Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: February 2018

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe starts as a promising creeper, where a pathologist / medical examiner father & son duo come across a female corpse that has sustained horrific injuries and is harboring all sorts of bizarre secrets. Dad (Brian Cox) is a methodical and professional character, who offers interesting insights into each increasingly bizarre discovery on or in the girl’s body. I felt that there was over-use of musical queues (I hate being told when to be scared), but asides from this, the film was building an interesting level of suspense and it was genuinely puzzling how the girl had been killed. And then, in what I can only describe as a Dusk ‘Til Dawn style twist, the film just strays off into the fucking cosmos. Think Cabin In The Woods, but without a single hint of irony, homage or parody. Yeah, I love weird shit, and I’m pretty partial to horror, even of the supernatural variety. But, this, this was just pure fucking dreck. I won’t spoil it, but it fucking sucked, and ended up being another one of those “glossy” supernatural horrors, such as Insidious and the like. 

Cathedral – Supernatural Birth Machine (1996)

Cathedral – Supernatural Birth Machine (1996)

Mid-career Cathedral output is often looked at with a certain degree of scorn, which is understandable in some respects but then, mainly not so understandable in others. Playing Supernatural Birth Machine, which bursts forth from the womb into heavy metal life (I went there) with the highly entertaining and excellently heavy “Urkos Conquest” and firmly establishes itself as a cheesy doom masterpiece within a matter of minutes. Do you need any more ride bell in your life, motherfuckers? “Dragon Ryder 13” takes the prize for worst song title in Cathedral’s back catalogue, although “Nightmare Castle” comes a close second (and also means I now am obligated to watch the movie of the same name). The latter however is a stunning romp through doom metal tropes, capped by Lee Dorrian’s mischievous sense of humour, and gives a good indication of how high this entire band probably was during this period of their existence. I approve.

John Zorn – Naked City (1990)

John Zorn – Naked City (1990)

Ba ba doo de da doop. What’s more insane than Mike Patton smoking crack in a jazz club? Why, John Zorn’s Naked City, of course! Meet the album that spawned the band of the same name. Bizarre grindcore elements meet experimental jazz music, resulting in pompous explosions of glorious noise in bed next to smooth, swinging numbers and interpretations of famous TV/movie themes. I’ll never think of the James Bond theme in the same way again, that’s for sure.

Parazitózis – The Taste Of Medical Waste (2013)

Parazitózis – The Taste Of Medical Waste (2013)

Parazitózis play the sort of goregrind that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Sludgy, toned-to-almost-human-inaudibility guitar mush meets arsehole-for-a-face swamp vocals and drumming that is swifter than instant decapitation. The Taste Of Medical Waste is billed as a one man old school goregrind attack, which kinda undersells it, as there are hundreds of projects fitting that description. Parazitózis is much more adept at invoking intumescent tunage from the suppurating, bubbling vats of putrefying filth. One of Hungary’s choicest cuts, without a doubt.

Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales (1984)

Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales (1984)

I have a soft spot for early Celtic Frost; it just seems to tick all of the right boxes as far as metal goes. The overall product is slightly primitive, with a condensed production job, but this allows for a dry, punchy drum sound to penetrate through the fog of guitars. Leads (and oddly, the bass) are fine but the rhythym gets swallowed up in the haze. Asides from the well-known classics here, my favourites have to be “Visions of Mortality” and “Nocturnal Fear”. The version I have comes with a couple of demo-quality tracks tacked on the end, including a pretty cool version of “Circle of the Tyrants” with some stunning drumming on it.

Demented Are Go – In Sickness & In Health (1986)

Demented Are Go – In Sickness & In Health (1986)

It is such a weird feeling when you discover something that has been under your nose this whole time (hell, since before you were even born – imagine such ignorance!). Today I’m talking about Cardiff’s Demented Are Go, who are – granted – a band praised for helping pioneer the psychobilly sound, which isn’t exactly my strong point. But, Demented Are Go lean towards the harder, more abrasive end of the scale, and hail from “down t’road”, so out of pure odds of chance alone, it is weird that I’ve never come across this guys until now. Anyway, this is pretty fuckin’ cool. Hyper-speed punk meets the roots of ‘billy swing in a display of vulgar phlegm and tongue-in-cheek subject matter. “Pervy In The Park” is downright brilliant, as is “Transvestite Blues” and closer “Don’t Go In The Woods”. The production is a bit mucky, but if anything it lends to the overall product. The highlight for me is vocalist Sparky, whose throaty, gloopy rasp is akin to Wattie from Exploited on a valium overdose. Classic stuff.

Anal Trump – That Makes Me Smart! (2016)

Anal Trump – That Makes Me Smart! (2016)

This is perfect, considering the current political climate. It dropped at just the right time; days before the election farce of 2016 this came like a wet fart out of nowhere into the face of the world (I wrote this a loooong time ago, the world hasn’t ended just yet – Ed). Anal Trump have gone on to release several short blasts of petulant goregrind wetness, having at the socio-political issues of the day through a smashed mirror caked in dried blood, or something. Travis Ryan’s intense vocal performances are the true icing on the cake; hearing him perform in a “grindcore” sound again is worth the listen alone. 

Delirium (1987)

Delirium (1987)

IMDb has this down as a “spaghetti horror”, which is pretty funny. Where does a giallo end and spaghetti horror begin, definition wise? I guess, if anything, Delirium is a late offering to the giallo cause, coming out in 1987. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, despite how bad it looks. The sound effects are so fucking cheap, and couple that with an unbelievable bad overdub, the even more unbelievably bad acting, we have a recipe for success here. The plot revolves loosely around a porno mag’s editor being sent pictures of the mutilated corpses of her models, who are draped in front of a massive picture of herself, so as you can imagine there is plenty of cheesy violence, and even more plentiful nudity. Trippy FX are reserved for the brief moments that we see through the eyes of the killer, but are effective. Throw in a crappy twist and hey, you’ve got yourself a thriller (apparently).

The Day Everything Became Nothing – Invention : Destruction (2006)

The Day Everything Became Nothing – Invention : Destruction (2006)

The Day Everything Became Nothing play in a dry, sterile, heaving approach to goregrind; the type that can suffocate you beneath its weight, like dying slowly trapped under rubble, or having your fucking head smashed off in one go by an anvil or some such grotesquery. Harking from the school of the CBT vein of gore, TDEBN expand on this template to take the groovy gore into a more solid, straight-up metal direction. The song-writing is tight, precise and does not fuck around in regards to getting to the point and delivering perfectly-packaged slabs of metallic goregrind neatly and efficiently for you to consume greedily. Enjoy.

Dead Infection – A Chapter Of Accidents (1995)

Dead Infection – A Chapter Of Accidents (1995)

A Chapter Of Accidents is surely the pinnacle of classic Dead Infection? Fuck it, even in the history and development of the goregrind sound itself. Yeah, I’m going with that! A Chapter Of Accidents manages to stand out in an infernal sea of disgusting goregrind, even by today’s standards. The subterranean production of earlier Dead Infection records is replaced by a crispy – yet still repugnant – sound that is far more suited to the depths of goregrind than it is to dubbed-a-thousand-times demo tape death metal. The most noticeable improvement, if we are listening to Dead Infection canonically, is the drumming, which is now crystal clear, allowing the blast beats to really hit home. The riffs are as thick as sludge still, and the vocals are straight out of Poland’s sewers. Classic stuff.

Bad Religion – No Control (1989)

Bad Religion – No Control (1989)

I’ve always had a soft spot for Bad Religion, despite having a “metalhead” background whilst growing up. It all started when I heard “You” on the soundtrack for the Tony Hawks 2 game back when I was a nipper (along with horrorpunk era AFI and Millencolin’s “No Cigar”, man that soundtrack didn’t half sell punk rock to me!). Although, coming up through a world of extreme metal, I found Bad Religion’s laid back punk rock approach almost too lazy. In hindsight, as a fully grown, responsible adult, I can appreciate the music of Bad Religion. No Control is a stand-out for me with the band’s discography, matching pacy percussion, sharp riffing and dry production with fluid, soothingly melodic choruses and clever, thought-provoking lyrics. Nowadays, the band are a go-to for me for how good punk rock should sound, and No Control is more often than not the record that I choose to play.

Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini (1973)

Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini (1973)

Billed as Full Moon Of The Virgins on Amazon Prime, and known as The Devil’s Wedding Night to most of the world, this fantastic Italian horror movie can comfortably join the Low Budget Movies With 9000 Different Names Club. I’ll go with the original title, Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini, even though I have absolutely no real fucking clue on how to correctly pronounce it. Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini is brilliant. I loved every second of it. The ridiculously wooden acting of Mark Damon (sorry bro) somehow lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the feature, especially towards the start. And then, as the film progresses, Esmerelda Barros as Lara and Rosalba Neri as the Countess take over the spotlight. Both are oddly creepy, but the latter truly shines in her role, with some breathtaking scenes (the bathing in blood scene being the most striking, see below and above!). The film does unfortunately lose marks for its fairly shitty ending and twist, and the hammy inclusion of some zombie vampire guy who just does a whole bunch of shuffling around and not much else. But as far as virgin sacrificing Dracula knock offs go, this is pretty good. 

Godflesh – Songs Of Love And Hate (1996)

Godflesh – Songs Of Love And Hate (1996)

I forgot how much I love this record. Sure, it is not in what is considered the high-point of Godflesh’s career, but appreciators of their entire body of work such as yours truly can find a lot of pleasure in the less-trodden paths of the ‘Flesh. My main complaint is that the whole thing sounds a little flat, but this isn’t something that cannot be rectified by turnin’ ‘ting up a bit, ken? That hurdle aside, things can be appreciated fully. I love the mix of melody and fuzzy heaviness here. There is something beautiful about the simplicity of Justin’s riffs; the abstract heaviness at points falling into almost nu-metal territory, but applied to such songs as “Wake”, “Hunter”, “Kingdom Come”, “Time, Death & Wastefulness”, and the beautiful “Frail”, all is forgiven. Brian Mantia was a strange choice for the band’s first drummer, considering his CV, but things gel together nicely, and along with Mr. Green’s meatgrinder bass, things slot together perfectly for a well-rounded album.

Anathema – Distant Satellites (2014)

Anathema – Distant Satellites (2014)

Distant Satellites, upon its release, marked a quietly confident return for the band, with the band’s sound maturing further yet again. Just when you think Anathema could not have evolved any further, they came out and dropped this. Distant Satellites is subtle yet emotionally dense, restrained yet soaring in ravines of ups and downs, warm yet cold with tales of loss and despair. The Cavanagh brothers et al have song writing down to a fine art of their very own (it’s worth checking out the album on the strength of the title track alone).

Pumpkinhead (1988)

Pumpkinhead (1988)

Ah, good ol’ Pumpkinhead. Honestly, I only wound up watching this because of the Misfits song of the same name (which I guess is loosely based on this? It has the same poem at the end). On first impressions, I found this to be a fairly crummy movie, but the more I thought about the whole premise and story, I found it to be pretty original and interesting (more so in story than in actual execution). Pumpkinhead – the creature – is kinda gnarly looking but isn’t the most nimble of creatures. How he pulls off the stalker/monster thang of being constantly at the heels of his prey is actually pretty funny because of this. The whole thing looks stunning; this is the pinnacle of visual FX and analogue filming, as far as B movies go, anyway. The sound is crisp and the picture is fantastic. The editing leaves a little to be desired (being obtuse but without really shadowing the monster enough, bizarrely) and the acting is pretty abysmal, to be fair. Cynthia Bain is fucking mint, though. There are three sequels to this, but hey… I’ll get to those some other time…

Yabadum – Careful Kid (2014)

Yabadum – Careful Kid (2014)

Buried deep beneath the sedimentary layers of this wasteland we call a musical landscape, there is a carved plateau in which six unscathed gems wait to be excavated.  After a few days of digging around Spotify radio playlists, I hit gold… or diamond. Unlike the previous releases that these four New Yorkers have put forth DIY, the 2014 EP – Careful Kid – was recorded in an actual studio (Room 17). The clarity shines through with space age synths and upbeat jazz tones melodically intertwining around Horvarth’s cheerful, yet thought provoking lyrical jamboree. It shoves feel-good emotions down your throat until you’re shitting pure happiness. The first song to grace my ears was “Winter”; the opening synth line left me confused – “What’s Spotify subjecting me to now?” I thought, but I gave it a chance. The more the song progressed, the more I understood what this band are all about. The prominent, silky jazz synth and guitars caught my attention as it came in with the smooth vocals. “Funky.” I said to my kettle (I was making a cup of tea at the time). Delving deeper, I realised that this band wouldn’t be the same without the subtly complex bass lines thumping away underneath it all. At 2:00 the song breaks away from the chilled out jazz/swing vibe and delves into a slow break, led by beautiful keys that put you in a zen-like state, of which is broken by a surprising elevation that builds the song into a bouncing collaboration of shredding guitars and dance drum beats crescendo-ing alongside a beastly organ which will have you spilling your tea all over your kitchen from dance moves inspired by a frog on a fishing hook before floating back down with a familiar and catchy chorus. I must have played this song at least five times before moving on to the rest of the EP due to a fear of the remaining songs not living up to ‘Winter’. I am glad that my fear was unfounded.  Running at just over forty minutes, I’ve played this EP more than I’d care to admit, earning itself a top contender slot in my overall ‘tracks most played’, it’s a crystal clear cut of cheery musical brilliance.  10/10 would recommend. For fans of Minus The Bear, Feed Me Jack, This Town Needs Guns. Careful Kid by Yabadum