11.30.2017

ABATTOIR - Vicious Attack

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 metal. 

Listen to "Don't Walk Alone" here.

11.18.2017

NEBRA - Sky Disk

Artist:  Nebra
Album: Sky Disk
Year:  2009
Genre:  Post-Rock

Nebra 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 excellent.

Listen to "Shoulder Of Orion" here.

11.04.2017

Songs You Should Know #19 - Ultraman, Tyrant & Powertrip

Artist: Ultraman
Song: Non-Existence
Genre: Punk

Artist: Tyrant
Song: Too Late To Pray
Genre: Power Metal

Artist: Powertrip
Song: Demons
Genre: Punk

10.25.2017

Video Mix Tape 03

Video Mix Tape 03
Featuring:
0:00  Coliseum
4:49  Bishops Green
8:19  Spectres
11:19  Norman Bates And The Showerheads
13:15  Steve Von Till
15:47  The Gap Band
19:51  Trashcan Darlings
23:18  Tribulation
27:18  Failure
30:22  Duran Duran

10.18.2017

CHELSEA WOLFE - Hiss Spun

Artist:  Chelsea Wolfe
Album: Hiss Spun
Year:  2017
Genre:  Alternative / Doom / Gothic

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.


Listen to "16 Psyche" here.
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10.16.2017

KARMA TO BURN - Almost Heathen / Wild Wonderful Purgatory

Artist: 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! 


Listen to "Thirty Four" here.

10.02.2017

Video Mix Tape 02

Video Mix Tape 02
Featuring:
0:00  Cactus
3:16  Unsane
6:52  The Freeze
10:20  Icicle Works
14:07  Bathory
16:39  Condemned 84
20:00  Skinny Puppy
24:09  Guns Up
25:46  Leatherface
28:25  Catherine Wheel

9.15.2017

WE ARE HEX - Bleach Brigade

Artist:  We Are Hex
Album: Bleach Brigade
Year:  2014
Genre:  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)

9.04.2017

DEATHSPELL OMEGA - Paracletus

Artist:  Deathspell Omega
Album: Paracletus
Year:  2010
Genre:  Black Metal

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.


Listen to "Abscission" here.

8.25.2017

Video Mix Tape 01

Video Mix Tape 01
Featuring:
0:00  Blood Brothers
2:20  Alice In Chains
6:10  Joe Jackson
9:18  Paris
11:51  Die Kreuzen
12:50  Killing Joke
17:32  Red Rockers
19:45  Acid Bath
24:27  Kill Creek
28:45  Sweet

8.15.2017

HALLOWS EVE - Tales Of Terror

Artist:  Hallows Eve
Album: Tales Of Terror
Year:  1985
Genre:  Thrash Metal

Second tier, second generation thrash that shows the unstable, maturing state of metal in 1985.  Bands took cues from Slayer, Metallica, etc., and often yielded uneven results.  Hallows Eve is the perfect example of an uneven melange of both writing and quality.  The album instantly rips with the best song they ever penned in “Plunging To Megadeath” and creates the illusion of greatness to come.  What you get is a band that didn’t consistently achieve the devastating sounds they were capable of generating.  Surprisingly, each album followed the same unbalanced path; songs you love and others that make you wonder why you’re spending time listening to them and not to “Reign In Blood” for the 200th time.  Check it out, but not essential.

Listen to "Plunging To Megadeath" here.

8.08.2017

CAST ASIDE - The Struggle

Artist:  Cast Aside
Album: The Struggle
Year:  2004
Genre:  Hardcore

Although I fell out of love with metallic tough guy hardcore ages ago, I still check out new bands from time to time, and occasionally something comes along that catches me the right way.  “The Struggle” by Richmond’s Cast Aside is one of these records.  This album is ferocious.  Of course, the obvious comparisons come to mind…the first Terror record…the first Until The End full length…and the Hatebreed record of your choosing.  Cast Aside rip along with all the intensity necessary to convince anyone they are harder than you.  Do you need another one of these records?  Most likely you don’t, but if you’re looking for something to fill an aggressive void you’re having, Cast Aside will not disappoint.


Listen to "Self Destruct" here.

7.24.2017

GRACE VANDERWAAL - Perfectly Imperfect

Artist:  Grace VanderWaal
Album: Perfectly Imperfect
Year:  2016
Genre:  Folk / Pop

I’m almost certain no one, including myself, on this planet ever thought I’d be writing about an America’s Got Talent winner.  No, Hell has not officially frozen over and pigs aren’t flying, but this is most definitely an unusual occurrence.  Just the fact that I know about someone on that decently trite piece of American television is strange, but to be a fan of anyone that Howie Mandel approves of is close to ludicrous.  Channel flipping was the cause of me finding this talented performer.  While scrolling through the piles of TV drivel one lazy night, I heard Grace VanderWaal’s voice for about three seconds and I stopped smacking the channel button.  I remember being mesmerized by her tone, tenor and masterful control of what could be the most original and sincere voice I’ve heard in a very, very long time.  Then I came to realize she was a young girl…playing a ukulele.  No backup band of professional musicians.  No background tape.  No backup singers.  No digital processing.  Just a voice, an instrument and a devastatingly impressive abundance of talent.  Upon hearing that she was the young age of 12 and that her song was an original composition, I was floored with instant admiration and respect.

It was around the first quarter of 2017 when I began wondering if anything had been going on with Miss VanderWaal.  A search on Amazon informed me that she released a digital EP called Perfectly Imperfect.  With a quick download, it was mine.  Simply stated, I was just as astonished as I was that first night in front of my television.  The EP, on the mega huge label Colombia, is comprised of five songs with this singer-songwriter’s raw capability at the helm.  She has a perfectly pitchy, scratchy tone that she is in complete command of and uses it to give every verse and chorus character and individuality.  Her words are interpersonal and real.  These are not the ramblings of a typical of a 12-year old and makes one wonder what she will compose in the future as her experience with the world expands.  She starts off with the song that hooked me in the first place, “I Don’t Know My Name.”  The song brings to mind the great singer-songwriters of the 60s as she pushes and pulls the pace adding such a human element that is absent from vast majority of pop music now.  The rest of the songs continue in the same vein, with her song “Clay” being the highlight as it has more spirit, emotion and transparency than anything I’ve heard in years.  The closing song “Gossip Girl” is the only one with any real, composed musical accompaniment with dominating and overbearing stereotypical pop percussion and keyboards.  This is the only song I don’t enjoy as much on the EP, and it is for that reason exactly.  The first four songs sound organic and innocent while “Gossip Girl” sounds pushed and as if it fell into the hands of a producer that thinks she or he knows what will sell.  Here’s hoping this gifted young lady is able to keep her vision, independence and personality in the money hungry shark tank that is Columbia Records.  Her artistry is bigger than money and should be nurtured, not manufactured.

Listen to "Clay" here.

7.22.2017

GRIMPLE - Up Your Ass

Artist: Grimple
Album: “Up Your Ass"
Year:  1992
Genre: Hardcore Punk

When mentioning the California “Bay Area” the names Crimpshrine, Rancid, Green Day, Operation Ivy, Mr. T Experience and others start flying around.  For me, Grimple are the perfect sonic representation of Bay Area punk rock; fast, irreverent, vociferous and unrestrained.  Whenever I listen to this band, I get visions of mohawks and spikes swirling around in a small, overheated, graffiti tagged room where the band is just whipping the wall-to-wall crowd into a frenzy.  The record rarely slows down and is quite feral, but still it has plenty of hooks to grasp on to so anyone can sing right along.

Check out "Problem" here.

7.09.2017

MASTER - Slaves To Society

Artist:  Master
Album: Slaves To Society
Year:  2007
Genre:  Death Metal

I’m not the world’s biggest Master fan.  Although I appreciate their effort, influence and longevity, they’ve never been a band I fervently look forward to hearing a new release by.  Slaves Of Society is the one album in their catalog that is the exception, and an album I listen to repeatedly.  This record always takes me of the early days of Century Media or Nuclear Blast, when death metal was more influenced Extreme Noise Terror and Discharge, just with more dirt and aggression to the mix.  The pace and relentless nature of this record is its strength.  Fast songs that are ripping, brutal and to the point, with almost all technical proficiency thrown out the window…exactly how I love my death metal.

Listen to "Slaves To Society" here.