Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blood Revolt - Indoctrine

You've all heard the complaints of outsiders about the vocals in Extreme Metal: "can you understand what he's saying?"  "I like the music, but the vocals are too much." "There's too much screaming!".  Guttural vocals are so common in modern Metal, that without them, something just seems "off".  Take Inquisition for instance, great traditional Black Metal, but with the most boring and flat-sounding vocals ever.  Sort of like really amateurish throat-singing.  The vocals in Blood Revolt divide fans in the same way.  I would describe them as halfway between singing and (loudly) spoken word.  While these vocals do create a strong contrast against the music, they give the rare pleasure of being completely understandable, as well as providing actual dynamics.

About the instrumentals, they're pretty damn straight-forward.  What you have here is some blazing fast Black/Death, not unlike later Angelcorpse.  There's also a pretty significant Doom influence to break up the blast-beats.  The production is really dry, really live, and really brittle (but in a good way).  Overall, a pretty interesting new take on an exhausted genre hybrid.

I'm Peter File

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gorgoroth - The Antichrist

This is it, the one that started it all (for me, anyways).  Before this, I just didn't know how good TRVE KVLT could sound.  While not my first Black Metal album, it was the first taste of the low-fi, stripped-down variety, which is really the essence of the genre.

For me, Black Metal starts with the early Norwegian scene, and not with Venom.  Venom gave it a name, but stylistically, they were nothing new, just sort of a heavier, satanic Motorhead.  Other bands developed it further in the 80's, but it wasn't until albums like this in the early 90's that Black Metal really developed a unique sound and became easily distinguishable from Thrash, Grind, and Death Metal.  That's just how I feel about it.

Among other reasons, I mainly listen to Black Metal for it's duality of beauty and ugliness.  This album was the first to show me that was possible.  How is it that music can have moving, trance-like melodies and still spew hatred?  How can it be both therapeutic and depressing?  True Black Metal like this does that for me. 

Before every hipster and his girlfriend couldn't stop talking about them after they saw that awful internet doc, before the goat head fiasco in Poland,  and before the legal battle with singer-turned-fashion guru  Ghaal, Gorgoroth were legends of the scene (a cult band within an already cult music).  This EP is why.

Antichrist EP
Pentagram (prior LP)

Sentenced - Shadows of the Past

Well, it looks like I've finally gotten around to writing the companion to my first Sentenced post.  While this one also differs greatly from their later Suicide Rock bore-a-thons, it doesn't sound at all like their second album either.  Sentenced has seemingly been 4 different bands in their career, with only the first two being good. 

There's really nothing like early 90's Scandi-Death Metal: the sludginess, the buzzsaw guitars, the balance of darkness and aggression.  While decent, these new "throwback" bands just can't reproduce that old sound.  I always find myself reaching for those old standards.  Shadows of the Past is that old standard.  Let the promise of the killer cover art reel you in...

unfold me and ease my pain

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold

I would definitely say Bat for Lashes is the best Pop act going now, so it's no surprise that I've been pretty stoked on Natasha Khan (her real name) for over a year now.  Actually, I was obsessed for a good six months until I finally discovered Kate Bush, and Natasha kind of took a back seat.  Still, there's a place in my heart for her music and I pretty regularly listen to both albums.

Many critics have called her "the second coming of Kate Bush", which does have some validity to it; but I'd say she's more of compromise between melodic nature Kate and the simpler and more rhythmic moments of Bjork.  Her music does sound very English in that it's both romantic and dreary, which, I'm always a sucker for.

On this, her first album, her voice is under-controlled, but does lend a warmer, more human quality that her second album sometimes lacks.  The production is very ambitious, from the musical saw on "Horse and I", to "Priscilla" with it's sole percussion being claps and stomps.  Of course, the driving force behind any type of Pop music is melody, of which this album does deliver.  Every song here has memorable hooks, except for a couple "experimental" (filler) tracks at the end.  I made sure to upload my own copy, as it has the bonus "I'm on Fire", which is arguably the best song on the album, and way better than Springsteen's original.

bat boy

Monday, April 25, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breach - It's Me God

So, I finally have a job now after a year and a half of unemployment.  Why should you care?  Because this means my posts might get much less "wordy" and just generally shorter.  Don't worry though, I'll still be posting on a regular basis.  I'm also not going to sell out to sponsorship or antagonize my readers like JGD does, either.  I encourage all of you to send me stuff that you're really stoked on, and comment more, as it's still kind of a ghost town here.

Now, let's get to the actual music.  Breach, to me, sounds like a slightly more "legit" and mathy version of Refused, like a mix of Refused and Botch.  Although they never quite reached the success or quality that Refused did with The Shape of New Punk to Come.  The comparison is also valid because Breach is also from Sweden and from the same era.  That being said, they're not a rip-off band, they just play a very similar style. Also, definitely less Screamo-ish than the San Diego and Bremen bands were at the time.  On this piece, you'll definitely notice the production is very "live" sounding, but still totally listenable.  All in all, this is a pretty sturdy effort they put forth here of some super consistent mid-paced Mathcore.

link from goodnoisycore

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Chasm - The Spell of Retribution

Where do I start with this band?  Probably the most underrated band in Death Metal.  Not surprising when you figure that, for most of their career, they had no U.S. distribution until Earache this gem in 2004.  I've had the privilege of seeing these guys live three times, which is a rarity outside of the midwest, and each time was just as good as the last. 

They consider themselves an old-school Death Metal band, but to describe them as just that would be far too simple.  I would say they're a Black/Death hybrid that happens to be super melodic.  No one, including themselves, ever give them credit for how melodic they really are, but they're really the closest thing Mexico has to Dissection.  Their supply of leads and riffs seems to be endless, with some songs approaching 10 minutes.  Surprisingly, the overall feel is a bit subdued, not quite as epic and bombastic as their Swede contemporaries, but hey, nobody's perfect.  Basically, if you're a sucker for this style like I am, you should really enjoy this

link from frownedupon (R.I.P.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Extreme Noise Terror - A Holocaust in Your Head

You're just going to have to forgive me for not always being able to find something really obscure to post about.  I'm not enough of a blog hound to be that consistent.  Today, I bring you my first foray into full-on Crust, Extreme Noise Terror's "A Holocaust in Your Head".  If you're unfamiliar with the genre, this beast of an album is the perfect place to start.  This classic came out in a really pivotal time in extreme music ('89), but at the same time, was totally oblivious to it.  While Black Metal, Death Metal, and Grindcore bands were getting tighter and more sophisticated, Crust bands like E.N.T. were totally content to caveman-bludgeon their instruments and write brutally simple songs.  Pure sonic violence is what you can expect; this is about as heavy as Punk got, prior to the advent of Powerviolence.  You'd still be hard-pressed to find something more guttural than this, without vocal effects and drum machines all over it.  It's true that E.N.T. eventually became an unremarkable Grind band, like a poor-man's Napalm Death, but this is when they were at their Stylistic peak, before the cheesiness and the poor fashion choices.  This is the essence of brutality.

it stinks in here...
(flac file)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Throne of Ahaz - Nifelheim

I don't know about you, but when I search for a Black Metal album, I'm not looking for something particularly original or challenging; I just want something dark and cold to pull my spirit down to it's ugliest depths.  Throne of Ahaz's Nifelheim does just that.  This album serves as a missing link between the simpler, primitive styles of Mayhem and Darkthrone, and the more epic and melodic styles of Gorgoroth and Disseection.  For being such a rare album for the so long, it's actually quite accessible by Black Metal standards: the riffs are easy to follow, the pace is varied, and the production is more "present" and less reverb-soaked than the norm.  With that being said, this isn't at all some Dimmu-style slick fakery, it's just you don't have to "squint your ears" trying to hear individual notes, they're right there slapping you in the face.  Overall, this is an excellent debut album that will speak to the eternal bleak winter that is your sex life.

link from frostdomain's inferno (R.I.P.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

La Miseria de tu Rostro - Savia

Sometimes, youtube can be just as good a place to find new bands as any blog out there; such is the case with me finding this Chilean specialty.  From the cover alone, you might think this is some straightforward Deathwish style muscle-flexing, but you'd be wrong.  La Miseria brings together all the offshoots that Hardcore created in the 90's: Screamo, Metalcore, Melodic Hardcore, Mathcore...  The only thing that's missing is Pop-Punk, which, you can rest assured, will never be posted here.  They also blend all these sounds very nicely; all the influeces are distinct, but not choppy.  The production is well and clean, which fortunately, is becoming more and more common with small-time bands like this.  This is just a great little album that has the hardness, the variety, and the substance.  Fans of Trial, Breach, Reversal of Man, and Loxiran should all find something to like here.

fresh roasted misery

Friday, April 15, 2011

Punch - Eyeless EP

It's really cool to be able to watch bands "grow up", even if every member of the band is older than you.  I remember when I first saw Punch three and a half years ago, and how slightly loose and unsure of themselves they were.  By the time I saw them again 4 months later, they had already established a local following and vastly improved both presence and playing.  Now, they've created an international buzz from touring Europe twice, as well as Australia and Japan.  You could say they're the "biggest little band in Hardcore". 

Here, I bring you their first release, the "one that started it all".  You can expect concise Fastcore with a generous sprinkling of Youth Crew-era breakdowns.  Nice riffs and blast-beats aplenty.  It has the unique combination of real speed and real songs!  Seriously, this EP will use, abuse, and lose you in less than 12 minutes.

I'd also like to note just because there's a female singer doesn't mean she has to sing all clean in order to "still be feminine".  What a moronic and patronizing notion that is.  Enjoy.

Apu would be proud

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Crown - Eternal Death

This album reminds me of why I started listening to Swedish Metal in the first place: the monumental epic riffs.  While not a "Slaughter of the Soul" or "Like an Everflowing Stream", this one definitely holds it's own.  This album also has the rare distinction of being a second album and the band's best!  As you would expect, the memorable hooks and riffs are delivered in spades, but this album also delivers in a couple other areas.  The guitar solos sound like they were pulled from an early 80's thrash album, but yet somehow fit nicely beside the classically-inspired riffs.  The production is also unusual for '97 with the drums given the most prominence, and having the overall feel be very "live" and percussive.  I always liked the sound of a loud snare, and the drums being right up front gives the album a unique heaviness.  Yeah, I know this album is sort of common in the blogosphere, but I just like it too much to ignore.

kill the priest

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perth Express - Discography

A recent, yet forgotten band that never quite got their due.  They created the perfect marriage of Converge Mathcore with His Hero is Gone Grindy Crust.  They were pretty damn tight, especially the drums, which betrays their Crust influence.  Interesting songs, no-frills production, strong performance, you can't go wrong here.  I'm no feeling very descriptive right now, so listen, and judge for yourself...

*i know that was short, but hey, this is also the only 320k rip of this album on the web.

panda express

Monday, April 11, 2011

Merkabah - Lyonesse

Here's something very unusual coming from me; a modern fusion band of sorts.  I'm not exactly sure what to call this: jazzcore, post-rock, fusion, punk jazz...  but I do know it's good.  Even with all the jazz influence, rhythmically, they're still a rock band.  You still got a heavy-handed drummer and a solid riff-oriented base.  What really gives this album it's jazz feel is the pulsing and fluttering alto saxophone; and what a sweet tone it has.  As a cohesive unit, the band is rock solid, all playing off each other and allowing equal space for all instruments.  There's also a great feel going on here, as this album was recorded live.  You can think of this as a much more listenable and structured alternative to noisier Jazzcore bands like Painkiller and Zu.  People into a more traditional jazz sound might not like this (especially with the lack of bass), but I think this is the perfect vision for what modern fusion should be: the hard beat and riff-driven structure of rock, with the instrumentation and trance-like improvisational leads of jazz. 

They've put this up themselves for free legal download below.  You'll be impressed by this band, I promise.

The Black - The Priest of Satan

From post-Dissection to pre-Dissection.  This is Jon's most notable work before the two monumental albums he would create in the next two years.  Many people argue that Dissection was not a "true" Black Metal band, but there's no such argument here... This is Black all the way to the dry, hard marrow of it's petrified bones.  If you didn't already know Jon Nödtveidt was on this album, you'd probably never guess, as the melodic tendencies are that subtle.  Nope, what you have here is a straight-forward Swedish Black Metal album typical of '93: not original, but damn fine for what it is.  It has just about everything you could want for the style: nice balance of fast and slow, murky reverb-soaked recording, memorable riffs, and proper feel.  Trust me... you can judge this book by it's cover.

the breast of fire!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ophthalamia - Dominion

Most of you are probably aware of the entity known as "It" (the Black Metal Midget), but what you probably weren't aware of, is that this short man can actually write and play good music.  Far from his better-known Black Noise project Abruptum, this album is a much smoother affair with melodies for days.  What you have here is the next best thing to a Dissection album.  Ironically, Jon Nödtveidt did appear on Ophthalamia's (non-Dissection sounding) first album, but not here.  Although totally lacking blast-beats, the guitar leads and vocals are dead-on Dissection worship; they must have been channeling Jon through his prison walls to make this one.  This is supposedly a concept album based on Macbeth, but who really cares?  We both know what you really want is something to satisfy that Dissection craving since that huge disappointment of Reinkaos.  This is that something.

too evil for a human name...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fuck the Facts - Stigmata High Five

Self-described as "Bastardized Grind"; I would say that's a decent description, but from the riffing style, I think it has more to do with modern Death Metal.  You can tell that this band pretty much pulls from all types of Extreme Metal stylistically, which only adds to their listenability.  Even with thorough blasting, the band still manages to create noticeable dynamics (showing true talent).  Every player in the band shines here, except for the overshadowed bass (which is a gimme in heavy music).  I don't think i've heard more variations on the blast-beat in a single album, all of them sounding clear with ample aggression.  The guitar playing is ballerina-nimble and will explore several sub-genres  in every song.  The vocals have an appropriate throaty sound and drive the aggressive message home the most.  It's so satisfying when an album is interesting and brutal at the same time.  I know I like to elaborate a lot, but there's not much more I can say besides: It's flat-out good.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Defecation - Purity Dilution

Man, I wish Grindcore bands still sounded like this.  Ultra-percussive brutality even in their slowest parts.  The Harris' really got it right, paying attention to all the instruments, making their tones and timing match perfectly.  Sure, the production is a bit harsh and somtimes "blurry", but hey, not everyone had the means to record at Sunlight.  Even with that, it still sounds way cleaner than Scum.  This nugget was created during the golden age of Grind without any cheap studio tricks, or gravity-blasts... just honest, brutal music to make your head hurt.  When you can't decide between your Terrorizer or Extreme Noise Terror album, reach for this: it's refreshing, like a good shit!

that "not so fresh" feeling

Monday, April 4, 2011

Iron Lung - Sexless//No Sex

This is the Premier Powerviolence band here.  I've been a fan ever since I saw this power-duo in a Minneapolis basement six years ago. Iron Lung (which is a great name, by the way) play a modern Powerviolence style with lots of time changes and dissonance, which makes me suspect a Mathcore influence.  The bulk of the songs here are straight-forward blasting, broken by occasional (non-metallic) mosh-friendly parts.  The overall sound is a little too "lean", leaving me with a "where's the beef?" feeling; but to be fair, it is the norm for the style.  They've dropped the long, ambient intros found on the last LP, which is always a plus in my book (we all know ambience and long dialog is just filler bullshit).  They've even dropped those long intros from their shows too, leaving much more time for insulting banter from the singer/drummer.  Honestly, his sarcastic humor is a major component of every show, I've even been told they released a tape of just his stage banter!  I really wish he would incorporate that feeling into his actual albums... maybe in the future.

the young and the sexless

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Impure Wilhelmina - L'amour, La Mort Et L'enfance Perdue

Many thanks to for introducing me to this obscure band.  Here's a band with a terrible name, and very difficult-to-pronounce album title.  More importantly though, it's a huge chunk of riff-heavy Post-Hardcore.  This album sounds like it was made in '95 rather than 2005, but that's not what makes it good.  What really shines here are the EPIC riffs.  The guitars are right out in front  and create such sweet resonance between the diminished and minor chords.  The epic quality of these riffs reminds me of the best Black Metal, a style which I'm sure has influenced the band to some degree.  I mean, I haven't heard a Post-Hardcore band write riffs this good, except for maybe Converge.  There are nice throaty vocals and a decent rhythm section going on too, but they're kind of the "side-salad" to the "meat and potatoes" guitars.  Your old, crappy Pelican album has just been replaced.

can I get more guitar in the monitors please?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shadow Project - Shadow Project

The best album Christian Death never made. Here, there's a level of songwriting and maturity that neither band have been able to match before or after. All the elements that Christian Death were lacking in their early days are present here: time changes, tone, dynamics, good production.  You might say, "all those things are good, but worthless without feeling".  Yes, it has that too.  Although real technical playing may be lacking, the music being played compliments each member's ability more than well.  In other words, everything "just fits".  Less is definitely more here, the band are able to create high drama using simple beats and progressions, which is where the intangible "feeling" and atmosphere come into play.  Speaking of atmostphere, the production is just stellar; endless layers of tone and reverb without ever getting muddy.  Even the delay time between tracks (which you'll need an actual copy to appreciate) has been masterfully executed, allowing this album to flow perfectly from song to song.  Better than "Only Theater of Pain" and even "In the Flat Field".  Listen, and you'll see what i'm talking about.

give her death