Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: September 2014

Dead Meadow – Dead Meadow (2000)

Dead Meadow – Dead Meadow (2000)

Welcome to a world of fuzz. Boasting one of the greatest (yet simplest) guitar tones that I have ever heard, Dead Meadow’s turn of the century debut dreamscape of a record is a fantastic trip through a stoned, lush world of 60s and 70s influenced rock music. The opening track, “Sleepy Silver Door”, is quite simply one of the greatest things ever put to tape. It’s one of my favourite stoner-related tracks, with simple yet amazing riff, beastly guitar solo and epic lyrics: “Can’t find a key to the sleepy silver door / I’m washed up on the shore of reality”. If you are prepared to wade through a swamp of steaming rock music, viewing life through the lens of a grainy outdoor camera that the BBC used in the 80s, I strongly recommend you some Dead Meadow. It is the perfect music for a serene low-dose trip on nature’s finest psilocybin-rich fungi, to traverse forests and mountains – potentially barefoot – pondering the wonders of nature and generally just feeling really good about yourself and everything around you. I’ll be quiet now. Spark up and love.

Lorde – Pure Heroine (2013)

Lorde – Pure Heroine (2013)

It’s not that often that I usually listen to shit like this, but I burned this album when it first came out and it’s just one of those things that’s been stuck in my car since. My stereo broke a few months ago when I tried to spin a leaked copy of Swans’ To Be Kind (that’s what I get for pirating music, folks!*) but when my car went in recently to get a new starter motor all the electronics were reset, and it freed the stuck Swans disc, allowing me to return to my awful car listening. I found this Lorde album lodged conspicuously behind a copy of Dr. Dre’s 2001, and all the memories and mediocre pop music came flooding back. The mirth! *I bought the 2xLP, and have nearly every other Swans record in existence, before you fucking judge me for doing illegals 😉 Most of you probably know Lorde for being a silly out-spoken 17-year-old who talks a lot of shit about stuff that she actually doesn’t know anything about (kinda like me, only I’m 25). Take away her daftly over-opinionated, sensationalist media-baiting crap, and she’s a fairly talented girl with, no doubt, a long future in music ahead of her. Pure Heroine is a fairly minimal pop record, led entirely by Lorde’s unusual vocal. It kinda sounds like if Lana Del Ray got her head outta her arse, stopped trying to sing like a man, and employed Gary Numan to do all her backing tracks. As is normally always the case with up-and-coming artists signed to major labels, one can’t help but speculate how different this would sound without massive boardroom pressure and a most-likely insanely huge production budget. And for that reason, the link below is of a live performance from Lorde, which I believe does her more justice than any of the tracks on this record. All in all, it’s not a bad CD, as far as mass produced pop goes, but it could be a lot worse. Favourite tracks: “Tennis Court”, “Glory & Gore”, “White Teeth Teens”.

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica (1969)

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica (1969)

Okay then…how do I tackle this one (no pun intended)? This is a revered classic of sorts, but I’ve always had a hard time listening to it (I suppose that is kinda the point? I don’t suppose it was recorded with ‘easy listening’ in mind), but now I have this crazy trip on double vinyl there is no longer any excuse to keep putting off the review/post like I did with my CD copy. Again, let me take this opportunity to briefly waffle about music being on the right format. Considering this was originally recorded in 1969 on analogue equipment, it is understandable that the CD version I have sounds a bit flat. This 2000 Warner Bros pressing on 180 gram vinyl on the other hand, is something to behold; a work of art. I’m often sceptical of the ‘boom’ in 180 gram ‘high fidelity’ records on the market, but this is really, really sweet sounding. Captain Beefheart’s psychedelic, funky blues is now more of a pleasurable listen, rather than a challenging one. If you’re not familiar with the ways of The Magic Band it can be a bit of a headfuck at first; even for myself, and I’ve been plumbing the depths of the sonically challenging for quite a while now. With Trout Mask Replica though, it’s the horrendous clashing of almost out-of-tune sounding guitar work, mashed together in a ‘djent’ manner with a random assortment of other instruments – percussive or otherwise – and then all lamented over by what sounds like a crazy hobo just stringing words together for the sheer fuck of it. Typically, I like it, but I can’t understand how this record is held so highly all over the world. Fair, in noise, avant-garde and even the fringes of jazz and blues scenes I can see why this would be held in a positive light, but as for the rest of the ‘music mainstream’ I cannot see why people would like this? Maybe I’m an idiot. Anyway, some of my favourite Beefheart tracks are here on this monster; “Dachau Blues”, “Frownland”, “Ella Guru”, “Neon Meate Dream Of An Octofish”, “My Human Gets Me Blues”, “Veteran’s Day Poppy” and the “Hair Pie” series…all scatterfuck, weirder-than-your-average approaches to the traditional songwriting structure. I don’t know what drugs these guys were on, but I want some.

Death In June – Brown Book (1987)

Death In June – Brown Book (1987)

Death In June is one strange-ass project. For something as simple as acoustic, folky shit, DIJ sure do have a wide, eccentric discography. Brown Book is pretty weird. Death In June’s lazy campfire strumming and monotone vocal meets 80s-to-the-max drum programming and fairly awful female vocals. It kinda sounds like a poor man’s mid-career Swans. I might be slightly biased here however, and even factually incorrect as Death In June were doing this kind of thing first. Although, for some reason that isn’t entirely clear to me yet, I quite like this. Perhaps it is because I am pretty interested in some other DIJ material, and this is just a perplexing variant on that sound. It is almost soothing, yet at the same time quite unsettling. “Red Dog – Black Dog” is like a cross between a lullaby and a nightmare. “Hail! The White Grain” and “Runes And Men” must be deliberately Third Reich-y? “We Are The Lust” is almost ritual like, with thumping percussion, haunting synth work and chanted vocal mantra. “Burn Again” rounds everything off with a menacing yet pensive tone. Make what you will of the nazi-related imagery (but they ain’t nazis, yo – it’s art, see?), but all in all this is a pretty interesting recording, if you have an open mind.

Reekorrhoea / Urologist – Split Tape (2014)

Reekorrhoea / Urologist – Split Tape (2014)

I recently did another Reekorrhoea review (for the band’s demo tape) but I can’t get enough of this crusty mincecore-meets-goregrind crossover sound that’s going on here. Mr. Andy is a goregrind genius, and whilst this doesn’t exactly sound a million miles away from his Hyperemesis shit, it doesn’t really fucking matter at all, because this shit fucking rules. Reekorrhoea’s part of this split also includes a Dismembered Fetus cover, but I’m not familiar with that band to compare it to the original. A creepy sample later, Urologist are pulverizing my eardrums like the Mortician of badly-recorded drum machine goregrind. The vokills are fucking mankin’ (to quote a Welsh chav on the subject), as is the fuzzy guitar tone. The cheaper-than-krokodil drum machine does get on my nerves a bit, but hey, what are you gonna do? All in all a great split from both bands and I look forward to hearing more of both of these acts at some point. You can stream the entire split on the Necrotic Jejunostomy Productions (yes, that’s a real name) Bandcamp page. (2021 edit: the label page appears to be missing now).

Splattered Entrails – Undercooked Intrauterine Delicacies (2014)

Splattered Entrails – Undercooked Intrauterine Delicacies (2014)

Boy, am I happy this saw the light of day! Initially I mistook this release as a new Splattered Entrails album. I was thinking – “shit, they’ve gone back to the gory stuff!?”, but alas it was not to be. Instead though, Undercooked Intrauterine Delicacies turned out to be a compilation album of impossible to find splits that the band did back in the Myspace days. It includes a three-way split/comp on FDA Rekotz and their splits with Chainsaw Dissection and Disgorgement Of Intestinal Lymphatic Suppuration (yes!), which were both put out by the now sadly defunct DIY goregrind label, Mental Abuse. So, what I am so happy about here is that I get to hear a whole bunch of gore-drenched, slamming br00000tality, which for me, is much more entertaining than the band’s later, more polished and more sci-fi orientated output. Splattered Entrails is truly a lesson in “bedroom music done right”, as this entire compilation, despite spanning three sessions, boasts a stable and chunky production (give or take the odd farting low end on the chug), and a punishing display of drum programming, guitar slammery and vocal putrefaction. Yum yum. Granted, there is the odd stinker or two, and now and then I feel that the “ree ree reeeee” vocal style is used a little too much for my liking, but on the whole this is a solid selection of tracks from a legendary brutal death metal project. Out on Sevared Records. Prepare your diddlyhole!

Fear Factory – Digimortal (2001)

Fear Factory – Digimortal (2001)

I would like to admit that this album is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I’d probably be pushing it a bit too far. Digimortal is a strange one – a rare result of an industrial-influenced death metal band selling their asses out and cashing in on the nu-metal craze of the late 90s. Hey, I’m not saying Digimortal is particularly ground-breaking, but this came across far, far more successful than say, Cryptopsy’s absymal weakening into deathcore territory. Both bands are prime examples of respected musicians abandoning their sound (and even fanbase) in a drastic attempt at getting ca$h moniez (perhaps through record label pressure or otherwise), but where Cryptopsy’s crossover left them almost universally reviled, Fear Factory’s dabble with nu-metal could even be called a triumph, thanks to one word: “Linchpin”. Ask anybody who has ever been into any metal or rock at any time if they know any Fear Factory tracks, and chances are they’ll say “Linchpin”, or at the least know the riff and opening lyrics. It was one of the most over-played music videos on MTV2, Kerrang! and Scuzz TV, and is still being played in crappy rock clubs the world over like it was last week’s number one hit. Why? I have a theory. Rather than watering down their sound to conform to a trend, Fear Factory somehow just managed to cram their brutally heavy metal into the restrictions of their new genre. It might be nu-metal, but it’s heavier than a neutron fucking star. The riffs are the same quick-fire, rapid-shot attack, the drums are the same pummelling, nail-gun barrage. And this doesn’t stand just for “Linchpin”, I’m talking about the entire record here. Give it a listen! I recently dug this out after probably not hearing it for 18,000 years (it was spun drunkenly at a BBQ a few years back, but that doesn’t count) and I couldn’t believe how heavy this still sounds. I’m not saying it’s gonna stand the test of time, but for what it is, it’s pretty awesome, in my opinion. CAT GIMME YOUR PAW!(wait, what….???)

Earth – Primitive And Deadly (2014)

Earth – Primitive And Deadly (2014)

Fuck! What happened here? Earth are definitely not messing about on their new record – the heaviest thing the band have done in over a decade. I can get behind this! Since their reformation / regrouping, Earth have been all about calm, serene, bright and wavering tones; colossal monuments of clean guitar work and uplifting instrumental soundscapes – almost like the shoegazing equivalent of their early drone days. But this is something else entirely. Someone finally decided to turn Earth’s amps up, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision. The Bees Made Honey… is one of my favourite things ever, and I loved the first part of Angels Of Darkness Demons Of Light, with it’s dusty, haunting, almost western sound. The second part of that double album was much, much more sparse, and I must admit I lost interest a bit, with Earth’s already stripped back sound being reeled in even further (I gotta say though, the bass playing was pretty funky). I’m not sure if I’m entirely sold on the inclusion of guest vocalists (Rabia Shaheen Qazi and sometimes-QOTSA collaborator Mark Lanegan) but the reappearance of distortion in Earth’s work has made a world of difference for me. It’s not as if it is overpowering in any way, or like it even detracts from the subtleties going on around the guitar, it’s just that everything sounds much more alive and vital – something that can do no harm for a band as far into their career as Earth. Enter a shimmering, mesmerising desert of sonic absolution.

Mz. 412 ‎– In Nomine Dei Nosti Satanas Luciferi Excelsi (1995)

Mz. 412 ‎– In Nomine Dei Nosti Satanas Luciferi Excelsi (1995)

I came across Mz. 412 on my quest for bands that mix black metal with power electronics. Although to me Mz. 412 takes elements from both genres of music (with both being quite introspectively similar in some respects and also a million miles apart in others), yet it seems to stand alone from both in a sound more rooted in industrial, or experimental ambience. This is something morosely militant about In Nomine… which lends heavily from the martial side of power electronics, and yes, the repetitive beats are distorted and overpowering, but that’s where the similarities end, for me at least. This creepy, isolated record is more akin to the soundtrack for some independent horror movie rather than anything along the lines of A Blaze In The Northern Sky. I write lots of words and post the pretty pictures but realistically the music itself needs to do the talking. Mad props to Dave Wilson for introducing me to the world of Mz. 412.

Mushroomhead ‎– Mushroomhead (1995)

Mushroomhead ‎– Mushroomhead (1995)

We are about to take you into the world of the LSD user… I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia trip recently so I’ve been spinning this record an awful lot. When I was 12, life was all about Slipknot and Mushroomhead. Mushroomhead, despite having some dud album releases in the last decade or so, remain one of my favourite bands ever. I picked up XX on the strength of the band’s image alone, fell in love with their music and spent the next year or so frantically hunting down the band’s Cleveland-only released first three albums and two remix albums. I managed to hunt down their second album, Superbuick, on eBay, but the other two records were incredibly difficult to find, especially their third album, M3. Then one day I saw one of those shitty ads in the back of K! magazine for companies that ‘specialize’ in ‘rare’ releases, who had Mushroomhead’s first album in stock for £25. So after convincing my parents to ‘lend’ me £25, we rang them up. They had unfortunately already sold their one copy of Mushroomhead’s self-titled, but perhaps rather unethically, offered to copy the CD for me before they posted it out to the original buyer. Despite this being really dodgy, coming from a legit CD wholesaler, I really wanted to hear that album, so the copy it was. I have since gotten a real copy (the repress on Filthy Hands) and even contemplated a real original, but have always dropped out at the last minute, unwilling to pay ridiculous eBay prices. I went on to procure copies of all of Mushroomhead’s self-released records (barring Remix 1997, which is basically a crappier Remix 2000), but all of them were Filthy Hands represses, apart from Superbuick. In the face of adversaries who like to put Mushroomhead down, the usual weapon I’ve had to defend myself against is the statement that “Mushroomhead are just a bad Mike Patton impressionist band, man, they’ve never done anything original!”. And yes, whilst Jeffery Nothing does bear resemblance to Mike Patton’s Faith No More vocal performances, it wasn’t until I got into Mr. Bungle a few years back that I realized how many similarities Mushroomhead owe to them. If you take the jazz and funk elements out of Mr. Bungle and replace them with truckloads of Twin Peaks samples, you’ve got the first Mushroomhead album. This album is, in all honesty, all over the place. It is a total shambles from start to finish. The songs don’t really flow, and they are often meshed awkwardly together with bad movie samples or crappy piano interludes. Despite introducing the world to the dynamic duo of Nothing ‘n’ J Mann, this is primarily a Nothing-led record. J Mann only solos one track to himself (the excellent “Ego Tripp”), backs up Jeff on the rest and is absent from 8 of the album’s 14 tracks. But saying that, 6 of the albums tracks are devoid of either vocalist’s contributions. To confuse matters further, there’s a guest vocalist on the creepy-as-shit “Mommy”. Mushroomhead’s self-titled was a strange debut into the band’s psychedelic, multi-directional approach. The band’s style, whilst unique, relies extremely heavily on external media and influences. I don’t believe it was until the release of Superbuick and M3 that Mushroomhead really began to carve their own special take on things. My favourite tracks on this CD are “Slow Thing”, “Elevation”, “Ego Tripp”, “Indifferent” and “Simpleton”. I’d add “43” to that list, but the re-recorded version for XX is phenomenally better than this one, even if this one has a sample of Windom Earle laughing over the start of it, which is a nice touch. If you liked Mr. Bungle but the ten-minute songs and the endless time changes got on your nerves: listen to this. If you liked XX and hated the direction the band went in afterwards, and aren’t afraid of a slight drop in recording quality: listen to this. If you love Twin Peaks, Mike Patton and nu-metal, and have never heard Mushroomhead before: please, please, please listen to this.

Slithis’ Revenge – The Human Race Deserves to Rot in the Waste He has Created​.​.​. (2014)

Slithis’ Revenge – The Human Race Deserves to Rot in the Waste He has Created​.​.​. (2014)

Bobby M is upon us again with a slightly-less-gory approach to noise, which is unusual, to say the least. Perhaps surprisingly for music of this genre, Slithis’ Revenge focusses on the destruction that mankind has wreaked upon the earth as subject matter. I’d never in a million years consider there to be a market for environmentally-friendly gorenoise, but the world is full of surprises.  If you think the artwork looks horrendous, then nothing can prepare your ears for the actual audio assault that is about to follow. Guitars are actually audible, which is another unusual factor in this project, and as far as I can tell, are totally devoid of any tuning. The drum machine sounds like it’s constantly going to burst into a breakcore-patent snare rush or something, and those good ol’ bubbling septic tank vocals are back, because hey, it wouldn’t be a gorenoise record without them. This entire (organic) bubbling mass of mind-bending (gluten free) gorenoise can be streamed at your leisure on the w0w dance Bandcamp page. Enjoy!

Facialmess – Total Liberation (2011)

Facialmess – Total Liberation (2011)

Facialmess is a harsh noise project from Japan. Total Liberation is an EP that was released a few years ago on J Randall’s Grindcore Karaoke, consisting of two tracks, a 7 minuter and a 13 minuter. “Suspicious Activities” starts off by oddly mashing together droning, machine-like background ambience with increasingly-erratic cuttings of harsh noise. It just jolts back and forth without any regard for your hearing, or sanity for that matter. It sounds to me like somebody has nominated a supercomputer for the ice bucket challenge, and we are listening to the resulting meltdown. “Unremitting Exploitation” starts in a similar manner, only when the electronic short-circuitry cuts out, we are left with ominous silence. The way this all fits together I’d hazard a guess that this noise was constructed on a series of pedals rather than digitally (definitely seems to be a lot of delay pedal effects going on). The way the noise keeps cutting out randomly makes this release seem a lot longer than it actually is. I love the way that Facialmess is constantly fucking with your head but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little bit tiring. All in all, a wicked harsh noise / power electronics release that’s well worth a listen if you’re into audible torture.

Blood Ceremony – Blood Ceremony (2008)

Blood Ceremony – Blood Ceremony (2008)

Blood Ceremony’s self-titled is one of my go-to feel good “doom metal” records (I use the term doom like that because I find that this isn’t miserable enough to fall under the doom tag proper, although it does incorporate a lot of elements from that genre). As mentioned elsewhere on this website recently, my distain for the explosion in female-fronted edgy rock music continues to grow, but let’s fuck all that trend-jocking shit for a minute and focus on Blood Ceremony. Imagine mixing Black Sabbath, Jefferson Airplane and an enormously illegal quantity of opiates at a smoky blues club, and you’re on the right track here. Songs about witches, covens, toads, wizards and smoking “black drugs from Saturn’s bong” are abound, as is trippy flutework, masterful guitar sweepery and enough synthesizer alchemy to make Gary Numan prick up his ears. The opening song, “Master Of Confusion” is totally classic, and should be on the playlist of anyone with an inclination towards this type of stuff. The flute solo on “I’m Coming With You” is insane, and my favourite track is “Hop Toad”, which is also mainly flute-driven. I’m lucky enough to have caught these guys (and gal) live twice in the last 3 years, and I wouldn’t hesitate in a heartbeat to go and watch them perform again. Stellar stuff! You can stream this on Spotify, buy it on CD or even take out a second mortgage to buy the Rise Above vinyl version, if you have a big enough hipster beard to qualify for that. Now, onto those “black drugs”….

Black Pyramid – Black Pyramid (2009)

Black Pyramid – Black Pyramid (2009)

When I first went to Roadburn festival in 2011 I was in waaaay over my head with my bands-I-know to bands-I’ve-never-heard-of ratio. I’m not saying I didn’t have a wicked time (I went again the year after) but I spent a lot of time high, watching shit I’d never even heard of. Black Pyramid was one of those bands, whom I espied briefly through the packed doors of the second stage in Tilburg’s 013 venue. When I came home I wrapped my lugholes around this album, which by some strange coincidence turned out to be bloody fantastic. Black Pyramid are a good bunch, aye. They seem to mix driving, monumental rock in the vein of Mastadon with the slower, crunchy doom metal vibe. The result is a unique but refined sound that is somehow both all-go and stoned as fuck. The music isn’t exactly challenging, but Black Pyramid present a take on the metal template which I enjoy very much. Guitar widdly-widdly-ness is present, but often in small, manageable chunks or catchy-as-fook hooks, like at the end of “Visions Of Gehenna”. My favourite tunes here are the pacy “Twilight Grave”, the stoned “Worm Ouroboros” and the epic as fuck closing track, “Wintermute”. The band do have other material but in my opinion none of it tops this shit. Check out “Wintermute” below – a seething masterpiece that takes a few minutes to kick in, but stick with it!

Human Touch – Human Touch (2011)

Human Touch – Human Touch (2011)

Wow, this fucking rules! Human Touch is some insane shit, playing grind-speed hardcore punk with frenetic, worryingly spastic female vocals. Imagine mixing Minor Threat with Despite You, or something. I’d absolutely love to see this band perform live, because after only 5 songs (only one which has any substantial length) I’m left a little shocked, and most definitely wanting more. The sound is spot on; definitely paying homage to true hardcore production styles of old but incorporating modern clarity. There’s nothing worse than losing amazing grind or hardcore in a muddy, shitty mix, and thankfully that doesn’t happen here. Apparently this EP was recorded in an attic apartment, so kudos to whoever recorded it, because it sounds great. I’ll shut up now.

Gurgle – Scrotum Sap Delicacy (2012)

Gurgle – Scrotum Sap Delicacy (2012)

Wow, just how fuckin’ nasty this sounds is really beyond any words! Fans of Libido Airbag better be scrambling to hit play on this shit – I’m not kidding. There’s legions of lo-fi electronic or techno influenced “goregrind” out there at the moment, and if you’re not deep into this shit then sifting through it all can be a bit of a slog. Thank fuck then, for Gurgle, who are just absolutely fucking amazing. Typical porno samples aside, Gurgle is really refreshing for me, simply because it’s some D.I.Y. techno goregrind/porngrind/whatever that has actually given a thought for production ethic and all-round musical quality. This shit is meaty. Gianna Michaels’ thighs meaty. Of course, it’s completely typical that something this goddamn brilliant lasts for less than 15 minutes, but it’s enough – it’s got me hooked; I want more fucking Gurgle in my life, damn it! Whilst I make do with lesser porngrind sounds (or I could just listen to Libido Airbag on repeat whilst snorting amphetamines and crying) I implore you to check this shit out. Favourite track is easily the highlariously titled “Slobberin’ The Throbbin’ Goblin”. Stream this and love this absolutely free of charge thanks to Torn Flesh Records. Or do an Immortal Technique – burn it off the fucking internet and bump it outside. Your neighbours will love it. If there’s anything that’ll win over that girl next door for you, it’ll be this, no doubt. 

Dead Infection / Parracide – Split 7″ (2014)

Dead Infection / Parracide – Split 7″ (2014)

Maaan the newer Dead Infection stuff just gets randomer and randomer (I know that’s not a word, but whatever). This particular EP, as you can no-doubt see, features a cat that looks like Adolf Hitler. I’m not sure what the particular meaning is behind all of this surreal stuff, and I don’t really care as long as the tunes are good. Dead Infection have a lot to live up to with every new release, but they have so far managed not to disappoint. The songs on this split are of the chunky, brutal grindcore stock that we have come to know and love from present-day Dead Infection. My favourite is probably “Subduction” with it’s super-tight blasting and cracking riffage. This is my first experience with Parricide, but I love what I hear. The drumming is fucking unbelievable, I’ll give them that. The production on their stuff is a lot more polished than Dead Infection, and it’s kinda obvious that the drums are triggered but I guess that works for them, not to mention it sounds brutal as fuck so who can argue? Not me, let me fucking tell you!  This was released this year on the excellent Selfmadegod Records, on both black and clear wax. 

Extreme Putrefaction – Marbling And Skin Slippage In Early To Modern Putrefaction (2014)

Extreme Putrefaction – Marbling And Skin Slippage In Early To Modern Putrefaction (2014)

Extreme Putrefaction is another project in the gazillion ranks of noisemongering goregrind king Bobby Maggard. This particular little variant mixes bassy harsh noise with unstoppable drum machine attacks and septic tank gurgles. To get artsy fartsy in the descriptive sense, imagine earlier, analogue pedal Merzbow jamming with Urine Festival. Extreme Putrefaction literally sounds like shit pellets being machine gunned into a cesspool of unspeakable filthy depths. For the uninitiated, ‘gorenoise’ can seem like quite an intimidating music genre but once you get used to the ridiculously NSFW release artwork that comes with it, you can really lose yourself in some filthy (and often puzzling) sounds. To be slightly more controversial, America should be torturing terror suspects with this shit, not fucking Metallica records. You cans stream this entire bastard on Youtube below. I’m also assuming due to the artwork dimensions that this was also released on a tape at some point?

Alec Empire Vs. Merzbow – Live CBGB’s NYC 1998 (2003)

Alec Empire Vs. Merzbow – Live CBGB’s NYC 1998 (2003)

Christ, who’s idea was this? Mixing gabba-techno / industrial kingpin Alec Empire with the father of harsh noise, Akita Masami would surely result in a cacophonous cocktail that would make the world end in any other given circumstance. Somehow the earth didn’t stop turning, and instead we are treated to one of the craziest collaborations in musical history in all it’s glory. This is quite probably the most coherent thing I’ve heard Merzbow being involved in. Empire’s spastic beat programming and bass warbles dominate the forefront of the performance, with Merzbow’s harsh noise attacks bringing up the rear, fleshing out the higher echelons of the audio canvas. It’s kinda like what Libido Airbag would sound like if their members were originally from Ramleh instead of GUT. I’ve not heard awkward synths and industrial terror mashed together so uncertainly since Greed-era Swans. Obviously, the ‘harshness’ of the harsh noise has to be a little scaled back for Empire’s parts to even get a look in, but even when it’s Merzbow’s time to shine, he seems to focus on broken, stuttering loops and staccato, stabbing distortion in lieu of punishing walls of wailing static. There are some clever references in the song titles here, such as “606: The Number Of The Beast” and “Curse Of The Golden Angel”. In case you didn’t know, this references Curse Of The Golden Vampire, which was another short-lived bat-shit-crazy-random supergroup featuring Alec Empire, Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick and Kevin Martin of The Bug / King Midas Sound fame (I know, right?). Whoever thought up this collab might have possibly been smoking a lot of meth at the time, but it fucking works. If you loved Masami’s Merzbeat, Aqua Necromancer or Door Opens At 8am albums, or even his Merzdub collaboration with Jamie Saft, then you’ve probably already heard this. If you’re an Alec Empire fan, I don’t see why you wouldn’t love this either. Everyone is a winner!

Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses (1993)

Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses (1993)

Now here’s something I have listened the absolute fucking death out of during the last few months. I’ve always been a casual Type O Negative fan but I’ve always put off buying their albums, because I’m lazy as fuck like that. Anyways, I stumbled upon a free copy of this when I worked clearing out unwanted crap from charity shops, and for the next couple of hours in the van I became baptised in the awesome world of Type O Negative. Man, why didn’t anyone tell me about this shit before? Mix equal parts doom metal and hardcore punk with hammy keyboards, then dress the whole thing up to take the piss out of a subculture that takes itself far too seriously, and bam – you’ve got the perfect recipe!  The opening tracks (20 minutes on their own) “Christian Woman” and “Black No. 1” are stone-cold goth metal classics. Taking the piss or no, Pete Steele & Chums churned out more promise and epicness in two fucking tracks than in the entire discographies of Sisters Of Mercy and HIM combined. “Kill All The White People” marries hardcore punk and Sabbath-worship riffage in a puzzling yet amazing duality. “Summer Breeze” sounds as the title promises, and “We Hate Everyone” pulverises the listener with more hardcore punk-influenced terror before the sheer epic of “Bloody Kisses” kicks in. Nearly 11 minutes long, the title track is a mammoth depressing beast. Shit sends fucking shivers up my spine, yo – especially during the piano solo (hahaha). Joking or otherwise, it’s a seriously heavy track and boasts a fucking wicked chorus. “Too Late: Frozen” is another favourite of mine, starting off fast as fuck and slowing down to a doomy pace for the remainder. I’d absolutely love to see these play live, but I’ll never get that chance as Pete Steele sadly died before I developed any real respect for the band. I consider this album to be an absolute staple in my list of legendary metal records. I have only shame and regret for not discovering this total gem of a band any sooner. They have fecking stacks of good songs, but none of the albums live up to the sheer back-to-back quality of tracks on Bloody Kisses, which might just be the definitive goth-related record for me. Time to crank this up and crack out the black nail polish.

Black Moth – The Killing Jar (2012)

Black Moth – The Killing Jar (2012)

The Killing Jar is quite possible one of the crappiest names for an album I’ve ever come across, but let’s not let that tarnish things here. Black Moth are a dirty rock and/or roll band with stoner and doom metal influences. They’ve been around for a few years now but I hadn’t heard of them until they were announced for Temples Festival this year. I was too smashed to watch them (story of my life) on the day but they did make my “check out everyone playing Temples” list on Spotify, from where I then migrated to checking out their entire album. The Killing Jar is a brilliant record, combining raunchy swagger with heavy guitar riffs and a rocking pace. The vocals provided by Harriet Bevan are equal parts teasing, powerful and even cheeky. It’s like somebody put the sounds of Kyuss and Blues Pills into a blender, along with some essence of garage rock. Opening track “The Articulate Dead” is a corker, and was even a single release for the band (on 7″ too), but my favourite tracks are the hat-trick of “Chicken Shit”, “Blind Faith” and “Plastic Blaze”, which are towards the end of the album. This record was put out on both CD and vinyl by the New Heavy Sounds label, whose small roster includes fellow stoner/doom influenced rockers, Throne. But yeah, check out Black Moth, they rule.

Fire Walk With Me – ストリートウォーカー (2014)

Fire Walk With Me – ストリートウォーカー (2014)

Whilst I surely can’t review my own material, I can tell you fuckers a little bit about it. With the death of Life Is Easy I’ve started a whole bunch of new musical ventures, including Fire Walk With Me; a project born out of my new love affairs with David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and HNW music, if such a crossover isn’t too bold. What I’ve done here however is attempted somewhat at creating texture within harsh noise wall. Basically I recorded a harsh noise wall passage of about 44 minutes, achieved my desired distortion and decided that it just wasn’t enough, so I built on that passage with a further 7 more layers of harsh noise (you can hear them all kicking in within the first five minutes or so). As amazing as 8 layers of HNW playing at the same time sounds, I quickly learned that putting noise on top of noise just results in more noise – but it is a hellish, claustrophobic, repetitive, hopeless, self-depreciating 44 minutes that you will never get back, if you’re into that kind of thing. ストリートウォーカー basically translates to ‘street walker’, be it tramp… junkie… prostitute……vampire…… Stream the entire thing for free, or tapes are available for £3 with a much bassier and versatile mix (created by my tape dubbing machine, which has a mind of it’s own).

Pallbearer – Foundations Of Burden (2014)

Pallbearer – Foundations Of Burden (2014)

You probably don’t need me to tell you that the new Pallbearer record is heavy as fuck, but FYI – it’s heavy as fuck. Doom metal is a grossly saturated scene these days, making stand-out records is becoming something of a challenge. I’ve personally given up on loads of underground doom because I literally just can’t be fucked to sift through all the shit, which is a tragedy. When I took the chance with streaming the new Pallbearer though, the pitch-black candle of doom metal was re-lit inside my heart. Yeah. The most interesting thing about Foundations Of Burden is not only the fact that it is much more upbeat that it’s predecessor, it’s the paradoxical balance of sounds that the band are producing here. Somehow, despite being crushingly heavy in every way a doom metal record should be, it is also progressively melodic and bright. Long tracks don’t drag, they grow and progress naturally. Echoic guitar solos somehow do not sound out of place whilst shining over muddy doom chords. I sense a lot of diSEMBOWELMENT influence here, but with the clarity and skill to render aching melody simultaneously with modern doom stereotypes. To round off, this is a momentous doom record, living up to the sheer epicness that Pallbearer displayed on their last record. Out on Profound Lore Records.

Vomir – Renonce (2012)

Vomir – Renonce (2012)

Vomir is currently my new favourite go-to name when I fancy a harsh noise massage for my brain and my ever-growing tinnitus. I guess focussing entirely on some endless static attack helps ease the ringing for some reason or other. Anyway, I digress. Vomir is (as far as my knowledge of this scenes goes) the absolute master of the harsh noise wall (often abbreviated to HNW). If you’re wondering what HNW is, well, imagine that if harsh noise could get any bleaker, more hopeless, more utterly, utterly soul destroying and crushing? Nope? Can’t imagine that? Press play below and find out. No variation, no fannying about, just straight up fucking horrendous tones of distortion pummelling your face for 50 minutes flat. Making it through the whole thing is a tremendous test of patience, and at high volumes often made me feel moments of claustrophobia, anxiousness and even panic. But it made me feel. I’d love to see bastard cunting Ed fucking Sheeran do that, the cunt. Vomir proves entirely to me, that sometimes less really is more. Not for those of a weak disposition. Out on Crucial Blast.

Psycho – You Love Us… You Hate Us (1988)

Psycho – You Love Us… You Hate Us (1988)

This was a random purchase for me a couple of Christmas’ back, from some D.I.Y. / punk / hardcore record shop in Cardiff. It’s been a while, and the shop/label is long gone (at least at that location), but I (obviously) still have this record and still spin it every now and then. I picked it up because I am a massive fan of Anal Cunt and was aware that they had done a split with Psycho at some point. Couple that with the randomness of finding a Psycho record in Cardiff, and the deal was sealed, as far as I was concerned. I can’t really remember how much it cost me, but it wasn’t much. I don’t have many 12″ EPs. I think the format has died out somewhat, especially in the underground, what with the increasing price of pressing vinyl (I’m not even gonna go into the pressures of the digital age). Spinning at 45 rpm, this record doesn’t last very long at all, but it’s an awesome little blast through some thrash-paced hardcore punk nonsense. I’m aware that Psycho have several “eras” to their sound, like they did grindcore for a while, etc. etc. I’m not really sure where this fits in in the whole Pyscho “journey” but it’s still a really cool EP that I would recommend to anybody with an interest in the faster side of life. It sounds to me like Motorhead meets Dead Kennedys. This awesome, almost beer coloured 12″ was released in 1988 under Pyscho’s own record label, Ax/ction Records.

Malevolent Creation – Fine Art Of Murder (1998)

Malevolent Creation – Fine Art Of Murder (1998)

Is it just me or does it look like the cover says “The fine art of Malevolent Creation”? I snoozed at a chance of seeing these cunts in Cardiff recently, which was a bit silly because how often does something like Malevolent Creation come around 25 minutes from your house? I hate to be Mr. Has-an-excuse-for-always-missing-gigs (which I’m totally not; my bank balance and tinnitus will testify) but I’d been burning the candle at both ends, so standing through a death metal gig just sounded like hell to me during my lazy hungover Sunday. Anyways, it’s my fecking loss, if this classic death metal recording is anything to go by! Fine Art Of Murder is probably one of Malevolent Creation’s more well know records, and with good reason. It’s a punishing metal recording from start to finish, often without let up in the speed stakes. It’s popularity also might have something to do with the fact that “Manic Demise” was featured on Bam Margera’s CKY2K film. My favourite thing about this album, even though the drums are fucking shithot, has to be the guitar work. Everything from the menacing, clear-yet-crushing tone to the brutal yet subtly melodic delivery is absolutely perfect in every single way. If I could play guitar I would want it to sound like this record. This was released on a whole bunch of different labels from around the world, and is also available on a sexy picture disc vinyl.

Japanese Torture Comedy Hour – Dolphin Meat (2011)

Japanese Torture Comedy Hour – Dolphin Meat (2011)

Japanese Torture Comedy Hour was a noise project that revolved around Scott Hull, J Randall and other related musicians, and eventually became a solo project for Randall in it’s own right. Dolphin Meat is an hour-long improvised live performance (entitled “日本の拷問コメディアワー – EP#62”) created entirely out of feedback loops and recorded to VHS tape (because, fuck it, why not?). I tried doing something similar about five or six years ago; bleeding feedback from mic to speaker in an infinite loop in an attempt to create effortless, endless manipulatable distortion, but I failed catastrophically, so there’s a little bit of respect here to Randall for getting all of this out of a simple feedback loop (I just suck at noise, really). All things considered however, I guess this falls more under the power electronics umbrella and isn’t at all that harsh – for a bunch of batshit crazy improvised feedback loops it’s actually quite listenable. You can stream the entire thing at Randall’s label page Grindcore Karaoke, or even download it if noise is yer thing, like.