Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sweatin' the Small Stuff, Part II: Best EPs, Splits, Comps, and Demos of 2012

Hope everyone's had a good holiday. I ate way too much, played too much Wii U and got to see my newborn nephew, so it was great.

Check out my favorite albums of the year and part 1 of my favorite eps, comps, splits, and demos if you haven't already.

Without further delay, here are my favorite eps, splits, demos, comps of 2012.

Meth Lab - Demo

Knuckle dragging power violence smothered in a cloud of basement brewed meth and plenty of shifts in rhythm make this demo a year's favorite for getting some aggression out. P//S Review

False Light - False Light

Brackish, down tuned power violence with enough beatdowns and feedback to make your stupid Hatebreed fan friend a true believer in power violence.

Obolus - Lament

Dense and distant black metal with enough doses of WITTR and the like, but sans the fat and length. Perfect for winter nights.

Beatriz Carnicero - No Reces

An impressive showing from these upstarts from Uruguay. Classic Slap-a-Ham nostalgia wrapped up with a robust production and plenty of dynamics to keep your arms swinging. P//S Review

thedowngoing - athousandyearsofdarkness

One of those bands you "need to know" Australia's thedowngoing mix torrents of feedback, modulated vocals, angular guitars, and cascading drums into a coherrant mess of noisy grindcore that's absolutely gripping. P//S Review

Water Torture - Shellfire!

Maybe my new favorite band, Buffalo's Water Torture are making up for their hometown sports team's horrid showings with a recent slew of releases. The band does the unthinkable in actually being good without having a guitarist. Heavy, vicious, painful and alluring, Water Torture find an odd balance between catchiness, heaviness, and energy with their brand of noisy power violence. Few things stick as well as the ending breakdown with the words shouted "everyone I know is fucking dead to me" and jumping right into this jazzy kind of synth run.


I was hesitant at first due to the fast and constant beat, but I should know better as U.K. godhead Burial is his normal self in creating an alluring, foggy, and urban sounding soundtrack to a night lost on the street. Listen here.


V/A Monomaniac Vol. 1

A great "who's who" of modern fast music encompassing unreleased material from grindcore, power violence, and even black metal bands. Particular highlights are Bodyhammer, thedowngoing, Cloud Rat, and Diocletian. P//S Review.

Flourishing - Intersubjectivity

A fast dirge of dissonance, melody, and brutality makes Intersubjectivity one of the most unique and best things to come out this year. While I couldn't get into The Sum of Fossils I think this one is so paradoxically perfect in so many ways that it's hard not to get lost in. Pushing the envelope right out of the door, Brooklyn's Flourishing are on point with this one. P//S Review

Deathspell Omega - Drought

One of those releases where I struggle to talk about it like I'm some nervous wiener on his first date. There's just so much to say about this gift of an ep. It's what Deathspell Omega's been working towards ever since Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice. Where they got a bit ahead of themselves and lost with Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum, Paracletus finally bridged the gap between dissonance, abstraction, and melody yet was still very chaotic. With Drought DsO's simply perfected their sound. I don't know if the band will be able to outdo Drought's uncanny ability to weave in between multiple moods without space in between and to never be uncomfortable or jarring. The best release this year by a long shot, Drought is a wisp of a dream fully fleshed out into something tangible and perfect. Listen.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sweatin' the Small Stuff, Part I: Best EPs, Splits, Comps, and Demos of 2012

After my favorite full lengths of the year, here are my favorite EPs, demos, comps, and splits of 2012. Split into two parts, this is part one numbers 20-11.

Cold Cave - A Little Death to Laugh

Three songs, last a throw away, middle one okay, first track the catchiest thing this year. Seriously. Listen here

Graf Orlock - L.A.

What I can I say? Cinema grind nerds Graf Orlock tackle one of the  90's best films (Heat) and make an EP about it and the sociological side of the city its set in. Graf Orlock's more Tom Sizemore and DeNiro than the rest, but it's not all THAT crazy.

Adversarial / Antediluvian - Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries

Two titans of modern-retro-heavier-than-fuck-Incantationcore death metal, what more could you want? This one's grown on me for sure, ignore the pompous titles and enjoy the crushing and sometimes truly bizarre stuff they come up with.

Closet Case - It Doesn't Get Better

Old school hardcore; something I know very little about. But Closet Case don't belong in this century  the need to be wearing old flannel shirts and living in bumble-fuck middle america in the 90's to sound this pissed. A promising demo. And man, what a cover. Listen here

Teitanblood - Woven Black Arteries

So Purging Tongues came out last year and I made a big stink about it  even though I had no clue what it sounded like.  Now they've re-released that track with another and put it on this CD for us dolts to buy. "Purging Tongues" is cool, a bit too muddy for my liking, but whatever. I'm really going by the new track which is good, a bit more normal except one thing : the toms are twice as high as everything else. Who the fuck mixed this thing? It's like making a guitarist's A string twice as loud as every other string, instrument, or  singer. It's pretty fucking annoying. Rabble. I still like this though. duuur. Listen here

Spewtilator - Inhale Awaits

Fuck Sleep. They might have an awesome 13 hour album about potheads trapped in the desert, but Atlanta's now defunct Spewtilator were the kind of potheads that would eat all your food, fuck your house up then bail as your parents come home. Inhale Awaits is fun and much trashier then previous efforts. And dude, "Into the Crypt of Rays!?" C'mon. P//S Review

Slave -Demo 2012

This is what you hear when you're waiting in line at the DMV thinking of driving a F-350 through the line and  ripping the place apart. Solid PV from these upstarts in Alabama. Despise You cover makes it about 73% 3000% better.

Moloch / Closure - Split

Representing the UK, Moloch's scummy sludge pairs well with Closure's pitch black power violence. Dismal and pissed, both bands were made for each other. P//S Review

Listen here

Protestant / Suffering Mind - Split

Suffering Mind aka the best straight up grind band out there, brings out the grindier side of Milwaukee hardcore ragers Protestant with this super short and rough 6". Truly DIY, truly awesome. P//S Review

Faith Addiction - Order From Chaos

I can't tell if they sound more like a death metal band trying to play power violence, or a power violence band trying to play death metal. But, either way this short EP is heavy, viscous and hits like a haymaker. Excited for more from them. Listen here

Top 10 eps, splits, demos, and comps to come soon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The End Time: Best Albums of 2012

duuuuuuuurr. another list. This year I've decided to not look up anything I might've missed, or forced myself to find new things. I'm going with what's come to be, and what I've found. Keep in mind, this is my full length list. An ep/ split/ single/ demo/ whatever list will follow soon. Unknowingly naming this "the end time" last year might be a little too true for you wackos out there in regards to this year.


Revenge - Scum.Collapse.Eradication

A hate crime rolled into an album, Scum. Collapse. Eradication lacks any kind of understanding, compassion, or sympathy. If you've heard a Revenge album before, you've heard 'em all, but don't let that stop you as J. Reed and co-conspirator Vermin have added a nice dose of guitar solos, groove a'la Archgoat, and more vocal pitch shifting than you can shake your spiked leather arm at. A nice (ugly) reprieve from some of the more "arty" black metal.


Sakatat - Bir Devrin Sonu

I was really looking forward to this Turkish trio's full length. Unfortunately, like all the cool bands, they've called a quits following the release of this excellent album. A bit short for my liking, Bir Devrin Sonu is an exceptionally great grind album that's fresh sounding in its varied style, dynamic vocals and impressive riff catalog and great production. P//S Review (Unfortunately my stupid analysis of the album's name is even more stupid as the band's done). Listen here


Knelt Rote - Trespass 

I've been waiting awhile for a good mixture of black metal and grindcore and I think Knelt Rote do it near perfect. Sure, it's a heavier helping of death metal rather than black, but Knelt Rote incorporate the super stale sound of bands like Blasphemy and mix it with harsh noise and elements of grindcore and above all else precision to create a brutal onslaught. Ugly, bestial, and overtly harsh Trespass is solely the product of hate.


Wreck and Reference - Youth

Wreck and Reference craft a dark emotional sound that implements everything from industrial and post-punk to black metal and drone. What I liked most about Youth was its ability to be everything at once; harsh, beautiful, scary, and calm. P//S Review


Column of Heaven - Mission From God

Mission From God doesn't strike me as powerfully as their demo Ecstatically Embracing all that we Habitually Suppress, but it's still pretty fuggin' good. Beyond that Mission from God is a unique effort as every aspect is intriguing and uncomfortable as it's a mash of grindcore, power electronics, bits of death metal and a huge dose of atmosphere. Lyrics, artwork, and of course the music make Mission From God one of the most suffocating things this year. P//S Review


Swans - The Seer

Recently I was redoing my iTunes and was trying to figure out how to categorize all my Swans. I ended up simply tagging their genre as "Swans." I bring it up because what else can I say about this album besides it's Swans? The thing is IMMENSE and absolutely absorbing. Maybe the only band that's been around 30+ years and is running just as strong. Listen here


Cellgraft - 

Dozer tread like guitars, blazing .30 cal drums and thundering vocals pulsate through Cellgraft's first and final full length Cellgraft. Dangerously infectious and monumental in its beginning, Cellgraft is as heavy as as it is viral. Few grindcore bands understand that perfect mixture of riffage, dynamic vocal delivery and rhythmic manipulation and can wrap it all up with a completely devastatingly low end production like Cellgraft did. P//S Review


Botanist III: Doom in Bloom

Get it out of your head that one man dulcimer/drum act Botanist is a gimmick; it's not. III: Doom in Bloom is a fitting title as things have slowed down this time and are much more meditative. I like this approach much more and find the harmonies and drum patterns so engrossing. Botanist might be the only metal band I know of to not have guitars and be completely acoustic (and really good too). It comes with a second disc of drum tracks provided by Botanist for other bands to use. Frankly I haven't really bothered with this and pretend it's not part of the release.


Bosse-De-Nage - III

At first I was so-so about III. The first track might be the weakest one, but the second track's 90's alt-rock vibe and build ups really got me going. Much more dynamic than II and really powerful sounding, Bosse-De- Nage continue to expand upon their unique brand of post-black alt rock whatever-whatever black metal. P//S Review


Dephosphorus - 
Night Sky Transform

Whoa baby. While everyone's been oo'ing and ah'ing over last year's Axiom it wasn't until Night Sky Transform that I became absolutely OBSESSED with this band. Grindcore without any boundaries, Night Sky Transform showcases immense songwriting, great lyrics, and an awesome mood. P//S Review

Honorable Mentions

Horders - Fimbulvetr
The Kill - Make 'em Suffer
Nadja - Dagdrøm
Negative Standards - VI-XI
Panopticon - Kentucky
Protestant - Reclamation
Six Brew Bantha - Six Brew Bantha
Violent Restitution - Violent Restitution
Holy Other - Held

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Kill - Make 'em Suffer

If you're looking for music to accompany your holiday past time of binging on meth and bulldozing your neighbor's gaudy lawn decorations then look no further than Australia's reigning grinders The Kill.

The band's a whirlwind of jagged metallic guitars (pristine in the grindiest way), furious blast beats and raspy shouts becomes staggeringly overwhelming at it's 20 minutes of nonstop abuse on their first full length Make 'em Suffer. Rarely does the band find time to slow down which works well as the guitar lacks that low-end punch to even think about palm muting or getting it's mosh on and they're one of those bands that works you into a dizzying fervor (not into some change picking up karate master). Like many staples of the genre The Kill happily etche their name into the wheel of grindcore instead of trying to remake it. While they might be another name on this proverbial wheel, their scrawl's quite large as few bands make an impact like these Aussies do.

To add a special something to the album, they've done an amazingly faithful, yet fluid and blistering rendition of one of my favorite Slayer songs; "Necrophobic" complete with the echoing squeals and awesome snare rolls to match. CD out through Blastafuk and LP to come soon from To Live A Lie.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bandcamp of the Week - Slave

There's a Despise You cover... I really shouldn't have to say anything else, but I guess I could say that this is some fucking ugly, pissed off and rough power violence from Birmingham, Alabama that kicks dick.

Throw out that Baroness cd you just bought like a tool and start punching holes in your walls.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Deism - Deism

A constant plucking bass, a floor tom build up and a sheet of feedback introduce Alabama's Deism and their 5 minute demo by the same name. Deism's approach is undoubtedly oldschool, although the slightly effected vocals detract from this nostalgic sound, the band's of a particular ilk that I don't come across too often.

The guitar's thin and hazy without too much distortion and the drums ride comfortably below everything else. While Deism's "to the point" they find enough time within their minute long songs to switch up tempos, energy and approach. What they most remind me of is a time when hardcore was only know as punk. A touch of    Die Kreuzen, a smattering of early NYHC, and a touch of the new and I think I've created a vague idea of what Deism are all about.

5 minutes of material does leave a lot to be desired, but Deism is a refreshing look at a style I don't come across too often. The cassette itself looks awesome (I've only got a promo download).

Up the punx.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Heartsick? Forlorn? A tad depressed? Autumn and Winter will do that to you.

I've always felt lows around this time of year and it's not much different circa 2012. Music's always been a strong sense of relief and fascination for me, and I don't know where the logic lays in listening to sad music while you're down, but it's what a lot of us do.

Perhaps there's no better soundtrack than Jesu's brand of gloomy drone/doom/shoegaze hybrid, most perfectly distributed by their first full length Jesu.  Right in tow there's The Angelic Process, a former couple that took My Bloody Valentine's whirling layers of melancholy to new levels with crushing vats of guitars and some of the most otherworldly vocals.

A touch of despair and animosity goes a long way with Leviathan's brand of black metal most perfectly encapsulated in The Blind Wound. While going by a different name, Leviathan main man Jef Whitehead, produced possibly my favorite album of all time under the moniker Lurker of Chalice. Combining all kinds of genres, the self-titled LP is a powerful murk of neo-folk, black metal, and ambiance. The sample, coming from the Sylvia Plath biopic, shouldn't turn you off, no matter how angsty it might sound, this track is really overwhelming.

Alongside Justin K. Broadrick, no one's done as good a job as forging a musical path based around their own depression than Wesley Eisold of  Dark Wave/Synth Pop outfit Cold Cave. Cold Cave's first album's title says it all; Love Comes Close.

Swans made their name through their harsh beginnings and ever-changing sound, but I came to enjoy them through this simple acoustic track that does more for me than nearly any other track.

A bit on the cheesy side, Roy Orbison holds a special place for me as he was a favorite of my mom. His croon has gone nearly unmatched and a track like "No One Will Ever Know " is unbeatable.

Undeniably most of these acts are frowns, but every so often they surprise us with glimpses of joy, hope, or just something positive sounding. This is what pushes them beyond simple angst.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bandcamp of the Week : Vemod

A bit unusual for me to do a BCOTW for a basically one song, but the upcoming track from Vemod's Venter på stormene is just so awesome that I couldn't help but share it with you guys and gals.

An epic, sweeping black metal track spanning 13 minutes lifts you out of your sorry computer chair and brings you into winter's bliss, above darken snow laced lands and  lost in a sky ripe with stars. This is some powerful stuff and shouldn't be missed by any black metal fans.

No exact date is given for when we should expect this, but I hope it's soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hintergrund - Nemesis

Two piece drone outfit Hintergrund hail from Ohio and lack any kind of boundaries, form, or subject. Instead, Hintergrund operates in a gaseous territory where aspects of ambiance, noise, and drone mesh together in a form that usually lacks any kind of discernible pulse. Hintergrund conjure up nothing in the way of riffs, vocals, or typical melodies and that's fine by me. These attributes are far from negative; they're all positive.

Hintergrund's most promising aspect is their enchanting ability to let you zone out; something much music strives for and achieves in two drastically different ways. Thankfully the ability to zone out admist Nemesis is thanks to its superb ambiance and not its boring nature. Slow, ethereal  and omniscient is probably the best way to describe this mixture of prepared saxophones (whatever those are), guitars, loops, circuit bending, and other stuff. It's not an album to put on for a minute or two, or even for a song, but rather for an extended period in which you're free of distractions.

While Nemesis is thankfully a full album effort, tracks do offer varied approaches as one might be more subdued than its noisy neighbor ("As the Elk Lays Down to Die" is a floating, calm track and its offset by "Circuit" which is a subdued outing of feedback, white noise and swirling echoes). "Herbstmord", the track before the two previously mentioned acts as a teaser as it mashes both harsh and pleasant noises into easily the band's best effort.

If I were to complain - it would be in the name of my own super subjective taste - I would like a bit more melody or maybe some dreamy vocals (or haunting) thrown into the mix. But regardless, Nemesis, is a great piece of abstract noise that should appeal to a broad lot of you.

Made available by the band, here's a download.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Flourishing - Intersubjectivity

While I couldn't get my head around Flourishing's debut full length, The Sum of Fossils, I've become quite a fan of their latest release Intersubjectivity. Nestled somewhere in between their signature uncomfortable shamble and a newer, more inviting territory, Flourishing have finally bridged the gap between dissonance and warmth. The warm and robust production does wonders, especially for the hallow sounding drums and the guitars when they get all wonky. That section midway through the title track is so great and mysterious sounding and that's where they're supreme.

Hard to pinpoint, but I'd say they fall in the realm of death metal- in the most abstract kind of ways.
Immediate comparisons would be newer Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate as they've managed to create paradoxically inviting yet dissonant music in a similar way yet at a much slower pace. Saying Portal, Gorguts or even Abyssal sound similar wouldn't be a far stretch but not enough credit to the band as they're really pushing the envelope.

Check out on the bandcamp for their label, The Pass Less Traveled.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pillars of Taste - A Blaze in the Northern Sky

One of the seminal releases of the infamous second wave of black metal, A Blaze in the Northern Sky serves as a stepping stone for Darkthrone to their own particular niche in black metal as well as a guide for the less inspired as to how to create phenomenal black metal. ABITNS is a funny album because Darkthrone obviously wears their influences on their sleeves and the album obviously owes much to CF/Hellhammer, yet at the same time ABITNS contains its own unique voice and there simply has never been an album like it.

Setting themselves apart from their contemporaries, Darkthrone strived to achieve a catchy and "metal" album. Not forgetting the importance of riffs from the forebears of black metal and the thrashy/groove elements championed by Morbid Tales era Celtic Frost, Darkthrone implements guitar solos (something many second wave, as well as modern black metal bands, tend to overlook), mid-section groove stomps and countless rhythm changes. When comparing 
ABITNS to contemporaries of the time it is interesting to see how Darkthrone retained a death metal/trash sense of composure and time as opposed to others who pushed a much more stripped down approach.

The drums are so powerful and authoritarian on this album; I love it. They guide each song with such brute strength and have a great tone. Fenriz's performance is one of my favorites and is very fun and interesting to listen to. The strong backbeat of "In the Shadow of the Horns" and the slower sections of "
Kathaarian Life Code" lock in perfectly with those gut-punching riffs to make some of the most gratifying and excellent music to bang your head to.

Darkthrone have established themselves long ago as one of the most important names in black metal, and much of that credit is given to Transilvanian Hunger. But it was with ABITNS that Darkthrone modernized the music they had been influenced by and were able to create many of the variables that have characterized the scene since. The album surges and jumps, contains a vibrant and robust production that really emphasizes the power behind every instrument, another element they lost to the muffled and lifeless production of Transilvanian Hunger.

For me, it is a tough debate between De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas or A Blaze in the Northern Sky as the king album of the second wave. They offer radically different approaches to the genre in question, and are amazing in their own right. ABITNS always seemed like a good stepping stone from thrash and death metal to black metal, DMDS feels like an album that requires a lot from the listener and isn't as simple as just picking up.This is one of the few albums I actually have fun listening to as an activity in of itself. While there's a toss up between the two in what I'd like to think of as some sort of objective "grimness meter" I just can't coincide there to be a better written and performed black metal album than ABITNS.

Some behind the scenes...

Funnily enough, when I was first getting into black metal I bought this album, along with Bathory's Hammerheart and couldn't see why people liked it. I found everything to be so neutered and uninteresting. I was a victim of Dimmu Borgir and later Immortal and couldn't understand the cave like cacophony of ABITNS and I had no appreciation for old school black metal. Eventually I made my way through nearly every band's discography and thought I should reattempt ABITNS. It was one of those moments where I was so happy to love the album, yet so worried at how stupid I had been to ignore it. 

Take it from me, if this album doesn't catch your fancy the first time around, put it down and come back to it, because it really is a marvel and gem of music as a whole.

We are a Blaze in the Northern Sky
The next thousand Years Are OURS

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pillars of Taste: Bliss Torn from Emptiness

As far as drone goes I was like the fat kid at the swimming pool party. I saw everyone else enjoying the water in the baking hot weather, but insecure with my girth I sat awkwardly in a chair simply watching all the  people having fun. Like dipping my foot in the water, I discovered Sunn 0)))'s The Black One, which appealed to my black metal appetite and cooled my body down just for a second to realize that there might be something to this. I further dipped my leg in and it was with Nadja's rerecording of Bliss Torn From Emptiness that I nearly drowned my fatass in that pool of drone amongst all those little twerps.

Nadja's discography is vast and daunting, much of the older stuff I've avoided due to its label of being sub par and lacking. This rerecording serves as an excellent place to delve into all that Nadja has to offer. Nadja, while obviously Nadja on all the records I've heard, employ distinctly different attacks and approaches to song writing, and more often than not form a tight cohesion between those said styles; this LP is no exception. Equal parts of heavily distorted guitars and serene effects swim out of the speakers to construct a powerful monolith of peaceful and superb drone.

Staring with a dreamy and surreal ambient atmosphere for the better part of six minutes "Part 1" slowly evolves to a mammoth distorted doom riff and jaunting and off sounding drums. The atmosphere is established and then Nadja build and build a sonic staircase that hits a wall of streaming effects and eventually transpires into a swarm of dreamy little noises and tidbits creating a very pleasing and relaxing atmosphere. Finally the effects fall to the background and the riff cuts up and plays quarter notes and gets a heavier feel then the track slowly fades out into strands of distortion and faint effects. Perfectly composed and absolutely absorbing, Part 1 starts the album right.

Similar, yet different, "Part 2" carries on the heavy drums and fuzzed out wash of a guitar and the heavy humming bass which lead the way for a consistent stream of wonderfully indulging effects. The chemistry between the fuzzy and harsh guitars and the warm bass and dreamy effects works so well only to burn themselves out in a wonderful flame of dreamy droney goodness. Effects becoming sparse and  the feedback settles, looping and modded vocals come in creating a hypnotic soundscape. The vocals loop, repeating the odd line of "My whole life has just  been one long hot fuck with God" for what feels like forever. While the phrase might be off kilter, it is soothing and  lulls you away.

"Part 3" carries along where "Part 2" left off and develops a chaotic, but utterly blissful wall of noise as the record comes to an end. Concluding the LP, Bliss Torn From Emptiness sets itself up as an effigy of dreamlike music that detaches the listener from reality's constraints.

This is my go to relaxation album, my favorite drone release, and really, the album that pushed me into this realm of music. I think many people become attached to a particular album because of circumstances surrounding it. For Bliss Torn from Emptiness, it was a rainy Saturday morning. The air was thick with moisture and the sun was a good hour or two from rising. I played this album in it's entirety as I zoned out to a video game and I felt completely removed from my bedroom. Maybe it's because of that memory that I love this album so much.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pig Destroyer - Fahrenheit 451

Without the bad, we wouldn't know the good. Without great music, bad music might seem good, or even great. Its with this train of thought that I think Pig Destroyer exist. With their recent effort, Book Burner, Pig Destroyer have produced such mind boggling mediocrity that it just  highlights how amazing their second album Prowler in the Yard is and how awful their current album is.

The decline has been pretty sharp since the band followed up their masterpiece with the overly produced and neutered album Terrifyer. While Terrifyer was anything but good, it retained some strain of style and one or two good riffs from Hull. Phantom Limb stumbled in, with it's flavor of the week cover art, songs of ponderous length, and one too many breakdowns that seemed to put the nail in the coffin for Pig Destroyer. With the announcement of another try at the whole "grindcore thing," people like me gained some hope that Pig Destroyer might be able to tap into whatever they had that made Prowler... so powerful.

With a hefty amount of time to work back to their glory, Pig Destroyer have done an impressive job in making one of the year's most inoffensive, sterile, and extremely marketable releases. Book Burner represents most of what I hate in metal. Sterile production, click track perfect drumming a'la robots like Derek Roddey, inane lyrical matter/song titles and guitar riffs that do nothing for me. Relapse, as well as Century Media, Metal Blade, and others, have made their agenda to revolve around this brand of meat and potatoes metal gussied up in surgical production, lack of character, current fads and marketability. Well Book Burner's no different. Some super lame cover art, dumber name, 3,000 different ways to pre-order the album, a slew of guests, and a new drummer spells ca$h I'm sure, but does it spell good music?No.

"The Diplomat," a 3 minute cookie cutter track presented as the album's first single as well as one of the first glimpses into the album's sound offers nothing new. Spending most of its time hovering around a stock chugga chugga guitar line, midtempo drumming and of course breakdown sections, "The Diplomat" is almost as bad as the video made for it (something I'd rather not talk about here).

As for the rest of the album, it's a sprinkle of what Misery Index's been doing since 2006 with a pinch of Terrifyer, and a bottle or two of Ambien. Jarvis, the new man behind the kit, of course made his name playing as a clock for Misery Index, so the sterility in that department isn't surprising. What is surprising is that the best vocals on the album come from Kat of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Salome fame on "Eve" and Richard Johnson of Enemy Soil/Drugs of Faith  fame on "The Underground Man." Between these two guests, there's more emotion, vitriol, and a pulse than the rest of the band. This is particularly alarming as Pig Destroyer have always operated best in filth, depravity, and twisted thoughts. Yet they've become as harmless as Mastadon or whoever's the big cheese nowadays.

As for the riffs, most lay in between "alright" and "sure." As I write this, the generic-ness surrounding this album is so stupefying that I really can't find words to describe how little of an impact and forgettable most of the tracks are here. The only one standing out for me is "Permanent Funeral" as Hull gives an interesting treatment to a very Destruction-esque riff and makes it work for nearly 4 minutes. While the song should be 2, this might've been the one song that made me look at the track list out of joy rather than malice.

Is it unfair to compare this to Prowler in the Yard, or anything else for that matter? I don't think so, but if I did, the overwhelming lack of character here makes it feel like a different band, a band I wouldn't give two shits about.

So while people, press releases, reviewers and media outlets will continue to call Hull a guitar genius, Hayes " the poet laureate of extreme metal," Harrison a master of atmosphere and Jarvis "the pinnacle of inhuman drumming" Pig Destroyer have effectively created one of the most memorably mediocre albums in extreme metal.

To quote another band that went down the drain, "don't believe the hype."

****On a side note, the biggest offense here, without a doubt, are the bonus cover songs. Pig Destroyer's never been good at covering songs. Their "Burning of Sodom" cover might be okay, but as for their treatment of the Dwarves, the Melivins, The Stooges, Carcass, and whatever else has always been pretty lackluster. But to take rough cut punk classics like Black Flag's "Depression" and play with that fucking sterile robot Jarvis is a complete mockery. The guitars lack any kind of punch and the band rides Hayes's vocals as he does a surprisingly great job ripping things up (especially on that "Wolf's Blood" cover). This is real bad shit here and it'd do your mind best to avoid it or else some of your favorite punk classics might leave a bad taste in your mouth the next time you hear them.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pillars of Taste- Effigy of the Forgotten

Without a doubt, Suffocation's first full length Effigy of the Forgotten has been the most important death metal album in my life. It was the first Suffocation release I ever heard and was the most brutal, thick, and rhythmically masterful album I have ever heard. While I know deep down somewhere that Pierced From Within might be the best Suffocation release, Effigy of the Forgotten is still my favorite.

Beyond their innovations, Suffocation just sounded so different to me. This was a point in my life where I didn't know much about metal and still thought of Max Cavelera for Soulfly and not Sepultura. I had sought out other genre stalwarts such as Morbid Angel, Deicide, Carcass, and Obituary, but none of them stuck with me the way Suffocation did.

Small factors could've played a role. They were neighbors out on Long Island, me in Brooklyn, I had just picked up drums and thought the world of Mike Smith's style, technique and swagger, and they were interracial;  a huge abnormality in the world of metal. Beyond those tidbits, Suffocation pioneered a style that became diluted and  suffocating. While they introduced painful slams and breakdowns to their music they also incorporated extremely thrashy and godly metal stylings that helped them build favor with metalheads and hardcore kids alike. Unfortunately those bands who copied them lost this and moved away from Suffocation's strength in diversity.


Visceral is probably the best word to describe the Effigy. Slower sections sound like churning pools of sewage and offal accompanied by the ominous thuds of dead elephants in the mixture. The drums lock in with the guitars as they pummel and smash, the guitars at times sound more percussive than melodic, and the production overall is thick and viscous.

The muddy, thick and bottom heavy guitar and bass tone are its hallmarks. Right on the edge between corrosive and indiscernible, Terrance Hobbs and Doug Cerrito chug and weave throughout each track so fluidly, a great example being  the opener "Liege Of Inveracity" with the greatest breakdown of all time or "Mass Obliteration" which finds enough time for some solos in between those amazing chugga chugga refrains. Locking in with Smith's trap, Mullen's demonic gurgles and that anchor of a bass, the guitars play something completely discernible  This discernability- sometimes even catchiness- is a testament to Suffocation's craft as they didn't just chug away anything; they relied on recognizable riffs, quality ones at that.

As I mentioned earlier, Mike Smith's performance is one of my favorite drum performances ever recorded. Technically speaking Smith is a beast. He might not go to light speed like other big death metal drummers, but his syncopation,  precision and style are unmatched. His style epitomizes Suffocation perfectly- technical and masterful yet dressed up in a primal suit of strong rhythm, pronounced accents, and satisfying thuds. A strength of the band is when the drums and guitars lock into a particular vibe and hammer the listener in the gut.


Sometime around 2004 or 05 they played with Cryptopsy amongst others here in NYC and the opening act, Despised Icon (who epitomized the deathcore fad that was gaining momentum at the time) said that playing NYC was special for them as their favorite hardcore act, Madball, and their favorite death metal act, Suffocation, both called the place home. This has always stuck with me. Perhaps no death metal band has had such an important cross genre influence, for better or worse, than Suffocation.

So there. I've embarked on a quest that I think scares everyone who writes about their interests. Putting into words how much you love your favorite records is a tough task, but I hope my enthusiasm will seep into whomever reads this little blog and cause some kind of reaction. I will continue by genres and once I'm done I'll simply be able to make equations as to why I like bands.

Ex 666. Suffocation+Despise You (Nadja) Darkthrone/Slayer+y=x Solve for x.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pumpkin Faces in the Night: Mixtape Curated by Ryan Page

A bit late, but damn well worth it, Ryan Page, mastermind behind body horror electro grind entity Body Hammer and the remorseless Robocop was kind enough to make a special mixtape for you loyal readers in the spirit of Halloween. He's even gone ahead and included some fitting summaries.

I approached Ryan thinking "who could be more perfect than a guy who names his bands after a Japanese body horror film and makes intriguingly frightening grindcore?" Can't thank Ryan enough, so please check out all his doings and projects.

1. Goblin - "Buio Omega"  
Aristide Massesseci making me wanna vom, while Goblin plays disco or something…

2. Dead Neanderthals - "The Stake"  
Jesus Franko club scene on crank. That or my laserdisc player is malfunctioning.

3. Gnaw Their Tongues - "White Skin"  
Mrs. Hartevelt, I must insist.

4. The Conet Project - "The Lincolnshire Poacher" 
Lincolnshire: 39715

5. Brainbombs - "Die You Fuck" 
"Now I know why they call you Dirty Harry"

6. Dr. Dooom - "Apartment 223"  
Tenement: Game of survival remade in a McDonald's Play Place.

7. Black Sabbath - "Disturbing the Priest" 
The Entity with Barbara Hershey's role taken over by Bruce Campell at the last minute

8. Electric Wizard - "The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue" 
Scary because I like something off of 'We Live!'

9. Bathory - "Call from the Grave" 
Recorded inside of the coffin below that tombstone knocked over in Plan 9.

10. Cathedral - "Night of The Seagulls" 
Blind Dead get off the bikini model boat and take over where the Deep Ones left off.

11. G.I.S.M - "Nih Nightmare" 
Recently discovered sequel to Burst City contains way more balaclavas.

12. Butthole Surfers - "Strangers Die Everyday" 
The Mack driving down International listening to the distant gunshots and quietly playing 'Don't Fear the Reaper'

13. Death in June and Boyd Rice - "You Love the Sun and the Moon"

14. Death in June - "No Pig Day" 
Only Van Morrison's 'Ringworm' compares.
15. Dishammer - "Sex Witch"
Sex scene... WITH A WITCH

16. Fabio Frizzi - "Un Gatto Nel Cervello - Sequence 12" 
"A Cat on The Brain: "The original script was 49 pages long and contained no dialogue. It consisted of descriptions of bodily mutilations/imagery and sound effects that would compliment them on screen." "DOCTOR FULCI!"

Name Like His Master (distro where you can buy Ryan's projects)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Buried at Birth - Buried at Birth

If you ever happen to talk to me about music and things get into vocal styles you'd quickly realize female vocals in hardcore are a quick way into my heart. It's not that I see it as an overriding factor and think the band "is totally cool bc they got a hawt chick who's into punk n'metal" but it's a great piece to add to an already good band. That said, anyone who listens to San Jose grinders Buried at Birth will focus on the vocals first and foremost.

Mixed higher then everything else, venomous and shrill, vocalist Veronica sounds disgusting in the best way possible (if you've ever listened to Poland's excellent Wojtyla you'll have a good idea of the vocals). Beyond the vocals, Buried at Birth have a very metal polish and heaviness to their sound that comes through in numerous tremolo riffs and chugga chugga sections despite their grindcore attention span and structuring.

Their latest ep, Buried at Birth, does well to mix rhythms and tempos with metallic guitar slabs and, of course, the vocals. "Pink Mist" starts with a very headbangable section that shoots right into a black metal riff and blast beats, highlighting the band's wandering gaze style-wise (the little freak out around the middle does well to break up the blast beaten onslaught). This is the band at their best, manipulating rhythms well and interjecting dynamically different sections seemlessly.

While I could ask for a bit of grit to the guitars instead of their super fat sound, Buried at Birth are quick to please with this too short  of an ep.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Geist - Der Ungeist

Geist's Der Ungeist is a balanced and raw black metal album with a bit of a digital polish and powerful vocals. What works best for Der Ungeist's is the live take feel of the album (which was, in fact "recorded live and left unrevised to preserve its nature") which really highlights the needlely and hazy guitars, demented vocals and thriving drums quite well.

Stylistically, Geist's not doing anything too different in terms of black metal. Songs revolve around 3 or 4 riffs, typical melodic lines and blast beats. Opener "Mond" goes on for a bit too long, but is at its best during the slower section (as is Geist for that matter), where as follow up  "Von Blut" is thankfully shorter and incorporates a bit more variation to keep the listener loyal.

For better or worse, Der Ungeist doesn't strike me too strongly, it's far from bad, but pretty generic as black metal comes. As for their presentation, the CD booklet  has a great cryptic and coarse charcoal painting for a cover and intriguing and bleak photography within which would lead the viewer to think Geist would operate in darker, more emotional realm rather than its very metal approach.

Der Ungeist lacks a certain dynamism that, if added, could catapult him into a modern pantheon of other great acts.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sete Star Sept - Vinyl Collection 2010-2012

Sete Star Sept = Seven Star Seven. Japanese 2 band members one who plays drums and one who sings and plays the bass. Nothing nice, nothing catchy. Faster, louder, busier than you'd want. Not sensible or enjoyable, you'll lose friends with this.

Their collected vinyl works from 2010-2012 on one compact disc is great for collectors, but awful for me. An hour of this? Painful and too much. No John Cage thoughtbastion, and not as uncomfortable as Naked City. But I guess wanting to turn off =7s7's mission?

Support if you don't like music and want to be angry and then thank (or hate) Fuck Yoga.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Forgotten Lore: Evil Army

Somewhere in the middle of that whole thrash revival fad there was Evil Army; an unassuming three-piece hailing from Tennessee who put out a few EPs and one excellent, balls to the wall LP simply titled Evil Army.

Evil Army had me sold with opener "Conqueror Human Life," a fast catchy track built upon a hardcore punk framework that contained one of the best thrash breaks this side of the century (around 1:40). In a nutshell, this is what Evil Army had to offer: tight, well rounded thrash with gnarly 80's punk vocals and old school punk urgency. Nothing fancy, no gimmicks and no fat, Evil Army clocks in at nearly 25 minutes with 13 tracks and leaves you wanting nothing else but to simply hit "repeat."

While "Conquer Human Life" and the riff catalog "Relentless Assault" flexes their thrashier side "Evil Army," "Satan Made Me Do It,"  "Scum of the Earth," as well as closer "Wrong Approach" show the band's punk affinity in spades. Gang choruses, simple power chord progressions and some of the most fevered and fastest vocals I've heard, Evil Army hearken back to a day when the realms of metal and punk knew no better and could be confused as one.

As they've been on hiatus for quite a while, Rob Evil has recently been released from jail, so we can look forward to more thrash on the horizon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Monomaniac Vol. 1

Back in the day, a day I probably don't have much business talking about, procuring music was more difficult and expensive; hence compilations provided a necessary role for those without buckets of money. Growing up I indulged in plenty of shitty compilation cds and would find one or two bands worth a damn and was thankful for that. A bit of nostalgia in that regard as Blastbeat Mailmurder's Monomaniac Vol 1 occupies an excellent niche in the grindcore world as it brings together many bands ready to burst into international acclaim (and all tracks exclusive to this comp).

Keeping with the comp's theme of roughly 1 minute offerings, I'll describe each track with one sentence.

Michigan grinders Cloud Rat start things off with "Finger Print;" a jam those Finns Rotten Sound wish they could pen.

Following up are 3 frantic, noisy and raw outbursts from Australian favorites thedowngoing (review for their latest athousandyearsofdarkness).

"Birthday Party" shows Detroit's strong suit in penning a 34 second grinder that's as elaborate and thick as you could get.

My first introduction to Sete Star Sept isn't pretty, nor is their brand of noiser than thou grind encapsulated by "Why not Intersect."

Body Hammer's "Dog Star Man" rounds off the noisy escapades with an awesomely haunting track that's 1 part grind and 2 parts evil souls lost at space.

Head Cleaner offer up the most metal approached grinder of the comp with "The Weapon of the Proletariat," which disappointingly lacks a bit of the muck the other bands include.

Diocletian's "Traitor's Gallow" is a welcomed change of pace as it ushers in one of two awesomely brutal and rough black metal tracks that incorporate an ugly breath of death metal.

The Howling Wind offer a strand of their subterranean and bizarre conjuration of black metal seen through grinder's eyes with "Bewilderment."

"Beneath the Emblems of Death" is the comp's other brutally ugly blacken death metal track courtesy of Sempiternal Dusk.

Things end on an unsettling, abstract, and alluring note revolving around noises and one noodley guitar line with This is Past's contribution "Catatonia."

A great comp showcasing bands from all over the globe that you should hear. I particularly like the combo of black metal bands with grindcore bands as it's always been a marriage I've advocated. I'm particularly fond of Body Hammer and Diocletian's contributions to this comp.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweatin' To the Oldies vol 1

Here's what started as a playlist to encourage my sorry ass to find its way into the gym. You'll notice the excessive amount of beatdown power violence and death metal makes up the majority of the mix. Hope you enjoy!

Song            Artist       Album 
  1. Untitled I Ruin Lust Tour Demo  
  2. Life Beyond Life Innumerable Forms Dark Worship 
  3. Mass Obliteration Suffocation Effigy Of The Forgotten 
  4. Long Gone Coke Bust Degradation 
  5. Buried Death Coffins Buried Death 
  6. Pity Addict In Disgust Reality Choke 
  7. Kazdy Powod Wystarczajacy Suffering Mind Suffering Mind 
  8. Blood War III Antaeus De Principii Evangelikum 
  9. Manipulate Mind Eraser The Prodigal Son Brings Death 
  10. Sheet Metal Girl Pig Destroyer Prowler in the Yard 
  11. Förtärd Av Smärta Skitsystem Enkel Resa Till Rännstenen 
  12. Kept in a Position of Power Sex Prisoner Sex Prisoner 
  13. All About You The Berzerker World Of Lies 
  14. Nuclear Deterrence Insect Warfare World Extermination 
  15. La Peste Roja Looking For An Answer Eterno Treblinka 
  16. Siphon Then Slit Magrudergrind Magrudergrind/Shitstorm Split 
  17. Starless Dephosphorus Night Sky Transform
  18. Devletin Terörü Kimi Koruyor? I Sakatat Bir Devrin Sonu 
  19. Na Naszych Oczach...  Self Hate At The Beginning... (God Created Fear) 
  20. Rotten To Forgotten Hatred Surge Deconstruct 
  21. Master Of Profits Hewhocorrupts The Discographer 
  22. Rejected Psychopath Weekend Nachos Unforgivable 
  23. Hand Me Down Existencia Despise You West Side Horizons 
  24. Debilitated Hands Faith Addiction Order From Chaos 
  25. Greyed Out Drugs Of Faith Corroded        

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