of their crappy late 90s groove songs. I fucked that up and misread the schedule and gleefully watched my bus go by the opposite side of the street only for it never to return, as I was unaware at the time that it was on a weird route. Anywho, that was the first night I could really feel Fall in the air. Fast-forwarding to now, it is absolutely that special time of the year where I start revisiting all the really depressive shit in my library. I had considered discussing Kold by Solstafir HOWEVER this was recently covered in the always insightful Trial By Ordeal, in a brief blurb which does more justice to it than I think I could.

Another favorite that I found around the same time in 2009 is the one-off, self-titled album by Miserere Luminis. I had an evening show around the time this came out and I would typically play at least one song a week and try (and fail) to pronounce their name and song titles.




Briefly -- Miserere Luminis emerged out of the rich Quebecois Black Metal scene as a sort of supergroup formed by Gris and Sombres Forets, two projects (three people in total) that I was already a fan of. Especially Gris. ML brings to mind the phrase of something's quality being greater than the sum of its parts. Eschewing the raw, claustrophobic sound of Gris, Miserere Luminis wouldn't sound out of place in a symphony hall. It's an enormous, orchestral album that thrives on a frigid, expansive atmosphere. It has moments of tranquility, scorn, and panic all during the course of single songs. It's eerie. It's gorgeously orchestrated. The setting I'm about to use is a little cliche but imagine stumbling through a forest in the dead of winter, following some ghostly, despondent wails. Finally, you discover an amphitheater and a bunch of dudes are playing black metal with a composer...who's also a bear. And that bear wants to die. Bet you didn't see that coming.

No, but with all glibness aside, this is a rare piece of work that seemed to slip by oddly unnoticed. This is another one of those albums that is best listened to A) Alone and B) with no other external distractions. Do not, do NOT just download this and listen to it while you play Xbox. This is crushing desolation. This is an eternity of solitude. If you can listen to "Senectus" without throwing yourself from a building, you don't have a heart.





The band is broken up buy BUY this. I'm not sure exactly how available copies are. It may be an import only deal.

Lunar Misery(?) .rar


The search for a sell-out job where I wear a tie continues.

-W.F.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Discovered in my Spam Folder

Scion keeps pumping out releases, strangely enough. Newest to the cabbage patch is Wormrot, who will join Magrudergrind, The Melvins, and Enslaved as a new member of a theoretical group I refer to as the "Artists Least Likely To Be Heard Playing From a Scion."

"Yeah man, I prefer their split with I Abhor, though....do you ever get the feeling we're driving a piece of cheddar cheese?"

If you're new to Wormrot, they play quick and dirty grindcore, sans bass. The results? Terrific. I don't know what else to say but you can spare five minutes to listen to Noise, as long as you don't mind subliminal suggestions geared towards making you purchase box-like vehicles that make you look like an ecstasy dealer. Support your importers of grind.

Noise

while we're at it

Abuse LP


still sans my own computer and digital music library (and worldly pleasure). More whining to come.

-W.F.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Curse You All Malware!

I picked up something streaming a game...that is, when I downloaded a plugin. That was dumb. I'm still working to resolve that. This ain't my computer nor have I accessed my music therein for a good while, which has forced me to retreat into records and CDs in lieu of browsing Mediafire Records Inc.

I'm redoubling my efforts to reclaim my Free Music/Blogging Machine, in the mean time, here's what I'm listening to. Perhaps you'll find something you like. Also, remember the time when you listened to music exclusively in physical formats? Fascinating how things change











Friday, September 23, 2011

Intermission

I like football a lot. My parents never forced me into it (or any sports for that matter), so there's always been a steep learning curve between me and the full comprehension of the game but I work on that pretty constantly. Usually wikipedia. Here's an important thing.



Vince Willfork is a total pro. When you see a lineman catch an interception, usually they curl up and ground the ball. Not this time, for his first career interception, he didn't skip a beat and just took off and maintained excellent control of the ball. Go fucking Patriots.




And finally, I received this cleverly disguised gravity bong of a coffee maker for my birthday. Still perfecting the technique but I've been knocking out really delicious coffee already. Finally, a reason to wake up in the morning.

Real posts forthcoming

-W.F.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ugh

Well, I meant to write about that Wolves in the Throne Room show from about eleven days ago but I didn't get around to that before I left for North Carolina. That's good, though. Right now that idea seems neither personally enriching to write about nor interesting. Here's a bullet point list regarding shows in from the tenth onwards...

PTL

Thou
is (/art) heavy as fuck in person. Also, I experienced that thing first hand where the front-person is completely normal looking guy until the music starts and he gets this feral look in his eyes. Awesome.

Falls of Rauros is great. I wasn't aware of them before I went to college in the South but they're actually directly from my hometown. They're, to me, distinctly "American" sounding, sort of like Agalloch --especially their use of real riffs, huge, triumphant leads and folk influence. Sweet. I wish they didn't play first.

I came up with this analogy. Maybe this will resonate with you, if you like beer. The band that ended up playing before Thou is a Coors Light Band. For a second they are refreshing but once you stop to dissect their qualities, you find a band (or beer) totally devoid of character, and you're loath to drink more beer at all.

Wolves In the Throne Room has super nice gear. Oh shit, also this show was outside, behind a building, in case I failed to mention. They played a really amazing set. It would have been perfect if there weren't these two idiots who evidently payed $12 to come to the show to piss me off and try to talk over the quieter song parts right near me. I got out of the show and talked major shit.

GSO

Thou
played "Smoke Pigs" and I caught them in a basement, with Bay of Pigs, who were fucking KILLER. (Hmm, recurring pig motif.) I greatly prefer that to when I saw them days earlier, to the tune of the backs of dozens of heads.

Wolves in the Throne Room played the same setlist. Crap, oh well. They sounded enormous in a club.

The openers (Megaton Leviathan) were totally tedious even before they lit herbs, which outraged my allergies and banished me outside to blow my nose.

I'd never listened to Mount Eerie, but they were really excellent.

Anywho...

Back to reality, back to Portland. Here's what I've been listening to lately. Try to deny the power of the chorus here.





Listen to this older Falls of Rauros album, if you know what's good for you.

"Ahhhhhh Ahhhh Ahhhh Ahhh Ahhhhhhhhh....AHHHHHHH AHHHHH AHHHH, AHHHHH AHHHH AHHHHH! OHHHHHHHHHHH"

Also, cough up some dough for some starving artists and buy a shiny new copy of their newest full-length. It will grout your tiles, if you know what I mean.

Fall of Big Cartel

Suck it, world!

-W.F.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fired

Nearly a week ago, in the middle of my shift I got fired. I can rationalize this to myself perfectly well that this is a small setback, which it really is. It's still kind of upsetting, though. There's part of me that thinks only dicks fire someone out of the blue like that but then there's the part of me wondering what I could have done to avoid this. Part of their corporate policy is not divulging the exact causes for termination, depending on the case, I guess, and, frankly, that's more frustrating than any other part of this. So, I've been sort of down but this is also a chance for something better, because that old place drove me crazy, anyway. Fuck it, whatever.

While I still thought I had money forthcoming, I bought a cab.and then I moved it to my basement by MYSELF!

Anywho, part of my plan to cheer myself up involved forcing myself to go out and see the Wolves in the Throne Room, Thou, and Falls of Rauros show.

To be continued...

-W.F.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Take Back What I Said About Ulver post-Nattens Madrigal

This song is pretty good. Otherwise, I hate everything on William Blake...



It's been a long week. Real post forthcoming.

-W.F.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm seeing Thou and WITTR twice in the next 11 days

The above is factual. Things are working out that way. Stoked.

On the subject of Wolves in the Throne Room, they seem to draw (1) vapid adoration from shitty, hipster types who've discovered black metal within the last lunar cycle, who want to build their cred and (2) directionless, ad hominem criticism from dipshits who actually listen to metal, but also want to build their cred -- oh man, the best is regarding WITTR's thematic content as being gimmicky, which is pretty dubious on two counts: (1) considering the near ubiquity of nature in black metal as a source of inspiration, and (2) the very idea that their deviation into specifically (yet vague) ecological inclinations would somehow get them undue "crossover" appeal with non-metalheads -- because those hated urbanite hipsters we've got in mind are clearly very conscientious are suckered into shit like that. I presume those two groups are outliers.

Generally speaking, a lot of people harp on this (North) American brand of atmospheric black metal that WITTR is the most visible representative of and how similar bands are coming out the wood works. I get it, yeah. I don't like second-rate anything. This isn't some kind of isolated phenomenon -- major musical trends like this have an extremely long shelf life, if you stop to consider how many bands ripping off the Bay Area sound AGAIN, for example. Or, how fucking inescapable the Gothenburg sound became well after the heydays of At the Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquility, respectively. I'm less aware of trendy metalcore crap these days, I don't know if Melo-Death riffs are still popular or if that's been superseded by the cripplingly-poor-songwriting-in-favor-of-pointlessly-technical-riffs thing. Also, if you're in roughly the same age group as me and can remember Myspace's long moment in the sun as the purveyor of all those stupid mid-2000s bands, let's share in enjoying how much better life is now without all that bullshit. High school, right?

(I did some hunting. Re: the current state of doo doo metalcore, watch from about 1:26 to maybe twenty seconds later.
Stupid video [Link] ))

Maybe the overarching theme here is that all of us have come a long way.

I'm dead tired, I went in early today. Mullets and big gauges for everyone and to all a good night.

-W.F.




Monday, September 5, 2011

Insane To NOT Repost

I found this on Skull Fucked. It originally went up in 2009. Scapegoat is a Boston PV band who I learned about by virtue of sharing the Brutal Supremacy split with Iron Lung, Hatred Surge, and Mind Eraser. They good!

That can be found in vinyl form via Painkiller. Get it while it lasts.

Here is some madness





You know what to do.

Real posts coming soon! Starting in a new position at work tomorrow! Minimal customer interaction!

-W.F.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not Usually My Thing

Oh God.

Even since I've heard them, I've always appreciated Harm's Way. Starting in Chicago, playing vaguely Infest-esque powerviolence, they've moved into more metallic territory, incorporating some thrashy riffs while keeping the blastbeats, breaksdowns, and what have you. Also they're fronted by a terrifyingly huge dude. Just fucking look at that guy.


That's going to give me nightmares. Also, watch this. Really though, they could all be extremely approachable and friendly for all I know. Appearances are deceiving like that.

So, while ultra-masculine, tough guy hardcore hasn't really been my thing for a few years, I nevertheless find myself having to give it up for Harm's Way. The songs are raw aggression, if I've ever heard it, and heavier and more hateful than....anything, maybe. I definitely wont pass up a chance to see them live but I'm going to stand safely back like I usually do when I start to see people swinging their limbs out the corner of my eye.

If you're into it, definitely support them. Giant torso tattoos aren't cheap.

Demo

Imprisoned EP

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In my own local paper

The Black Twilight Circle is the shit and I was really surprised to find an interview with Volahn in my local free paper. If you're so inclined, you can read a rare interview online HERE.

The theme of this issue itself is the Big Four (Anthrax fucking sucks. There, I said it.) and overall the content was pretty insightful, if not a little guilty of mystifying those golden years. While on the one hand, yes, Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica were in the right places at the right time to have an enormous cumulative impact, I think it's a little something -- not fatalistic but some close synonym, to accept that every current and future metal band will be somewhat consigned to a place of futility where they will never reach the same astronomical heights of influence and importance as those major bands did. Yes, conditions are different now, with a completely pervasive mass media and a seemingly limitless number of bands coming out of the wood works but, I think completely ruling out the eventual appearance of a band or bands who's sound could resonate so vastly, even outside of the core of the metal underground, is not a position I can wholeheartedly embrace. Instead of laying down and humbly bowing at the altar of the Big "Three," as quixotic as it sounds, I think we should be taking those lessons and applying them to build something better. There are thousands of ways this could be written off as too idealistic to be feasible, but come on.

Anywho

Here's a compilation from the Black Twilight Circle. They deserve their own post but that will wait.

Ritual Kaos

PEACE
-W.F.

Link

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

....meanwhile, in the World of Punk



-W.F.

This Is Happening Right Now


I have a few days off and I've been avoiding sunlight. The above album has received strangely little attention as far as I can see, besides a blurb in Decibel. Sometimes, I read Decibel. Well...

This is The Konsortium. All of the members are masked and they go by numbers, but unlike Slipknot, listening to them wont permanently damage your metal cred........or your credibility in general. The only known member is Teloch, who's done live stints in Gorgoroth, Mayhem, and 1349. While the project of this Norwegian scene veteran has a lot of similar trappings to the aforementioned groups, this may be closer to later-Enslaved, but less meandering and annoying (but hey! You may like newer Enslaved and maybe I'm totally missing the point on this matter).

The Konsortium, though...



...right, the Konsortium, on the one hand is both, at times, blisteringly harsh and bottom-heavy (not unlike Gorgoroth or 1349) while also managing to seamlessly drift into weirdo progressive moments and integrate all kinds of vocal styles, harsh and clean, which is damn impressive. It's often the weird proggy moments that have the most sticking power when I listen to this band.

Often times, "progressive" bands fall into what I refer to in my mind as "jigsaw song syndrome," where disparate pieces or styles of music are haphazardly thrown the fuck into each other for the sake of mixing things up. I don't like it. As an example, while I have a cozy, warm place in my heart for Between the Buried and Me*, who were a crucial crossover band that led me to listen to more extreme metal back in high school, on Colors, which is an album I'd still ultimately recommend, there are a lot of moments where disparate song pieces are jarringly matched together, such as a (I wish I was joking) country-style porch jam in the middle of a triumphant song bridge. Fuck.

None of that shit, here. I encourage you to konsort.


Weirdo Prog Shit


-W.F.



*
Okay, speaking of: I don't know what kind of self-delusion the admins at the Metal Archives have to muster up to to say "Nah, that band isn't as "metal" as S.O.D. or the Cro-Mags" Yeah fuckin' right.





Friday, August 19, 2011

Job for a Manboy

Well shit, I've been busy. My internet is now repaired. In my spare time, when I wasn't dredging up things worth putting out in blog form or slamming hundreds of beers in single sittings, I got a job. Finally. The cushy, magical life of a student had not afforded me a money-job for about my last calendar year of study and it feels good to be on the clock, doing sometimes-stimulating things while thinking about all the videogames I want to play later. With jobs come more tattoo money. For about the first four days of work my arm was swollen right the hell up around the elbow (or "swellbow," as they call it in the biz) and it looked weeeeird and made my smoothie-craft slightly harder (that damn job..). Whatever, though. Jobs shmobs

Let us take a minute to enjoy an instant classic from 2001. If you are like me, you were probably watching a lot of Dragonball Z when this came out and didn't know fuck-all about black metal. Yes, whole episodes of grunting and yelling in place of dialogue, in fact.


Bam! I hope this shit is in your collection. Tara is the fourth in Absu's catalog of mythological thrashing madness, this album dealing with Celtic mythology (ergo: bagpipe interludes). While it doesn't have my favorite Absu song title ever ("An Equinox of Fathomless Disheartment") it does however have maybe their best songs, if not truly excellent songs. Much like my shift today, it's a frantic and chaotic, yet with great precision (unlike how I do anything at work because I'm the new guy who sucks at everything). And it's weird. Also there is at least one (1) shrill "Angel of Death" falsetto yell. Every album should have one, minimum. So, if you're interested in this American thrashing riff-machine, I'd start here, at least to get the chance to hear Proscriptor's amazing drumming. The. Fucking. Man. That's what a real drummer does.

Download and then buy. In whichever order.

"She Cries the-uh Quiet Lay-hay-hay-hake!!"


-W.F.





Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not Bloodbath

It's beyond moot at this point: the best album of 2011 will most likely be Watch the Throne. In light of that, I'll try to divvy what genuine enthusiasm I have left for things that don't feature Jay-Z AND Kanye West rapping together for a whole album and direct that towards Sweden's best national export, Death Metal.



Torture Division is Jorgen Sandstrom, the best vocalist ever to grave Grace; I mean "grace Grave" and two other guys (the "other" bald guy with a goatee and long-hair good-drummer, aka "That guy from Vomitory") best known(?) from The Project Hate whatever-the-fuck, who I've never cared to check out but could very well be great, only instead of playing maybe-good Industrial+Death, they kick out raw, punkish Death Metal, which kicks ass.

"Great," you might be thinking, but there is more. Torture Division, as an enterprise is largely free. Not "free" as in "I've got a few minutes to spare, I'm going to hit the blogs and see what sounds worth downloading" but "free" as in "take our music, please." Yes. Torture Division pumps out songs, plays select shows and prints small runs of merch and, utilizing the revenue generated therein, records more demos. Voila! And while "demo" has the connotation of poorer quality to some (unless if you're weened on black metal), all the demos are mixed by none other than the super-producer and ultra-prolific Dan Swano (ex-everything), so they sound great.

I will say that, some of the lyrical content is insanely misogynistic. And while that comes with the territory and I don't make any excuses. This is something I feel conflicted about often. If you take my stance on it and view as objectively as art representing all aspects of life, good or bad, as art does not and should not always depict only things we agree with (because where's the conflict in that? Where's the drama?), then you will be alright. Sorry, that last sentence has a lot of clauses. Or, you can pass on it.

I'm dead serious about Patriarchy and if you feel the same way, you may skip this altogether or not even listen to Death Metal at all, who knows?

Download their music directly from their site. Read around, too. It's entertaining. Link below.

Rrrrock

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Is Why I Listen To Music

Jazz when removed from a live setting sometimes bores or annoys the hell out of me but this song is a fucking monster. I saw the first half hour of this 1988 concert on Instant Watch, earlier. Evidently Carlos Santana ran into one of his favorite Jazz saxophonists and they mused about what a tour would be like, or whatever. Details are unimportant, the end result was an absolutely massive Latin Jazz Fusion project. All these genius dudes and dudettes with silly haircuts absolutely murder it. These are musicians. Imagine your average jam-band, only all the stoned out morons are replaced by topshelf artists and they can play a coherent song. Fuck, this is just so good. At around the six minute mark, the keyboardist launches into a totally insane solo. Full disclosure: I found myself tearing up at what seemed like two minutes in, strangely enough. I was just so completely astonished and contented with how amazingly she was playing. They're all so goddamn good.



I just saw a commercial for LG which sounded so much like that one Fugazi song.

Coming up: A Swedish Death Metal supergroup

-W.F.