Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: April 2017

Necro Deathmort – Martian Cartography (2014)

Necro Deathmort – Martian Cartography (2014)

Martian Cartography is an excellent album release by the criminally under-rated experimental duo Necro Deathmort. Mixing catastrophically heavy atmosphere with intelligent, progressive electronic work has always been ND’s forte, but on Martian Cartography, I find that this approach to sound design has finally had chance to spread its wings and fly. In some respects that means that this record isn’t as hard-hitting or droning as something off Music Of Bleak Origin or earlier, but the duo more than make up for it on the journey that they help take us on. The opening track “Repeat-O” – and also, I’m sure not coincidentally, my favourite track, “The Ultimate Testament (Remix)” – both have pulsating beats carrying them; a clinical industrial backbone to a sparse electronic worldview. Other stand outs for me include “Cold Sleeps” and the muted closer, “Terra Cimmeria”, which has a relaxed, almost deep house feel. Originally released as a download by the band themselves, this was eventually pressed onto CD by Extreme Ultimate.

Behexen / Satanic Warmaster – Split CD (2008)

Behexen / Satanic Warmaster – Split CD (2008)

Didn’t really know what to feel about posting this, what with the “accusations” against Satanic Warmaster (who denies flat out being racist, despite some extremely questionable lyrics and releases). It is also a weird situation where a non-NSBM band has done a split with a band that is considered to be a NSBM act. Regardless, I’ve covered some pretty extreme shit here before, and have also written about Death In June and even Burzum, so the show will go on, objectively at least. I’ll start with the offending article of Satanic Warmaster. It is almost a relief to me that they are the weaker of the two bands on the split, so the temptation to check out any more of their stuff has literally died on its arse. It isn’t entirely bad, but it isn’t particularly stunning or original either; a lot of the nuance gets lost in the cluttered distortion, rather than being granted life by it instead. And the second track…fuck I don’t even know what to say here. It kinda goes off into a dreary, acoustic nod to the type of melody that Lifelover would have executed in the Pulver days, but it just sounds like complete shit. Behexen, on the other hand, are fucking class. These two tracks are beautiful, and encompass everything I love from black metal; the way that the duality floats between complete sonic nihilism and intense, bombastic, almost symphonic-in-scale moments of grandiose velocity. I can’t remember why this was even on my Spotify to-do-list (it has been there a very long time) but I’m mega glad I bit the bullet and checked it out. A ton of Behexen shit has just replaced it. Amazing.

Nothing Clean / Higgs Boson – Split 7″ (2016)

Nothing Clean / Higgs Boson – Split 7″ (2016)

10/10 split 7″ from Olso fastcore/PV maniacs Higgs Boson (who perhaps have one of the sickest bass tones ever), going head to head with British kings of start/stop savagery, Nothing Clean. Both bands churn out rapid-fire bursts of aggression, as, of course, you would expect, but with Higgs Boson not being afraid to slow things to a crawl pace for a few seconds to highlight the speed of the quick bits even more, or to add little – dare I say it – melodic passages to proceedings. Also, is it a coincidence that HB’s side of the split is 4:20 in duration? Nothing Clean are a little more direct with their approach; there is a hardcore punk edge to their powerviolence mentality. The way the chaos just fucking cuts with the dead stops literally drives me mad in the best possible way (I’ve seen ’em live too, and that shit is fucking mint). Released as a collaboration between SuperFi Records, Samizdat Records, Glass To The Face Records and Cardiff’s own F.H.E.D.

O.A.P. – Human Milkshake (2013)

O.A.P. – Human Milkshake (2013)

O.A.P. (or Onanistic Anti-Peristalsis for short) were a death metal band based in Newport, Wales. I believe they finally kicked the bucket sometime around 2013/14 and Human Milkshake was their only album release. They featured members of death metal bands Necrocest and Cryptophile, as well as having local promoter / general all round good egg Sam Wall as one of the vocalists. Human Milkshake gets better as it goes on; personally I find the opening track “Jeremy Kyle” hilarious yet a bit repetitive, but the guys quickly fall into a gurgling groove which should satisfy the nastiest of death metal bloodhounds. The inclusion of shouted vocals alongside the gutturals and inhales is an interesting choice but adds a fresh dynamic to a tried and tested formula of music. A tidy production job as well, rounds the whole thing off with a surprisingly heavy hit for a drum machine band. Top stuff! I miss the O.A.P. shenanigans. Reunion tour?

King Midas Sound – Waiting For You (2009)

King Midas Sound – Waiting For You (2009)

King Midas Sound is a beautiful collaboration between Roger Robinson, Kiki Hitomi and Kevin Martin, which (I think, correct me if I’m wrong) began life as a track for Kevin’s much more wider known project, The Bug. I find it hard to describe and categorize KMS simply because my exploration into this kind of music is incredibly limited (I got here through Godflesh, Techno Animal, etc.), although I can say that this is a incredibly strong and moving record. Revisiting it years later for the purpose of this post has acted as a written reminder to myself to explore these kinds of things more often. Robinson’s soft, bizarrely ethereal vocals are the perfect human accompaniment to Kevin Martin’s spaced out dubs, shuffling beats and sparse yet hard-hitting arrangements. Waiting For You walks that perilous tightrope between being chilled out and having a profound message; equal parts dark and light, with finishing flourishes from Hitomi, who would take more of a central vocal role as the project progressed in later years. Waiting For You was released by the excellent Hyperdub.

Cease Of Breeding – Sounds Of Disembowelment (2010)

Cease Of Breeding – Sounds Of Disembowelment (2010)

Easily one of the best slices of death metal I’ve heard in the last few months, Cease Of Breeding’s only album, entitled Sounds Of Disembowelment, literally has the definitive death metal production sound, giving all of these massacres (I’m talking about the songs, geddit?) the room they need to breathe, and more importantly, brutalize, like a hundred daggers to the face and a thousand punches to the stomach all at once, or something equally as ridiculous. The drumming is incredible, the guitars are ripping and the balance between the instrumentation is nothing but pure class. The vocals…well, maybe you should press play. Death metal always comes with some levels of discomfort but this is entirely and sickeningly indulgent; a total pleasure to listen to. Fucking awesome stuff.

Aun – Black Pyramid (2010)

Aun – Black Pyramid (2010)

Aun are one of those bands that I constantly end up back at. For what is essentially noisy ambiance with synths and the odd guitar, this is quite impressive. Fantastic, shoe-gazy drones meet unfurling electronics in transcendent “songs” that average around the 7 minute mark; deep, involving worlds swirl into life, conjured from the chasms of nothingness by this bleak yet somewhat inspiring show of digital noise. Enter the Black Pyramid!

Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Honky Reduction (1998)

Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Honky Reduction (1998)

This has to be the benchmark to which all drum machine grindcore is judged. ANb’s first full length record is far cry from anything that has followed it (even the lightening fast pharmaceutical headfuck of Frozen Corpse… is a million miles away from this); the production is bassy, fat and bludgeoning, the guitars almost sludgy, and the shrieked, yelped vocals are almost drowned out by the cacophony of the strings and machine. And that harsh noise at the end… Jesus fuck, that’s some moody shit which truly encompasses the meaning of the words “power electronics”. Can’t really say much more other than just point out a few of my favourite tracks, “Die And Get The Fuck Out Of The Way”, “Vexed”, “Hat Full Of Shit”…. the list, she goes on! Essential!

Deafheaven – New Bermuda (2015)

Deafheaven – New Bermuda (2015)

Ah man, this is just, like, so lush. That was probably the Welshest sentence I’ve ever written to describe music, but I feel like it is somewhat entirely justified in this instance; you tend to hear the term “nice” black metal bandied about to describe acts such as Alcest, but I don’t usually rate those types of acts. However, Deafheaven for some reason seem to be an exception for me. This band have managed to follow up the ethereal Sunbather with something even more profound, expansive and all-encompassing than before; heaps of washing atmospheres and glittering passages of light mash head on with elements of blasting brutality, throat shredding vocals and soaring leads. Or, you could just write it off as hipster black metal, if you like. Can’t wait to catch these guys live in a few weeks; if this material is anything to go by then the live show is bound to be intense as fuck. Favourite track: “Baby Blue”.

Salt Bath – Uncomfortable Choices (2017)

Salt Bath – Uncomfortable Choices (2017)

Salt Bath are a new band from the Newport area of South Wales, playing an abrasive form of back-to-basics noisemongery distilled through the blunt force weapons of choice – bass guitar and drums (with Venom Prison sticksman Sheehy on the skins). Uncomfortable Choices boasts an impressively all-encompassing production sound, courtesy of One Louder Studios, again in Newport. Imagine Big Black meets Melvins or if you want to go all out; Death From Above 1979 meets early Mr. Bungle. The meat and bones of the record is a series of under-two-minuters that really compliment the chaotic bass and drums combination (I might be biased here…), although there is a smattering of longer tracks too, which not only help to break up the chaos and offer something a bit more profound, but contribute an intense layer of atmosphere, which considering the mediums chosen for expressing such sounds, is no small feat. Case in point would be “Love Song”; a lurching – almost swaggering – minimalistic crawl that just gathers in tension as it clamours together its seven minutes. What a beauty!

Portal – Seepia (2003)

Portal – Seepia (2003)

Jesus, what a glorious fucking mess. I am instantly reminded of the Pissgrave review I did recently; these guys are really, really similar, only Portal has a more dark and eery vibe, rather than the terrifyingly vivid, gory splurge of Pissgrave. It would not surprise me if the bands shared members or something (edit: I just found out how old this album is, guess that Pissgrave relation was wishful thinking). Anyway, this is some spooky shit. It can be difficult to successfully blend a theatrical element into death metal, especially without it seeming hammy or corny as fuck, but Portal’s racket (and image) is genuinely sinister and terrifying. It is almost as if the essence of death metal itself is being sucked through some other-worldly tear in the fabric of time and space; siphoned off to some unknown existence beyond the material plane, where it is subjected to inhuman and incomprehensible levels of horror, before being spewed back to us for our listening pleasure. Yeah.

Libido Airbag – Sleaze Servant (2016)

Libido Airbag – Sleaze Servant (2016)

Sleaze Servant is the new EP from long-time techno-gore-grind filth mongers, Libido Airbag; a “band” so balls deep in scum and vulgar sounds that even your gran loves a dance to some of their older tunes. They’ve hardly pumped out volumes of material in their long existence, but the fact that they can still develop and spew out fresh sounds in such a restrictive genre is a testament to gore and porno grind, especially the latter, which often gets bogged down with oceans of crap digi-bedroom projects. Please ladies and gentlemen, just because you’ve found out how to work a drum machine, it doesn’t mean you can’t start a fuckin’ grindcore band. But I digress. Sleaze Servant is exactly what the title promises it will be. Whilst a layer of filth has definitely been peeled away from The Airbag as they have progressed into the HD world; those old, minging recordings from the past were a lot sketchier than the pristine techno instrumentation on this record. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still mankin’ as absolute fuck; the title track and “Black Mark Of The Iron Phallus” are examples of Libido Airbag at their titty-clamping best (edit: what?), whilst “Rectum Ritual” and “Praise The Placentagram” are filthy, delicious, and I guess in a really twisted way, just pure fucking genius. 10/10 for nastiness!

Agathocles / Generation Spasfon – Split CD (2009)

Agathocles / Generation Spasfon – Split CD (2009)

I’ve had this for so long but the sodding thing is so small I keep losing it amongst my CDs! The Agathocles stuff here seems to be original tracks, which is refreshing in itself, but the greatest surprise is that they are also somewhat strangely melodic; it is the same lo-fi high quantity of shredding mincecore, but with strange, almost ethereal guitar leads over a few of the tracks. Just when I’d thought I’d heard it all with Agathocles, they really took me by surprise. Excellent stuff! Generation Spasfon are hardcore punk through and through. Rebellion runs through the blood of this energetic, if not slightly typical, hardcore assault. This, unfortunately, appears to be the only thing that this band has released (correct me if I’m wrong!) The band provide reams of information on vegetarianism and veganism on the CD itself, and also run a website which is still going today, which you can visit here (2021: link is dead).

Repulsive Vision – Look Past The Gore And See The Art (2017)

Repulsive Vision – Look Past The Gore And See The Art (2017)

Look Past The Gore… is the long awaiting debut album from Barrow-based death metallers Repulsive Vision. It is to my knowledge that RV have been around for quite some time in various different line ups, with the most recent incarnation of the band solidifying suitably enough for a much-overdue full length to finally gestate. I am pleased to say that it has been well worth the wait, as this is a serious slab of death metal we are dealing with here. Man, this is fucking good (once you look past (see what I did there?) the cringey rock ‘n’ roll intro to track 2); the drumming is tight as fuck and the guitars are literally weeping Carcass blood. To say Repulsive Vision is melodic would be a lie, but there is definitely a progressive edge to this record; the band are not afraid to stray from the gurgle’n’blast death metal template, there is definitely a heavy punk and thrash influence here, and this only adds to the overall nuance and dexterity of the album (the production too, helps immensely with making this stand out from the bogs of typical death metal). My favourite track has to be the closer, “Credophilic”, although through the rasp of the vocals it kinda sounds like something far less savoury is being shouted about…

Sodomized Cadaver – Verses Of Putridity (2016)

Sodomized Cadaver – Verses Of Putridity (2016)

You’d think that given the opportunity, I would do everything in my power to throw mud at this band, but the reality here is that I have to admit that this is a decent fucking record. The production is solid, the riffs are intense and the vocals are on point. As with the previous release, Vorarephilia, the main downside is that for some godforsaken reason the band used a drum machine in lieu of their actual, real-life human equivalent, essentially making Verses of Putridity a solo record from a guy that isn’t even in the band any more. A pretty accurate representation of the band’s sound, then? Objectively though, as above, this is a wicked slab of metal, it’s just a crying shame that it doesn’t feel like a coherent band recorded it. I’ll leave it at that before I get ahead of myself.

Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium ‎– Motiva Pervertiva (2010)

Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium ‎– Motiva Pervertiva (2010)

(I implore you to forgive me the ridiculously low quality of today’s upload. This is literally impossible to track down online, and I unfortunately do not own a copy of the super-limited lathe cut 7″. That being said, if anyone has any hi-res scans of the cover art that would do this post more justice, then please, by all means, feel free to get in contact with me, and of course upload the pictures to Discogs too). Almost matching the lo fi sleeve is the nasty lo fi goodness from everyone’s favourite obscure gore/porngrind couple. The bass tone on this thing is unreal; it’s like, I can’t decide if it is fucking abysmal or absolutely amazing – it is hovering in between in an endless duality. I’d be lying if I said there was anything new here for Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium fans, but if you are into this shit then you are gonna love this EP (or just this YouTube link, because finding one is probably gonna be a fuckin’ task). There is just a certain charm to this band; it almost sounds like everything is recorded using analogue equipment. It sounds old, and nasty as fuck, and that’s absolutely fine by me.

Hallucinocide – The Peel Session (2016)

Hallucinocide – The Peel Session (2016)

Hallucinocide is one of the noise identities of Chilean artist Vicente Perez, perhaps most well known for his other project, Bucket Of Piss. The Peel Session isn’t quite so drumstick-meets-saucepan-core as his more “meme’d” project, but it definitely offers up a much more violent and vital exercise in proper harsh noise. Comprised of two tracks, each clocking in at over 20 minutes, The Peel Session is a meandering listen covering a broad spectrum of the patterns, frequencies and expressions one would expect to find in such a performance: “Espresso With A Twist Of Lemon” is almost primal in nature, sounding in parts like some sort of digitized wounded animal. “Get The Fuck Out Of Here? (No, I Cannot)” offers a more traditional exploration through the static; feedback loops, bleeps, rumbles and some nice’n’spicy crackling. Currently streaming on the Dismissive Records site but also coming soon on a physical tape release under Trashfuck.

Phyllomedusa – Fijian Holiday (2016)

Phyllomedusa – Fijian Holiday (2016)

Phyllomedusa has been sneaking doom metal tracks into his (?) gory repertoire for quite some time now, but Fijian Holiday marks the point where the stark lines of contrast have blurred so much that the multitude of perplexing styles this project perpetuates have finally come crashing together into one big sticky disgusting bog of beautiful, nauseating mess. Almost sounding like slam in parts; this record crawls and grooves with absolute menace. Phyllomedusa can do no wrong in my eyes. Strongly recommended!

Wraith – Naked Aggression (1989)

Wraith – Naked Aggression (1989)

Wraith are a ridiculous metal band from the UK, who I can only imagine expired quite some time ago, falling into the pits of obscurity along with dozens of failed major label deals and washed up airbrush artists. I mean, wallowing in the mire of death and grind for so long has exposed me to some absolute shiners when it comes to record sleeves, but whoever painted this deserves a fucking medal; that has to be one of the worst album sleeves in the history of music.  Sound wise, I gotta say that I enjoy this, which is as surprised a statement as the words that I uttered when first laying eyes on that cover art (sorry to focus on it so much, but honestly, it is the only reason I actually listened to this thing in the first place). Sure, it leans more towards Motley Crue than it does to say, Venom, but I didn’t turn it off before it ended, so it can’t have been that bad, right? Right!? Just don’t ask me to try and name any standout tracks….

Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events (2016)

Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events (2016)

I find that Nine Inch Nails’ release history is constantly hit-and-miss. This latest EP is absolutely no exception to that rule. How can something that is only 5 tracks long be so “meh”? I mean, surely it is either going to be shit or it is going to be great? No. Not Nine Inch Nails. Not Not The Actual Events (see what I did there?). Below is easily the best track on the whole release. When it’s good, it’s amazing, but for at least half of the time, this EP is neither of those things, so I’ll just take my elitist ass back to listening to barely audible black metal cassette demos for now.

Craig Watkins – Earth (2017)

Craig Watkins – Earth (2017)

Here we have the Earth EP by South Wales based acoustic singer/song writer Craig Watkins; a well put together collection of soulful acoustic material, with lots of raw energy and passion coming through, with a very real sense coming off of it all as an artist (real in the sense of you can tell he’s passionate about what he’s playing and what he’s singing about, which is always great to hear). Production wise the EP also has a very DIY, rough and ready, what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of sound, and that’s not me criticising; it’s again more a sense of “very real”, with no fancy or shiny production values or effects taking that edge away. My favourite track off the EP is probably the song “Brother”, which Craig has also used as the lead track and single to promote the record. It is a song that starts off slow and gradually climbs into a big, powerful, heartfelt chorus. Another highlight is the EP opener “Corporate Love”, again with a nice big chorus. Also there’s “Missing Piece”, for that lovely acoustic sound with some nice vocal harmonies thrown in the mix. The EP as a whole has a very acoustic/alternative rock sound to it, with easily accessible little ballads that wouldn’t be out of place on the radio next to similar type acts. For fans of: Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind.

Facebreaker – Dead, Rotten And Hungry (2017)

Facebreaker – Dead, Rotten And Hungry (2017)

Before we start can we all just take a moment to bask in that truly awful album art? Why did the zombie guy take the time to keep his pants on? Oh, the mirth! Maybe one day when I’m old and dying alone in sheer misery I will make an archive of awful record covers to stave off depression and an early suicide. But anyway, as usual, I have digressed… Thankfully the music isn’t as nearly as fucking dreadful as the image chosen to represent it. Dead, Rotten And Hungry is a punishing lesson in mixing Entombedcore with modern death metal; heavier than a sack of dark-matter-coated iron bolts, yet crisper than a slap to the face whilst in Siberia, in the middle of January. The band also draw subtly from slightly more melodic strains of metal, and even the stylings and structures present in something altogether more deathcore. An interesting mix!

Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered. (2016)

Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered. (2016)

This latest Kendrick Lamar record is a strange collection of what is supposed to be left over tracks and ideas related to the rapper’s previous record, To Pimp A Butterfly. Musically, it has a lot in common with the beats and instrumentation of that album, but as these songs are demos, there is a welcome rougher feel to things. At first the vocals seem a little lo-fi, but every falls into place quickly and the slight drop in quality feels like a welcome addition rather than a curse. Personally, I prefer this to the album itself. I mean, for a “collection of tracks” in such a way that is usually a proper good ol’ barrel scrape for most artists, these are pretty fucking decent. I’ve never really been that much into Kendrick Lamar, but hopefully this release will help change all that.