Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best Albums of 2008

Here it is New Year's Eve and it is time for that annual douchebag move that every music geek loves: the best album of the year list. I feel like a dick, but can't help myself.

10. Gigan- The Order of the False Eye

Take pummeling death metal then spice it up with bizarre song writing and super weird futuristic sci-fi style noise and you have Gigan. This debut is awesome and proves that death metal is not stale. It sounds like Hate Eternal mixed up with a japanese psychedelic space adventure. Yeah.

9. Nachtmystium- Assassins: Black Meddle, Pt. 1

This album is truly one of the critical darlings of 2008 and it deserves to be. It is probably the 2008 metal album most likely to pop up in the collection of an adventerous non-metalhead. As for the sound: mostly black metal with a crusty punk vibe at times and a good dose of Pink Floydian prog. One of America's most interesting metal bands.

8. Origin- The Aftermath

Now, this album will never appear in the collection of someone who isn't diehard into metal. These guys are the most amazing technical death metal band I've ever heard. Every song is jampacked with 200,000 notes and 500,000 beats. The ear can barely comprehend the thick viciousness of this. But there are also hooks and songs hidden in there. If I could listen to this audio massacre more than once a day, this would be number 1 on the list. They should be given an award from Juliard or some high fallutin' orchestra because these grimy death metallers are more talented than 98% of professional orchestral musicians.

7. Metallica- Death Magnetic

You don't need an explantion or a link to their Myspace. You know the sound, you know the band. And if like metal, then you liked Metallica at some point, and this record is head and shoulders above anything I expected at this point. Bad-ass.

6. Torche- Meanderthal

I liked their first album a little better than this, but that one got kinda overlooked. Oh well, now it looks like every music critic on earth (metal or non) is lining up to provide them with oral favors. They are pretty awesome. If you like heavy Melvins style thickness, but wrestled into radio friendly almost pop style (think Nirvana or Foo Fighters), then they are for you. They are definitely for me.

5. Gojira- The Way of All Flesh

These french eco-metallers are back with their blend of death and thrash metal with a flavor that is all their own. If you listen to Gojira than you know the sound and no one else has that sound. Like Torche, I liked Gojira's last record (From Mars to Sirius) better, but this one is amazing also. "Vacuity" is a masterpiece of simple pounding metal. One of the world's most important metal bands.

4. Of Montreal- Skeletal Lamping

OK, I know what you are thinking. You think I am just throwing a curveball in here to show you how eclectic I am. Wrong. I hate those reviewers with Top Ten lists that include rock, jazz, hip-hop, and country in one. I do not believe anyone really has tastes so broad that they can love the cream from all the big genres. I really don't; I think people fool themselves into liking things they think they should like.

Anyway, this my girlfriend's favorite band and from the start I hated them. But I kept listening and now I am sold. The sound is that of disco, mixed with the Beatles, mixed with David Bowie, mixed with indie rock, mixed with terrible club dance music. The best word word for it is gay. Not homosexual (well it's a little that too), but gay. But fuck it. I think the dude writes totally cool music that is never predictable and always keeps you guessing. I guess I am gay.

3. Misery Index- Traitors

This is death metal/grindcore/super tough punk. These guys are just amazing. One of the best kept secrets in extreme metal. I am continually amazed at how underappreciated they are. Oh well, for myself and their legion of devotees, they are one of the best in the game. This is the most crushing album on the list. They are just sledgehammering your face and jackhammering your brain. This is brutalness for people who like headaches and bruises.

2. Enslaved- Vertebrae

If you want an indepth review of this record, look down about 5 posts. I don't need to reiterate the greatness of this band. It is time they break out bigger. Like Opeth size. I like Opeth a lot, but think Enslaved are much better. Let's hope the public agrees at some point.

1. Trap Them- Seizures in Barren Praise

Like the last entry, I have an in depth review of this record just a few posts down. This band is really making a strong push to become one of the best young bands on the scene. The future for them is very bright and I fully expect to be listing them again in my best of 2009 list. Can't wait to see them at Maryland Deathfest 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Metal Song of 2008

Seed of Filth- Six Feet Under

If you are a metal fan then you probably already have an opinion on Six Feet Under. Alot of folks love 'em, alot of folks hate 'em. I love 'em. Seed of Filth is the first single (I don't know why they still use this dumb term or even keep up the concept of a single in the world of metal because there is no radio station in the country that is going to play this band) off of their new record Death Rituals. This is the kind of song that makes me personally love the band.

First thing you will notice is that the song's tempo is slow. This does two things. First, it allows you to hear the rythymic picking of the guitar. This is important as a lot of the hook lies here. Second, it creates 5 minutes of the best headbanging we got all year. This song is perfect for headbanging and throwing up the horns. The hook is simple and cruel and beautiful in its simplicity. You will also notice that the guitar solo comes after the first verse and chorus. This is a small thing, but I don't know if I've ever heard another song with this structure. You will also notice that Chris Barnes continues his reign as the gruffest, most ogrish death metal vocalist on the planet. This guy sounds like mutilated bodies look.

As they say, the devil is in the details. And a small detail about this song pushes it over the edge to greatness. During the choruses, Barnes sings a few words that the entire band echo in that punkish off-mike kind of way. These moments beg for audience sing alongs. What are they saying? It's "Maggots, maggots". And after the first verse, when they all shout along? It's "The maggots feed and grow, the maggots feed and grow!" Deal done, song of the year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Trap Them- Seizures in Barren Praise

Trap Them is a band from New Hampshire. I saw them at the 2008 Maryland Deathfest where they were a late add due to someone dropping out. They played their 25 minute set at around 2 PM. Not exactly prime rocking time. Anyway, they stood out and I really dug their set. When I saw they had just released a new record, I figured it was about time I bought some of their recorded material.

Boy, am I glad I did. This here is one sharp, kick in the balls of a record. It is short and to the point; as lean as a record of this fierocity gets. Trap Them fall somewhere between gindcore, death metal, and crusty anarchopunk. These three things are not as different as some folks may claim, so let's just say they fall into a territory characterized by huge, buzzing guitars, precise drumming, crushing riffs, and a sense of violence and urgency. If you like hardcore or metal, there is something here for you.

A couple of pointed observations:

1) I listen to a ton of metal and punk. These genres are angry musics. It is in their DNA and is the main pillar of their sound. Every metal and punk band sound angry by default because of their harsh genre, but how many metal and hardcore records have you heard where the anger isn't noticable? A bunch. The emotion doesn't always come through. Not the case here. Trap Them sound seriously angry. You can taste it and it primally makes your fists and jaw clench. Visceral.

2) The vocalist is awesome. Ryan McKenney is his name. His vocal style is more of a hardcore shout or scream than a metal grunt. And you can usually understand what he is saying. His voice is a big part of conveying the disgruntled emotions that pour out of this disc.

"My name is Ryan and I am gonna trap you real good!"

3) If you can listen to the first song and not scream along "The vertigo, the death threats, the funerals, ....they never end" then you and I are different animals, my friend.

4) Trap Them is a great name. It sounds so evil and nefarious. It is much more scary then just picking some graveyard imagery like a million extreme music bands. Like Dark Tombstone or Mausoleum or Inverted Candelabra. Trap who? What are they going to do after trapping them. Creepy.

Buy this. And buy this. And go ahead and buy this. Here is a good spot.

And you can check out some tunes from this page. Click on the album artwork to get tunes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Guns N Roses- Chinese Democracy Part 2

8. Scraped- This song has a weird a capella beginning. Strange. Other than that, it is a pretty straight forward rocker. Not bad. OK.

9. Rian N' the Bedouins- This one here is another rocker that is straight forward. The verses actually sound like something off Appetite From Destruction. The chorus is cool, but I'm not sure it fits with the verses. Axel is really going for something with this tune, but I'm not sure if it works.

10. Sorry- This is a slow moody jam with guitar straight outta a western movie. It sounds a ton like Alice in Chains. When it gets to the chorus, it gets louder and even more AIC-ish. Now I love AIC, so I can deal, but Axel usually doesn't mimic others to this degree.

11. IRS- Here we go. This is another simple rock song, but much better than the last two. This song and Better are the most radio friendly. I like this song. This and Better are better than anything off of the 2 Use Your Illusions.

12. Madagascar- This is the first song on the record that sounds exactly how I expected this record to sound. It is a semi-symphonic, quasi-epic that doesn't really catch me. It reminds me more of the Estranged and November Rain type songs from the last albums. It is full of audio samples from movies and MLK Jr. speeches. I think Axel is trying to sound deep. This is the most boring song on the album.

13. This I Love- This is a piano and symphonic ballad. Fragile and pretty, it has a great vocal performance. I don't like this kind of song, but this is not bad for what it is.

14. Prostitute- This is another big, multi-layered, inspirational rock song like There Was a Time and Catcher in the Rye. This is where Axel needs to stay. This is his new place. Axel is no longer the rocker that he was when he was in his 20s. He has grown into a pretty excellent composer/arranger. He coulld put out albums of songs in this style treading water somewhere between Elton John, Queen, and Steely Dan, and I would buy them all. It's time for Axel to drop the GNR moniker and do this style of music under the name William Rose.


Overall, I still can hardly believe that I own Chinese Democracy and that I have listened to it about 5 times in the last 2 days. Forget the 15 year build up for this record. No record could ever fulfill that kind of grand expectation. To be honest, I had pretty low expectations for this record, and I am suprised to say that it is a lot better than I thought it was going to be. There are some definite missteps, but there are a number of great songs, and some moments of true musical brilliance. And you get your money's worth. The ambition and "packed to the gills" feeling of some of the production sounds like the over grandiose piece of musical theater that it is. I would recommend that every rock fan check this out. You will find something on it to love and there are very few boring moments. I tip my hat to Axel. Mr. Rose, you are much more talented than I gave you credit for.

This album is my second favorite GNR album (obviously behind Appetite.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Guns and Roses- Chinese Democracy, Pt. 1

If you like rock or metal music and you do not live in a cave, then you know that Guns and Roses (or shall I just say Axel Rose) finally released Chinese Democracy. This is probably the most highly anticipated release for me in my 33 years. First, because it took 15 years to make, second, because it's fuckin' GNR! Well, I bought it yesterday on its release date because that's how I roll.

I am going to review the disc song by song. This is usually a long-winded, self-important, douchey move. But this is Chinese Democracy, an album I've been dying to hear for 15 years and never thought I would actually hear. So how is it? Let's start.

1. Chinese Democracy- This is the first song, the title track and the first single. What strikes me the most is how after 15 years of build-up and about 45 seconds of ambient noise that gets the listener totally ready, the first riff comes on and it's..........pretty lame. The riff is pretty weak. Between riffs there is the sound of wind blowing. WTF? Once the song kicks in it is not too bad. It is a pretty agressive rocker that is decent. I notice two things immediately. 1) Slash is clearly not playing the guitar. This is a whole nother style of playing that Slash couldn't and wouldn't do. It is done by techies named BucketHead and Bumblefoot and a bunch of others. This isn't a bad thing, just different. 2) Axel is singing in a lower register, but layers a second layer of his trademark screech on top to make two voices. I'm am worried that his pipes haven't held up.

Overall, this song is a bit of a let down, but pretty rockin'. Solid, nothing more.

2. Shackler's Revenge- Starts with a terrible, uber modern guitar tone which sucks. Add to this a funk vibe and wah-wah guitar. Then the double voice layering again. Then guitar squiggles, and craziness is just jammed in everywhere. This is a train wreck.

Then comes a catchy chorus and amazing guitar solo. Then the song is just so full of parts that don't fit and all kinds of production noises and layered effects that it is just mind-blowing. Then against all music fan criticism, it just works and it is awesome. This song is weird, but listen to it 3 or 4 times and tell me it's no good.

3. Better- Song starts with Falsetto Axel and then the vocals kick in and any fears that Axel's voice is gone are laid to rest. His voice sounds amazing and I realize just how much I missed hearing that voice. The world of rock needs that voice. Seriously.

This song will be a hit. This joins the pantheon of amazing GNR songs. Awesome. This record is looking up.

There is a killer breakdown in the middle. If you can listen to this breakdown part with Axel screeching holy hell over the top and not want to crash a car, then you are a better person than me.

4. Street of Dreams- Uh-ooo. Starts with a piano. I hated the piano songs on the two Use Your Illusion albums. Song starts and it is a grand sounding, ballady, uplifting song that sounds like he wrote it after a break-up. It has strings and another amazing vocal performance. I normally don't like GNR songs like this, but this song is very listenable and suprisingly effective.

5. If the World- This song has a Moroccan sound that is accentuated with Spanish guitar (for real), dreamy keys, and a weird funky wah guitar. This song sounds like it should be in a movie. This is the first swing and miss of the record. I'll will probably skip this song usually when I listen to this record.

6. There Was a Time- This song starts low key with some singing over shitty sounding fake drums. It sounds like rap production. Ughh. I'm not gonna like this one. The song kicks in about 55 seconds, and the next 5 minutes blow me away!

For the first time ever, I finally get a glimpse of this beast that Axel kept hearing in his head. This is jaw-dropping, grand, epic, sweeping majestic rock. It has so much density and thought put into it. This transcends rock, this is amazing art. Axel was not crazy; he has the talent to do the kind of music that no one except himself thought he could pull off to this point. Wow.

Now I understand why he ditched the rest of the band. This is not music from the same bunch that wrote Appetite for Destruction. This kind of song is not created by a 5 member group of drunk misfits. This kind of song comes from the mind of an amazing writer, composer, and arranger.

I am getting real excited about the rest of this record.

7. Catcher in the Rye- This is a mid-tempo guitar and piano rock song, cut from the same cloth as the last song. Once again, it is very grand, and very well written. The song is warm and uplifting. Axel is on to something here. This is special music.

So far, I have been baffled, turned off, let down, rocked, uplifted, and amazed over the last 7 songs. This baby is worth the price of admission whether you end up loving it or not. There have been some misteps, as well as some perfect musical moments.

I will get to the second half later, when I've had more time to digest it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunn O)))- The Black One

So I finally broke down and picked up my first Sunn O))) record (pronounced Sun, if you don't know). I have known about Sunn O))) for years and heard parts of a bunch of their songs. I just hadn't made the leap until now.

Sunn O))) are two guys who were in cool bands before, who have come together to play drone music/metal. The are doomy and heavy, but not like the Melvins, Earth, or Harvey Milk. They have taken the lessons those masters had to teach and have transformed them into something different. This music does not rock, in fact, it is more like sounscapes than music. These guys took the idea of drone/doom metal and approached in a more sonic, ambient way. If you don't like music that falls under the experimental label, they are not for you.

So what do they sound like? Well apparently different albums of theirs have different takes on the same theme. What can be described as the Sunn O))) theme? Big, rumbly, slow guitar riffs that repeat. No percussion. Musical themes that stretch into oblivion. At times the sounds are so big that the listener can't keep sight of the song as a whole. When I say big, I don't necessarily mean loud. I mean big. The songs are like planets. You can fly over the expansive landscape, but you can't see it all at once. It is too massive. And above all it is glacial. It is the sound of ice slowly overtaking everything. Now start with this Sunn O))) theme and run it through a black metal filter and you get the appropriately named Black One.

Does it sound like black metal? Not at all. Does it feel like black metal? Oh, yeah. To add to its bm vibe it contains guest spots by Wrest and Malefic. And the first song is named Sin Nanna. If you don't know who these people are, get to Googling and brush up on your modern bm.

I just tried to open a new Window while listening to this through my computer and it totally locked up my machine. How intense is that? Whoa.

Anyway, this album is a great piece of sound. I don't know what else to call it. Open your mind and give it a shot, if you want something beautiful and bizarre. You can buy it here:

"Hi, we're Sunn O))). We are taking these guitars back to our big rolling home. Follow us and we will sell you some droids."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Get a Hold of Yerselves!

Check out these quotes:

"Wetnurse evince an almost spooky breadth of musical knowledge, with John Zorn-like smash cuts between blistering hardcore (in a Brutal Truth/Today Is The Day mode), Swedish death metal, Napalm Death grind and Gallhammer-dipped ablutions to the passion of the crust."-Metal Maniacs

"Wetnurse take the best elements of noise, punk, metal, hardcore, and grindcore, blend them together and add a Lower East Side art house aesthetic"

"9/10. Relentless, unpredictable, and impossible to pin down... This is hardcore with a higher purpose."-Decibel

"Some strong psychedelia, lots of angular noise, a few blast beats, a handful of great acoustic passages and plenty of good old goddamn rock and roll... Now is the time and Invisible City is the record."-Guitar World's

"With energy barely contained by the plastic on which it's pressed, Invisible City is your manic worst nightmare come to razor-sharp fruition. The self-titled was cool but I don't think anything could have prepared my ears for this kind of multi-front onslaught."-The Aquarian

These quotes are about the new album Invisible City from the NYC based band Wetnurse. I read these passages and I almost made a mess in my pants. These quotes had me expecting something totally life changing. Wetnurse clearly sound like no one in the history of recorded music, right? Now check out these tunes:

Whattya think? Pretty fuckin' awesome, huh? But I'm confused. Are they great? Yeah, pretty amazing. But are they some sort of unparalled bastion of originality? I'm not so sure. They sound alot like three things: 1) At the Drive In, 2) Drowningman, 3) Late 90s arty hardcore ala Gravity Records, Ebulittion, and Vermiform(in particular I heard Clikitat Ikatowi and Torches to Rome). Now these three things are three of my favorite things in the world, so Wetnurse pretty much rules my world. This is my kind of rock. But the media seems a little out of control.

It reminds of the English music press. Every six months, they annoint a new band as the greatest band ever and immediately place them in the pantheon of legends. Slow down, buddy. I know you are excited and I am too. Wetnurse is amazing, but they haven't re-invented the wheel. But they have built an awesome wheel out of parts discarded from others' old wheels.

But I must confess, I haven't heard the entirity of Invisible City, just the two tracks from Myspace. Maybe the rest of the album will change my opinion, but for now they are just an excellent hardcore band that has an original spin and well written songs. I dig 'em, but they haven't shown me anything I haven't heard before.

With that said, I will buy the album, will go see them live, and will jump around like a rabid chimp. Wetnurse rocks and the media needs to get a hold of themselves.

Oh yeah, go here and buy this album:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enslaved- Vertebrae

So what a perfect way to get back in the swing of things, but with a review of the new Enslaved album. First a little disclaimer, Enslaved is probably my favorite all-time metal band, so I am pretty biased. But then again, they pretty much made me biased, so perhaps "convinced" or "sold on" is a better term.

Anyhow, if you don't know, Enslaved are from Norway. They started in the '90s playing black metal with a Viking theme. I think their first release was a split with Darkthrone. You can't really get more kvlt than that. Since that time they have released 10 albums. This is their tenth. 10 albums in the world of black metal pretty much makes them like the Rolling Stones of bm. The greatest thing about them is that they have grown on every single release they have put out. Some bands put out the same record every time. This can be OK, but real artists take chances and grow. By this definition, Enslaved truly are artists.

They started out sounding like traditional bm. Soon all kinds of new sounds started popping up in their music. Clean vocal passages, slower parts, keyboards, pretty melodies, and god forbid, song parts in major keys. Fast forward to now and here is what you have. A band that sounds like Tool and Pink Floyd and black metal all at the same time. The songs are catchy, there are riffs everywhere. The guitar interplay is amazing, the keyboards perfectly fit, and the drumming is superb. Vocals are now mostly clean singing, but every song still has the more traditional bm screeching style vocal. They sound still grim like bm, but also insanely uplifting. Like a Viking horde that has an earth ritual in the frosty tundra all night, then suddenly the sun starts to rise and they are all blown away by the beauty and majesty of it all. And behind their frost covered beards, hidden to their breathern, small smiles erupt.

In other words, Vertebrae is amazing. Enslaved is amazing, as always. At this point in their career, I would not only argue that they are the best bm band in the world, I might venture that they may be the best rock band, period.

Check out some tunes:

Bonus content: Here's a picture I snapped of them at a show of theirs this Spring.

Don't Call It A Comeback.......

I haven't posted shit to this blog since February. I suck. As if there has been nothing blog worthy in the world of metal/punk/rock since then. Oh well, never said I was reliable.

A big shout out to my boy Brother Love. He gave me the motivation to get back on the horse. If you want to read a blog that covers hiphop, social matters, science, and entertainment all at the same time, you can't do much better than his.

A fresh interesting voice, awesome videos, funny cartoons, and a shit ton of unique sound clips, what more do you want? Go. Read. Now. You are welcome.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sickening Horror- When Landscapes Bled Backwards

As my last post promised, I went to Strangeland Records to take advantage of their going out of business sale. I picked up six discs, and thus far, this one stands out the most.

Sickening Horror is a death metal band from Greece. This is their first full length album and I hope there are many more in the future. This thing just slays. It is a mix of brutal, technical dm like Cannibal Corpse and proggy metal like Atheist. And the songs are just quality. Catchy and memorable, which can be difficult in this harsh genre. All of the players excel. The guitarist is precise and has a great tone and the drummer was the guy from Nile (they now have a new drummer), so you know he is pretty much a fucking jackhammer mixed with a metronome. But my favorite is the bassist. He has a very unique dm style, bobbing and weaving, and flying all over the place, while still anchoring down this monster. There is even a song which is solely piano, but still sounds like dm, really great.

If you like dm, buy this now. If you like technical dm, you should have already bought it. This record takes its place along side Cannibal Corpse's "Kill", Necrophagist's "Epitaph", and Decapitated's "Organic Hallusinosis" as dm records from the past few years that I have heard, which I consider classics.

As a quick aside, they are touring Europe this spring with Immolation and Melechesh. Are you fucking shitting me? What a line-up. I am jealous.

Go to their website for audio and news:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Strangeland Records Is Closing

If you live in the Washington DC area and like metal, like I do (queue Peter Frampton joke), you've probably been to Strangeland Records. If not, then perhaps that is part of the reason they are closing. For those of you who don't know, Strangeland is in Annandale, VA and specializes solely in metal, punk, indie, goth, and techno music. They opened in March of 2006 and will be closing in March of 2008. Starting tomorrow, they are having a going out of business sale. All items are 10% off. Prices will be reduced incrementally until the last day they are open. I for one will be going during lunch tomorrow to pick up as many cool things as I can afford. You should do the same.

It's sad to see them go. This is the only place in the area where you can peruse an etensive metal collection that includes black, death, grind, power, folk, gore, and all the other little subgenres. I'm sure goth folks feel the same way about that collection, and the techno folks likewise. No where else could you get this stuff from a store in this area.

I can't say I'm surprised though. I don't think there will be any brick and mortar record stores in five years. For nostalgia's sake, I'm gonna miss 'em, but I'm kind of excited about how the record business is going to change. Lots of things have contibuted to the CD industry downfall, so just blaming one like illegal downloading is misguided. There's still gold in them there hills, someone is gonna get real rich when they shift the entire paradigm of the music business. I think Radiohead made bold steps by releasing In Rainbows for any price the consumer wanted. They are thinking ahead and it has payed off. Yeah, maybe 60% of the people took the record for free, but 40% like myself paid an average of $10. When you factor in 40% of an estimated 1.5 million downloads, while the record only cost like $50,000 because there was no promotion or production, these guys made an absolute killing. Good for them.

Anyways, enough ranting. If you like a band, give them money somehow. If you want you can buy the record. If you'd rather download it, for goodness sake, go see 'em live and buy a shirt. And drag a friend. You know the deal. And go to Strangeland between now and March 17 and buy as much as you can. These are good guys and we don't them in too much debt.




7203 Columbia Pike (Second Floor)
Annandale, VA 22003
(703) 750-1571 1-877-505-3282

Monday, January 28, 2008

Overlooked Classics- Volume 2

The Dwarves- Blood, Guts, and Pussy

So I was exposed to Mudhoney at about the age of 15 and immediately had to buy everything on Sub Pop Records. One of the first I picked up was this gem by the sleaze punks known as the Dwarves. First take, album cover has two hot, naked chicks on it covered in blood and a naked dwarf in the background with a butchered rabbit. What the fuck!? I had to hear this! Second take, pop it into the CD player: 12 songs, 13 minutes. Are you serious? Then came the catchy and filthy sound of the opening guitar riff to "Back Seat of My Car" and I'm in heaven. For thirteen minutes, I experience sex, drugs, and rock and roll aurally that no suburban teen can ever really be a part of. This was the real shit. These guys didn't give a fuck, all probably had syphilis, and huge crank addictions. Plus they listened to all the great punk bands and turned it disgusting singing about how they wanted to get AIDS. I would have bet these dudes lived in an alley and humped crack whores all day. Craziness.

Plus, check out these song titles:

Topic: Sex

Back Seat of My Car

Let's Fuck

Insect Whore

Flesh Tantrum

Topic: Drugs

Drug Store

Skin Poppin Slut

Fuck You Up and Get High

Topic: The F Word



I was floored and 17 years later, still love it. They never really put out any music I dug after this gem, but chances are if you like perverted punk rock, some of their later releases probably will appeal to you. These guys were disgusting like GG Allin, but unlike GG, they made rock and roll sound fun and dangerous, as opposed to just sick.

Check out this video for Drugstore. I've seen it a dozen times, but never noticed until just now that at one point the singer has no pants on. Gross, but not unexpected.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Demiricous- Vagrant Idol

So Demiricous is one of those bands that would come on my XM radio and I never payed that much attention to. Until I heard this tune. This song is two years old (here I am Mr. Johnny on the spot), and I can't believe I missed it. Oh well, better late than never. This is a kick ass thrash tune. Just aggressive, angry, fast, with great riffs. If you like beer and thrash, drink 10 and listen to this beauty. Needless to say, I am going back and purchasing both of their albums. Both are on Metal Blade Records and are bluntly and descriptively named "One" and "Two". This song is on "One" by the way. I hope to see them live sometime soon. I am gonna drink a ton and headbang until my neck is sore.

Ignore the stupid plot of the video. "Straights" come down to the world of the outcasts (beneath an interstate underpass) and get their car demolished by disinfranchised metal youth. Whatever. However do not ignore the cool breakdown in the middle where they all do that headbang in a circle at the same time thing. Fucking cool.

Their Myspace with cool tracks:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Assfactor - Smoked Out

If you asked me who was the greatest hardcore band of the 1990s, I wouldn't hesitate for a second. That would be Columbia, South Carolina's Assfactor 4. These guys managed to write the most vital, emotive, and uplifting hardcore ever. And it was catchy as fuck. To this day I can't for the life of me understand how these college kids managed to write songs like this, that sounded like no one before, and still haven't been copied today. Just an amazing lost gem of a band. Their live show was chaotic and breakneck and most of all fun.

From a musical standpoint, their greatest achievement was the amazing dual guitar interplay that was never a part of hardcore music. It's my guess that most hardcore musicians just weren't able to play at a level that made this possible. I mean the two guitars might start off together than break off on two distinct and complementary melodic lines, then snake round each other, then reconvene for a visceral punch. And the tones of the guitar were perfect and sounded great together. They were like a hardcore version of Judas Priest or Thin Lizzy. I don't mean in sound, but in the way they used two guitars to make one dazzling sound. If you like this style of guitar, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

These guys put out two full length albums, 2 seven inches, and a number of tracks on compilations and splits in their career. A CD discography of all their music is in the works and hopefully will see the light of day. Below I have provided a link to a file of their best 7" entitled Smoked Out. This 7" contains 9 tracks of melodic and abrasive beauty. I digitized this record myself from my personal vinyl. I hope you enjoy it. And please let your friends know about it as well. I don't want these guys music to be forgotten.

Smoked Out 7":

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Darkthrone- Panzerfaust

I am not going to review the newest albums all the time on this blog. Rather, I am going to review albums as I buy them. I mean this record came out in 1994 and I just bought it yesterday. If you don't want to read a review for a 14 year old album...........stop here.

Anyways, I've been recently digging into black metal and finally picked up my first Darkthrone album. These Norwegians have 13 albums out, which for a bm band, is quite an achievement. For whatever reason, this is not a genre that begets long careers, but of course there are exceptions. Darkthrone are legendary and considered one of the godfathers of the style.

One of the things I had always read about Darkthrone was that their production values were terrible. This began because they lacked the resources to record properly, but was continued throughout their albums because it kind of became their moniker. The lo-fi production adds to the grimness of the music and is considered more kvlt. Now, I grew up on bad production values listening to punk and hardcore, and many of my favorite records were recorded on 4 track. I also have listenend to some bm with ridiculously poor production (Striborg, Furze). With that said, I didn't think the production was that terrible. I mean it doesn't sound like Mutt Lange recorded it, but it's not that bad. The vocals are a little up front, but you can hear all the instruments, and the drums aren't terribly muddy.

Do I like the album? Yes, but the answer is not that easy. There are two songs on the album En Vind av Sorg and Hans Siste Vinter which are among two of the finest bm songs I've ever heard. These songs stick to the traditional bm style where the uberfast drums and guitar picking make the whole song sound like its been blurred or smeared, which is sonically what I love the most about bm. The other four proper songs are good, but are in a style that is slowed down and more akin to Celtic Frost and Venom (by which I mean heavier and more riff oriented). And the guitars tend to "chug" instead of "needle". How's that for a great description? As you can tell I have taken lots of music theory. Anyway these songs are cool, but I want more tunes like the first category. The last song doen't count because it's just some dumb chanting and strange music. Ooooo....scary! They like Satan. Fuck that, that shit is for kids who want to scare their parents.

It is my understanding that this album was a bit of a stylistic change for Darkthrone. I've heard that their previous albums Under a Funeral Moon, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, and Transylvanian Hunger are stylistically more like the two songs I dig, and the other four are more of a direction explored on later albums. If true, I am looking forward to snagging these early albums first (I'll check out the newer ones too eventually) and further rockin' out with Mr. Nocturno Culto and Mr. Fenriz. I can't wait to see what else they have in store for my virginal ears.

Hans Siste Vinter:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm Sorry...........I'm Sorry I Did That

So I went and saw one of my all time music heroes back in October of 2007, Glenn Danzig. This guy's resume is legendary. He pretty much wrote the best pop punk ever before it was a genre (Misfits), helped lay the framework for thrash metal (Misfits again, Earth A.D.), made goth cool and dangerous (Samhain), and retreated to the basic bluesy rock and roll that he is very good at (solo career). Love the guy, love the tunes, just a big fan.

Anyway, I go to this show in Baltimore amped as all hell because there is a band called Gorgeous Frankenstein opening the show. I wasn't all that interested in that band per say, but the presence of one of their members. See, their guitar player is Doyle who was the guitarist for the Misfits. He is also a giant, but that's beside the point. It was advertised that during the Danzig set, Doyle would come out for a Misfits set. Just the thought made me dizzy. Danzig singing Misfits tunes with me in attendence. I was giddy.

So Danzig hits the stage and is kicking ass. He sounds great, looks good, and the rock is just being laid thick. The show is kicking ass until about an hour in when they were doing the song "How the Gods Kill". Danzig is standing on the front of the stage just going for it and he fell off, falling about 7 feet and landing squarely on his shoulder. Rock and roll right? Well, not quite. When he got back on stage the whole mood of the show turned sour. Danzig started yelling at his guitar player and was obviously uncomfortable. He did a few more tunes and consulted with the band. Then they played "Mother" and "Twist of Cain" and left the stage. Next thing, here come the house lights, no encore, and more importantly, no Misfits set. I was not the only one disappointed obviously as the crowd started chanting "Bullshit............Bullshit". I join right in, screaming Bullshit at one of my heroes. I left all bitter and pissed off.

It turns out that Danzig dislocated his shoulder in that fall and he ended up cancelling either whole or parts of many of his later shows to heal up. See, when i first heard that I thought he should have just told the audience why he left and we would have understood. The more I think about I'm glad he didn't apologize. This is Rock, no excuses, no my shoulder hurts and I'm gonna use it as an excuse. He gave us a great show and then after dislocating his shoulder hung in there and delivered the hits to his fans and didn't once whine or cry about it. Sure we didn't get Misfits, but an hour and a half of Danzig stuff still makes for an excellent show.

So that's that. I'm very sorry I chanted Bullshit at Danzig and I want to take it back. Glenn, you are the man.

Here's the video of the fall (the spill occurs at 4:09, but I recommend you watch the whole video because the song is fuckin' rad.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Favorite Records of 2007

10. Skeletonwitch- Beyond the Permafrost

Ohio's finest dirtball thrashers. Excellent thrash riffs with a little black metal influence in the vocals and guitar strumming. Also showcases some excellent dual guitar leads ala Priest and Maiden. Will make you bang your head.

9. Njiqahdda - Njimajikal Arts

Some Christian guys took the atmospheric and droning style of certain black metalers and then made it totally their own. Epic and beautiful. This would be huge if they were European and Satanists/Pagans.

8. Forgotten Woods- Race of Cain

Totally bizarre black metal from Norway that walks the line between totally mind-blowing and severely inept. I can't decide which. That is what makes it awesome. These guys don't give a fuck, but you should. Pick this up.

7. Wolves in the Throneroom- Two Hunters

More black metal. This time from some eco-hippies that live on a commune in Oregon. Seriously grim and emotive. Their music sounds like catharsis for a bunch of fellas that wish that society would crumble and we would all return to a more pastoral life.

6. Today is the Day- Axis of Eden

Hard to describe TITD, except to say they are very unique, very sonically harsh, and one of the best metal bands of all time (who doesn't get the respect they deserve). I've loved them since I first saw them live in 1992. This is their best album since Temple of the Morning Star.

5. Melechesh- Emissaries

Blackened thrash metal from Israel. It has all kinds of cool middle eastern influence. I am hoping they make it the US shores sometime soon. I must see this band. Just amazing.

4. Deathspell Omega- Fas, Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum

This band of French black metallers are so fucked up, they are operating on a whole 'nother level. The first time you hear this you will say "What the fuck?" They write music that is unlike any I have ever heard. I get no point of obvious reference, with the exception that it is played in a black metal style. Guitar lines snake around, tempos shift, it sounds like it is gonna fall apart in a million pieces, but it doesn't. Seriously damaged, seriously cool.

3. Cephalic Carnage- Xenosapien

Death metal, grindcore, noise, free jazz, catchy's all here. This band of Colorado potheads are insanely original. I've heard other bands in the scene (who are much bigger) I think have tried to emulate them, but couldn't even come close. These guys should be huge.

2. Sloan- Never Hear the End of It

Believe it or not, I don't only listen to metal. This album is 30 of the catchiest pop melodies, pretty acoustic numbers, and obvious Beatle worship I ever heard. It's long, but you can listen to it from start to finish and still be wanting more. It may have come out in 2006, I'm not sure and I don't care. This album is an all-time classic.

1. Pig Destroyer- Phantom Limb

My criteria for album of the year was simple. Dick. Check. Knocked into the dirt. Check. Holy shit, do these guys pummel you. Obvious reference point is grindcore, but it is so much more. And the craziest thing.....the songs are all catchy. You will hum this music. Scott Hull comes up so many crazy good riffs, he can't cram them into songs fast enough. A bassist would just get in the way.

These guys are the most vital extreme metal outfit active today.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Over Looked Classics, Volume 1

The VSS - Nervous Circuits
I have a ton of records that I adore where I have never even met another person who owns it. This is one of them. Nervous Circuits came out in 1997 on HoneyBear records. It has been out of print since then, but I hear they may be re-releasing it. If they do, go buy it immediately. Don't wait, don't consider, just buy, STAT!
Let me tell ya about the VSS. I originally checked them out because I loved the guitar player's previous band, Angel Hair. Bands like Angel Hair, Heroin, Antioch Arrow, Clikitat Ikatowi, and the whole San Diego chaos noise hardcore scene from the mid 90s have a special place in my heart. (however that is a whole 'nother series of posts.) When I heard the VSS my first thought was "Keyboards?" I was a hardcore kid and keyboards were for pussies. Angel Hair certainly never had keyboards. Once I was able to wrap my little mind around that concept, I found an album that totally blew me away.
If you haven't heard the VSS, you are wondering what they sound like. Take one part San Diego screamo hardcore, one part goth, one part ass kicking grooves, and add about 100 parts of sonic nihilism and that might be close. Never before has a band created a sound so cold, so dirty, yet so humanistic. They sound very futuristic with a super creepy detatched vibe that is full of sexy and violent energy. Imagine a world of the future where man and machine are inseperably intertwined, but neither side is comfortable with it. They sound to me like the movie Blade Runner looks. Bright and dreary, futuristic and atavistic. Really great stuff. You've probably never heard it, so please go to the link below for three songs on their Myspace page. Why a band who hasn't been around for 10 years has a Myspace page, I'll never know, but hey, it's keeping their music alive.
The bands members went on to other bands who I also recommend. All of them but the singer started a band called the Slaves, but they had to change their name for legal reasons and became Pleasure Forever. They put a few albums, all of which kicked ass. They kind of worked in a similar vein as the VSS, but instead of sounding futuristic, they incoporated lots of piano for a eerie baroque style of post-hardcore. Cool as hell. The singer formed another band called Year Future who sounded a little more like the VSS.
One last thing. I got to see the VSS live in probably 96 or 97 in this art space in Memphis, Tennessee. The crowd was around one hundred and I stood about two feet in front of them as they played. They did two things that I had never seen before and haven't seen since. First, the bass player played the keyboards. And I don't mean he played bass on some songs and keys on others. He played both at the same time. Second, the singer had a board in front of him where he controled the lights show as the band played. They had huge banks of all different colored lights and he was constantly changing the color, intensity, and rythym of them to match the music. Really cool. Good times.
The VSS:
Pleasure Forever:
Year Future:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Let me Tell Ya How Lame I Am

Tonight in Washington DC there are two kick-ass metals shows and I'm going to neither. The first includes four bands, but only two I like. They are the Dillinger Escape Plan and Everytime I Die. I kept hemming and hawing because the tickets were $27.50, but now show sold out so I don't have to worry about it anymore. The other show is the sorta local band Misery Index at the Black Cat. These guys are just brutal. Tight as fuck death/grind. This show is only $8 and quite a bargain. I'm skipping out however,as I have to work a long day tomorrow and my mother-in-law is coming into town tomorrow night. Responsibility really takes my show going options away. Don't be lame like me, get down to the Black Cat and get pulverized.

For audio/video please go to:

Misery Index:

The Dillinger Escape Plan:

Everytime I Die

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Throne of Ahaz

So my friend who used to sing for the Kosovoan metal/punk outfit Panika (if you can find their records check them out) was scrolling through a site of black metal also-rans. He sent me a message asking what I knew about Throne of Ahaz. Until his message, I must say nothing. I am fairly new to black metal so I am starting at the ground floor and listening to the masters, Burzum, Mayhem, Immortal, Bathory, you know the list if you dig bm. Being a music fanatic, I am always trying to find bands that flew under the radar. This seems to be one of those bands. This Swedish band put out two LPs, Nifelheim in 1995 and On Twilight Enthroned in 1996. A general web search shows me that these two records are no longer in print and very hard to find. This is a shame as the sound samples found at the link below sound very promising. The website with the sound samples describes them as the midway point between the primitive grimness of Bathory and the more melodic approach of Dissection. From the clips, this sounds like an pretty good description. I tell ya one thing, when I'm digging through used CDs or surfing the net, I'm gonna keep an eye peeled for either of their records. Sounds like some very solid and frostbitten bm. Rock on.

Sound clips and record reviews can be found here:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Singin' is for the Birds

Being a music fanatic for 26 years now, you would think that I would enjoy good singers. You would be wrong. Having grown up on metal, punk, and hardcore, I never was into bands where the vocals were the focal point. Whether this made me indifferent to vocals or if I got into these styles because I didn't care about the vocals, who knows. What I do know is that I find the human voice does very little for me from a sonic standpoint. I'm not impressed. Whitney Houston, yawn. Pavarotti, zzzzzzzzzzzz. Any American Idol contestant, boooring. I'm not talking about the music. I'm talking about listening to the timbre and the sound of the voice as if it sounded good. It's just not for me.

With that said, there are a few singers who for whatever reason I really dig. I can think of five that I actively enjoy for their vocals. I'm not saying that these are the five best singers in the world, just the five I like the most from a simple sonic standpoint. Their voices' please me the most. At least today. Without further ado:
5. Steven Tyler
I mean c'mon. This dude can sing. He could sing in the 70s and he can still sing now. Just a perfect rock and roll voice.

4. Roland Orzabal

I know what you're thinking, "That dude from Tears for Fears? They suck." Yes, I mean the dude from Tears for Fears and they rock. Don't like 'em, don't listen to 'em, Mr. Cool. If you aren't too put off, the vocals in "Shout" are something special. His warm baritone is totally bad-ass. I love it. Give it a shot.

3. Brad Delp

This guy just had the cleanest most perfect voice. The vocals on the first Boston album are some of the best in rock history. R.I.P. buddy.

2. Jeff Buckley

This guy's dad, Tim, could sing with the best of them. His son was from another world. This guy could rip your heart out. If his vocals on the song "Grace" don't give you goosebumps, you're dead inside.

1. Drum roll..........................Steve Perry

I mean, do I even have to explain this? "Wheel in the Sky", "Don't Stop Believin'", "Anyway You Want It", "Lights", "Only the Young" goes on and on. I don't care if you don't dig Journey, this dude has the most soaring and inspirational voice (in that 1980s feel good movie way) in the world. Have you ever heard another singer even remotely like him? Didn't think so. I would love to meet this guy some day just to shake his hand. Stand up and show some respect. Steve Motherfuckin' Perry!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Let Me Tell Ya Who's Cool........

Ace Motherfuckin' Frehley. That's who. Recently I got to see Space Ace do a solo show for about 500 people. I was about 15 feet from him the entire show and for a guy who has loved Kiss for over 20 years, I was a bit star struck. I mean this is the guy who has played in front millions upon millions in every country on earth. Ace has had problems with substance abuse since his days in Kiss, but he seems to finally have triumphed having now been sober for over a year. It has really helped him. He has lost his 1990s weight and his face isn't all puffy and inflated looking anymore. And it helped his performance as his vocals were pretty good and his guitar playing was signature Ace. The show absolutely rocked. This was no nostalgia trip, this was basic ass-kicking rock. He played a bunch of solo stuff like Rip It Out, Rock Soldiers, and Back in the New York Groove. He also played a whole handful of Kiss tunes including: his signature song Shock Me, Cold Gin, Love Gun, Parasite, Rocket Ride, and Deuce. He also played Love Her All I Can with the drummer doing a very strong Paul Stanley imitation on vocals. After Shock Me, he played a cool guitar solo and when he flipped the switch on the back of his guitar to make it start smoking like it was on fire, the guitar malfunctioned and he had to cut the solo short. He laughed it off and handed the smoking guitar to the roady and made a joke about it to the crowd. You can check out the video below from the next night in Norfolk where it happened again. They really gotta get that thing fixed. At the end of the last song of the encore, Deuce, he stood center stage with his guitarist and bassist on either side and to give the audience everything he could, they did that whole synchronized sway right and left, back and forth together thing that Kiss always did. If you are a Kiss fan, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Watching him doing this made me stop still in place and I just stared in awe at one of my rock heroes. It plastered a smile on my face that still hasn't left. That's right, Ace Motherfuckin' Frehley.
He only has a couple of dates left that he is scheduled to play, and I highly recommend you go. If you like Kiss, this show is essential, and if you just like rock music, you're gonna love it too. Here are the remaining dates:
Feb. 22 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage
Feb. 23 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
Feb. 24 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
Feb. 29 - Niagara Falls, NY - The Bear's Den at Seneca Niagara Casino
Ace's Smokin' Solo Malfunction

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A Place to Bury Strangers

First off, great fucking band name. Sounds like it would be metal, but it's not. What we have here is the debut album from a band out of NYC. This is shogazer music in the vein of all the 90s bands that created the style (Spaceman 3, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, etc.) The guy who sings and plays guitar apparently is some kind of electronics wiz who makes all of his own pedals. He really is good at it, as the thick, distorted, dreamy, wall of sound guitars he conjours up is worth the price of admission alone. Sonically this stuff sounds great. It's fairly low-fi, but with the kind of distortion and feed back this guy is working with, it mixes perfectly.
So the first time I listen to this I am really blown away. I haven't heard these kind of tunes since the 90s and these guys do them well. Second listen and I start hearing pieces that sound awful familiar. Third listen and I'm coming up with the songs that these here sound like. The first song is a dead-ringer for Clinic. It has the distorto-surf, menacing vibe these Brits have been doling out for years. The second song has a major part that is very reminicient of songs by both Swervedriver and the Swirlies. The fifth and sixth songs could be lost Jesus and Mary Chain b-sides. I hear the Cure, Joy Division, and Ride. All bands sound like their influences, but the really good ones do it in a way where what you are hearing has been put in a certain context that the listener finds familiar, but what he or she hears doesn't automatically recall other sounds.
Am I saying this is not a good band? Hell no, they rock. I think as they continue to write songs, they have a great chance to move past these debut album sound-alikes to achieve something in this style that is uniquely them. I hope so at least because I want to hear it.
If you dig loud sounds that have prettiness to them and good solid shoegaze style rock music, definitely buy this. I'm planning on checking them out in March at the Rock and Roll Hotel and am hoping for a deafening and dreamy experience.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Chris Barnes May Have Eaten A Demon

This post is going to be very characteristic of this blog in that I had no intention of writing about this and no one really cares, but I had my I-tunes on random and a song by Six Feet Under came on. For those of who who don't know, SFU is a Florida based death metal band who have been around for quite awhile. To me they are like a death metal AC/DC. Nothing mind-blowing, nothing innovative, but just solid, solid stuff that never fails to please. Their singer is Chris Barnes, who first gained notoriety as the singer for Cannibal Corpse, another Florida based death metal band who happen to be perhaps the greatest dm band ever. Anyway, Chris Barnes is one of the best examples of the "cookie-monster" style vocalists that every non-metal fan abhors. He has always been good at it, but now at 40 years old, I think he may have the most ridiculous and kick-ass dm growl in the world. For the life of me, I can't even begin to imagine how this sound comes from a human. He sounds like he is vomitting bloody gravel. He sounds like a goblin, or a monster that eats goblins, or a demon that eats monsters that eat goblins. I fuckin' dig it. Keep it up Mr. Barnes and please don't devour me.

Here's an mp3 from their latest record, Commandment:
Here you can buy a bobble head of Chris Barnes. Fuck Yeah.

Post Zero

Yessir, folks. Tex has lots to say about records he listens to and shows he sees. However, I am not real keen on boring my friends and family with song by song breakdowns of metal records and how their arrangement effects the overall listening experience. Or other such musical minutiae that only myself and others of my ilk truly understand. Therefore, I have opted to record these thoughts here in hope that other people might get exposed to a new band or get reminded to revisit old favorites to appreciate their greatness.

What to expect: record reviews, show reviews, links to mp3s, diatribes on inane musical things that interest me, etc. I am also hoping to convert many of the vinyl treasures I have emassed into mp3s that y'all can download. I have a ton of punk, hardcore, and metal LPs and seven inches that are never going to be repressed and I want to get these out there to people who never heard 'em the first time round and to those that thought they would never hear 'em again.

Let's do this.