Artist: Hex Bombs Album: “Everything Earned" Year: 2014 Genre: Punk Admittedly, working class punk is not my
generally listen to the plight of the laboring women and men within the
Oi! side of punk rock. With that said, Hex Bombs are so good
and so infectious that I can’t help but love their street dog mentality and
anthem-driven approach. They are one of these bands that play all the right
things; not necessarily original, but they show a vibrant spirit and
energy. Hex Bombs are a
breath of fresh air in a genre that can get boring and cliché very
Paranoia is an under-the-radar gem
in the musical concoction known as crossover.
This era of Attitude Adjustment saw
the band wading heavily in the hardcore punk end of the crossover pool, but the
velocity and intensity the band generated would send the run-of-the-mill punker
running. They had much more in common
with speedsters like Cryptic Slaughter, Septic Death, Beyond Possession and
Crumbsuckers than with even the most gnarly hardcore in the mid 80s. Attitude Adjustment were like a punch to a
raw nerve. Although the tempos on this
record may be typical of extreme music in 2018, it definitely was not in
1986. Fast and faster were the rules
for this record, as the listener only gets moments of any normal tempo before
they’re off the races again. Andy “Airborne”
spewed his words and touched on world issues, addiction and realistic fears of
war at an inhuman pace. I always feel a tinge
of disappointment listening to this album since the things he was saying 30+
years ago are still highly relevant in the United States today. Yet, those feelings are easily overcome
because the album just makes you want to thrash around like a manic. Ahh, to be 15 again. While American Paranoia isn’t the
absolute, quintessential crossover record, it is a heavy hitter of blasting,
Due to the game-changing nature of this record, I have a clear
recollection of how Terrorizer entered my life.
From the years 1988 to about 1991 I was in total music annihilation mode
and only trying to find the most devastating sounds on earth related to heavy
music. This mostly introduced me to death metal
bands that were really pushing boundaries of the genre. Lucky for me, Earache, Peaceville, Nuclear
Blast and a few other record labels were also interested in the same extreme
music adventure. This search led me to
my go-to store (which I’ve worked at in some capacity to this day since 1992)
and to a guy that was well ahead of me finding new bands. I specifically remember entering the shop,
him seeing me and calling me over to the “T” section of the cassettes. Before I could see any title, I had
Terrorizer’s World Downfall in my
hand. He did a little up-sell with very
few phrases which contained things like, “Pete from Morbid Angel is the
drummer,” and “It’s the fastest heaviest album ever.” OK.
Sold. My crappy car had a good
cassette player (that shit was important) so I instantly popped in the
tape. 18 year old me was not ready for
what came out of the speakers.
At this time, I had very little experience with true
grindcore. I had heard the first two
Napalm Death full lengths and I sort of liked them; but sort of didn’t. Grindcore was new at the time and it took a
little bit to process what was happening.
When World Downfall kicked in,
I was expecting another extreme death metal record. I was dead wrong. Instantly I heard thrash-punk rhythms which morphed
into the most furious and crushing blast parts that just sound like insanity
being put to tape. I remember being baffled once again as to whether this was good or just noise.
Another listen to the whole album laid my confusion to rest, and ever
since then, World Downfall has not
only been in consistent rotation, but also had a powerful influence on songs I would write in the future. This album scorches
the earth all the way through and does not let up. Ever.
The Discharge-inspired lyrics are barked out perfectly for this record
as Oscar Garcia’s use of short, sharp grunting outbursts create and intensity
not heard on a record to that point. There
are blast beats for days, but they manage to break it up with circle pit
inducing tempo changes that generally lead you right back into grinding
chaos. If being brutal was Terrorizer’s
goal, they achieved it in droves. The
production is primitive enough to drive the music, but clear and dry enough
that nothing gets too lost; even when the band is travelling at lightspeed. This album was a gauntlet thrown down to all
others challenging their peers to be as extreme, heavy, fast and destructive as Terrorizer were.
Downfall brought things to light and made me understand what Carcass,
Napalm Death, Repulsion and Siege had been creating. Now and again I’ll see that former employee,
whom I now call a friend, and every single time I will thank him for
introducing me to the what I believe is the best and most important grindcore
don’t ask me how to pronounce the name of this record because I have zero
clue. What I do know is that I was never too impressed with a single
Arckanum release pervious to this one as it all sounded formulaic and
typical. The other thing I’m sure of is that this release was a huge
surprise and is a phenomenal dark piece of metal that is one of my favorite
black metal records. The production is perfect; clear, yet maintains an
unbridled and raw presentation. The album brutal and basic, and rips and tears in an early
Norwegian style that is as strong as any Darkthrone, Mayhem or Emperor release.
Shamaatae, the one man show behind Arckanum, has been honing his grim
craft since the early 90s and all that experience comes to fruition on whatever
the hell the title of this record is.
Artist: Abattoir Album: Vicious Attack Year: 1985 Genre: Thrash Metal / Speed Metal
Abattoir was one of those purchases solely due to their association with Combat
Records. That’s how it was done back
then. Their speed / thrash amalgam is
laced with a good deal of Motorhead worship, and that is never a bad thing. This
record is the perfect example of what happens when youthful aggression and
passion go into a studio and blast it out. This is a nasty little bastard of a
record and is a long-time favorite of mine from what I believe is the best era of
are and exciting instrumental band that combine a desert rock influence with
something a bit heavier and more ominous. The groves they lay down bring
to mind something between the crushing riffs of Karma To Burn and complex,
off-time rhythms of Keelhaul. This EP is excellent and proves once again
vocals aren’t always a necessity. Unfortunately, you only get 5 songs
on Sky Disk, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to be seeing
anything else soon from this Swiss unit. Too bad because this is
I fiercely dove into the world of Chelsea Wolfe around three
years ago and have not come back up for air since. Her wonderful album Pain Is Beauty instantly drew me into her doom-laden, dispirited
shoegaze, quasi-goth-industrial web.
From that moment began the conquering of her previous catalogue and the
anticipated wait for new material. Since
that time, two of her best records have been unleashed upon the world in 2015’s
Abyss and the relatively new Hiss Spun. Although her other works hinted at her
potential, the last two records see Ms. Wolfe truly forging an individualistic
approach that leads listeners down a twisted, bleak tunnel of experimentally
pensive instrumentation and beautifully solemn vocals.
With each album, Chelsea Wolfe’s songwriting becomes more
chaotic, extreme and abstruse, but she never loses sight of her mission. She and her band flow between jarring, Melvins-heavy
dirges into minimalistic, captivating elegies.
The whole album is laced with emotional power and frailty. If you listen closely, the complex nature
of the composition shines through, and with metal/hardcore master Kurt Baulou
on the production end of things, the tones are abrasive and imposing. This is not a typical singer-songwriter album
and has dynamics for days as there isn't a moment on this record that doesn't feel absolutely intentional and gone over with a microscope. Although the album is a roller coaster of ambiance and emotion, it is all quite calculated with intent to bring the listener joy or suffering. I’ve read
elsewhere in many publications calling this a metal record, and I could not
disagree more. This record does get heavy,
much more that her previous recordings, but there is just a different feel in
the same way bands like Tool, Nine Inch Nails or Deftones use a heavier, more aggressive
sound. I haven't stopped listening to Hiss Spun since it hit my turntable. It is easily up there for top album of
the year for me. Siouxsie Sioux, Diamanda Galas, Gitane DeMone and Eva O need
to move over and make some room for Chelsea Wolfe.
Karma To Burn Album: Almost Heathen / Wild Wonderful Purgatory Year: 2001 / 1999 Genre: Sabbath Rock
I hate the word “stoner.” There’s no connotation of the word I like; but I especially
hate it when it’s used for music. Instead of Stoner Rock, I’d rather just call
it Sabbath Rock, since what these "stoner rock" bands create is so
firmly rooted in the blueprint created by Black Sabbath. Karma To Burn are the ultimate riff machine
in my newly coined Sabbath Rock genre. With these two albums, they put on a
clinic of how to write a heavy groove that will get your head moving up and
down. Although an instrumental band, they keep the listener’s attention with
their bulldozing, no bullshit, riff-above-everything-else approach. Highly (pun
sort of intended) recommended!
Post-Punk We Are
Hex are the best new band I’ve heard in years. They crushed me at a music
fest we had in Detroit a few years ago and ended up stealing the
whole 3-day event from some pretty established acts. Their releases do a
wonderful job catching their off-kilter approach to post-punk. Yep, the
slight Siousxie and Bauhaus overtones are present, but there’s an adventurous,
creative element this band has developed that sets them miles apart from
their modern contemporaries. It’s inspiring and exciting to hear bands
take musical risks. I cannot recommend this band enough.
Listen to "Tongues" here.
(sorry...had to load up a song from a single from the same year as this album since there isn't one fucking song off "Bleach Brigade" on YouTube that isn't live)
This French band’s boundaries are seemingly limitless so
describing them is a daunting task.
Deathspell Omega are vastly creative entity leading the black metal
genre into uncharted territories. I look
at them as if they are an extremely talented, traditional, cold Norwegian black
metal band who was structurally influenced by The Locust or Botch. They deliver uncustomary riffs and startling,
jarring changes on top of their diabolic sound.
The talent level in this band is astounding. You would never call this band progressive
rock, but if you break down their unconventional way of doing things, that’s
exactly what they are. With preeminent
bands like DSO, Spektr, Alcest and Blut Aus Nord, France is the country to watch.