Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: January 2018

Ratos De Porão – Brasil (1989)

Ratos De Porão – Brasil (1989)

Of the two things that I never thought would go well together, football and thrash metal are high on that list. I suppose the insipid hooliganism and tribalist subtext to the football psyche (sorry football fans!) goes hand in hand with the one-dimensional attack of thrash metal. That would be true of course, if RDP didn’t expertly blend in hardcore punk influences too, giving the record a chaotic edge akin to the works of D.R.I. and so on, which is a nice touch. Brasil is a riff-focussed, energetic romp that is highly enjoyable and almost infectious. The version I’ve got here also has a few bonus tracks which are a welcome addition to the package as a whole.

Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis (2017)

Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis (2017)

It should feel like I’ve been waiting since the dawn of time for new Akercocke material, but with the Antichrist Imperium and the incredibly excellent Voices, my fix has been kept somewhat at bay. However, to the die hard Akercocke fanatic, I imagine this is somewhat akin to taking methadone instead of heroin, so it is an enormous sigh of relief that I can now lose myself in the blissful, all-encompassing abyss of the group’s satanic, blackened death metal once more. Akercocke feel fresh and revitalized by their break, which is a massive relief, what with a lot of bands “coming back” as pale shadows of themselves, often motivated by cash. The sound here is a lot more refined, where the frenetic chaos of earlier Scanlan-like tracks can now enjoy the breathing room of the sprawling production work akin to the Deeds… era, or later Voices material (yes, Scanlan was on Choronzon, but despite how hard that record hit, it was a very dense production). Akercocke have carved their own niche in the intricate world of progressive death metal, and now that I’ve listened to this record several times over and really let it set in, it genuinely feels like they never really went away. Just like, don’t go anywhere soon, yeah guys? Stand out tracks: “Disappear”, “First To Leave The Funeral”, “A Final Glance Back Before Departing” and the epic “A Particularly Cold September”. <

David Bowie – Blackstar (2016)

David Bowie – Blackstar (2016)

Blackstar is a strange trip; a trip tinged by sadness, although that particular sadness was steeped in strength and ready to face what lay beyond. It isn’t everyday that you get to hear a record put out by a man who knew that he was dying (inb4 the general existential dread that comes with the knowledge that we are all slowly dying lol). This in itself should cut an interesting enough scenario, but things were made even more poignant, as two days after the album dropped (on the 8th January 2016, Bowie’s 69th birthday), the man himself passed away. Dealing with this alone was one thing, but him having left us this gift, mere hours before he passed on, is something truly special and unique in such a mournful time. Sure, I’m not saying Bowie planned to fucking die after dropping this record, but shit, that’s incredibly bad/good timing (delete as appropriate).

Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste (2014)

Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste (2014)

Azealia Banks keeps popping up in the media due her somewhat erratic and bizarre behaviour. Naturally, this led me to actually check out her music, remembering “212” from a few years ago being a bit of a banger, with rude lyrics and intense Euro-style techno instrumentation. Broke With Expensive Taste is a bit of a mixed bag, if I’m honest. It reminds me of Lady Gaga’s debut album, which was also desperate to try and cover the entire smorgasbord of genres that can easily accommodate a female pop lead. When it works, it works. When it doesn’t, it fucking stinks. Bad. The best track on this thing is easily “Wallace”, which combines Miss Banks’ frankly awesome, slurry-yet-smooth voice perfectly with the almost industrial-sounding clanking of a shuffling beat. Her flows are cheeky, confident and steamy; spat in that dreamy, slightly stoned yet boastful drawl. There is more in the way of dance-driven bangers, such as “Yung Rapunxel”, and there are some solid straight-up poppy tunes too, such as “Heavy Metal & Reflective” and “Ice Princess”. Unfortunately in the last few tracks the album falls off hard; “Chasing Time” is fucking tedious, coming on like a Lorde track but written by some faceless buffoon who put together the tracks on an early 2000s Atomic Kitten album, and “Nude Beach A-Go-Go” is quite possibly the worst thing I have ever heard in the history of music. “Miss Camaraderie” saves the record before it sinks completely but it does feel slightly too late and I’m past caring by this point. You could trim a lot of the shit out of this and make a decent EP, but as it stands, it is a bit tedious.

Morrissey – Low In High School (2017)

Morrissey – Low In High School (2017)

Cracking Morrissey album, this! The strongest sounding Morrissey album since 2004’s You Are The Quarry, very easily so in my opinion – yeah Christ, I really enjoyed this one. Great sound here, especially from the very grand opener “My Love, I’d Do Anything For You”, with its horn section coming into play, adding to that nice big band vibe. I keep going back to this one – a definite favourite! I won’t waffle on about this album too much or pick it apart, but I will say that it is a very solid Morissey album; one that if you are a long-time Morrissey fan I’m you’ll very much enjoy. And if you aren’t? We’ll you’ll probably still continue to stay well away from it hoho – I realise he’s not to everyones tastes, but this is cracking. As well as that awesome opener, highlights for me would be the single “Spent The Day In Bed”, as I really like the little keys jingle, which mega makes this song, as well as the lyrical content too on this one. “Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On Stage”, which aside from being a good song in general, I really like the drumming. Lovely drum sounds here (as there is throughout the whole album, mind you). Whilst we are on the subject, the instrumentation aspect of this album is 10/10 to be fair, a fantastic sound. “Home Is A Question Mark” is also very much one I keep going back to here out of the bunch as well as “I Bury The Living”, again another mega huge sounding one. Great record overall, what else can I say!? Listen to in it’s entirety and enjoy.

Dead Twilight – …A Litany For The Deads… (2006)

Dead Twilight – …A Litany For The Deads… (2006)

A decade ago (Jesus Christ…) I tried (and failed) at running my own record label. I have done it again for fun once or twice since, but cutting out tape covers in my house is a bit different from trying to press vinyl and organising massive splits. Anyways, I failed miserably at it, but I did get my hands on some awesome music. This here was a CDr re-issue of an atmospheric Italian death metal demo by the band Dead Twilight that I released before I went into fully-fledged vinyl and CD releasing. Some of you long time readers may remember these guys from Myspace; their gothic-tinged drum machine death attack stood out to me a country mile over all the usual boring bedroom grindcore that was filling my feeds at the time (remember those Bulletins? Jeez…) . It is only a couple of tracks long, but its a fucking stormer.

Noothgrush – Failing Early, Failing Often (2001)

Noothgrush – Failing Early, Failing Often (2001)

Falling Early, Falling Often is a lesson in pure, unfiltered USA sludge mania. Channeling that Eyehategod school of combining time-warped Sabbath groove with downtuned desperation, Noothgrush’s dirty sound shines like a revealing black light through the dry, crisp and restrained production job which dominates most of the tracks on this collection. (Why is a lot of doom produced this way, is it to cram all of that riff in when recorded at what I can only assume is an obscene volume?) The icing on the cake for me is the inclusion of Star Wars themed tracks. I mean, a sludge track called fucking “Sith” is just monolithic in title alone (thankfully the sound backs it up!), and the dirged-out version of “Imperial March / Alderaan” is pure bliss for any nerdy metalhead. What I also like about this record is that the tracks don’t drone on for too long, which seems to be a staple with the slower end of metal. I get it, obviously, but I won’t say it isn’t refreshing to encounter a slightly more brisk pace on this kind of album. More Noothgrush please!

Enabler – La Fin Absolue Du Monde (2014)

Enabler – La Fin Absolue Du Monde (2014)

Tell you what, this has been on my review-list for over three years. I initially added it on when they were announced for a Temples Festival line up way back when. The initial review fell under the bus when some seriously dodgy accusations were made against the main man in Enabler by their ex-bass player. Now all that has blown over somewhat, I have finally decided to crack open the ancient draft file of this review and get on with the show. Decent bit of metal-tinged hardcore, if I could be so straight up. The bass tone is proper, and lends a nice distorted rumble to the fairly polished proceedings. The drumming too, is of note and the production helps bring out the performance excellently. The vocals are a bit irritating, but not the worse shit I’ve ever heard. I give it a meh/10. Neeeeeeext.

AFX – Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006 – 2008 (2015)

AFX – Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006 – 2008 (2015)

You gotta love Richard D. James, right? Often imitated (attempted, at least!) and discussed, but instantly recognizable and stands in his own little microcosm. Orphaned Deejay Selek came out around the same time as Syro, and honestly, I still spin this a lot more than I do the Syro record. There is something much more imminent about this; the way the opening tracks pulse and drive makes you just want to get up and go, to reach out to the world and do something really fucking exciting. As the EP goes on, what it loses in immediate urgency it draws up in creativity. More sparse, simpler beats are employed in a hypnotic fashion, and acid tones come out to play to drive home that AFX is going nowhere, alongside the full-time Aphex Twin handle. There has been masses of stuff from this guy released online in recent years, but Orphaned Deejay Selek remains one of my favourite “modern” Richard D. James releases (note that the download from Warp Records contains extra tracks that I have not heard on the Spotify version). 

Strong Intention – What Else Can We Do But Fight Back (2001)

Strong Intention – What Else Can We Do But Fight Back (2001)

(Excuse the lo-fi art today, can’t find anything with high enough resolution!) This is a barking mad, rabid display of hardcore punk power. Strong Intention’s music is underpinned by what seems like genuine disgust and anguish at the American work-a-day life, which sets them apart from their peers in a sea of similar bands. Songs like “Model Citizen”, “Consumer Sucker” and “Economic Outpatient” are perfect examples of this malice utilized to deliver scathing punk noise with an alternative diatribe to the work/sleep/die/repeat model of life. My only complaint with this record is that the sound is a little thin. Yeah, punk is DIY as fuck but a little boost to the sound quality here would be enormously beneficial for the band’s anger and energy. It is not badly recorded, it just sounds a little flat compared to other records as it fitted into the rest of my listening for the day, which was absolutely fine when I got used to it, but it doesn’t hide the fact that the production is a little flat. That aside, this is brilliant, and strongly recommended listening.