Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: July 2020

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus is not a film that I particularly enjoy all that much but one that gets played traditionally every Halloween at our house. My girlfriend absolutely loves it. Admittedly, it brings back a lot of nostalgia from when I saw it when I was a kid, but as an adult I take nothing new from it (how fucking hot is Sarah Jessica Parker here, though?).

Gut – Disciples Of Smut (2020)

Gut – Disciples Of Smut (2020)

Well this came from fucking nowhere! After 14 years of mostly inactivity (in the studio, at least), Gut crawl out of the gore swamp once again with the completely unexpected Disciples Of Smut. This record is the sound of a band re-energised. Gut bring their trademark downtuned pornogrind mush to a whole new gamut of influences, from black metal to elements of death and doom.  Honestly, it is fucking astounding that this is the same band that recorded The Cumback, or that Pimps Of Gore 7”. The only downside I could think of is that fans of sleazy pornogrind may be disappointed by the fact that the filth is dialled right back on this release, quite probably for the first time ever in the history of Gut. Honestly, this is a very interesting one that’ll be puzzling me for a while. It’s fuckin’ heavy, though.

Ut Strepitus – Pedes Culti (2020)

Ut Strepitus – Pedes Culti (2020)

Ut Strepitus play slow, evolving soundscapes of noise and dense atmospheric ambience. The shtick is a heavily Latin-based BDSM theme, something of course which has been seen in noise and power electronics worlds before, but not so much maybe in the atmospheric, ambient or synthesiser worlds. The moods and tones shift from paranoia and dread, to small moments of wonder and contemplation, before oppressing drones of collapsing atmosphere suffocate you under its weight. There is a fetishistic element to the sound (and track titles) here, and that definitely comes through in the sound. Pedes Cultui by Ut Strepitus

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

What is this that stands before me? What indeed. Imagine hearing this, in the early days of 1970 – I’d love to have a time machine to see how things really went down. I suppose us modern-day hipsters will just have to contend for crackly old vinyl copies of this and be done with it. Whether you think Sabbath invented heavy metal or not, they absolutely took that downering, bluesy sound to the mainstream. I am not a Black Sabbath fanatic, far from it (their discography is a fucking far cry from perfect), but praise I must heap on this debut record. Forgive me if I am too bold in saying that it is absolutely flawless. This record sings to me. The production in particular, is fucking God tier. It has warmth, a little bite from the distortion, and the balance with the rhythm section sends shivers up my spine. Ward sounds fantastic, but Geezer Butler’s bass… that shit is sublime. Absolutely mind blowing. I could go on for some time here so I’ll just level it off here. If for some reason you have never heard this album, I implore you to give it a go. This is more than a heavy metal record. This is an historical document.

Slipknot – Slipknot (1999)

Slipknot – Slipknot (1999)

Slipknot is one of those albums that I have absolutely played into the ground. My introduction to – and infatuation with – Slipknot began with the follow-up record; 2001’s impossibly heavy Iowa album, something which I do not take for granted. The impact that such a record would have had on a 12 year old me cannot be put into words. I have tried and tried and tried to listen to Iowa again, imagining that I am 12 years old and have no idea what I’m in for. At the time, there was nothing more terrifying, there was nothing heavier, there was nothing worth listening to, except Iowa. Of course, I eventually went out and bought Slipknot’s first album. I was surprised at first how loose it was, it seemed rougher around the edges, and with flutters of hip hop and nu metal. However it was still Slipknot, and it was still a force to be reckoned with. The first five tracks of this will stick with me forever, how the intro unrolls into “(sic.)”, and follows up with the head-melting “Eyeless”, the anthemic single “Wait And Bleed”, and of course, the fist-pumping “Surfacing”. I could go on for some time about the rest of the tracks on the record (the secret and bonus tracks have aged fantastically!), and when I personally preferred the terrifying sounds of Iowa, I must have listened to this album hundreds if not thousands of times. I had an old Aiwa (not Iowa? Ha!) portable tape player and had the album dubbed onto a beaten cassette that saw more action than I’d care to admit. Good times.

The Berzerker – No? (1996)

The Berzerker – No? (1996)

To my knowledge, this 12″ is where it all began for The Berzerker. Heavily pre-dating the grinding mush of the Earache days, this record is pure speedcore armageddon, and I have to admit that Luke Kenny has serious chops in that department. Some of the sampling is a bit silly but this isn’t a genre that takes itself too seriously afterall. The beats however are sick as fuck and are absolutely pumping. Top notch stuff. There are even a few sampled guitars in there at some point, hinting at the carnage that would come later.

Epicardiectomy – Putreseminal Morphodysplastic Virulency (2014)

Epicardiectomy – Putreseminal Morphodysplastic Virulency (2014)

If there is one band that excellently captures the ridiculous side of slam death metal, then its these guys. Many try (too hard), and therefore many fail. But, if its tin-can snare drums and earth-shattering brutality you want, then truly it is hard to go far wrong with these guys, this sophomore record is further proof of that.  If there’s one thing that grinds my gears it’s the fucking artificial bass drops. I can’t stand that shit. Otherwise, full marks from me for this one.

Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall (1986)

Its incredible what chopping 15 minutes off your average runtime will do to a film, especially one of this calibre. Maybe I’m getting bored of watching low budget horrors, but for me a lot of them just suffer with horrendous pacing. Chopping Mall’s plot is direct to the point and doesn’t drag at all.  As for the movie, a gang of young and sexy party goers are trapped in a mall overnight and are pursued by killer security robots. The robots look like the love child of ED-209 and Wall-E. The whole thing is frankly ridiculous. But hey, that’s why we are here, right?

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder (2020)

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder (2020)

Ah, fantastic; it’s time it seems, for another record from Sackhead, Tightshead, Dr. Snore and… Millie from Craniation (here’s hoping I’ve spelt that right). BTK are one of the more consistent and generally well rounded and solid offerings of the British extreme metal underground, and this is despite various line up changes over the years. Lessons In Murder is great, following on in the style of There’s Something About Beryl, albeit with a more natural and uncompressed sound. This is mostly noticable with the drums, which sound a lot more organic, especially the snare. That means when shit gets to blasting and grinding, it sounds like I’m listening to one of the old school bands, rather some overpolished turd. The guitar work is razor sharp; distilling and balancing both the precision and gory slop of greats like Carcass or Exhumed, whilst retaining BTK’s own streak of originality. Similarly, the vocals call back to both of these bands, yet Beryl in particular has such an unique yet brutal delivery, which is really the icing on this somewhat sick and twisted cake. Great stuff! Lessons In Murder by BASEMENT TORTURE KILLINGS

Lustre – Still Innocence (2017)

Lustre – Still Innocence (2017)

Beautiful, yet somewhat samey ambient black metal from Lustre. Things kinda get lost in the mix for me, there is so much treble floating about that it is unreal. Sure, the synths sound great but the drums are almost non existent and the floating, dream-like nature is more grating than it is enjoyable. Which of course, is a massive shame, as the compositions appear to be of a very high quality.

Mushroomhead – A Wonderful Life (2020)

Mushroomhead – A Wonderful Life (2020)

Despite not really being interested in the band’s output for many years, Jeff Hatrix’s departure from Mushroomhead felt like a gut punch, and to me, even with J Mann back in the band, this particular gut punch felt like the final nail in the coffin for a band that was long past their prime. I had little to no hope for A Wonderful Life, and I even considered if I should bother listening at all, but I was pleasantly surprised by lead single “Seen It All” (the second one not so much). The track put new vocalist Steve Rauckhorst front and centre, and I was astounded to find a band that was re-energised. Don’t get me wrong, at 1 hour 10 minutes and 17 tracks long, A Wonderful Life could do with shedding a few songs, but this album is easily, without a shadow of a doubt the most interesting thing the band has put out since M3. Experimental is probably the wrong word, but there’s a level of maturity here, an abstraction of sorts and gosh darn it even an atmosphere! Remember this is a band that has been phoning it in now for seventeen fucking years solid. What a u-turn! So do I like A Wonderful Life? I’m not quite so sure. But, I’m absolutely delighted to see that Mushroomhead are back and most importantly, seem to be putting in the work and doing something different and refreshing.

Wiener-Dog (2006)

Wiener-Dog (2006)

So, honestly, I only watched this film because I’d Googled ‘films about dachshunds’ with my girlfriend. Seeing that it was on Amazon Prime, we settled down on the couch with our two miniatures and watched away. Man, not even DeVito could save this festering pile of shit. It has this dreamy, faux-Lynchian aesthetic that tries to hold up piss-thin film studies 101 tropes in a series of completely unconnected stories. The shocking ending is also just…. Well, I wasn’t shocked, more just fucked off that I had wasted 90 minutes of my life watching this shite. Avoid.