Friday, May 27, 2011

Immolation - Unholy Cult

Senior year, nearly finished with highschool and anticipating a whole new era of awful existence.  This "new era" being college, which every adult told me would be fun... wrong!

Unholy Cult was my first exposure to Immolation, and after hearing their other albums, I would say it's their best.  The varied pace, production value, songwriting, it's all there.  The riffs here are satisfyingly discordant and arranged perfectly with the drums.  Alex Hernandez's drumming is on another level in this effort, it's such a shame he left the band the following year.  The production is slighty "crunchy" with a Black Metal-esque ambience, it's quite unique and very fitting.

People like to talk about Here in After or Majesty and Decay alot, but if you ask me, this is the album.  It's as good as anything Morbid Angel has ever done.  Masterful...

"Spaceology is a religion NOT A CULT!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lock Up - Pleasures Pave Sewers

Sophomore year, my transition period where I finally started to leave Nu Metal behind, and first introduced myself to Grindcore.  It's also the year that I cut class the most and failed the most courses, but that's another story.

Of the several grind albums I would buy that year, this one is the best.  When I listen to this album today with more critical ears, it still stands up despite Peter Tagtgren's weak vocals.  Nick Barker does some fine drumming here too (someone from Old Man's Child playing good music?).  The real shiner here though is Jesse Pintado's (RIP) stellar riff-writing skills; I would definitely say it's his best work since Utopia Banished.  So, here you have a decent little supergroup album that'll spend the rest of it's life in the clearance rack, hoping for little write ups like this every few years.

Wouldn't be truly brutal without an awful cover.

boobs again?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Absu - Tara

Let's Go Back to Highschool (the Kawana edition)

It seems this idea has already been done before, but I don't care... Stealing ideas is what blogging is all about, right?  So, that's why I'm starting my own Let's Go Back to Highschool week at triple B.

This album takes me back to Junior year, not just because that was when I bought it, but because it, as well as my biggest crush at the time, were both named Tara.  Although it was just another awful year of suffering, listening to good a good Metal album and the occasional stare at Tara's butt would give me the temporary "lift" I needed to get through the day.  I was super stoked to have been paired with her in Chemistry class, not that I made anything of it (dumb).  Wow, what a fat loser I was then, and sort of still am now.

Anway, when I think about it, the girl and the album are alike in a couple ways: both are of Celtic descent, and both are lean and athletic, but rounded in the right areas (cue hoot and hollers).  The style is more Black/Thrash this time around, sounding just as much like Sadus or Hellwitch as it does like their 90's works.  Blazing fast guitars and drum rolls make up near-perfect instrumentals, even if the vocals are a bit odd.  As far as comeback albums go, this one is top-shelf.

nice boobs, tara

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kate, what would we do without you?

Remember, years back, when I made my first post on BBB entitled "Kate Bush - The Albums That Matter"?  Well, that statement wasn't wholly true, because The Sensual World also matters.  While not as exciting or unique as her prior albums, this one is still quite good.

The biggest strength The Sensual World has going for it would have to be Kate's voice.  Here, her singing is flawless and has reached an apex of warmth.  All the gritty and shrill moments, which were likely artistically intentional, are now gone.  Before, she may have gone up and down the chromatic scale like a neoclassical shredder, now she sits very comfortably in Alto territory.

The biggest drawback (which may still be a plus if you're old and frumpy), is her change of direction from "Art Rock" to more Adult Contemporary Pop.  Don't get me wrong, she still doesn't sound at all like Air Supply, but since this album, she's gone much more polished and straight-forward.  The production value has also changed to suit this new style; the use of Fairlight's and drum machines have been minimized or replaced by "world" instruments (perussion, flute), as well as the return of the violin.

This album definitely has to grow on you, but within it, you can still find lots of musical sustinence.

little piece of hope holding us together

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Martyr - Warp Zone

Say, do you like Athiest?  How about later-era Death?  Yes?  Well then, you are in luck!  Martyr's mid-paced, progressive Death Metal sounds a shit ton like those two bands, which is really not a bad thing at all.  The vocals especially, although they do vary, are usually a dead-on copy of Chuck Schuldiner's rasp.  While lacking in original style, they make up for it with lots of tasty riffage and tight-as-fuck musicianship.  You're gonna have to forgive the awful album name, because behind it is some solid Prog Death that holds it's own against the masters.

danger zone

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tony Macalpine - Maximum Security

It was going to happen eventually, so now I break out this album that most of you will hate, but I still like it, and that's what really matters.  Most of you might be content with only listening to ultra-simple "neanderthal" music, but I personally like to also listen to music made by legitimately skilled musicians that have a concept of tone and timing.  It's true that most Shred is completely unoriginal drivel that's just as devoid of creativity as a NOFX record, but that is not the case here.  Maximum Security is harmonically and melodically rich beyond any Vai or Satriani album, and far less "frumpy" sounding to boot.  While there are tons of solos, there's real structure and songwriting found throughout, so it never ends up sounding like repeated scale exercises (like so many do).  Tony's sophisticated yet accessible leads really do "talk" and carry this album all the way through, instead of sounding like a Metal band that's missing their singer.  Lets just say, when you sing guitar leads to yourself like you would your favorite pop song, you know that's great fucking guitar.

i have blisters on my fingers

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Necrophobic - Bloodhymns

Now here's something right up my alley (and many of yours too), some down-home, untrendy Melodic Death Metal.  Necrophobic never really get any credit from anyone, always standing in the shadows of giants like Dissection and At the Gates.  Pretty unfortunate, as they've yet to release a bad album.

Although from Stockholm, their sound is more melodic and epic like the Gothenburg style, but with the trademark buzzsaw guitar tone that Stockholm is known for.  Like Swedish food, this album is dense and rich, but with riffs instead of calories.  It's honestly pretty hard to fault this album, it's got pretty much everything you'd want, aside from a cleaner production.  It may not fully reel me in and fuck with my emotions like favorite albums do, but it's a very memorable and enjoyable listen.  I think you'll agree.

rosey-cheeked swedes

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beyond Creation - The Aura

Being so lazy after work, I'm gonna post an album that I haven't even listened to an entire song of yet.  What I can tell you is this is modern, progressive Death Metal (love it or hate it).  It's got a typically clean production and from what I can tell so far, sounds like a cross between Quo Vadis and Decrepit Birth.  What really sets it apart though, is it's got the probably the best bass work I've ever heard on a Death Metal album. Why do the French have to make everything so high-brow and sophisticated?

go fretless or go home

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ondskapt - Dodens Evangelium

Remember before blogs, when you used to buy an album solely based on it's cover or a short review in a magazine?  Remember how pissed you were when you had to spend $16.99 to find out that Necrophagia really does suck?  Or maybe you remember how stupid you felt every time you bought a piece of total garbage just because it had a hot chick on the cover?   It seems kind of hard to believe that we ever used to blow $15+ on such a shot in the dark, when now-a-days we can pretty much sample and download (in high quality) anything we want for free.  It may have been only 5 years ago, but the former is how I found this tremendous album.

Far from sucking, this is almost "modern classic" level quality.  The thing that makes album stand apart the most is it's use of a very common musical concept that most Black Metal bands have apparently never heard of... harmony.  On pretty much every song you'll hear single notes complimenting chords, melodies complimenting riffs and such.  They also manage to be legitimately progressive without sounding "mathy" or "noodly".  What does that mean?  It means they're progressive in a Deathspell Omega kinda way, not in a lame Spock's Beard kinda way.  With all of their unique qualities, Ondskapt are carrying the torch as the finest Modern Black Metal band going.

... doesn't suck

Friday, May 13, 2011

Malevolent Creation - In Cold Blood

Whenever I think of Malevolent creation, I'm reminded of me at 13 and how ridiculous my music taste was at the time.   Sure, I listened to Malevolent Creation and Obituary, but I also listened to Kittie and Gravity Kills.  It's a good thing 13 year old can't get tattoos, cause I would surely have a tribal armband too.  Hey, we've all got a past we're not proud of.  For some, it might be a failed invention, or a bad tattoo.  For me, it was Nu Metal.

Far from their most revered or successful, I chose this album to spotlight because it has the best combination of riffs, drumming, and production value (although, admittedly the worst album art).  Brett Hoffman's trademark throaty and sluggish vocals are there too, which I'm not that partial to, but some people love.  Part of what made Floridian Death Metal bands (apart from Morbid Angel) unique was that they displayed their thrash roots much longer into their careers.   Even at this stage, 10 years into existence, it's still evident that they were raised on a hearty Slayer-based diet (which is always a good thing).  You know, Phil Fasciana maybe an attention-seeking media-whore and a racist, but damn if he wasn't a fine guitarist for one of America's most underrated Death Metal bands.

Please enjoy this replacement demo album cover, as the original is too awful to view in it's full glory.

babes. they're called babes, sir.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Xibalba - Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias

It's been too long since I posted some moshy shit, so I'm bringing out this bruiser.  I first saw this band opening for Final Fight's last show, and was definitely impressed.  They definitely bring the "fat" in more ways than one.  Sure, their music is sweaty and overweight, but they also tend to draw a fatter fanbase, as well as having two fat members in the band (think Crowbar).  I especially remember one guy at their show that was dancing pretty hard, despite being 350+ pounds.  What a nice break that was from being surrounded by puny, "more elitist than thou" vegans that I was used to.

Getting to the actual music, Xibalba sound like a more modern version of Disembodied:  just constant slow to mid-paced moshy Metalcore with a slight Death Metal influence.  For working out, or practicing the "helicopter" in front of your mirror at home, nothing beats this.  You might even hurt your rotator cuff by the time the album finishes.  Even if you have the demo version, you should still download this, as it's a properly mixed and mastered version.

music to gain weight to

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vomitory - Redemption

Vomitory pretty much owe any kind of popularity they've gained to this album; one of those rare cases of a bands second album being their best.  This impressive morsel was released in '99, but sounds more like '91.  It's just some pretty killer Napalm Death-influenced Death Metal with some added Black Metal atmosphere.  They're also Swedish, but only sound vaguely so, as they don't fit into the Gothenburg or Stockholm mold.  Some might call it "middle of the road", but that's ok, sometimes you want Death Metal that's just straight up without any sub-genre posturing.  Maybe you don't want to hear ridiculously technical blasting like Origin, or obese lumbering like Coffins, sometimes you just wanna hear Death Metal like it used to be...

Isn't this artwork charming in it's amateurishness?  It looks like something Necrolord drew in highschool (love the all blue color scheme).

"I only like their early stuff"

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always

As far as I'm concerned, this is where Goth Rock really begins; "genre-defining" you could say.  What became staples of the genre were fully exploited first on this album: the grandiose choruses, the super deep vocals, the hyper-romanticism.  The production maybe lacking, and Eldritch's vocals are sometimes "overdone", but the sheer catchiness and honesty more than make up for it.  Just listen to those two chords at the beginning of Black Planet, could the mood be set more superbly than that?  I don't think so...

I hear you calling, Marian

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Juju

Ah, my favorite album from my favorite Post-Punk beauty.  If you think me bringing up her looks is patronizing, I don't care.  You can shove it.  She's hot.  Anway, I like this album so much because it shows the band at their peak, when they were perfectly balancing punk attitude, experimentation, and the emerging goth gloom.  This pretty much has everything you would want in a Post-Punk album: distinctive and catchy songs, mandatory angst, real as well as synthesized instruments, and dark subject matter.  Every song here is unique and has a memorable hook, so I'm real surprised it still hasn't gone gold in the UK.  Even though this album has a handful of slightly amateurish moments, it's still more consistent and interesting than anything the rest of the "bromley contingent" went on to do.  Honestly, who can make a song about stalking and killing sound sexy?  Siouxsie can, and no one else!

ice queen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Demoncy - Joined in Darkness

As bare-bones as Black Metal gets without completely regressing to the point of noise...  I feel comfortable calling this the best american Black Metal album of the 90's.  This is just the murkiest, most primitive and abysmal album you're likely to find anywhere: taking the simplicity and ambience Darkthrone, the sluggish feel of Incantation and filtering it through the simple mind of an early humanoid.  While this album does employ a drum machine, the entire recording is buried so deep in diseased soil, you won't seem to notice or care...

lowest of the low

Satyricon - Rebel Extravaganza

Most likely, a band you never expected me to post here.  I know that for the past 7 years, Satyricon has treading through seas of sewage, but this album was made in the 90's, a very different time indeed.  This was when spiked hair and tribal tattoos were still considered cool, when no one could even fathom Darkthrone shirts being sold at the mall, and when Satyricon was still a good band.

This album is not only largely forgotten, but doesn't get credit for how progressive it was for the time.  It has all the darkness of the old style, but with the oppressive feeling of a modern "setting".  You could say this is a much better realized version of Mayhem's Grand Declaration of War. 

Most fans of Satyricon's earlier work claim Nemesis Divina as their defnining moment, but I think this album is far more original and consistent.  Every element here shines: both the guitars and the drums are tight as fuck, the vocals have a perfect harsh tone, even the bass is audible and musical (yes way).  What stands out the most are (not surprisingly) the guitars; the use of diminished  chords, harmonics, and feedback perfectly create this modern theme.  It's quite a feat to create music that's creative and original, without borrowing from a dozen other genres, and this work achieves just that.

yentl extravaganza