Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: November 2014

Gangliocytoma – Glioblastoma Multiforme Tumors Generally Characterized By The Presence Of Small Areas Of Necrotizing Tissue (2013)

Gangliocytoma – Glioblastoma Multiforme Tumors Generally Characterized By The Presence Of Small Areas Of Necrotizing Tissue (2013)

Gangliocytoma is a drum machine grindcore project that mixes razor sharp guitar work with the muddy blurs of gorenoise and goregrind. Expect relentless drum machine barrages, endless guitar explosions and then on top of it all the signature goregrind watery bowels explusion. Despite the mile-a-second goregrind relentlessness, riffs are actually present and audible. Fancy that! It’s not a very long release, yet it’s only a demo so I wouldn’t expect hours of material. But hey, it’s another wicked-rediculous goregrind project entering into this world and I am super OK with that.

Cradle Of Filth – Total Fucking Darkness (2014)

Cradle Of Filth – Total Fucking Darkness (2014)

When I first heard of this reissue I was all like – Fuuuuuuuu-u-u-u-u-uck that shit. The price being charged for a copy of this remastered old demo was nothing short of total fucking extortion (kek). I think the fact that it took the almighty unit-shifting Cradle of Filth a month or two to sell the 666 vinyl copies of this album shows that I was not alone in this way of thinking. If a band as big and successful (in the metal world) as Cradle can’t shift around six hundred limited edition records, then something is wrong. Cradle fans aren’t Sunn O))) fans with wallets bursting with cash for limited vinyl from the salaries of ICT or marketing jobs. Cradle fans are (generally) teenagers, who have little to no money. So yep; a farcical cash in on a piece of shit recording the band did when they were kids. Or is it? Despite being put off by the grubby money grabbing tactics surrounding this release, it sounds absolutely fantastic! If you’ve ever been tempted to foray in the world of Cradle’s early tape demos you will surely sympathise with me when I say it’s a complete waste of time. You get a brief outline of the death-metal-with-keyboards outfit the band was in its inception, but serious listening is rendered nigh on impossible by the abysmal production / tape duplication quality. So the clarity presented finally to these cobweb-encrusted gothic nightmares is extremely welcome. I’m just not willing to take out a second mortgage to permanently own them.

Bong – Stoner Rock (2013)

Bong – Stoner Rock (2013)

What part of this release constitutes as ‘rock’ I’m not entirely sure, but Bong have got the ‘stoner’ part of the title 100% correct. Well, with a name like Bong would more would you expect? Such a simple yet fathomless name can only lend itself to a simple (in theory) yet fathomless (in practice) sound. Bong is music for those who aren’t afraid to sit tight and experience the long haul; the great build up, the magic of the meandering drone into a stoned culmination of noise and bliss. Yes. It certainly made the inane task of steaming spilt coffee / beer / questionable substances off my beige sofa a much more enjoyable  task. For when you want your mundane housework to become a mystical journey into the arcane, I recommend Bong. Don’t be fooled by the 2 track running time, these are enormous stoned monuments of fuzz.

Suicide – Suicide (1977)

Suicide – Suicide (1977)

Well, this is… different. I’m aware of the influential impact that Suicide and Mr. Alan Vega have had on some of my favourite artists, so it was only fair that in time I go back even further and plumb those original depths. After a bit of research, and conversing among friends, I came to rest on Suicide’s debut album; a puzzling affair of cheap synths, almost early Lou Reed-like vocals and linear narrative and repetition that no doubt cemented the foundations for the no wave genre. Despite the, how should I put it, homely style of synths, the overall recording is pretty flat and claustrophobic. Song subject matter ranges from comic book crushes, to the monotony and crushing feeling of entrapment in Western life (for the working class, at least). Each song does hold it’s own unique vibe and atmosphere, which is quite the achievement for something so linear.  “Frankie Teardrop” is probably my favourite song here. I was unaware that “Che” was originally by Suicide (I love the Sunn O))) version), and I am impressed that it still packs quite a punch without two guitars and thousands of pounds worth of amplification equipment. All in all, I’m glad I made the listen, and I do appreciate what’s going on here, I just don’t think it’s for me. Not yet.

Main – Motion Pool (1994)

Main – Motion Pool (1994)

Main is a band that was formed by two members of Loop, including Robert Hampson who was also in Godflesh for a little bit (he played on the Pure album). Main, to me, appears to be some sort of experimental industrial-tinged ambient project that places heavily effected guitar work into a world of noises and other creepy atmospheres. (2021 edit: G C Green of Godflesh also plays on this particular album) And that, essentially, is what Motion Pool is all about. It’s a great, minimal listen for chilling the day away with something a little different. In one sitting it can be a bit hard to differentiate when one track ends and other begins, but then again, I am an idiot, so that’s probably not a fact. You can get this in a digipak CD or even a pretty fancy triple LP package, but a lot of Main stuff is now available on Spotify (oh revered bringer of music!) so you’ve got no excuse; have a go!

Merzbow – Sphere (2005)

Merzbow – Sphere (2005)

Look, Sphere is one of my favourite Merzbow releases. Granted, I have in no way shape or form heard them all, but of the ones that I have heard, Sphere is high up there among the best. The three Sphere tracks are pulsing, blooping, bleeping harsh displays of spherical madness. I’m not entirely sure why the tracks were even broken up in the first place, but hey – what do I know. My favourite though is the final track – “Untitled for Vasteras” (which itself is a title – LOLbow) – which is a nigh-on-30-minute disasterpiece of tinnitus-inducing proportions. Can’t really say much more than that about a harsh noise release in a literally fucking endless discography of one project. Long live Merzbow, of course, but for once I am at a loss for words. Enter the sphere! *que Crystal Maze-style music*. 

P.L.F. – Ultimate Whirlwind Of Incineration (2014)

P.L.F. – Ultimate Whirlwind Of Incineration (2014)

Ah, good ol’ PLF. Is that Palestine Liberation Front? Pretty Little Flower? Princess Louise Fusiliers? Penguin Liberation Front? Parachute Landing Fall? Pulverizing Lethal Force? Phillip Lewis Fowler? Ha! According to an actual expert that I saw posting in the Youtube comments section (oh, ye exalted one!) the official story is that the band began as Pretty Little Flower, but are now known as Pulverizing Lethal Force. To be honest, they’ve always been known as PLF and idiots like me will continue to make up silly combinations of what those letters might stand for. Anyways, their fans can’t be that pedantic because there is still only one Discogs page for PLF, rather than two separate ones for Pretty Little Flower and Pulverizing Lethal Force. Annnnnnnnyway, this album is, rather expectedly, the absolute fucking dogs bollocks. For everyone who goes “man, I wish there was a band out there that sounds like Insect Warfare” I say “dude, do you even grindcore, bro? DO YOU EVEN GRINDCORE? BRO!?”. Thanks to Earache Records’ continuous spamming of the “only grind record to be as good as Scum” (“do you even grindcore, Earache? Or perhaps you’ve gone a bit deaf in your old age!”) every person with an At The Gates t-shirt now has a passing interest in grindcore (read: Insect Warfare). Stop listening to what Earache have to say and listen to me! My opinion is more credible because my hands aren’t in the pockets of this band. Stop playing World Extermination 40 times a day and listen to this shit! For fuck sake! Sigh… For me though, this is yet another gem in the rough underground of the grind world, and another seriously high calibre bullet on the clip that is PLF (Pissy Little Fart?). Push aside for a time your Exhumed, Napalm Death, Rotten Sound, Pig Destroyer and Nasum. It is time for another grind band to ascend to that level. And that band is PLF (Pretentious Linesinwax Fanboying). Press Le Fuckinbutton! (2021 Edit: There used to be an album link to go with this pun)

Sockweb – Werewolf (2014)

Sockweb – Werewolf (2014)

A call on a grindcore group on Facebook for female-front grindcore bands returned the usual list of suspects for someone too lazy to use a search engine, but nestled in that list were two bands I’d never heard of previously, so I guess I’m a bit of a twat for just knocking the Facebook post, but what are you gonna do? Anyway, one of those bands is Sockweb (I’ll get to the other in another post), who I believe are a world-first, being a father/ daughter grindcore duo from this lovely sovereign isle of ours (2021 edit: the band was American, not British). Whilst it matches the super-polished, razor-wire death metal end of the spectrum rather than the messy DIY punk end of grind, it’s still a ridiculously heavy, sharp and enjoyable listen for grindfreaks around the globe. What might blow your mind more than anything is that Sockweb’s vocalist is a seven year old girl. And whilst it feels a bit weird using bad language to describe how awesome a child is, this is primarily an extreme music blog so I think I can safely say – this kid is fucking awesome. The vocals are, for the most part, shrill yelps of insane, feral venom, made even more entertaining that she’s blowing a gasket over mangling someone up in monkey bars, or beating up bullies, instead of the usual subject matter for this genre. The icing on the cake here is that little Joanie writes all of the lyrics for Sockweb herself. Musically, multi-instrumentalist Dad (aka Blackula) is tighter than the proverbial duck’s rear end, and with a sweet mastering job by Scott Hull, this is an enormous sounding record. Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Kat also makes a guest vocal appearance on the album. (2021 edit: it’s worth noting that unfortunately, the dad in the duo, Adam Young, passed away by committing suicide, leaving a sad and unshakeable shadow over the small body of Sockweb’s work. Joanie would be around 14 years of age by now, and I hope she’s doing OK.)

Nadja – Numbness (2009)

Nadja – Numbness (2009)

This is the first time I’ve actually successfully sat through an entire Nadja album. They definitely made delivering kebabs and pizza an ethereal experience, I can say that much. Numbness is like many other releases in the sizeable Nadja catalogue; ridiculously fuzzy, enormously slow, miserable yet hopeful and just a little bit pretentious. Numbness offers (to me) nothing new; it is simply Nadja for Nadja’s sake. Depending on how much you like Nadja, you may or may not be in for a treat. If you’re secretly hoping for the band to mix it up a little bit from the usual template, then you might as well uncross your fingers now. This duo are the Agathocles of the ‘slow and moody’ universe. This isn’t to say that Numbness is a particularly bad album – it’s actually very enjoyable – it’s just that it genuinely baffles me how Nadja can release so much of this stuff sounding all the same yet still be able to craft new and genuine songs from it? Surely there is only so much you can do with a drum kit, a synth that apparently plays only one note and a bass guitar that sounds like radio static pumped through a sunn O))) amplifier. At times songs resemble something altogether more Jesu, and others sound almost like Merzbow fell asleep on the lower-end of a keyboard. Closing track “Numb”, which builds slowly and with menacing purpose, was set to be my favourite track, until some crazy effect on the drums kinda ruined it for me. Honestly don’t know what to make of this. Really on the fence with Nadja. Guess I just gotta be in the mood to listen to them, which is very, very rare. If you know and love what Nadja is all about though, you’ll fucking love this.  

Cintecele Diavolui – The Devil’s Songs (1996)

Cintecele Diavolui – The Devil’s Songs (1996)

This is probably one of the more bizarre things that I have bought recently. Cintecele Diavolui is an old alias / side project that was used by Mortiis in the mid/late 90s when he was deep into making mainly dark ambient synth and keyboard based music, or as he called it – Dark Dungeon Music. Cintecele Diavolui is a pretty cool name in my opinion. The phrase means “The Devil’s Songs” in Romanian, which is also, rather coincidentally, the name of this 10″ mini-album. The five tracks here are spooky, and a little cooky; dark and suspenseful writing portrayed through the slightly cheesy classic-horror medium of synthetic organ sounds. The record claims that the music here isn’t performed by Mortiis as such, but by an old vampire called Vukodlak, who Mortiis “brought to life” for this release. Make of that what you will. Musically, it is a charming yet cheap sounding record. It depends on entirely how you approach listening to the thing, and the same goes for all of Mortiis’ ‘Era 1’ output; if you can get past the fact that this sounds like it has been composed using the shittiest of the shit MIDI keyboard sounds in existence, then you will probably really enjoy it. These quirky, bargain-basement instrumentations can be over-looked on sprawling works such as Født Til Å Herske, Keiser Av En Dimensjon Ukjent and Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør, but The Devil’s Songs suffers with the same ailment as The Crypt Of The Wizard’s material; once the composition is broken down into smaller tracks with more active instrumentation you can’t really ignore the shoddiness of the equipment used. It feels like music on a really old video game. I suppose that the tackiness to the sound really adds to the overall atmosphere, but if you are familiar with the early Mortiis works listed above, please do not expect Cintecele Diavolui to possess the same haunting and depthless darkness. All in all, The Devil’s Songs isn’t a bad record in any way, the writing is fantastic, it’s just that the method of delivery used could have been more inventive. If you hated The Crypt Of The Wizard era Mortiis, then it’s a safe bet you won’t like this. Considering this isn’t a canon Mortiis release and was marketed as an entirely different project of “vampire music”, it would have been super, super awesome if this was played on a real church organ or something, for extra spooky and spine-chilling effect. But, it is what it is. This was self-released by Mortiis back in the day, using his Dark Dungeon Music label. I would say that this is probably for fanatic-level fans only. Like I said, if you’re not too fussed on the Era 1 stuff then I wouldn’t bother checking this out. Otherwise, tuck in! Does insane, Legosi-accented vampire laugh

Lull – Moments (1998)

Lull – Moments (1998)

Lull is another Mick Harris project, one I believe that he worked on between Scorn releases back in the day. Lull takes pages from the book of Lustmord; extremely minimal yet puzzlingly fulfilling compositions of sound, often devoid of any noticeable instrumentation, pummelling you instead with lulling ambience (no pun intended) and claustrophobic barrages of atmosphere. Moments then, is the stifling ambient soundscape of choice for those with a short attention span. Instead of the usually lengthy tracks that come hand in hand with this sort of thing, Moments splits these aural passages into 99, er, moments, I guess. Some last mere seconds, and without a single one of them reaching three minutes, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this to be a short release, but alas it is not. Each piece of the puzzle falls together create an entire whole, something which can be a bit of an issue if you burn this into .mp3 format or download it off the internet – those little millisecond gaps between songs will absolutely ruin this listening experience for you. It’s hard to believe but each of the 99 tracks here are different. It’s like an ever-changing aural landscape, that whilst being as flat as Holland, does vary greatly in weather and atmospheric pressure.

Killing Joke – In Dub (2014)

Killing Joke – In Dub (2014)

I like Killing Joke and I like dub (be that dub reggae or the same remixing technique applied to other genres) but I’ve got to be in the mood for both, so there’s no surprise that I aurally inhaled this gargantuan release in one entire sitting. It took some doing as In Dub is 3 hours long, and contains several remixes of the same few songs. I’m not sure when I’ll actually ever come back to this release again, but I did enjoy it, and it is (surprisingly) more than just a remix album. Killing Joke’s average song structure just begs to be reworked in a rub-a-dub style, meng. I never really noticed it before, but the beats are really groovy. Jaz Coleman’s voice fits the echoic, stoned dubs perfectly. Some of the remixes of “Ghosts of Ladbroke Grove” are simply ethereal. “Eighties” is much sparser here, almost as if sung and performed by ghosts of that decade. Classic! Some of the tracks have genuine reggae elements added to them too, which is just lovely. I almost went to see one of the live shows on the In Dub tour, but when I found out it was just Youth on the stage and not the entire band I decided to be a good slave to the system and not anger my boss by requesting even more time off. What can you do, eh? Skin up, breh.

Aphex Twin – Syro (2014)

Aphex Twin – Syro (2014)

The hype for hhis record has been unstoppable for the last few months, and rightly so, due to the solid consistency of quality albums that The Aphex Twin has churned out over his long and unusual career. On top of that, Syro is the first Aphex Twin release in 13 years, so to say this album had a lot to live up to would be a bit of an understatement. Luckily, Richard D. James has never really been the type of musical genius that likes to disappoint. He might astound you, puzzle you, or even scare you, but he hasn’t let anyone down yet. Syro epically cements this fact. Syro takes The Aphex Twin back to a more Analord-based sound. Nonsensical song titles (actually I’m sure they make sense to a certain crazy someone haha) reveal forward thinking, yet AFX-roots-worshipping sounds. I can imagine this ringing out on Spotify players in student housing around the world, or in the murky interiors of some of Amsterdam’s hipper cannabis coffeeshops. For me though, it’s the perfect music to get shit done to (high or otherwise). AFX’s Analord series was always my music of choice whilst working in kitchens, keeping me relaxed yet suitably buzzed enough to make it through the working day in one piece. Syro is just a much more polished and refined version of that. It is as close to perfection as electronic music can get, for now. I don’t say that lightly, either.

Voïvod – Phobos (1997)

Voïvod – Phobos (1997)

I’ve never really been into Voïvod. I even tried to witness the band play all of Dimension Hatröss at Roadburn Festival 2012, which is hosted in Tilburg’s 013, a venue with arguably the best sound in the world, and I still couldn’t get into it. I just don’t get it – is it thrash? Is it prog wankery? Is it a tired display of both? Phobos though, blew my fucking head off. It works better as background music (I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but most metal just goes in one ear and out the other these days, unless I’m high or something) but it’s a chunky, hard-hitting, more-metal-than-metal journey. Everything I thought Voïvod wasn’t. Typically it turns out that this album is from an “iffy” mid-period in Voïvod’s history that most fans avoid like the plague. All the power to them, I say – you keep enjoying those dodgy stoner rock records they did with Jason Newstead and I’ll keep blasting this epic sci fi record. The reason this album sounds so different from normal Voïvod is that theoretically only half the band performed on it. The usual bassist and vocalist were replaced for a time by Eric Forrest, who took over both duties. His harder vocal delivery really makes this (and the Negatron album) stand out in the extensive Voïvod back catalogue. Some REAL sci-thrash, motherfuckers!!!