Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: September 2016

Splattered Entrails – Nauseate (2011)

Splattered Entrails – Nauseate (2011)

Before I start this review proper I just need to get something off my chest: just look at that motherfucker above; easily the derpiest looking cover for a brutal death metal record… Anyway… Nauseate is a 2011 album by the one man death metal project Splattered Entrails, showcasing a more polished, almost sci-fi approach to the sickening death metal that the name is known for. The opening track “Rewriting Human Genetics” is fucking epic – simple yet brutal as fuck, setting the stage for the proper death metal to follow. “Dawn Of The Great Plague” and the moody “Parasites” are both great, but the choppy, snare-loving “Bathspheric Claustrophobia” is probably my favourite here, although “Buried In Cement” has gotta be a close second. The guitar has gotta be some of the tightest shit out there but what really does it for me with Splattered Entrails is the intense hammering of the drum programming. It really helps the “band” stand out in this busy sub-genre. Brutal death, reviewed brutally fast. Go sneak that shit.

Xiu Xiu – Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks (2016)

Xiu Xiu – Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks (2016)

One of my biggest gig regrets of the last few years has been missing Xiu Xiu’s tour in anticipation of this record, as this is one of the best covers albums I’ve ever heard. Covering a song is one thing, covering an entire soundtrack is something else. I’ve been meaning to review this since it came out but I’ve been back and forth to it for quite some time not really sure on how to put the music here into words. As soon as you press play on the thing and the harsh stomp of “Laura Palmer’s Theme” creeps in, you know that Xiu Xiu mean business. The track is stripped to it’s menacing core, and whilst it isn’t as overblown as the original, it gets it’s point across in a subtler, more menacing method. “Into The Night” is heavy as shit, if I could be so crude. I’ve always been a bit hit and miss with Xiu Xiu’s vocal offerings (and with the band in general, if I’m honest), but the group’s kooky approach is literally perfect for interpretating this soundtrack. I won’t go into a track by track analysis but all the favourites are here; “Audrey’s Dance” manages to retain its original slink whilst incorporating a robust sampled beat and bizarre noise fuckery, but “Dance Of The Dream Man” is a bit of a lurcher, as if witnessing David Lynch’s visual feast again through the cracked lens of a tremendously bad acid trip… (2020 edit: Oh how naive I was writing this; I’ve basically described Twin Peaks season 3 from the year after this review!) The whole thing falls out with the trio of “Falling”, “Love Theme Farewell” and “Josie’s Past”. The rendition of  “Falling” is easily one of the best cover songs ever; not only nailing the original but improving it tenfold (it really has to be heard to be believed). The closing track, puzzlingly-titled considering the monologue is lifted from Laura Palmer’s diary, not Josie’s, is a twisted, almost nasty end to what is otherwise an ethereal listening experience.

Montreux Fires – Trying For The Sake Of Trying (2016)

Montreux Fires – Trying For The Sake Of Trying (2016)

(Words by Burra; The 6th Beatle) This is the debut EP from fresh on the scene South Wales-based female-fronted four piece, Montreaux Fires. The EP starts with a quick spoken word intro taken from the recording process (it’s worth noting that this was self-recorded by the band’s bassist in his living room) before launching into the track “Our Little Life” – a cracking opener and one I can imagine would go down really well live, with a nice big riff to kick this one off before slowing down into some dreamy, haunting verse vocals and unleashing that perfect chorus hook! Great track to kick off the release with is this one! “Disclosure”, which the band has made a video for – I feel this track shows off all elements of the band, both musically and vocally, again with another awesome chorus (there’s a pattern emerging here). The track is somewhere in-between the slower and faster side to the band, so I think it was perfect choice to choose to showcase themselves with. Loving the group harmony sounds too, on this one. “Trying” is a lovely slow number, with a what I would describe as very Brand New-esque sound to it, which works so well, leading into a nice big faded out ending and with some spot on guitar sounds throughout. A big sounding track overall and a definite EP highlight. However it’s “Walls” that really is the perfect choice of track to see out the EP with. I love how the song builds up to that massive sounding ending! Again, with some big sounding group harmonies thrown in here too, which accompanies vocalist Lydia’s powerful vocals very nicely indeed. Well crafted and well chosen. Overall this is a fantastic debut release; one that the band can be confident in too. I’d also like to say top job on the production here; keeping things DIY yet still managing to set the bar at a very high standard, and despite being a such a new band it’s very promising to see and hear material so strong already. For fans of: Brand New, Paramore, Jimmy Eat World.

Wolfbastard – Wolfbastard

Wolfbastard – Wolfbastard

Grim, inappropriate, catchy and scathing – these are the first things that come to mind for describing Wolfbastard’s debut. Self-proclaimed as d-beat black metal, don’t expect later Darkthrone worship as this little 21:41 minutes of fuck you has more in common with Discharge-meets-Carpathian Forest than F.O.A.D. It’s a bastard (forgive the pun) of two thirds of blackened death Mancs Burial (more blackened nowadays). The first four tracks have a very grim feel and you can hear the black metal run true with a loose right hand, a fast d-beat and a scream that gives a little bit of a goat blood flavour. As for the rest of the album, you can hear where the cult live-gig-crowd are gonna chime in and fucking love it. From then on, you know: “Sick In The Bath”. “F.R.P.B” ( Fat Romanian Punch Bag anyone!?), “Fuck The Pope” and “Die Bastard Die” are going to be chanted live by those who have learned the chorus. There’s no lyric sheet, but there’s no need though, as you can hear the expletives and that’s all we need, right? It’s nasty, filthy and it shall appeal to crusties, black metal heads and some of the more extreme punk crowd alike. The artwork is pretty cool, too; buxom scarred beauties engaging in foreplay with wolves – what’s not to love? “Sick in the Bath”! You are all gonna be singing it sooner or later.

The Streets – Computers And Blues (2011)

The Streets – Computers And Blues (2011)

Computers And Blues was, sadly, the final record by The Streets (2020 edit: they’ve dropped a few singles recently but no full length for nearly a decade). For me, Streets records tend to follow a fairly defined pattern of progression. After the almost ethereal chill out of Everything Is Borrowed, Computers And Blues seems like a bit of a step backwards (only in the order of how things unfolded, not in quality). This final release feels to me like it should have come out between A Grand… and The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living. It is the only Streets record not to be pressed on vinyl. It is also the only Streets album that doesn’t jump out at me with some sort of over-arching theme. In that way alone, it is entirely unique in the group’s discography, and perhaps this was something that Mike Skinner wanted to have a go at before putting the group to bed? Who knows, I’m just rambling here. Anyways, there are some fantastic songs here. The first four are absolutely solid. The opener, “Outside Inside” is amazing, and the following track, “Going Through Hell”, should have been the lead single, in my opinion. Further along the tracklisting, “Blip On A Screen” is Mike rapping for his unborn son, which is actually kinda nice. “OMG” is a bit weak, being essentially about Facebook, but is an interesting concept and has a happy ending (although not the Thai massage kind). I think it would have been much more mysterious and even mature to end The Streets legacy with the introspective Everything Is Borrowed, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a mega-solid British record, which falls lazily somewhere between indie and hip hop.

R10T33R – High Tech Wreck (2015)

R10T33R – High Tech Wreck (2015)

High Tech Wreck is an electronic explosion of sound conducted in the grimmest and trve-est of ways possible for electronic music – in 8 bit sound blips, of course! All four tracks here have been painfully synthesized using the primitive sound forms, and actually make for some seriously interesting listening. It would possibly be a primitive and ham-fisted reviewing technique to make comparisons to Aphex Twin whilst talking about electronic music, but High Tech Wreck literally sounds like someone scooped out Richard D James’ brain – like in Robocop 2 – and smashed it into a random 80s games console for a laugh. The resulting carnage would not be dissimilar to this, one would imagine; a detailed series of compositions of intense electronic programmery (is that even a word?). The intelligence and attention to detail here is impeccable. The production, despite being entirely constructed from the music equivalent of caveman building blocks – if you give or take a few added samples – is strong and clear, presenting a consistent and professional mix that does nothing to weaken the vibe created by the 8 bit noise. I guarantee this will be one of the most interesting things you’ve heard in a while, so give it a go?

Fire Walk With Me – Flesh World (2014)

Fire Walk With Me – Flesh World (2014)

Every year or so I come back to this project and record something new. I’m currently working on the 4th release for this project, and that got me thinking – I need to do another post about this shit. I can’t review it, as it’s mine, but I can tell you a bit about it. Flesh World is the second Fire Walk With Me record, and is by far my favourite; even out of the new one that’s almost finished. How’s that for a bleak noise outlook; I already think the best stuff is in the past, why are we even alive? Haha This whole thing started in Cornwall when I had some time on my hands. Copious amounts of Stella Artois, weirdos on Plenty Of Fish and a binge watch of two seasons of Twin Peaks brought me to the usual frustration of wanting to record something noisy. Only, when I came to put it down, it just wouldn’t come. I guess maybe it was the sleepy, laid back nature of my southern surroundings at the time. Instead I took a gentler route (there’s still some noise), playing the longer, more ambient game. I did a lot of research on unsettling noises, and actually ended up sampling a lot of stuff from devices that had converted space probe signals into actual sounds. I keep meaning to put a few of these on CDr so I can shift ’em at Judas Cradle shows, but I’m just a lazy fuck. As always though, it’s completely free to stream and download, so if this concoction sounds like your thing, do me a favour and try it out. Nice one!

Death Vacation – Bones Grow Cold (2016)

Death Vacation – Bones Grow Cold (2016)

Holy shit! What a grinding explosion of noise! Intense hardcore meets the savagery of grind on this 5-track / 4-minute EP from American female-fronted mentalists Death Vacation. This really is short and sweet, hitting the “grind” button right on the spot; a no-nonsense approach of getting in, fucking you up, having a little mosh too, and then getting the fuck out. Everything is on point here, and the production is totally solid, but what really stands out for me is the vocal performance, which is just beyond intense as fuck. A short review for a short release, but well worth a look in. Currently available in limited quantities on flexi disc thanks to Serenity Now Tapes.

1349 – Demonoir (2010)

1349 – Demonoir (2010)

Demonoir is a ferocious, blasting beast with enough venom to put most of the black metal scene to shame. Mixing volatile, confusing, almost mathematic song structures with endless battery attacks and monolithic, pensive vocal contributions, Demonoir is surely the calling card for the black metal pure bloods. Marrying brutality with subtly, dissonance with solidarity, grimm with the khold (sorry haha), 1349 are on top form as ever. There is simply no way I can ever fault a 1349 record. It just isn’t possible, unless Pink Floyd is involved. There is a puzzling array of cover sleeves for this record. None of them are particularly amazing, but I find the one I chose above to be the most profound and intriguing. The text and brilliant red seem blazing in comparison to the muddy nature of the actual art itself. Perhaps it is meant to highlight the cold clashes of 1349’s lightening fast blurs and searing precision? Who truly knows… 

Darkthrone – Sardonic Wrath (2004)

Darkthrone – Sardonic Wrath (2004)

Sardonic Wrath is one of those mid-career Darkthrone records I always seem to look past, so I made the decision to add it to my Spotify in order to get a bit more circulation out of it. I seem to fall into the terrible habit of writing off everything released in between the flurry of early 90s black metal masterpieces and the massive return to form with the crust punk style in the mid 2000s. And yes, whilst it is true that some of the Darkthrone material from this middle-period can leave a lot to be desired, I don’t believe that the same can be said for Sardonic Wrath, which is a surprisingly punishing affair of cold lo-fi black metal. The extra commentary tracks packaged onto the end of this particular version of the release actually helped me get a better perspective on the Darkthrone recording process. Sardonic Wrath marks the point where Fenriz’s guitar parts are starting to be written into the music, and the man himself proudly admits this was the point where the band stopped looking at just riffs, and instead started looking at songs as a whole. The intensity of early Darkthrone focussed entirely on the riff, so I believe this tidbit of information greatly explains the drastic change of direction the band would take not so long after Sardonic Wrath was released. In that respect, Sardonic Wrath is the last “truly” black metal record that Darkthrone would release. It’s not a bad record in any shape or form, and is in fact, pretty good, but I feel if this was put out by a new band at the time then it would have been considered a lot more groundbreaking, which is quite sad in it’s own little way, as people become used to the status quo.