Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: October 2014

Mushroomhead ‎– The Righteous & The Butterfly (2014)

Mushroomhead ‎– The Righteous & The Butterfly (2014)

So I finally took the plunge and came around to dealing with this record. *Deep breath* After the absolute stink-fest of Savior Sorrow and the suicide-inducing snooze-fest of Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children, I had all but given up hope on Mushroomhead. Then I heard J Mann would be guesting on the latest record. And then I heard that the plan to collaborate had been scrapped and J Mann had returned permanently. Fuck! And then, finally, this album dropped. I pretty much went about doing everything in my power to try and ignore it, until I started reading about how this new shit is gonna please all the old fans; how the band have brought back so much of their old-school vibe. It wasn’t just band interviews; fans on forums, Facebook and the landfill that is Youtube’s comments section also chipped in ecstatically that this was the case. So I listened. Yes, there is heaps of old school Mushroomhead in this. Fucking heaps! The keyboards take on a more carnival vibe, and there’s even rapping again, for fuck sake! I can’t tell you how awesome it is to hear rapping in metal music again (never thought I’d say that). There’s a few trying-too-hard-to-be-part-of-the-8-string-crowd tracks which do absolutely nothing for me, and if I’m honest I was enormously surprised at how shit this record isn’t (I’m not counting the Adele cover with a dubstep drop in the chorus – I’m just going to blot that out of existence). But – and it’s a big but – jesus chriiiiiist this shit is a mess. J Mann rejoined, but Waylon also remained. I mean no disrespect to any of the vocalists for Mushroomhead, because they are all amazing, but there simply isn’t enough room here for three of them. It doesn’t help that when Waylon is screaming, he sounds almost identical to Mann. The whole thing that made Mushroomhead work was the unique dynamic between J Mann’s lows and Jeffery Nothing’s extremely identifiable voice. Waylon is a phenomenal front man, boasting a veritable arsenal of vocal styles, but there just isn’t room on these quirky three or four minuters for three separate vocalists. Throw in vocal appearances from Skinny’s new girlfriend and 10,000 Cadillac’s Jus Mic, and everybody is literally fighting for space to spit. It’s ridiculous, to be frank. Nevertheless, I believe that The Righteous And The Butterfly is a step in the right direction for a phenomenally talented band that has been wasting itself on boring redneck metal for nearly a decade. TL;DR version – a million times better than both previous stinkers combined, but still a bit of a mess. But you gotta admit they still look cool as shit – probably cooler looking than ever, actually.

Korn – Korn (1994)

Korn – Korn (1994)

It sometimes seems a bit detrimental to do reviews on albums that are really old, but as I trawl through covering a little bit about every piece of music in my collection (yes, that’s still an aim of Lines In Wax, despite the recent abolition of reviewing individual formats) it becomes an inevitability. A lot of people can take or leave Korn. In fact, I know tons of people who absolutely hate Korn. But, this album had a massive effect on the metal and alternative scenes in the early 90s. Maybe not as much as Korn would like to think (Jon D reckons Korn laid the template for dubstep, for fuck sake), but it can be blamed for cementing the nu-metal genre fully into existence and starting a mainstream craze in down-tuning guitars. You can also blame this record for Sepultura’s Roots. Uch. Korn is a rough but disciplined record. It has messy, raw metal hanging off a military-precise hip hop backbone, with Jon Davis attempting a more grunge-style vocal approach here than the famous whines and barking sounds that he would later become renown for. “Blind” introduced the unsuspecting world to the sound of Korn, whilst “Clown” was not only just another single but my favourite track off this album. There’s also the hat-trick of “Predictable”, “Fake” and “Lies” that lead towards the controversial, monstrous closing track, “Daddy”. I’m still not sure to this day if I like “Daddy” or not, but this album (or even Korn) would not be the same without this track. All in all, Korn’s self-titled is a classic (or is that Klassic?) for me, and a definite staple in the evolution of metal music. It might have led to some pretty drastic music over the next decade or so (rap metal? Uch…) but it still gets the odd semi-regular spin. I’m looking forward to the 20th anniversary tour for this album – even if it doesn’t come near me, I’d love to hear the band play through it again 20 years older and (presumably) wiser. Are you ready?

Mortiis – The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost (1993)

Mortiis – The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost (1993)

Out of all the early Mortiis ambient keyboard pieces, The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost is probably the one that I am least familiar with, which is a crying shame because it’s a truly beautiful piece of music. Sometimes I wish I had the patience to put something like this together but I have to accept that I just can’t play the piano, organ, synth or what-have-you without any practice or training haha Early Mortiis conjures images of lands lost and shrouded in mystery and intrigue; of misty fjords and leaden skies; crumbling castles and times gone by. Yeah. My favourite way to jam early Mortiis when I was younger was to import all of his Era 1 stuff into the sound files for games such as TES III: Morrowind and the likes, and have them as my soundtrack for exploring fantastical worlds. Some of my most affectionate memories of the times spent in those games stem from extremely moving scores such as this. Sad? Yes. Nerdy? Yes. But, it was fucking awesome. I don’t normally get that nerdy, but I enjoyed it immensely. This impossible-to-find gem has been re-released on a series of formats, most notably vinyl and CD, or even a CD-book in a variety of pretty colours. You can even pick up some signed by Mortiis direct from the man himself if you’ve got a few extra quid spare. It’s artists like Mortiis that make me sad to be parting ways with my physical record collection. Anyways, I implore you listen to the original demo tape recording over any reissue you may come across – the sound here is absolutely amazing; including tape wobbles and treble heavy sound. It’s not perfect, but it’s so goddamn amazing. Lose yourself in another world!

Archagathus – Dehumanizer (2014)

Archagathus – Dehumanizer (2014)

Archagathus are currently one of my favourite things at the moment, especially as I gear up for catching them on their European tour with the equally fucking amazing Six Brew Bantha. You could say that Archagathus came up on this whole mince-gore crossover trend that’s going on, but if Dehumanizer shows us anything, it’s that the band have converged these two genres from opposite ends of the spectrum (as far as grind is concerned, at least) and shat them out into their own very unique style. Expect the clarity, speed and punky-edge from modern grind, mixed with the bottomless pits of gurgly shifted vocals, horrendous shrieks and the odd sneaky little tupa tupa moment from the goregrind side of things. I don’t wanna detract from the rest of the band, but the vocals make this shit. Death growls, pitchshifter lows, Kevin Sharp impressions, and even something (or should I say someone) who sounds like the fucking parrot from Hatebeak. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but surprisingly it doesn’t sound at all messy, everything has it’s place and it all comes together with lethal precision, and thankfully, without overloading the mix. This full-length is only currently available on the perhaps unusual format of double cassette, thanks to a collab between Twisted Truth and Grindfather Productions (2021 edit: it came out on 12″ and CD also in 2014). But yeah – lessons in how to do grindcore 101 – first lesson – listen to fucking Archagathus.

Magrudergrind – Crusher (2010)

Magrudergrind – Crusher (2010)

The boys in Magrudergrind seem to always catch an awful lot of flak for “selling out”, perhaps more so than any band that’s done this Scion A/V shit. I’m not gonna go into the bands dodgy appearance on a crappy TV show, I’m focussing entirely on the Scion thing here. I don’t understand why I never hear anybody slagging off Wormrot for doing the same thing? Wormrot’s Noise EP is up on some revered grind-pedestal, which I’m glad for, because it’s awesome, but what makes them so different? Why do Magrudergrind catch it in the neck so much over this shit? If some useless car company wants to pump money into releasing grindcore music (for free) then what’s the issue? Nobody’s making you buy a fucking car. Anyways, Crusher is awesome. It’s everything you/we/I love about Magrudergrind rolled up into a nice 11 minute package. I don’t think anything’ll ever top the self titled album for me, but this is like a condensed version of everything that makes that album awesome. Magrudergrind have this fantastic ability to rip a cripplingly good riff and keep it nice and clear as the blasts and vocal barrage unfold. Mix in a few slow, almost sludgey interludes and a minute or two of sneaky (but not so good) hip hop, and job done! Asides from the original Scion A/V release of this EP on vinyl and CD, this has also been re-issued on 10″ by Bones Brigade and Kaotoxin Records, on CD by Regurgitated Semen, and again on 10″ in the USA by To Live A Lie. So there you go, if you wanna play punk and are against Scion, you can still pick this up off one of several reputed DIY or underground labels. Get in.

Akercocke – Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone (2005)

Akercocke – Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone (2005)

Akercocke’s fourth album was by far their most experimental. Following up the absolutely monstrous and enormous epic that was Leviathan could have been no easy task for these distinguished English gentlemen. In my opinion, Words that go unspoken… is nowhere near as brutal as the exquisite aural punishment of Leviathan, but the band definitely followed through by evolving in incredible leaps into something far more sprawling, technical and genre-bending. Where Leviathan had that the “oomph” factor that is missing from most death metal recordings, Words that go unspoken has a daring sense of adventure and experimentation; it is the sound of a band flexing it’s creative muscles, to be poetic about it. Things kick off fairly simply; “Verdelet” is Akercocke through and through, with a thrashy pace and double bass, which eventually gives way to clean vocals and excellently composed semi-acoustic guitar sounds. Despite the softer elements, the drums never give out for the duration; David Gray is an animal on the kit. “Seduced” has classic death metal written all over it, and also has one of my favourite Akercocke guitar solos (which is actually one of the simpler and more understated ones the band has ever used). The real fun begins however with track 3, “Shelter from the Sand”. This snarling death metal beast slowly evolves into something altogether more Opeth-y (minus the untold amounts of boredom). I can’t really describe it, but there is a whole world of prog-rock influence here, maybe not so much on the psychedelic side (imagine that? Haha satanic pysch-metal) but definitely on the progressive, “things unfolding at a gradual pace” side of things. I think it was Jason Mendonca himself who once likened the sound on this album to “Morbid Angel and Rush having a fight in a lift”. From here on out, things are much tamer than they have been on any previous Akercocke record. Sure, the staple sounds of the band are all here but they are utilised in much more subtle and experimental ways. The title track, and it’s sequel “Intractable”, are two fantastic pieces of musical art that you would never expect from blasphemous, sex-charged death metal swine such as Akercocke. I think this is what I was trying to convey in my opening paragraph; whilst Words….doesn’t necessarily blast your fucking head off, it showcases a maturity in so many ways, that would continue to unfold on the band’s next record (although in not so overtly experimental tones). All in all this is a fantastic metal record, and I guess if you’re looking for an in-road into Akercocke I would say that this – whilst ironically being their most experimental – is by far their most easily accessible material (I think you wrote this for the Antichrist review too, ya feckin’ eejit – Ed, 2019). Antichrist that followed had a much more direct death metal approach, but the genre scope of Words… more than allows a much wider chance for appreciation from fans of other genres. Like most of their records, this was released on Earache Records, and unfortunately only on CD format. I would absolutely love the Akercocke records to be pressed onto vinyl, but I think that sadly there isn’t ever going to be enough demand out there for somebody to take the risk and get the ball rolling (I know Earache certainly won’t). Give the entire disc a spin in the link below!

Hummingbird Of Death – Goatmeal (2008)

Hummingbird Of Death – Goatmeal (2008)

20 songs on a 5″ record? That’s exactly what I’m talking about, ladies and gentlemen! Hummingbird of Death have always been known to bring the high-powered, super-fast grindcore (or powerviolence, if you’re a hardcore kid), but this shy-of-4-minutes monster is just something else. Discounting the last track, which takes up the entirety of side B, each song is a microburst of super-thrashy speedy goodness. This isn’t as polished as more familiar material (like the classic Show Us The Meaning Of Haste) but the production isn’t necessarily bad or so muddy that it all sounds like a pile of crap – it’s still nice and clear. You can stream the whole thing below on Youtube, but you can also still pick up a physical 5″ copy released by Cowabunga! Records for a decent price, even the red repress limited to 180 copies. Warning – is fast.