Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: May 2020

PxOxRxNxOx – Awaken From A Sexual Lucid Dream (2017)

PxOxRxNxOx – Awaken From A Sexual Lucid Dream (2017)

When I threw this on, I was expecting the usual low-brow pornogrind bedroom-grade electronic mush. That was what I was signing up for, of course – a brief spell in perversion to send me back to the MySpace days. However, PxOxRxNxOx does things a little differently, at least on this release here. Guitars are virtually nonexistent. The music instead focuses entirely on an electronic aspect, which is entirely typical of this kinda stuff but at the same time, Awaken… is totally different. The vibe I’m getting off of this is just downright bizarre. I’m trying to understand the mind behind this, the reasoning behind the design choices. Maybe there is something wrong with me? Fuck knows. Either way, this isn’t your usual pornogrind fare, and for that I commend it, but I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who’s not already into this stuff. Awaken from a sexual lucid Dream by PxOxRxNxOx

Basement Torture Killings – The Second Cumming (2011)

Basement Torture Killings – The Second Cumming (2011)

Chop, slice, wank, repeat. Yeah. London’s finest death metallers expand on their first EP/demo with a longer, more impressive repertoire of songs. Grisly death, macabre subjects, and flaying guitar solos are used in abundance. Killing with class, smashing with… sass? Chopping dat… ass? Yeah. Whatever. I’ve run out of steam fairly quickly on this review. Shit is good. That’s all you need to know.  

Bathory – Bathory (1984)

Bathory – Bathory (1984)

Bathory…. Bathory….. Bathory. What can I say about a record that is so influential to the black metal worlds? Copies of this have sold on Discogs for up to £1600, which should say a lot for its influence and historical value. However, how does Bathory’s self titled sound? This is proto black metal through and through. It’s not as NWOBHM as say, Venom, whose album helped cement the term ‘Black Metal’, but aurally, this is much closer – in spirit and in sound – to what would sweep Norway and then the world in the 90s. Its like watching the pilot episode of a TV show that would eventually go on to become a worldwide sensation. I haven’t got much more “big brain” style things to say about this release. I think it needs to be heard for what it is.

Panties – Electrotribalistic Pornitorium (2014)

Panties – Electrotribalistic Pornitorium (2014)

This is so awful that in some ways it is rather genius, if I can say so myself. Recorded all the way back in 2014 and put out online by noise label Red Venice, the aim of Panties was to create a pornogrind imitation that was entirely synthetic. Electrotribalistic Pornitorium, for better or worse, achieves this, being an entirely synthetic record that I recorded on my Sony Xperia Z1 phone. Vocals? Nah fam, that’s just a sample of running water. I was shocked recently to find that someone had uploaded this to YouTube where it has like 1,500 plays (LOL) – I had thought it was lost to time. Panties is a dead project, and never got a physical release, but who knows what can happen. Crazier stuff has.

Panties – Like A Lamb To The Slaughter (2014)

Panties – Like A Lamb To The Slaughter (2014)

Like A Lamb To The Slaughter was the short-lived original direction of my Panties project. It had such a simple name that I couldn’t get out of my head, I had to try and make some noise that was oppressive and fetishistic (is that a word?) to accompany and suit the name. I’m sure others who revel in the pits of noise music have these same itches right? Like, the name comes first, and then you’ve gotta start a project to match it!? Ha! There is nothing particularly redeeming about Like A Lamb To The Slaughter; it’s pretty glacial distortion and not much else. It has that oppressive feel, but I quickly changed tack with what I wanted to do with this project and moved on from this sound. For perverted noise freaks only. P.S. – no, I don’t know the girl LOL 

Mortician – Chainsaw Dismemberment (1999)

Mortician – Chainsaw Dismemberment (1999)

Chainsaw Dismemberment almost seems like a “part 2” to the legendary Hacked Up For BBQ record. It has almost identical production, and even a very similar set of samples and vibes (there are some samples from the same movies, although I am not an expert in this department and cannot really clarify all that further). It would perhaps do Mortician an injustice if I was to say that there was more of the same on this record, but if you love Hacked Up For BBQ then it makes perfect sense to immediately segway into this one, and let the brutality continue.

The Case Of The Bloody Iris (1972)

The Case Of The Bloody Iris (1972)

Once again it is giallo o’clock here at Lines In Wax. The Case Of The Bloody Iris is a slightly awkward and clumsy romp through the sexually-charged early 70s as our titular heroine Jennifer is hunted by a madman living in a block of flats. There lot’s of skin and artsy murder mystery stylings that you would expect from such a title. The pacing is a little off, but overall it is fairly strong and enjoyable giallo.

Mushroomhead – XX (2001)

Mushroomhead – XX (2001)

XX was the record that began my love affair with the bizarre world of Mushroomhead. It may be a re-issue of older material, which is presented here in various forms of remixed, remastered and completely re-recorded states, but to most if not all Mushroomhead fans outside of the USA, this was the first encounter. My favourite band was Slipknot, so when I was 12 years old, surely you can understand why I gravitated towards bands such as Mushroomhead, Mudvayne and Motograter (the curse of the Ms!). What I was not prepared for though was the unique and bizarre density to Mushroomhead’s music. The lead single, “Solitaire / Unraveling” wasn’t “heavy” in the way that I was used to. Sure, it’s a chugging monstrosity, but the tracks are lead by haunting keys and synths, and a dual vocalist attack. Its easy to write Mushroomhead off as a nu-metal version of Faith No More, especially considering they formed in 1993 and had perfected their keyboard-manic tracks on their self-titled from 1995. But, tracks such as “Bwomp”, “Never Let It Go”, “The Wrist”, “The New Cult King” and “Born Of Desire” really highlight the talent involved and the sheer songwriting chops of the earlier lineups. This is why I get so angry and neckbeardy about later Mushroomhead – this melting pot of a band, with all these weird vibes and ideas, still somehow had this mainstream sensibility and accessibility to it. I thank them eternally for showing me different textures and moods (and for embedding a love of Twin Peaks in me subconsciously with all those samples). So when they would go on to record some of the most flaccid and uninspiring albums I have ever heard, it really felt to me like wasted potential. On a positive note, this record defined the early 2000s for me and probably in a large part defines my music tastes and a lot of the more experimental directions I would later take when exploring, and for that I will always be thankful.

Mortician – Brutally Mutilated (1990)

Mortician – Brutally Mutilated (1990)

Going back to Brutally Mutilated after all these years, the first thing that I notice is how bright and tight the guitar tone is. Say what you want about Mortician, whether you love them or loathe them, their music is mostly a garbled mush of intense death brutality. Here, the songs almost sparkle in comparison! Haha! It’s a nice change of pace and a breath of fresh air. The drums almost sound real, but I might be wrong here. All in all this is a solid first EP (I think only a demo preceded it?) before the all-out musical war that was the meat and bones of Mortician’s body of work (pun intended) was sprawled before us.

Napalm Death – Scum (25th Anniversary) (2012)

Napalm Death – Scum (25th Anniversary) (2012)

If you watch the Scum Story documentary from the 20th anniversary disc (sigh) – which should have really been called the Mick Harris story – and can still muster up enough interest in proceedings after listening to a bunch of talking heads verbally excreting endless fucking shite for 50 minutes, you’ll have noticed that Mick categorically says that Scum should not be fucked with. I wonder then, what he would make not only of the full dynamic range remaster, but also the alternative mixes on offer here? Personally, the only Earache remasters that I’ve noticed an audible difference in (off the bat without having to compare like for like) is the explosive re-gander at FETO, or Broadrick’s own remaster of Streetcleaner. As much fun as I had listening through to Scum yet again for the 9000th time, I can’t say that this remaster offers anything new. The alternative takes however… blimey! Side A presents itself as the most different, with the guitar having this bizarre flanger or chorus effect on it (perhaps just badly multitracked?). Truly, it sounds awful, but the alternative intro to the title track is a gem to uncover. Side B is fantastic; muddier and nastier, yet somehow just as if not more enjoyable. I love this alternative mix. I thoroughly enjoyed the bonus content here and would recommend it highly to any rabid Napalm fan.

Archagathus – Canadian Horse (2011)

Archagathus – Canadian Horse (2011)

Ridin’ across the planes on a mincehorse, right? I always assumed the name was some sort of word play for heroin, but who knows? This record slays, and that’s all that matters. Archagathus have a strong output ethic, and this full length is a solid milestone in their catalog; 20 odd minutes of stomping mince, blasting grind and slurry gore vokillz.

Mudvayne – The End Of All Things To Come (2002)

Mudvayne – The End Of All Things To Come (2002)

The End Of All Things To Come was released around the time that nu-metal began to tank in the mainstream, so although I enjoyed the single off of this, I totally snoozed on the record as a whole. Let’s be honest too, as much as I loved LD.50, I was far too immature at 12 years old to really dig (geddit?) what Mudvayne was doing at the time. Mudvayne have always had a serious musical dexterity; something that has always gone wasted under the makeup and shlock of earlier days and totally thrown to the wind in their boring as shit alt-metal later days. The End… is truly a progressive record, the songs are meandering and gloriously arranged, almost like Tool meets Taproot. Haha! I fear that this record always go unnoticed, which is a shame.

Mortician – Zombie Apocalypse (1998)

Mortician – Zombie Apocalypse (1998)

If there’s a bummer to Mortician’s discography, then it has to be Zombie Apocalypse. It’s not that the songs are particularly bad – in all honesty they sound pretty much like every other session (lol) – it’s actually to do with the production. On Zombie Apocalypse, it seems like the bass police visited the studio during mixing and sucked all fucking low end out of this thing. All the gruesome pieces are in the right gruesome places, but it sounds like I’m listening to Hacked Up For BBQ on £2 headphones whilst flying on Concorde.

Popof – Metal Pussy (2002)

Popof – Metal Pussy (2002)

Metal Pussy is a 20-minute or so EP from French (I think?) techno project Popof. I wouldn’t say that the record is particularly ground breaking, but the warm sound of the vinyl press works well with the project’s slightly distorted and over-driven (unintentional, I’d say) techno beats. Don’t ask me what that artwork and name is about, though. 

Barbarella (1968)

Barbarella (1968)

Nowadays, thanks to the wonders of technology, if you want to see Jane Fonda’s tits you can just do a quick Google search. Unfortunately for folk back in the 60s, it meant having to sit through absolute garbage like Barbarella. I’ve tried hard to find some merit in this low budget, camp as hell sci-fi romp. Truly, I have. Sure, its better than OG Star Trek, and watching Barbarella sleep her way across the galaxy to save the universe does have some sort of barbaric charm, but for the most part the plot is wafer thin and the pacing is glacial. The COVID 19 lockdown allows me to take some sort of pleasure in drinking all my whisky reserves and plowing through dreck like this, so I managed to make it to the end in the name of either perseverance or boredom. Fun fact: the band Duran Duran got their name from the character Durand Durand in this movie. You learn something every day!

Inseminoid (1981)

Inseminoid (1981)

Who’d have thought a sleazy sci-fi b-movie would include cast members that would go on to be in shit like Coronation Street? Yes! Welcome to the world of Inseminoid, a terribly low budget sci-fi horror where a female…. astronaut? Scientist? Whatever!? – Anyway she gets inseminated by alien semen and goes berzerk. Plot! The best thing about Inseminoid however is the acting, or lack thereof. The entire cast showcases a unified level of ineptitude that I have yet to find matched anywhere else, except maybe in The Room. I cannot fathom how bad this is. Really, I should have turned it off, but fuck, it was entertaining.

Slave To The Grind (2018)

Slave To The Grind (2018)

The ironic thing is that a doc about a genre that relies so heavily on speed turned out to be the slowest production in the history of time. Fuck, I have been waiting absolutely years for this thing to come out. So much so in fact, that I had completely forgotten that the whole fucking thing existed. Roll on to the COVID crisis of 2020, and the film maker has been an absolute legend and uploaded the whole thing for free to YouTube to help us grinders get through the downtime. Hey, he didn’t have to do that. That was a really cool thing to do. The trouble is, is that I have heard and read nothing but bad things about this doc. Lots of grinders on social media (lol) are moaning about the exclusion of this band or that band, or getting panty-twisted over the inclusion of Anal Cunt. For a genre that is so aurally – and often visually offensive – some of its purveyors aren’t half easily offended! Some of the vitriolic, hateful comments made by interviewees about Seth Putnam are far more offensive than most of AxCx’s output. But hey, you gotta get those liberal points in, right? Its 2020 now.  I however, absolutely loved this documentary. Yes, there is some bias towards the Canadian grindcore scene, which, honestly, doesn’t hold much weight worldwide, but the film makers are clearly just repping their home town. I had never had that kinda dive into that world before, and I felt I benefitted from it greatly. The history of grindcore is covered succinctly and a slew of amazing bands are interviewed. Grindcore is my favourite genre of music and is always under-represented, so I can only say positive things about this doc. It brings clarity to an often muddy and unseen world of sonic goodness. So yeah, I couldn’t give a single fuck if a bunch of dreadlocked asshats are pissed that Assück wasn’t included or whatever the fuck, Slave To The Grind is a brilliant documentary about one of the underdog genres of extreme music.

Assück – Misery Index (1997)

Assück – Misery Index (1997)

As influential and praised that Assück are, they’ve never really struck a chord with me. That of course is not to say that Misery Index isn’t a ripping sonic tornado of a record (is it a full length at 15 minutes in length?), I’ve just never really resonated with Assück on a level that I do with a lot of other grindcore.

Mushroomhead ‎– Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children (2010)

Mushroomhead ‎– Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children (2010)

By the time Beautiful Stories dropped in 2010 I’d lost most if not all interest in what was once my favourite band. I remember my mate Pip played it in his car and it seemed like more of the same badly mixed, lazy, phoned in redneck metal with keyboards. However, I’m not sure if it’s because the band has fallen even further into a pit of absolute cess in recent times, but I can now look back at this record almost positively. Almost. The mix is still an absolute deformity. That cannot be argued. Whoever mixed this thing needs to be sacked, immediately. However, it’s worth noting that some of Waylon’s strongest vocal lines are on this album. I was never the biggest fan but I have to give props here. And now that they are gone, I pine for the heavy guitars of riffmaster Gravy, and the clanking bass of Benis. Both are heavily present on this record, and their current absence is easily noticed. I have to ask myself though: if you strip away the masks and the history of this band, and let the record stand alone, is Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children still a good album? The answer, my friends, is no. 

Prong – Power Of The Damager (2007)

Prong – Power Of The Damager (2007)

This was a random spin for me, but I gotta be honest, I absolutely loved it. My limited experience with Prong had them pegged as a hardcore/thrash kinda crossover with industrial tones. Power Of The Damager however, is a hard hitting metal release through and through. Its all about the dry, bludgeoning riffs, and macho delivery. Its very 101, but its a super heavy record.

Prong – Force Fed (1988)

Prong – Force Fed (1988)

I am fairly unfamiliar with Prong, only having heard the name being dropped in every now and then. Force Fed kinda sounds to me like DRI crossed with a very subtle industrial bent; that driving, slightly rigid approach to metal counter acting the hardcore / trash style jams. I didn’t fall in love with this but I enjoyed it all the same.

Alice Cooper – Dragontown (2001)

Alice Cooper – Dragontown (2001)

Dragontown was the Alice record that was out when I first got into him. My dad had been a fan for donkey’s years, but when we finally went to see my first ever live show together (the 2002 UK arena version of Monsters Of Rock), Alice was touting Dragontown. I had fond memories, but I was expecting this to suck. It doesn’t. Sure, there are some absolute floaters here – fillers than curse any hard rock band on the album / tour / album / tour cycle – but for the most part, the heavier metal style suits Alice Cooper, carrying on from what he did on Brutal Planet.

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie (1989)

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie (1989)

If you thought Toxie 2 was bad, I’d stay the fuck away from this. Patched together from footage taken in the same sessions as Part II, Part III makes no effort to conceal the fact that a lot of its plot makes absolutely zero narrative sense after the conclusion of the second movie. But hey, this is Troma, it is what it is. Toxie gets a job with the organisation he destroys in part 2 (it’d have made more sense if this movie came first) and ends up fighting Satan in a gameshow-esque series of escalating situations. Honestly, this was pretty fucking cornball, even for Troma. I don’t think I’d watch it again.

The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989)

The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989)

You’d think things couldn’t get much worse than the original Toxie right? Ha! I am infinitely impressed by how low the bar has been set by this first sequel (I cannot begin to imagine 3 and 4) but nevertheless some odd part of me wants me to soldier on through. Apparently Troma acquired a bunch of funding from Japan so set this film there to appease those backers, which makes for some amusing scenarios (plus truckloads of nude Japanese girls), but for the most part, if you’re not into Troma, you’re gonna have a rough time watching this.

Napalm Death – The Curse (1988)

Napalm Death – The Curse (1988)

A pointless but massively entertaining 7” that came out alongside From Enslavement To Obliteration. In fact, these tracks ended up on the Scum + FETO two albums on one CD release. The opening track seems to be a variation on the track “Evolved As One”, but the record is worth listening to for “Musclehead”, “Dead” and the “Morbid Deceiver” tracks alone.

Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)

Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)

This is an absolutely stunning giallo movie (if one can use such a way to describe a movie of this nature), where the best tropes of the sleazy Italian genre are taken to create a sexy bright-red-blood fest of unexplainable deaths. The plot? Very, very sexy ladies are getting butchered by a mysterious masked assailant clad in leather. I won’t spoil the ending, but what a journey. Aesthetically mesmerizing, but plays out like a gory soap opera. 

God – Possession (1992)

God – Possession (1992)

God is a fucking mad trip, mate. Kevin Martin (The Bug), JK Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) team up with a whole host of other musicians (I’m sorry for not listing them all!) to create an absolute mindfuck of a record. Possession was my first brush with God (what a sentence), after meaning to check them out for donkey’s years. On first impressions it comes across like a blend of earlier, dubbed-out industrial Scorn records and something altogether more John Zorn (don’t you dare say “well isn’t that just Painkiller??”) There is a lot to unpack here, and to be honest I’m not sure what I make of it all; it’s not bad at all, I’m just confused. Possession is the ultimate melting pot of bizarre 90s music, and despite being rather chaotic is actually a pretty chilled and relaxing listening experience. 

Swans – Deliquescence (2017)

Swans – Deliquescence (2017)

I caught Swans on their final tour and was very disappointed to find that they had run out of copies of this hand made gem before the date I attended. Since then, I have been slowly but surely telling myself “one day, one day” but lets be honest, I’m never going to pay Discogs collectors prices to silly pricks who are just tryna scalp me. So, I’m afraid, I have gone against Gira’ wishes and have found a YouTube rip of this, which in all fairness, sounds absolutely fucking gorgeous. Deliquescence rivals The Glowing Man. Real talk. It’s worth checking out this 2hr 35min album (yes!) for the 45min long opener “The Knot”, which is basically an album in its own right – words cannot adequately describe the journey that the track takes you on. The other exclusive tracks for this release pale a bit in comparison, “Deliquescing” is actually stunning in its own way, but I’m unsure if this just becomes part of one of the “Clouds…” tracks on the main record (I’ll have to check). “The Man Who Refused To be Unhappy” is a more restrained romp. Closing the deal is the whole “Bring The Sun” into “Glowing Man” 36min epic which closes the record of the same name (“Finally, Peace” aside), but this time you’ve got Paul Wallfisch on the organ, giving it an even more epic feel. Its a shame they never recorded a studio album with Wallfisch during this time.

Sleep – The Sciences (2018)

Sleep – The Sciences (2018)

I did have some big brain review of this written up where I explained that The Sciences was like a theme park version of Sleep’s music, how they’ve become almost derivative of their own work and that The Sciences, whilst on the surface is a well written, performed and produced record, it could have been made by anyone, and lacks any unique charm or statement. Unfortunately however, for the first time in Lines In Wax history, I have accidentally overwritten a review file and lost several paragraphs of work. There’s no way I can reconstruct this adequately so I’ll just keep it short: I didn’t like this album. LOL