Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: October 2020

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1983)

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1983)

Did someone say proto-thrash? You can literally smell the BO when listening to this record. I conjure images of a band of spotty teenagers or twentysomethings playing Flying Vs and wearing cut off shirts; performing before a crowd of greasy-haired, denim jacket wearing beer drinkers bumping into each other in time to the music. Metal is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? A lot of the “bigger” bands either seem to come out blazing; defining their sound, style and image from the get-go, or instead take a few records to build up to their career defining mainstream success, but with Kill ‘Em All, you can literally taste the inexperience on display. The maturity on their sophomore album, Ride The Lightening, is a sound developed a thousand fold from the tunes presented here, and that’s what makes Kill ‘Em All so delicious. It’s not so much the sound of a band finding their feet, but the sound of four snotty youths with absolute unwavering confidence in the punk-infused metal that they are peddling. Kill ‘Em All is a fucking joy to listen to. This is metal in its purest form.

Friday The 13th Part III (1982)

Friday The 13th Part III (1982)

I don’t what it is about my relationship with Friday The 13th, but my patience for this series is much lower than others. 3 carries on pretty much where 2 left off, but I cannot bring myself to even care what happens. Jason recovers from his wounds and the bloodbath continues. All in all, bias aside, Friday The 13th Part 3 is a fairly average slasher, and I won’t be rushing out to enjoy the 4th instalment in the series.

Windows彡96 – 	 †Nematophy (2017)

Windows彡96 – †Nematophy (2017)

Cool, calm, relaxing vapor. Ah, its the musical equivalent of valium. †Nematophy has been in my online playlist for about a year, and I must have played it through now a number of times. Its time to delete it and let some other stuff shine instead, so here I am committing it to the site and filing it away. †Nematophy is another fantastic Windows 96 album, further cementing this project as one of my favourites in the genre.

Darkthrone – Old Star (2019)

Darkthrone – Old Star (2019)

Old Star marks a nice, subtle progression for Darkthrone’s sound. We meander back to the longer songs of old, and are treated to a morose, almost melodic set of black metal riffs. The production is also noticeably cleaner than some of the recent punk metal stuff. All in all, Old Star is a decent entry into the Darkthrone discography, of which there have been many peaks and troughs.

Darkthrone – Panzerfaust (1995)

Darkthrone – Panzerfaust (1995)

UUUGGGHUHHUGGGHUHGGHHHHH! Panzerfaust sees Darkthrone applying the breaks a little after searing through a trilogy of some of the grimmest and most frostbitten fucking metal in the history of music. Yes, the shoddy production and insaaaaanely cold riffs are still front and centre, but one cannot shake the absolutely atrocious vocal performance on display here. It’s easy to forgive bad vocals in something like black metal, but this is Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto we’re talking about here; an absolute legend of a performer with one of the genre’s defining trademark wraith-on-acid snarls. On Panzerfaust, the vocals sound like Tom G Warrior is being fucked in the arse with a cactus. IDK, maybe I’m getting old, but with time I’ve come to appreciate Panzerfaust, warts and all, for the black metal masterpiece that it is. I implore you to look past the often horrendous vocals, to the stunning compositions beyond.

Power Trip – Manifest Decimation (2013)

Power Trip – Manifest Decimation (2013)

Power Trip has been on my to do list for fucking years. I have no shame in saying that it was the grisly reminder of Ryan Gale’s untimely death that led me to finally taking this record and listening to it. I can only offer my condolences to his friends and family; he seemed well liked and of course loved, and after listening to this record I can attest that he was a brilliant front man too. I’ve seen Power Trip live. The memories are there in my booze addled mind somewhere or other, but Manifest Decimation is the first time I’ve sat down and spent time with the band. What I’m treated to is a hardcore-tinged romp through something altogether more thrash based. But, it’s more than, IDK, Municipal Waste without the silly songs about beer, or as trite as a DRI for a new generation. Power Trip is it’s own thing; Manifest Decimation draws on – at times – a darkness from something altogether more Nails-y and a heavy tone you’d associate almost with some beatdown acts. Either way, whichever way I cut it, this is a fast and heavy record that is fully deserving of your attention.

Pig Destroyer – Head Cage (2018)

Pig Destroyer – Head Cage (2018)

Head Cage is a solid (yet decidedly not grindcore) offering from all-round good eggs and metallic riff kings, Pig Destroyer. Immediately, I’m taken aback by how “compressed” and artificial this album sounds; it’s like everything is fighting for competition and the drums sound treated and false. I’m sure this is some technical engineer’s wet dream but honestly it sounds like complete shit. Thankfully, after the initial adjustment to this production style, it gets a bit easier to appreciate the songs for what they are. Pig Destroyer definitely work better as a five piece, the songs are fuller and more engaging, although I do pine for some of the ferocity of old. Drummer Adam Jarvis is an absolute unit as per always, and delivers yet another stellar performance on this record. Is Head Cage the best Pig Destroyer album? Not even close. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a solid metal album in it’s own right.

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970)

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970)

So this is it, the grand daddy of jazz fusion. Now over 50 years old, it was the perfect time to return to this record and give it another run through. I first heard this in I think 2008, a friend gave me some high-end mp3 rips of it, and on the recommendation of my uncle to check it out, I tried my damnedest to get into it and understand what was going on, but I just couldn’t get my head around it. 12 years later of course, things are a bit different. I can sit through it without getting bored (lol) and of course I can appreciate all of the little things that are going on. Bitches Brew is a monster of a record. The tracks are enormous and the scope is mind boggling. I could bang on for ages about how Miles revolutionised jazz music by not only spearheading the fusion movement with this record but by introducing electronic instrument elements to jazz, as well as bang on about Teo Macero’s post production trickery, but I won’t. I will say however that I prefer the latter “half” of the record, in particular the track “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” being my favourite here. His playing on this track is sublime. I found the first two tracks incredibly intimidating in my youth and I guess that has stuck with me. Whilst I heavily appreciate the tape looping techniques used on “Pharaoh’s Dance” and the title track, I find that the following four tracks flow much better and naturally. The tape loops / dubbing would work much better on later records, in my opinion, and let’s be honest here, the title track to this thing is a bad acid trip. Bitches Brew is one of those albums that is more a historical document than just another record, and I’m proud to finally write about it and commit it to the site.

Assück ‎– Anticapital (1991)

Assück ‎– Anticapital (1991)

Anticapital is my favourite out of the two main Assuck releases. I love the sound, not just in terms of the incredible production but also in terms of the blend between death metal styles and incredibly fast grindcore speed and precision. It is a match made in heaven, and whilst Assuck haven’t always been “up there” on my list of favourite grindcore bands I have a lot of respect for them, and for this record.

Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986)

Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986)

How does one critique an album like Reign In Blood? I often ask that of myself when I start to write about something that is often considered legendary, timeless or even just historically important in regards to the genre at hand. This time, the genre is thrash metal, or arguably even just metal as a whole, and the impossible album to analyse is Slayer’s magnum opus. I’ve never really been that big a fan of Slayer. Granted, their legacy hasn’t been lost on me, but as a kid getting into metal at the turn of the 00s, Slayer appeared to be just another band that had some classic records before releasing a whole bunch of stinkers as they tried to remain relevant with the times. All this of course, has absolutely nothing to do with Reign In Blood so let me shut up about all of that for now. Reign In Blood reset the bar for how heavy and ferocious thrash metal could be. Don’t get me wrong, thrash has always been fast and pissed off, at least in its proto-form, but Slayer brought a whole new sense of evil and dread to the table. Hanneman’s riffs, King’s solos, Lombardo’s intense battery attack, and Araya’s Venomesque snarl mixed with his powerful, King Diamond worshipping vocals of old, all come together to make the perfect storm of metallic goodness. Like, without wanting to sound cliche, its fucking Slayer. In the rare occurrence that you’ve not heard any of this album, click below to have a goosey gander.

Rectal Smegma / Cliteater / Last Days Of Humanity – Split CD (2020)

Rectal Smegma / Cliteater / Last Days Of Humanity – Split CD (2020)

What surprised me the most about this split is how great both Rectal Smegma and Cliteater sound. I’ve not really been feeling the output by either band recently for a number of years now, but on this split they both sound like bands which have been energised; in the boggy world of “groovy” “goregrind” there are acidic oceans of absolute drooling shit, but both sessions here sound incredible. The shame however is that the same cannot be said for Last Days Of Humanity, who are the sore thumb of this record. There isn’t actually anything wrong with the LDOH output here, in fact I’m beyond glad to actually hear some new material and not just some old shit rehashed. I can’t help but be a little bummed out however – the old stuff is so legendary, it sets the bar so high. Granted, if this was a new grindcore band I’d be giving it praise. It’s just the name LDOH carries so much weight, its hard not to be let down a little.

Thangorodrim – Prologue (2020)

Thangorodrim – Prologue (2020)

Thangorodrim is amongst the more well known dungeon synth artists of modern day, and rightly so; the project took Mortiis worship to a whole new level on the first debut album (not a bad thing in these circles) but on Prologue, Thangorodrim strikes out into territory I would comfortably call entirely it’s own. To my knowledge, Prologue combines a few of the older tape releases together onto one collection. Prologue is not a short record but any stretch (there’s a very tasty double cassette version I’ve just not had the spare funds to buy yet) but one that takes you on a long, wondrous journey, for which one must be prepared fully. I’d suggest taking an evening to get through this, maybe with a book about a far off land, or if you play D&D… you know what to do lol

The Big Moon – Walking Like We Do

The Big Moon – Walking Like We Do

I was lucky enough to discover this band for the first time after catching them as the support act at a Pixies show. I mega enjoyed and was intrigued by them. “How have I not heard of these before?” I asked myself. Purchasing this album was then an absolute no brainer for me, and I immediately got into it; what a cool sound we have going on here, cracking melodic harmonies, and a big dreamy indie pop sound. A great bunch of songs here with some fun moments too such as the song “Our Light” which is without doubt a favourite. Opener and live favourite “Its Easy Now” is also a massive highlight from this record especially for it’s enchanting chorus. Other highlights for me include the catchy number “Don’t Think About It Now” and “Take A Piece”. Overall, a really enjoyable album, and I would recommend.

Reeking Cross – Cloaked In Vermin (2015)

Reeking Cross – Cloaked In Vermin (2015)

There’s a whole bunch of bass n drums two piece grindcore bands these days, but Reeking Cross have to be amongst the best, if not taking the crown entirely. As 2015’s short, sharp and fucking chonky Cloaked In Vermin shows us, Reeking Cross’s frenetic, batshit crazy powerviolence is not to be scoffed at. CLOAKED IN VERMIN (Septik Brain 2015) by Reeking Cross

Children / Ебануться Пиздец – Split Tape (2014)

Children / Ебануться Пиздец – Split Tape (2014)

Children, for my lack of any understanding of the noise scene, appears to be a project between Genetic Noose and a fellae named Gaeme Baillie. I had a chuckle to myself thinking the Children material here sounds a bit like Arab Strap recorded an album whilst in the middle of a severe bout of alcohol-fuelled manic depression. Either way, it’s miserable as sin and fucking angry as fuck. What more do you want from your power electronics? Ебануться Пиздец (I have no idea what that means) on the other hand are a bit more typical with the making-noise approach, if I can be so lazy in describing such. Nevertheless its great palette cleanser and some decent variation and interesting moments can be found amongst the hellish fuzz. I’ve had this cassette for fecking yonks (cheers Tom!), only now getting around to listening to it, after it being kept in a box for donkeys years. Split by Children/Ебануться Пиздец

Yob – Atma (2011)

Yob – Atma (2011)

Yob is all kinds of heavy. I’ve never been the biggest of fans, but there has been that understanding, that appreciation; the musical equivalent of giving someone “the nod” across the room. I see you Yob, I see that you’re heavy, meandering out there in the crushing cosmos of the unknown. I appreciate you. Atma is a perfect example of what Yob are all about. Atma by YOB

Lord Gore – The Autophagous Orgy (2002)

Lord Gore – The Autophagous Orgy (2002)

I knew about Lord Gore’s debut for a long time before I actually heard it. That shocking cover art, even as a cartoon, was often splattered across death metal MySpace pages and internet forums, so when I finally got a hold of this during a trade with Razorback Records, it felt like I had reached some sort of holy grail of underground death metal. Lord Gore are a fantastic band. On the surface of it, they play a plodding, heavily Impetigo influenced strain of dirty death metal – something I feel would lend itself to the grubby confines of a demo tape over the studio quality production on LG’s albums – but keep things fresh and interesting with a cacoadaemonic vocal delivery of what sounds like a thousand devils drowning in a septic tank. For the sickest, untreated vocal performances, look no further than the first two Lord Gore records (actually, did they do any other albums? I’ll have to look that up).

Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 – Zombie (1977)

Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 – Zombie (1977)

This is the record that angered the Nigerian government so much that the army stormed Kuti’s compound and threw his mother out of a third story window, resulting in severe injuries which led to her death. The title and overall theme to proceedings seems to call out those blindly following orders before they went and did just that as the result of such a calling out. Like, what the fuck Nigeria? Way to prove the guy right, but at such a terrible cost. The inquiry into the happenings that day swept everything more or less under the rug and Fela Kuti continued his activism and music with a renewed fire. Despite the tragedy behind it, Zombie is a gorgeously funky record, steeped in soul, artistic passion and that burning flame of rebellion. The songs are – for the most part – meandering percussive beasts that are alive and breathing, with flushes of jazz and soul elements.

Death In June – Essence! (2018)

Death In June – Essence! (2018)

I’ll admit, first impressions of this were not amazing. It sounded almost lazy, but I was listening to it in a car park in the rain. Recently, I have returned to this record to give it a second chance, and whilst I must admit that Douglas P sounds a bit tired, there are some beautiful tracks here. Whether its worth making new Death In June records at this point is not up to me to decide, but without wanting to sound too callous, more effort is definitely required.

Miles Davis – Doo-Bop (1992)

Miles Davis – Doo-Bop (1992)

I’ve been coming at Miles Davis from both ends recently (oo er), eager to broaden my horizons in both his discography and in forms of jazz. Fusion was my way in, and from there I shall worm my way through all of these records like a dirty little badger! Yeah. Doo-Bop unfortunately, is not a particularly great record. Miles’ final offering, it saw the legend once more trying to branch off into something new and fresh. Unfortunately, the experiment does not pay off; Miles’ cool, restrained playing mashed with early 90s “hip hop” beats cumulates in a record full of tracks that wouldn’t be amiss playing in an elevator, or on a Discovery channel documentary, or on one of those late night cable TV pornos that doesn’t actually show any penetration. That is not to say that there aren’t any moments of beauty here; there are several fantastic moods, especially towards the latter half of the record, but unfortunately these are short lived and we quickly return the How Its Made OST.

The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)

The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)

My introduction to the world of plunderphonics happened the best part of 20 years ago, when The Avalanches’ ridiculously catchy “Frontier Psychiatrist” was all over the TV and radio. I didn’t really understand back then exactly what it was that was going on, but The Avalanches stood out to me as whacky and different, even alongside other big electronic acts dominating at the time, like Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers. Unfortunately, that lead single set the bar extremely high. Since I Left You as a whole is an incredible piece of work; the effort and dedication piled into creating these seamless sound collages is mind boggling, but I find that the album goes everywhere and nowhere all at once. At times, there appears to be no direction or purpose, or any reasoning behind the marrying of certain samples into a coherent “song” other than the fact that they happen to fit together. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, especially in this kind of genre, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed with the journey here. Maybe next time I really want to listen to something, I shouldn’t put it off for 20 years. Fuck, I’m old.

Curse Of The Golden Vampire – Curse Of The Golden Vampire (1998)

Curse Of The Golden Vampire – Curse Of The Golden Vampire (1998)

What happens when you cross Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick, The Bug’s Kevin Martin and ATR’s Alec Empire? Well, you get Curse Of The Golden Vampire of course, and I assure you, this project is not the punchline to a shit joke. This self titled record is not a million miles away from some of the sounds and textures experienced on Techno Animal records, or even on Godflesh’s Us & Them record. Its an interesting, and rather laid back affair of beats and paranoid atmospheres. Considering Empire’s involvement, I was expecting a much harsher or possibly high-power stonking hardcore attack, but for all intents and purposes, it is actually the opposite.

Mike Patton – Adult Themes For Voice (1996)

Mike Patton – Adult Themes For Voice (1996)

Oh shit fam, Mike Patton, that guy from Faith No More? Yeah, he’s done a suuuuuper weird record on the side! It sounds nothing like FNM LOL he’s bonkers! Adult Themes For Voice was recorded on tour by Patton in a series of hotels rooms or whatever, and is a record built entirely out of vocal samples. Yeah, it sounds like complete shit at first but yknow, maybe I’m growing my Covid19 hipster lockdown beard too much but fuck can you always count on this guy to push the boundaries of what is considered music – or even noise. Like, let’s just stop, take a deep breath, and focus entirely on what is going on here. What the fuck IS going on here? You’re guess is as good as mine, but I appreciate the effort involved.

Hayley Williams – Petals For Armor (2020)

Hayley Williams – Petals For Armor (2020)

This is the debut solo release here from Hayley Williams of Paramore (despite other current members of Paramore actually having a part to play in the album at various points throughout). An unique and refreshing sound – and move away from Paramore – adapting a clever and dark sort of indie pop vibe. A fantastic selection of songs here, and a really tight bunch that fit perfectly together as an album and compliment each other well. This isn’t just a mismatched bunch of songs here, theres great mood, setting and flow to the album. I really enjoy this record personally, even if I wasn’t aware of her previous work I’d say I’d definitely enjoy this, and I think that would generally be the case too for people picking up on this who may otherwise be new to her as an artist. Released during the height of mass lockdowns and a global pandemic, I feel Hayley also really utilised her platform well and really took control of the whole releasing an album during these times process; a series of videos, as well as live home performances and stripped down versions of songs from the record, and staying really fresh and relevant throughout with the entire albums release process. When I first heard the track “Simmer” I was immediately captivated by it. It’s a refreshing, perfect sounding release with a great chorus, driving bass line, flow and great vocal hooks and delivery. “Leave It Alone” a slow and sad sounding slow groove number, and another showcasing track from the album. “Cinnamon” builds and builds into this sort of almost dance like number, such groove and flow in both music and vocal, totally taking the track to different places within itself, possibly my favourite track on the album. “Creepin’” is another highlight for many of the reasons I’ve mentioned there actually. Another album favourite for me is “Dead Horse” which if I’m allowed to say chorus wise at least actually reminds me a little of a sort of something No Doubt may do, and I’m not just comparing the next female fronted act I can think of, it just has that sort of style of sound going on. Overall a great album, and perfectly picked bunch of songs that make up a really solid debut release and break away release for the artist. 10/10.

Miles Davis – Aura (1989)

Miles Davis – Aura (1989)

Aura is a suite of “songs” written as a tribute to Davis by a Danish composer called Palle Mikkelborg. Legend has it that Miles loved the songs so much, he offered to collaborate and make it a canonical Miles Davis record. It would eventually get released several years after recording, in 1989, and would be the last Miles Davis studio album to be released when he was alive. Aura is all over the place, but sounds less like a demented infomercial than Tutu did. Songs are named after colours, and whilst the band shines again (like Tutu) rather than Miles himself, the man doesn’t feel like an afterthought this time, despite the massive number of musicians present. Aura is wide, all-encompassing, and surprisingly spaced out. The tracks meander through Weather Report styled jazz fusion, and dense atmospheric synthesizers. A strange one.

ColdWorld – Melancholie² (2008)

ColdWorld – Melancholie² (2008)

ColdWorld is not a project I know much about. Intentionally or not, that fog of secrecy shrouding the project only helps heap on the atmosphere and drive home the miserable point, for ColdWorld not only plays black metal; ColdWorld is another one of those depressive one man black metal projects. On the surface of it, the DSBM tag brings up all sorts of cringe, neckbeardy associations, but ColdWorld is guilty only of conjuring up genuinely heartwrenching compositions. This hollow, distortion-drenched record lives up entirely to its name, and consists of hypnotic, reverb-generating riffs and moody synthesizers, both of which render any drumming or vocal accompaniment almost unnecessary as they are consumed by, and fight feebly against, the eschewing musical fog.

Dimmu Borgir – For All Tid (1995)

Dimmu Borgir – For All Tid (1995)

For All Tid is the sprawling, cold, blacker than black debut record from Dimmu Borgir. A long, long wintery journey away from their later records and incarnations, For All Tid is a plodding, slow burn of a black metal record, where the keyboards and atmospheric elements take centre stage, followed by a very muddy and densely produced full band. Expect reverb.

Secret Stairways – Enchantment Of The Ring (1997)

Secret Stairways – Enchantment Of The Ring (1997)

This ancient relic of 90s dungeon synth has quite a sad story, as its composer is no longer with us. This does add some morbid weight to the already sombre atmospheres, but let’s not define this artist’s life by his untimely death. Secret Stairways is, for me, an incredibly introspective record. It had a much more suspended, ambient vibe to its morose, glacial compositions than your average dungeon synth record; possessing instead of bombast or adventure an encompassing sense of hopelessness, which only lends itself to the songwriting. A classical of the genre, in my opinion. Enchantment of the Ring by Secret Stairways

Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddon (2003)

Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddon (2003)

The battle rages on and on! The battle being, of course, Dimmu’s thrashing black metal and all of its symphonic bombast. Death Cult Armageddon was not my first taste of Dimmu but it was the first full length album that I ever bought by them, I think randomly staring out at me in Poole’s HMV (alongside Impaled Nazarene’s Death Comes In 26 Carefully Selected Pieces). I remember always been shocked by how polished this album was. Even as a big fan of Cradle Of Filth as a teenager, the polish and enormous orchestral pomp of this record stood out to me. Admittedly, there are a few stand out tracks that stick with me to this day, but I wasn’t a massive fan of the thrashy angle taken here. I felt that more intense black metal elements would work better alongside the orchestral elements, but of course I was able to see how Death Cult Armageddon was the next logical step after Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia.

Blood Orgy Of The She Devils (1973)

Blood Orgy Of The She Devils (1973)

Another witchy/satan/black magic exploitation movie thats very thin on plot and acting but very stacked on nubile young beauties and gobbledygook. I mean, what does one expect going into this? The imagery is fantastic even if the cinematography is somewhat lacklustre and the lighting is appalling. The acting? Well, surely you know what you are getting yourself in for if you are interested in this kind of thing.

Pissgrave – Posthumous Humiliation (2019)

Pissgrave – Posthumous Humiliation (2019)

Pissgrave’s first record was a disturbing slab of relentless death metal, and Posthumous Humiliation seeks to continue in much the same way. Bludgeoning, ugly, disgusting music is the order of the day; music, which even I, after two decades of listening to this shit, find almost impossible to penetrate. Gaseous, livid, and catastrophic, Pissgrave are one of metal’s genuinely terrifying bands.

Colostomy Spacebag – Gore In Space (2019)

Colostomy Spacebag – Gore In Space (2019)

This is probably not a term used to describe goregrind very often, but this delicious little record is simply divine. I only played it because the artwork / theme reminded me of Dead Infection’s Corpses Of The Universe, but I got more than I bargained for. The mix here is near perfect; the sickness of the instruments dance together in some sort of gracefully macabre unison – like, you could say, an exploded cadaver floating through space at terminal velocity. The vocals are a watery pit, some of the absolute finest that I have heard in some time, and compliment the disgusting cacophony perfectly. Ones I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Godflesh – Selfless (1994)

Godflesh – Selfless (1994)

Selfless was the big, shiny offering that Godflesh dropped for Columbia, when Earache proffered up a bunch of bands to the mainstream. Ultimately, the gamble failed, but this move no doubt gained Godflesh a whole world of new fans from the industrial metal world, especially in America. Selfless is noticeably much cleaner than what came before it. Even against the precision of Pure, Selfless soars, with melodic riffs, uplifting synthesisers, and the largest amount of clean vocals on a Godflesh record yet. Underneath this new polish, Godflesh is still the same clanking nightmare at its core, its just on Selfless, things are not so ugly as usual.

Psychopathic Rydas – Back Door Ryda (2011)

Psychopathic Rydas – Back Door Ryda (2011)

I have a lot of respect for most Psychopathic Records artists but this EP is utter dog shit. Imagine the Dark Lotus staff taking on the subject matter of Necro’s The Sexorcist. And yes, there is an aspect of cringe to any hip hop that deals entirely with sex, but when ICP – under aliases of course – are rapping about fucking bitches in they booty holes, we reach a whole new realm of uncomfortable listening. Avoid.

Macintosh Plus ‎– Floral Shoppe (2011)

Macintosh Plus ‎– Floral Shoppe (2011)

Floral Shoppe is the oddity that defined the genre (or shall I say movement?) of vaporwave, which is still passed off as a meme by some. But hey, it’s their loss. Floral Shoppe hosts – or birthed? – many tropes of the style; pitchshifted beats and vocals, fluttering synths, a treacle-like atmospheric consistency, and a distorted window into the realms of either the past or the future. Am I dreaming about a past that I miss or a future that never happened? Through the darkness of futures past…. Of course, the second track here is world-reknown for being a meme in of itself, but how fucking good is it? Arguably it is the definitive vaporwave track. The original may have been removed from YouTube due to dinosaur record labels (your doom awaits you) and their copyright claims, and physical copies at an affordable price may now be impossible to find, but you should endeavour to listen to this at some point in your life if you never have. A part of electronic music history. Floral Shoppe by Macintosh Plus

Namek – Vaginator (2006)

Namek – Vaginator (2006)

Going in to a record named Vaginator, you have to expect certain things – there is a checklist of items that are often present on records in a genre such as this. Most are accounted for on Namek’s debut (and I believe only) album, but what I did not expect was the incredibly high end production job, which allows this muddy full band pornogrind romp to breathe and to be delivered with all of its deserving sonic force. Colourful words, I’m sure, for a filthy grindcore record, but if you give it a go, hopefully you will see what I mean.

Nicholas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise (2011)

Nicholas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise (2011)

Space Is Only Noise is one of my favourite chilled out, down tempo, ambient kinda records. I’ve heard this described as deep house, and whilst I see where the bridges are built, I wouldn’t have ever classed it as such.  Being a genre Nazi aside, this is such a relaxing record. The sampling is on point, and with headphones the stereo stage is massively utilised to its full capacity. It is at once all encompassing, like some super strength opiate, yet also uplifting and cleansing. Also, the title track is fucking catchy as hell.

Type O Negative – Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)

Type O Negative – Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)

I firmly believe that Type O did something incredibly unique with their music, even if it touched on many of metal’s tropes in the process. Steele et al clearly didn’t take themselves too seriously, but the musical chops are there all the same. This record is surely timeless now, especially in the annals of doom or gothic rock, even if somewhat falling into the category of ‘parody’. The mammoth opening track is a work of absolute genius, and one of my favourite Type O Negative songs of all time. Also, that cover art was ballsy as fuck – the early 90s equivalent to No Love Deep Web.

< READY > The Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time – Stage 3 (2017)

The Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time – Stage 3 (2017)

Another year (or thereabouts), another stage in Caretaker’s magnum opus. Stage 3 is where the changes are not so subtle. At this point I’ve kinda figured that the old, jaunty 30s-style tunes from parts one and two are supposed to be memories, and as we descent through each stage, the memories become more and more fractured and broken. Stage 2 introduced minute differences; small fractures and unsettling off-colour compositional changes. Stage 3 is a bit more direct. Sometimes it feels like the record has slipped, but in such a way that the fabric of reality has slipped away with it. Now and then, tracks will just end with no reason or warning, like the series finale of The Sopranos (spoiler alert), leaving you wondering what you were doing that got you into this dead end; confused, alone, and in silence. Scary shit.

Gut – Pussyfied / Assyfied (1995)

Gut – Pussyfied / Assyfied (1995)

This dual-EP (its like the band has done a split with itself!) was one of the only early Gut pieces that I ever got around to owning on vinyl. It has now gone to a better home, but I do miss it. This is classic Gut; dirgy, barely audible snails pace “grindcore” with disgusting vocals and harrowing horror movie samples. This may not win any awards for recording quality, but makes it up for it in creepy, sleazy atmosphere.

2 Minuta Dreka / Last Days Of Humanity – Split 7” (2018)

2 Minuta Dreka / Last Days Of Humanity – Split 7” (2018)

Seriously poor fucking effort from LDOH – this live set is fucking useless. Like, this level of bad live recording thrown half arsed into a 7” split would put even Agathocles to shame (lol). Absolutely pointless in every sense. 2 Minuta Dreka on the other hand are killing it here, expanding on that funky, groovy sound that came with Porno Bizarro. 2MD have never sounded so alive. LDOH though, fucking sort it out guys. I’m unsure if this is even a legit split or a bootleg of some kind. (Edit: It’s legit, on Coyote Records, but fuck buying this utter garbage.)

Miles Davis – Tutu (1986)

Miles Davis – Tutu (1986)

I’ll admit, Tutu was a shock when I first heard it. I’m not an expert on the 80s fusion scene, but not totally blind to it either. Its not so much the marriage with synthesizers and drum machines that puts me off here, but the restrictive and muted nature of the tracks in general. Most of the time, Davis is in the background, while his more-80s-than-thou band are doing all of the work, fantastic musicians that they are. It feels like Davis is more of an afterthought to some of these recordings. And that’s not even where my complaints end. This album probably felt dated before it was even recorded. Outside of fetishist aesthetic and genuine nostalgia, the 1980’s sounds and minimalist vision of the future appears in retrospect corny, cheesy and incredibly wide of the mark. Unfortunately, the genius of Miles Davis was not spared from this fate either. Listening to some of the compositions on this record is like listening a QVC infomercial whilst on acid. But this is Miles Davis we are talking about here. Similarly to some of the underwhelming and restrictive Swans output of the 90s, in the live arena even Tutu breathes like a real beast. A quick look at YouTube has this song – originally fit only for a crockery commercial – transformed into a 18 minute suite of mind-bending proportions. I’ve linked such a performance below, in lieu of the usual album link. Cheers!

Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar (2019)

What in the sweet holy fuck did I just watch? I’m not a film writer so my language and terminology is not developed enough to really do this film justice, but Midsommar was a twisted, genuinely disturbing journey into the world of off-grid cults. I’m not entirely sure of every message that the creators were trying to convey, but its very interesting watching how things transpire, if not a little (a lot lol) terrifying doing so. Just be prepared for things to get very trippy and extremely violent. Florence Pugh is on fire in this.

Pulmonary Fibrosis / Cakewet / Vomitrocity / Flesh Disgorged / Copremesis – Split Tape (2005)

Pulmonary Fibrosis / Cakewet / Vomitrocity / Flesh Disgorged / Copremesis – Split Tape (2005)

Pulmonary’s session is a little thing aurally, but musically its on point. Rehearsal room grind with that dirty shifted bubble vocal sound! Cakewet are a bit louder, and a bit more precise, mixing sloppy grindcore with elements of death metal. Raspy low vocals and lightening quick blasts throughout. Vomitrocity have a bit more of an old school death metal vibe (demo tape vibe of course), but Flesh Disgorged and Copremesis kinda just blur into one. I have a bootleg, so it may just be a band missing or something. I can’t find any uploads for this one either, sorry folks!

Leprechaun (1993)

Leprechaun (1993)

If you read my ongoing reviews of this series you will no doubt surely be able to tell that I have something of a love/hate relationship with the Leprechaun movies. They are just so atrociously bad in every conceivable way. The funny thing about the original Leprechaun is that I managed to convince my girlfriend to watch it with me, off the back of Jennifer Aniston being cast as the lead. Let me tell from the off however, that even a ripe and fresh-faced, pre-Friends Aniston cannot save this absolute joke of a movie. Leprechaun becomes more self-aware with its passing sequels, but the original is kinda devoid of anything; exploitation thrills, horror, gore, any real level of comedy. This is a cultural wasteland of a movie, which in itself has its own charm, I guess.

Blank Banshee – Mega (2016)

Blank Banshee – Mega (2016)

What Mega seemingly has over 0 and 1 is the instant glossy hit of electronic shine. Out of nowhere the record is in your face, all colours flashing, and from then on out you are enraptured in the world of the Blank Banshee, and have no choice but to go on the ride. Is it possible to improve on the cult status and legendary electronic work of the first two records? The answer, of course, is yes. Where Mega may be dialled back somewhat in the vaporwave stylings (despite what the artwork may advertise), we find instead tracks and passages of sounds that are much more introspective, more sombre even, and there is a sadness permeating this record that admittedly not only took me a few goes to catch onto, but also struck me as something unusual and special. Why has there been no more albums from this guy? This stuff is too good. MEGA by Blank Banshee

Blank Banshee – Blank Banshee 1 (2013)

Blank Banshee – Blank Banshee 1 (2013)

Blank Banshee is another one of those projects that gets lumped in with vaporwave when in reality the sound reaches across several styles of electronic music. I’ll admit that 1 often gets overlooked by me, either by the sheer gloss of Mega or the instant classic status of 0. The compositions are glorious however, ranging from banging 80s pop to drawn out ambient soundscapes and synths. Lush. Blank Banshee 1 by Blank Banshee

Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium – Frammento Di Quadro Della Tortura (11″ Lathe Cut) (2010)

Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium – Frammento Di Quadro Della Tortura (11″ Lathe Cut) (2010)

The material on display here is quite possibly the definitive NxVx sound. It is a shame really then, that the limited nature of lathe cut releasing (both a pro and a con) allows only a small number of people to hear this properly. Thankfully, it’s on YouTube, which isn’t quite the same, but it gives the rest of us a chance at experiencing the noize. Apologies for the mega lo-fi art on this entry, I don’t have a copy to take a picture of.