Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: May 2012

Mortiis – The Smell Of Rain (2001)

Mortiis – The Smell Of Rain (2001)

Y’know what, I don’t know anyone who fucking likes Mortiis. Either he really isn’t appreciated at all, or I am just surrounded by people who do not understand his music. I’m pretty certain it is the latter. When I was in school a lot of the goth kids started liking Mortiis when The Grudge came out, and this pissed me off if anything, because I’d been chastised for listening to Mortiis for years, and now all of a sudden it was cool. Well, maybe cool wasn’t the right word, but if you told me I would go to see Mortiis live with four other people I would have told you to fuck off. Four people! Jesus fucking Christ! In 2012, and therefore able to view the Mortiis canon in it’s entirety, one can appreciate the odd space in time that The Smell of Rain occupies. Lodged awkwardly in the early 00s, sandwiched between Mortiis’ often questionable “dark dungeon” synth outputs and his later, more industrial and metal influenced work, The Smell of Rain is an enigma unto itself, somehow combining elements of past and future Mortiis sounds and rolling into one fuck off ball of puzzling goth-disco. Yes. That just about sums it up. I’m sure most peoples knowledge of this record begins and ends with the nauseating promo video for “Parasite God”, a cracking track in it’s own right, but this album is so much more! Bang your head to tunes such as “Mental Maelstrom”! Dance yourself silly to “Put a Hex on Me”! Sing along proudly to “Smell the Witch”! Cringe at Mortiis singing “Monolith”! What a journey! I’m sure that it is rather obvious I am being sarcastic here but I mean good. Whereas this record may not stand the test of time alongside the full spectrum of music created on the planet, The Smell of Rain remains elite within it’s own possibly self-made sub genre of severe corniness and eye make up. This pressing is actually very extravagant, considering Earache put it out. It is pressed on super heavy wax spinning at 45rpm, giving you the full audiophile experience you would never expect from Dig and co. Unfortunately, my copy is marred by a sticker removal on the front cover, ripping off a chunk of artwork, which really sucks.

Embalming Theatre / XXX Maniak – Split 7″ (2006)

Embalming Theatre / XXX Maniak – Split 7″ (2006)

What we have here is the 2006 split release between 7″ masters Embalming Theatre and the excellent yet short lived gore/porn/cybergrind maniacs XXX Maniak. This, along with the Birdflesh / Hatebeak split and the Bowel Stew / Tu Carne split, constituted my first vinyl purchases ever. Those were the days! This was put out by the excellent Haunted Hotel Records on a run of 1000 copies; 300 on grey and 700 on black. According to Discogs, the grey ones were only available through Haunted Hotel’s mail order. Good tactic, sirs. This is my favourite Embalming Theatre shit, probably because it was the first I had ever heard. “Rotten Corpses…” is usual Embalming Theatre fare, but “Sadistic Mom” and “Come to me and I eat Your Horny Flesh” (which is in the running for the award for stupidest song title ever) are mind-numbingly catchy for this type of music. Embalming Theatre growl’n’grind through 5 minutes like it was nobody’s business, stopping only for eery, dated sounding samples to lend some extra atmosphere to all the doom and gloom. What dicks me off about the XXX Maniak side is that it starts from the inside out; an excellently super wicked cool gimmick, until you get a record player with an auto-lift function. As soon as move the needle to the disc label and drop it for playing, the bastard just lifts back off again thinking the record has finished! Never mind, I’ve probably listened this record to death on my old player anyway. Also dropping in at the right moment is rather difficult, so most of the time you find you miss the sample to the first song (not exactly a bad thing). I’m not sure if I prefer XXX Maniak as a one piece or a two piece. This was one of the last things recorded with the two piece line up, and is very similar in sound and design to their material from the split 7″ with I Shit On Your Face that was to come shortly afterwards. “Gays Vs. Blacks” confusingly juggles itself between the boundaries of disturbing and extremely amusing, and remains one of my favourite grind songs of all time. Make what you will of the sample before it. This fantastic testament of filth is still embarrassingly cheap to pick up online, including the grey version, so get out there and buy that bastard! If you like heavy music and haven’t heard either of these bands then you need to change that right now!

Embalming Theatre / Intumescence – Split 7″ (2005)

Embalming Theatre / Intumescence – Split 7″ (2005)

What I like about getting another Embalming Theatre split is that you can see what weird and wonderful art Mr. Gemmet has come up with time. This under-rated Swiss genius seems to squeeze out any pretentiousness from his surrealism before bashing it headways in full colour into the morbid, the sick, and the downright unusual. This rather colourful 7″ sleeve features a very angry looking guy with wires in his mouth. These wires are subsequently, for some reason, hooked up to a vagina. Very well then. Intumescence on the other side have actually named their EP very nicely. “Eyes Clotted with Dreams” isn’t the type of reflective or insightful name you would usually expect from noisy, messy goregrind such as this, but I do sometimes like to be suprised. Musically, Embalming Theatre bring their usual plodding gargle’n’growl horror story grind recipe that works so well; maniacally swaying back and forth between low and high snare sounds, which is annoying at first until you realise actually how awesome it is. Intumescence almost come on to start like a muddy as fuck sludge band, before launching into a garbled, noisy assault of the senses. If you like horrible, noisy goregrind then you will like Intumescence. This pressing is a lovely dark blood red; transparent yet thick enough to hold its own in the colour stakes. 100 copies exist, and I am proud to own one. The other 300 copies of this in existence are on black. The whole thing was released by the now sadly defunct Murder the World Records. This isn’t my favourite Embalming Theatre split 7″ but it is still pretty awesome.

Dub War – Mental (1994)

Dub War – Mental (1994)

Before there was Skindred there was Dub War. I was always attracted to this band because of their awesome name. A war of dub? Sounds like my kind of party. Unfortunately I found Dub War a bit wet, not too shabby but very disappointing considering what I built them up to be in my head. My love for them sadly does not extend any further than this cheeky little single pressed by Earache (when they went off the fuckin’ dial with signing weird shit) in 1994 on CD, 7″ and 12″. This here is the 7″. The CD and 12″ both contain more remixes and a separate b-side track, whilst this 7″ only contains the title track and one boring remix that doesn’t actually sound that much different. Anyhow, die hard fans of Skindred should enjoy Dub War, and I’m sure they probably do. The song “Mental” is just that, Benji shouting a chorus of (i think) “absolutely mental!” over and over in a Welsh accent is very very amusing. That’s about it. The rap is pretty awesome too. You can currently get one of these for £1 on Discogs, so if you like odd shit, get in.

Dead Kennedys – Nazi Punks Fuck Off (1981)

Dead Kennedys – Nazi Punks Fuck Off (1981)

This is a classic in my book. Never considered myself a Kennedys fan but I love this song. I remember hearing it on some lame Kerrang! compilation CD when I was in Sixth form. That I would later go on to discover Napalm Death had covered this made it even better. There is a few different versions of this pressed by both Subterranean Records and Alternative Tentacles, and I was initially confused with which one I had. I was convinced (as I got it so cheap) that I have a repress, but alas it is an original pressing of the clear sleeve version complete with arm band. Earlier again pressings were on white card, or included a white inner inside the clear plastic. Phew. I remember buying this at a shit hot little punk shop in Cardiff. There is this shitty antiques hall that is open three days a week which is excellent if you need to pick up a bunch of crap that no fucker else wants, and this little d.i.y. punk label(?) / shop was set up in a cubicle there. I walked passed it a bunch of times but the one time I went in there it was just after Christmas so fortunately I had a bit of money and I was able to buy a nice pile of records. Sadly, the little shop is gone now. What chance has punk against Britain’s endless recession?

Godflesh – Godflesh (1988)

Godflesh – Godflesh (1988)

It is often easy whilst analyzing Godflesh’s contribution and effect upon heavy music to focus wholly on the groundbreaking Streetcleaner record and to overlook this crooked, snarling little gem of industrial terror. More claustrophobic than Streetcleaner’s sprawling inhuman soundscape, Godflesh pummels the listener with a mechanized drum machine attack and plodding, menacing bass. What I have here is the original, untouched Swordfish Records pressing of this EP. Some think that the clear Swordfish pressing is rarer, but it is actually a repress. All original copies of Godflesh were made on black vinyl. Subsequent Earache re-issues of this can suck my fucking cock. And whilst the original Swordfish pressing isn’t the most pricey and sought after record in existence, it remains one of my personal favourites. It is the mechanical hell of Godflesh’s early existence and sound summed up in 6 tracks. It’s concise and to the point, and then destroys the listener – mind, body and soul – with it’s never-ending outro; “Ice Nerveshatter”. I could sit here all day thinking up new ways to tell you how good Godflesh are, and how fucking crushing this record is, but I think I’ve written enough so I’ll just let the music do the talking. Track 3, “Godhead”, is one of my all time Godflesh favs, so please do it justice and play it loud as fuck, and prepare to be pressed into oblivion! 

Gut – Pimps Of Gore (2006)

Gut – Pimps Of Gore (2006)

To say that The Cumback split Gut’s fanbase in half would be an understatement; 2006’s rap metal crossover fuckfest alienated more goregrind fans than you’d care to even think existed! Who then, I hear you cry, keeps pressing Gut records? And who the fuck still buys them? Well, the answer is labels like Supreme Chaos and idiots like me, it would seem. Pete Steele (may he rust in piece) in an interview about Type O Negative once said something along the lines of: “half our fans are serious goths, the other half get the joke”. I think that this applies to Gut. I get the joke. There really shouldn’t be rapping in goregrind, but it sure is funny as fuck. I’m not entirely 100% sure if Gut are still serious or not, but I’m pretty certain they are in on the fun, regardless. The same fun that these hardcore goregrinders are missing out on because they have their semen-soaked panties still all up in a bunch about the fact a band might have changed somewhat in the eleven year gap between records. My word is relax, yo! I get that it might not be everyone’s bag of severed bitch heads, but long may terrible genres of music mingle in cringe-worthy unison! 

Swans – Feel Good Now (1987)

Swans – Feel Good Now (1987)

This is an extremely collectable Swans “bootleg” of live performances recording during the supporting tour for the seminal album Children of God, pressed on double 12″. It was actually recorded for the band by Jack Balchin, the band’s sound engineer at the time, using just a Sony Walkman, and was originally marketed as a bootleg to save any hassle with record labels. Feel Good Now doesn’t quite live up to the total aural destruction of previous live albums such as Real Love or Public Castration is a Good Idea, but it is still an interesting document of swans history. To the casual Swans fan and / or general observer, the tracks here are nothing more than just badly recorded live versions of songs from Children of God. Check the link below to see what I mean. That being said, it would be silly to consider this record anything but a completist’s item for hardcore Swans fanboys such as myself. The cheapest I’ve seen this go for on Discogs is around £30, but I fluked my copy on a no-reserve eBay auction for just £3.20. What a steal! Granted, my copy doesn’t include the tour poster but it is a small price to pay for such a great bargain! 

Dead Infection / CSSO – Split 7″ (1998)

Dead Infection / CSSO – Split 7″ (1998)

This here post is about the fantastic Morbid Records classic split between goregrind legends Dead Infection and prolific noise/rock/goregrind/strange Japanese mentalists, CSSO. It was only ever pressed once in 1998 on black and is therefore obviously very much out of print. When I discovered the wonders of the Discogs website this was one of the very first things I bought, being big into goregrind as a teenager I dreamt one day of owning all the original Dead Infection, Last Days of Humanity and GUT 7″ EPs and splits. So you can imagine it didn’t take much for me to part ways with hard earned cash to splash out on this underground gem. The early days of Discogs was unhealthy for my wallet, to say the least. I paid over the odds for this, being new to the “game” at the time, and even though I gotta say my copy is absolutely pristine in every single way imaginable, you can get this online now for little to no more than your average price for a 7″ split, so get out there and fecking buy it! Dead Infection’s earlier work was a lot muddier and “dark” compared to their later, mile-a-minute blastfests. The production isn’t ever going to win any awards for clearest sound in this lifetime, but that doesn’t detract from the excellent grind that is up on offer here. People familiar with later Dead Infection I suggest you start with The Singles Collection or The Lethal Collection, both of which are a nice cross section of old shit and probably contain the material on this 7″ anyway. Or, if you fancying treating yourself, a lot of their early shit has finally been pressed on wax in the last few years. Tuck in, gore hounds. CSSO on the other hand are a veritable mixed bag of craziness. Having being very eager to dig up underground gems back in the day I spent a lot of time on various music forums liaising with teh interwebz key opinionators, and on more than one occasion was I highly recommended CSSO / chastised for my n00bishness of not ever hearing CSSO. I never got around to checking out CSSO until I bought this, and I was surprised by their sound. It’s almost punky, and a million miles away from Dead Infection’s dirge-like maelstrom of death.

Dead / Butcher ABC – Split 7″ (2007)

Dead / Butcher ABC – Split 7″ (2007)

After Dead and Butcher ABC toured Japan together it wasn’t much of a surpise when a split came out a few years later. Japan’s excellent Obliteration Records co-released this (it would seem) with Autopsy Stench Records (who, being German, I assume have something to do with Dead). As far as my small mind is aware, all the copies are on black. What we get from the usually excellent goregrind legends Dead is actually a rather wet and pathetic live re-hashing of an old classic. The song itself is excellent, and I’m sure the concert was brilliant, but does this live recording really justify a side of a 7″, especially when the band on the other side has contributed a full studio track? Speaking of said other band, Butcher ABC beat the listener into submission with a song that is dripping in Bolt Thrower worship (what gave it away, the cover art or the riffs?) and sloppy heaviness. This track originally appeared on some compilation CD or other but it gets a proper ABC release on this 7″. It’s a shame the Dead side isn’t just as good as this! Again, like the music, the Dead artwork is a bit half arsed. I think that it is done by the – again usually excellent – vocalist / artist for Embalming Theatre? The artwork is very similar to his anyway. Butcher ABC’s bombastic “Grind Workshop” artwork is interstellar awesomeness in comparison, so much so that I have placed that as the main artwork for this article rather than the Dead side. Anyways, enough shit talking, get your lugholes around the good side of this 7″, and pick it up, it is still pretty cheap to get online.

Criminal Element – Criminally Contaminated  (2006)

Criminal Element – Criminally Contaminated (2006)

This is Relapse’s 2006 pressing of Criminal Element’s short EP on single-sided 7″ wax. Besides the usual 100 Relapse clear copies, 400 exist on blue and 500 on green. It’s surprising how bands like this fall under the radar. You’d think that a “supergroup” style band with members from Dying Fetus, Suffocation and Misery Index would be big news, but this, along with all other Criminal Element releases, just seems to fall into obscurity not long after release. Even on Discogs, the number of people “wanting” their records is very low indeed. Anyways, on with the music! Criminally Contaminated is really short, being a one sided 7″ record and containing three grinding death metal numbers that clock in at a total of about 5 minutes in length. The drumming is probably the most impressive thing on this record. It is well made and the production is excellent, but whilst I can appreciate the musical skill and production technique that has gone into a record such as this, I can’t help but find it flaccid and boring. The whole macho-man death metal thing really doesn’t do it for me. Saying that, there are a lot worse 7″s out there, although I guess this is only half a record, so does that even count? On Relapse’s count I think that half a fucking 7″ is a really cheap move. Why not write more songs or even just split with another boring death metal band and double the exposure? A perplexing one this, it stays in my collection for its musical merit, but if I’m honest with myself, if I hadn’t randomly bought this years ago off the Relapse store for literally next to nothing I probably would have gone my entire life without hearing this band and not really knowing or caring a single shit.