Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kerouac - Cold and Distant, Not Loving

Forgettable name, brutal music.  I can't tell you how many times I've skipped over this album in my ipod because of it's unappealing "Nu Black" name.  Foolish, cause this is some raging Hardcore violence going on here.  Kerouac are from this newer school of Hardcore that's vaguely mathy, vaguely Grind, vaguely mosh.  You know what I'm talking about, bands like: The Power and the Glory, Trap Them, Inevitable End, and there's the ever-present Converge comparison.  Usually, UK bands of this style don't really do it for me, but these guys really hit the spot.  There's a vast range of influences to be heard here as well as a great "live" sounding energy.  You know you like this, and if you don't, you probably stopped reading at the first mention of "Hardcore".

still not loving police
monopoly, the soviet edition

Monday, June 27, 2011

Violation - Devoured

Metalcore, the genre that everyone seems to love to hate.  Even people raised on the stuff usually won't admit to liking it.  For all the negative connotations it's acquired, man is it satisfying when it's done right (to my ears, anyway).  This isn't the usual "Cro-Mags meets Slayer" sound of yore, nor is it the "At the Gates meets Throwdown" sound of today.  This particular cocktail sounds like equal parts late 90's Hatebreed and early 90's Sodom.  Close attention was paid to both the fast and slow parts, as they compliment each other nicely, and neither one outshines the other.  For a small-time band, the production here is quite good.  All instruments are clear and at the perfect volume, except for the clich'e "inaudible" bass.  The vocals are a special standout, being both highly intelligible and having an authoritative, throaty sound.  Really, the only thing missing on this album is some blazing solos.  Maybe, in time...

don't fear the mosh, my friend

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dusk Chapel - A Passage to Forever

This album reminds me of my teens, when I just couldn't get enough Melodic Metal.  Shadows Fall, Arch Enemy, and Nevermore were all staples in my (now archaic) portable cd player.  Not that this band sounds like they'll be played on Headbangers Ball anytime soon, but their sound is quite accessible and nostalgic of 10 years ago.  Actually, this band sounds most like a Ukrainian version of The Chasm, with some later-Death techinicality and early Arch Enemy style solos.  Not bad, especially if you like this style.

kingdom of joyless piss

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Expulsion - Wasteworld

More tech shit to scare the "skinny jeans" off your spindly legs.  Expulsion are from the cult favorite of Death Metal countries, the Netherlands, although they sound like they would be from the US or Canada.  To be really brief, this is what Unique Leader bands would sound like if they knew how to write music.  Almost any brutal Death Metal band can claim to be "tight" or "tech" or whatever, but rarely can they produce anything remotely memorable or unique.  Expulsion actually achieves those things, at least in the guitar department anyway.  Not since Dave Mustaine have I heard such biting tone and furiously nimble playing.  Sure, these guys have yet to prove they have the songwriting repetoire of 'Ol Dave, but they show huge promise.  As that comparison would also suggest, the melodic tendencies are also there, which makes for an equally listenable and brutal experience.  If you're a true Death Metal fan, you can appreciate the sophisticated stuff as well as the dirty muddbath stuff, and you're in for some haute musique here.  If you're into mid-era Monstrosity, Quo Vadis, Decrepit Birth and like, you should go crazy for this.

fondue it

Soilent Green - Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction

Honestly, I've never really been a fan of Soilent Green, but twice now they've really impressed me.  The first time was about five years ago when I saw them live.  I wasn't particularly looking forward to their set, but I stayed just to feel like I was getting my money's worth.  You know what, they sounded so clear and tight live, that damned if I wasn't banging my head before their first song was over!  

Of course, the second time was with the release of this album.  Sure, those of  you with skinny pants and beards won't like it because it doesn't sound "tinny" enough and it doesn't have any post-rock meandering, but that's exactly why I like it.  The first thing to notice here is the slick production job of Erik Rutan.  The sound is clear as glass and very fat, totally lacking that "ringy" snare sound preferred by retardo Slam bands, or the endless crash cymbal distortion that most Grind bands seem to enjoy.  Nope, this album actually sounds very listenable; looks like Erik finally found something he's good at (zing).  Beyond that, the drumming and riffery are as tasty as it gets.  This isn't the "heehaw" Soilent Green of the 90's, this is Soilent Green cleaned up, and they clean up pretty good. 

this wins as the worst cover in triple B history
we don't take kindly to yer type round here

Monday, June 20, 2011

Battletorn - Terminal Dawn

It's time to go stupid again.  Seriously though, it's pretty stupid how this album was being sold for only 2 dollars.  Oh well, bad for them, but good for me!  Battletorn are from the hipster stronghold of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but thankfully, they don't sound like it.  Delivered here is some mean, low-IQ Crusty Hardcore.  Like Iron Lung, they're also a power-duo, so they have a concise and lean sound perfect for cutting your head in half.  Musically, they sound pretty similar to late 80's/early 90's Crust like Antischism, if that band had Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer) on vocals.  Expect huge amounts of D-Beat, and never-ending distortion complimented by a clear, yet piercing production.  Sure, prog music is great how it's challenging and stimulates your intellect, but sometimes, you just wanna tweak on some simple brutality.

remember myspace?
tap the Rocky's

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Katatonia - Dance of December Souls

This fits in perfectly with the onslaught of rain I've been experiencing the past few days.  That's right, it rains in paradise.  Maui is like the Finland of the tropics.  What also may surprise you is that Katatonia used to be a pretty heavy and dark band, before they morphed into a more romantic pseudo-Metal band ten years ago.  Seriously, this almost a perfect little Death/Doom album.  The riffs and drumming here are top-notch, as is the warm production.  There are keyboard and clean guitar parts to go along with the anguished growls, so it may disappoint you if you're a stickler for the more abysmal sounds of Winter.  The album does get rather campy in parts, but you're just gonna have to forgive them for that, they're European.  But if you like, melody and tone with your gloom, you really can't go wrong here.  Plus, this was released on No Fashion records, pretty much everything they put out was gold.

*nothing says "I want to kill myself" like the color pink

blame it on the rain

Friday, June 17, 2011


I take you from the Midlands, to the Midwest.  This particular album has a history with me.  In 2007, when was bringing me tons of great bands (not any as of late!), this obscure nugget caught my ear.  I got turned on by the odd time signatures, and long, grandiose riffs (very progressive for a BM band).  The band never seemed to gain popularity, despite being reviewed in major magazines and being available at Amoeba, which is where I bought mine.  Two years later, they finally embark on a true national tour that came through my stomping grounds of Oakland, California.  I had been anticipating this show for months, and when I got to the Stork Club, I was pretty shocked that less than a dozen people showed up, most of whom were there to see an awful Pyrate Punx band.  After the "Punx" opener, HØST were finally up.  Even during soundcheck, I could tell the singer (the "brains" of the band) was already in a bad mood cause I was seemingly the only guy there to see them.  After playing just one song, the singer was so unstable that he threw his bass on the floor because the drummer couldn't remember the proper lead-in.  That was it, he turned off his amp and his dumbfounded bandmates eventually followed suit as they couldn't do much without him.  I packed up, and rode my bike home having the sickest feeling of disappointment ever from a show.

Despite that awful experience, this album is actually quite great.  It's one of the most original Black Metal albums I've heard.  Very modern and progressive while having a significant "rock" influence in the way of some "major-sounding" keys and chords.  It's somber, but not suicidal; heavy, but not quite brutal.  At one point, the song "Desember" has what I'm sure is the same chord progression as "Keep on Rockin in the Free World".  Odd to say the least.  You'll probably either love it or hate it, but for me, this band was my favorite USBM band for a while.

hella punx

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Krupskaya - Clouds Over Pripyat

Tonight, I'm bringing you harsh as shit Powerviolence straight of the fucking west midlands (Stoke-on-Trent, to be exact).  I actually haven't listened to this that much because it's so grating, but I know some of you get a real boner from this shrill shit.  I first heard of this band during the medieval myspace times through their former project Kzzzch!, which I still think was the better band, but this one is pretty hot too.  While Kzzzch! was more of a light-speed Grind band, Krupskaya was a noisier and looser sounding band with a significant Screamo influence and a political lean.  Expect only the most dissonant of chords and the sharpest screams and a loose performance tying it all together.  Definitely a more punk, intellectual and radical take on an uber-tough genre.  If you like Powerviolence, but wish it was skinnier, nerdier and less belligerent, this band is for you.

still in love with Judas, baby

Monday, June 13, 2011

Miserable Australia double post

Misery's Omen - Misery's Omen

This self-titled album is a comp of their "To Worship Stone Gods" ep and their split with Cauldron Black Ram.  It's still in the same style as "Hope Dies", but definitely more deppressive and less melodic.  The vocals on these earlier works are in constant fluxuation between almost every known Black Metal vocal style: bird squawks, semi-clean yells, growls, and the ubiquitous screech.  It adds tons of dynamics, but maybe a tough first listen for those used to a more "Darkthrone" type vocal.  The sonics are actually quite good and relatively consistent for this type of comp, despite some volume difference between tracks.  All the complex instrumental work is still there, in case you were expecting a more primitive affair.  Nope, even in their beginnings, these guys could play their asses off.  Download it.  Do it.

Mars, the windy planet

Misery - Revel in Blasphemy

There's not a whole lot to say about this one besides that it's really rare.  I'd been searching for a download of it for a good year.  Stupid, huh?  Why don't I just buy it?  Because I'm a cheap, poor bastard like most of you probably are.

Ok, but what does it actually sound like?  It's pretty straight-forward early 90's Death Metal, sounding most like early Malevolent Creation with some early Morbid Angel in there too.  The riffs are pretty simple and satisfying, as are the vocals.  There are some gradual slow-downs and speed-ups as well as some proto-Slam breakdowns to add a challenging flair.  What you see is what you get here.  If you think the 90's were the "golden age" of Death Metal, you should surely give this a shot.

revel in ass for me

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thy Infernal - Warlords of Hell

What does a Black Metal "flop" sound like?  Ok, so maybe this wasn't quite a "flop", but I did indeed buy this in the fabled bargain bin for 2 dollars.  You'd probably be hard-pressed to find a new copy of this album for sale.  For all the hard time I give it, and for how forgotten this band has become, this album is actually pretty damn good. 

Thy Infernal actually made some waves ten years ago with this release, people were even considering them one of the best US Black Metal bands.  Of course, this was before the "myspace era", cheap digital recording, and the current hipster fascination with the genre.  Thanks to the first two, there's now seemingly a wealth of good Black Metal coming from America.   Half of this band went on to form super-campy Goregrind bands Engorged, Splatterhouse and Frightmare.  So, you can definitely expect some cheesiness sprinkled on this dish, but not overwhelmingly so.  The riffs and even the vocal lines are quite memorable and good.  Had this album been produced better and some of the cheese cut out, it could have been rather "stellar". 


Friday, June 10, 2011

Evoken - Quietus

Do you ever stop whatever you're doing and let your mind wander?  Do you ever notice that every thought that seems to run through your head is negative?  That happens to me all the time; so is this common to all people?  Listening to Evoken certainly makes it seem so...

In a style where bands are only concerned about being slower and even more minimal than the next guy, Evoken towers over their Southern Lord contemporaries as they showcase actual songwriting ability.  Although they still manage to be appropriately lethargic, they write real riffs and arrangements that allow songs to actually develop.  The production is properly thick and clear to let the oppression of the music eclipse your day.  This is very much like a Death Metal answer to The Austrasian Goat's debut, which happens to be my favorite Funeral Doom album by far.  Coffins, Winter, and Mournful Congregation fans must hear...

is it supposed to sound like that?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hellwitch - Syzygial Miscreancy

After that last post, I feel like I need to regain some of my "cred", and what better way to do that than to dig up something really old.  Hellwitch, like many bands of the late 80's, straddled the line between Thrash and Death Metal, but few did so as well as they did.  While still having the "attack" and basic tone of yester-years Thrash bands, the sparse sprinkling of blast-beats, tremolo-picked riffs, and technical starts and stops hinted at the impending new era of heaviness.

This actually sounds a lot like Sadus, but a bit less mature.  If you're into early Death Metal, or the faster Crossover styles of S.O.D. and Cryptic Slaughter, this super-short LP is for you.

although stupid, this cover is kind of endearing in it's immaturity, which is going to save it from the "shitty album covers" label.  I also think it's a rip-off of this.

more and faster

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Moonspell - The Antidote

I have here Moonspell's 6th album, and not only is it their best, it's also the best Goth Metal album ever made.  Now, most of you are going to be totally phobic to anything Goth Metal or will just roll your eyes because you think Moonspell is just a Portuguese Type O Negative, which is pretty true, but that doesn't change the fact that this is one monumental album.  The consistency, songwriting, and production have been taken up several levels since their ho-hum 90's albums and uber-crappy "Butterfly Effect".  These changes were evident in in their previous album, but really came to fruition here.  The songs are all memorable, the playing is damn tight, but what really pushes this work over the edge is the production.  The tones are super-warm, the instrumentation is concise and uncluttered, and the delays have a perfect shimmering quality.  The only drawback I would say is the vocals being a bit over the top; there seems to be too many "whispered" parts, and there's still a heavy Portuguese accent to the English lyrics.  But hey, in either Goth or Metal good singing is pretty hard to come by, so finding someone that can do both effectively might as well be impossible.

For the two of you that might like this, here it is...

goth talk

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kvazar - Flatlined

I've got some pretty sweet Greco-Grindcore for you in this post.  Influences of several great bands can be heard here: Cephalic Carnage, Malevolent Creation, and even Suffocation.  Even with the mention of those bands, their sound is still pretty straight-forward Grindcore, and not Deathgrind like those influences may imply.  Expect some sweet riffs, throaty vocals, and varied drumming (instead of one contiuous gatling gun blast).  I detect some vague Metalcore influence here too, but maybe that's just me.  Definitely, if you like Cephalic Carnage, Pig Destroyer or Fuck the Facts, you should like this.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Misery's Omen - Hope Dies

I honestly don't know why I waited so long to post this, as it's easily one of the most impressive Black Metal releases this millenium.  A very basic way to describe this would be the Black Metal equivalent of Stargazer, except far more melodic.  It definitely follows in the path of the progressive and groundbreaking metal that Australia's incestuous scene has been known for the past 6 years.  The fact that this band features members of Portal and Stargazer should be no surprise, and only incite further enticement.

This album really has it all: great songs, musicianship, production value, dynamics, amazing artwork.  What's also impressive is these guys manage to be challenging and unique while still maintaining the essential deppressive and sorrowful qualities of Black Metal.  They're progressive without turning into another "genre-salad" band.  If you've been digging the melodic bass of Beyond Creation, this album's got that too.  Seriously you guys are gonna shit yourselves when you hear this.


pope dies

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Murder Squad - Unsane, Insane and Mentally Deranged

Once again, it's time to look into the future...  All the way to the year 2001 (cue "La Bamba's" high-pitched voice).

Hey, have you ever wished Swedish Death Metal was even more muddy and sluggish, and then dumbed-down to an almost Mortician-level stupidity?  Members of Dismember and Entombed had united to make such a puke pool of music, and you probably slept through the whole thing because you suck.  Luckily for you, I'm not a poser and bought this album when it came out, and am ressurecting it so your pseudo-bohemian-hipster ears can hear what real brutality sounds like.

Of course, stupid music can still be good.  Just like Extreme Noise Terror, these guys do stupid right!  You're in for some lumbering masses of distortion and bass, without any advanced playing techniques to distract from the aural punishment.  If you like obese, neanderthal Death Metal like Autopsy, Cianide, Carnage, or Acephalix, you know what to do.

the "other" Murder Squad
Probe me

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monstrosity - Millenium

Sorry it's been forever since my last post, but I was on a short vacay to the Big Island.  I didn't post about it because I figured no one would care.  No pictures or anything, just use your imagination for what it was like.

This brings us to the end of highschool week at triple B.  I bought this album sometime in junior or sophomore year (not really sure), but I'm sure the purchase was partly due to George Fisher being their vocalist at the time (which should be considered a drawback).  Thankfully, this is arguably Fisher's best performance, so he's not nearly as annoying as he would become in the next few years.  Once you get past the vocals though, you'll find a bountiful booty of supremely technical and very musical Death Metal.  The riffs, the beats, and just the synchronization of all the instruments are surgically precise.  All of this technical precision is spearheaded by the insanely tight and dynamic drumming of Lee Harrison, who ironically didn't drum, but played guitar for Prog-Death gods Atheist.  "Tight" playing might seem ultra-common today with all these so called "progressive" Deathcore bands, but Monstrosity were (and still are) even tighter, before Beat Detective and time-editing software even existed.  They did this shit for real

Death Metal fo' real