Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: December 2020

Libido Airbag – Baptized In Diarrhea – Demos and Rarities (2018)

Libido Airbag – Baptized In Diarrhea – Demos and Rarities (2018)

Baptized… is yet another re-release of the band’s first two demos. That initially sounds impressive, and necessary, but when you realise that the bands first album Knee Deep In Her Pussy is literally just these two demos stapled together with no changes, this re-release becomes infinitely more pointless. Knee Deep… already has a CD release and a (granted, now very expensive) vinyl re-issue, but still. I digress. I’ve included this release on Lines In Wax because of the 9 unheard rare tracks added to the end. These are all from random sessions between 1995 and 2001, and you can tell which album session each is from just from the vibes given off in the tracks. Either way, these are some classic Airbag tunes and I’m happy to have had them unearthed. If in doubt, just “Fiddle The Flesh Flute”, everyone.

Spermswamp – Extreme Cream (2007)

Spermswamp – Extreme Cream (2007)

Spermswamp is one of those bands that sets the gold standard for how ridiculous pornogrind should sound. For example, if fellow genre-mates S.M.E.S. is the equivilent to one of those automatic fucking machines solemnly pounding away at a low level, humming mechanically as it bores methodically into your orifice of choice, then Spermswamp is one of those machines but fused to some mecha-octopus technical fuckmonster. What I’m trying and probaby failing to convey is this: Spermswamp’s Extreme Cream is a fucking mess. But, its a beautiful mess, kinda like Kristy Black at the end of a 55 minute scene. Ya dig?

Spasm – Lust For Feculent Orgasm / Spasmatic Secretion (2005)

Spasm – Lust For Feculent Orgasm / Spasmatic Secretion (2005)

The perhaps excellently titled Lust For Feculant Orgasm is the first (and still rather low key) released album from goregrind mainstays Spasm. The album itself is very well put together, the tone of the bass (acting here as a lead guitar) is so crunchy and sick. This dirty little three piece has more weight to it than more fully fleshed out bands. What makes this record so long is the inclusion of the Spasmatic Secretion demo, which I have never heard of before, nor can I find any info on. Anyways, the songs aren’t as good quality as the album itself, but its a welcome addition, giving you nearly an hour of decent groovy goregrind.

Waking The Cadaver – Real Life Death (2013)

Waking The Cadaver – Real Life Death (2013)

Real Life Death was the low-key death rattle final release from infamous Shredded Wheat loving death metal band, Waking The Cadaver. As chonky as both Real Life Death and its predecessor, Beyond Cops Beyond God, both are, the charm of the band for me was lost on both of these recordings. Gone are the abysmal, gore-drenched slams of old. I’m not saying WTC were just another slam band; their first album was absolutely manking in the best possible way (some nice British slang for you there!). Don’t get me wrong, Real Life Death slaps hard, and I think offers up a bit more originality and even harks back a bit to the sounds of old with the odd slamming riff. It’s not an objectively bad album by any stretch, but it will always pale in comparison to Perverse Recollections Of A Necromangler.

Xxxtentacion – ? (2018)

Xxxtentacion – ? (2018)

I’d never really bothered with XXX until a work colleague of mine implored me to check out some tracks from this album, but I ended up listening to the whole thing. There’s a lot to unpack here; the opening track acts as fair warning, as trumpet blowing as it is (“my genius!”). I wouldn’t necessarily say you need an open mind to digest a weird mish-mash of hip hop and screamo or acoustic songs, but I can appreciate the warning. ? seriously lacks direction, but I massively appreciate the effort to branch out. Something about it just seems so genuine in its attempt, despite the failings. For all you could say about XXX, ? shows that he was a passionate and talented individual. RIP.

Slam Coke – First Cookie: Fick Die Bude Kaputt (2011)

Slam Coke – First Cookie: Fick Die Bude Kaputt (2011)

This is, objectively, one of the worst things that I have ever heard. Its been saved on my Spotify albums list since 2014, where I was recommended it by some absolute arseclown it seems. So what we have here is beatdown music with techno elements. Everything about that sentence makes me want to die inside, but the techno elements are actually pretty good. As far as beatdowns and slams go, well, this isn’t dirty enough to be slam but it is well put together and polished enough to fall in with all the other generic beatdown horse shit that’s out there. No, where the real unforgivable acts happen is in the vocal performances, which are truly desperate and awkward from the word go. There are some impressive lows, but that’s it, and that isn’t enough to save this absolute shitshow from falling over the edge into the abyss that claimed every other stupid fucking band that sounds exactly like this.

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)

The downward spiral continues with Leprechaun 4, where the quality descends even further still, but to the point where the plot is now so goddamn ridiculous it almost gets a pass. In this 4th offering, the Leprechaun makes it into space, where there is scantily clad princesses, trigger happy marines, Nazi scientists and terrible CGI spacecraft. A huuuuge drop in quality and budget from the 2nd and 3rd entry in the franchise, but incredibly entertaining nonetheless.

Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Leprechaun 3 has none of the endearing characters present in the first two movies. Everyone is pretty awful, or drastically flawed in some way, to the point where you don’t really give a suit about what happens to any of them. Luckily then, that the Leprechaun has conjured some creative ways to dispose of the cast, before culminating in yet another awful conclusion. It is what it is, but Leprechaun 3 is pretty shit.

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Leprechaun 2 is probably my favourite of the original 90s run of movies. A loveable simpleton and his on/off girlfriend incur the wrath of the Leprechaun who of course, fancies her for his bride as she some direct descendant of some poor sap that crossed the Leprechaun in the past. Anyway, it has a creative set of kills and situations, before a fairly useless showdown in the Leprechaun’s lair. It ends on a bum note as there was supposed to be a direct sequel, but this was shitcanned and Leprechaun 3 ended up being something completely different when the time came around, with a completely different set of cast and a different director.

Cradle Of Filth – Cruelty And The Beast Remistressed (2019)

Cradle Of Filth – Cruelty And The Beast Remistressed (2019)

There is a lot to address with the original mix of Cradle’s Cruelty And The Beast record. The real question however, is whether or not this recent remaster attempt brings out the best of a frequently misunderstood (yet still critically acclaimed classic) record. I have reviewed the music itself in the previous post, so will focus entirely on the remastered elements here in this post. The first thing I expect everyone is going to notice – and what everyone is going to be looking for – is the drums. After the intro track, “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids” bursts forth from the speakers with renewed life and vigor, and surprisingly, apart from the enhanced drum sound, which was obviously going to be addressed, the first thing that struck me was the thickened and boosted guitar layers. The stringed instruments are louder in the mix and bolder too. So: Nick Barker’s drums. Hear me out here. I think in attempt to fix a flimsy and paper-thin mix, it may be that Dani and his engineer have overcompensated. The percussion now sounds too full, and too modern if I could be so bold, for a record this cold and spooky and gothic. Don’t get me wrong, its a fucking pleasure to here every one of Barker’s quickfire hits land with force and actual feeling, but after the initial “woah!” factor this novelty wears thin very quickly. The same fate befell the Mayhem “remaster” of Grand Declaration…. it doesn’t feel so much like a much needed remix and remaster, but an attempt to bring the sound up to date, which will always inevitably fail. The only thing which remains – seemingly – untouched in my back to back listens is the excellent keyboard lines. I can only hope that this extensive remaster appeals to more recent fans of Cradle and opens this cold masterpiece up to more listeners, but for me (and I never thought I’d say this), give me the original any day of the week.

Cradle Of Fitlh – Cruelty And The Beast (1998)

Cradle Of Filth – Cruelty And The Beast (1998)

I haven’t listened to Cruelty… in donkey’s years. In fact, I didn’t even know there had been (finally!) a remaster of it either, so I decided to listen to both back to back for the purposes of commiting the records finally the vaults of Lines In Wax. What surprised me however, was that I heavily preferred the first mix to the remaster, despite the heavy shortcomings of this original release. But anyways, I’ll get to that in a second. First, let’s address the music. Cruelty… saw Cradle yet again build and mold their barbed lullabies of maturing gothic romance. If you’ve loved what came before then of course there is no need to stop here, “Thirteen Autumns And A Widow”, “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids”, “Beneath The Howling Stars”, “Bathory Aria” and “Twisted Nails Of Faith” are all enormous, career-best Filth numbers that tick all of the right boxes. The production is thin and brittle, which is fine, especially in such realms of frost-crusted, fragile “blackened” romps such as these. However, I would absolutely love to know who signed off on those drums. Nick Barker’s immensely complex playing is reduced to a series of clicks and clatters. In the grand scheme of the atmosphere it almost works (like it did on Dusk….), but I have a nagging feeling that some producers in the 90s just didn’t know what to do with that level of drumming, especially alongside the rest of the many moving pieces Cradle Of Filth had going at the same time. Cradle always walks the line between beauty and an absolute car crash, you need only seem them live on an off-day to know that. I’ll discuss these issues – and the steps taken to remidiate them – further on the remaster review, which should immediately follow this one. You can use the link below. Cheers!

Black Sabbath – Mob Rules (1981)

Black Sabbath – Mob Rules (1981)

The mob ruuuuullllllleeessssssss! Or, so I’m told. Not an awful album by any stretch, and is given an injection of new energy what with Bill Ward bowing out and Vinnie Appice coming on board for the drumming role. I just can’t buy into the Dio ham factor. Other than that, to me, the uninitiated Dio listener, Mob Rules is more or less a continuation of the themes on Heaven and Hell.

Curtis Mayfield – Curtis (1970)

Curtis Mayfield – Curtis (1970)

Blacks and the crackers! Brothers and the whities! Everyone has heard “Move On Up” but I only got into this record after falling in love with the opening track after it was used as the theme for season 1 of HBO’s The Deuce. Honestly, my knowledge in this era and in these genres is severely lacking so I’m probably going to struggle describing this record, but it sounds fantastic. It’s funky, soulful and pumping with energy. The bass guitar alone is worth listening for. Great stuff, truly.

Phyllomedusa / CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE – Split CD (2017)

Phyllomedusa / CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE – Split CD (2017)

I’ve been a fan of the hyperblasting froguencies of Phyllomedusa for some time now, so it was excellent news all around when I found out they would be doing a split with the lovely chaps in Catastrophic Blunt Force etc. etc. etc.  The Phyllo stuff is harsh and perfect for inner skull excoriating or some such horrendous practice. I may be biased in regards to my relationship with CBFx, but they offer something different to the gorenoise world, in that their records are recorded in a full blown studio (thanks to Dead Woman’s Ditch ax-man George and his Herepath studio). Honestly the difference is heavily welcomed, as the full total destruction can be more fully appreciated.

Theologian – The Chasms Of My Heart (2012)

Theologian – The Chasms Of My Heart (2012)

It’s nice to see something that bridges the gap between industrial, power electronics and harsh noise so perfectly. Often these terms are bandied about wantonly, with several terms being used to describe the same thing in a pedantic circle jerk of an already restrictive genre. Whilst I still don’t quite know what the fuck Witch House is supposed to be, I can literally feel the industrial vibe pouring out of this record, like steel girders shooting out of my computer screen and impaling my face, but in a good way. Yes, this is a noise record, but it earns the industrial or power electronics tags due to the sheer palpable feel of the tracks, like genuine mechanical beasts have come alive to create these horrendous cacophonies. Some of these “songs” even seem to hold their own sense of beauty, despite being mind-numbingly repetitive and gargantuan in scope. “My Body Is Made Of Ash…I Live As Ash” for example, is so anxious that it’s almost relaxing. There’s guitar in there somewhere I’m sure, as well as a clusterfuck of distorted voices. Some moments are repetitive to the point of an almost tribalistic percussion, which when made out of mashed up sound, is actually extremely impressive. Because The Chasms Of My Heart manages to be a enthralling noise masterpiece without having to resort to continuous maxed-out harshness, I’d wager this is a good a place as any to start with the noise genre, if you fancy giving it a go. To summarise: a very impressive and hypnotising record in a seriously over-saturated and often lazy genre of music.

Young And In The Way – When Life Comes To Death (2014)

Young And In The Way – When Life Comes To Death (2014)

I added this record to my to do list when Young And In The Way were announced for Temples Fest, easily over 5 years ago, maybe even 6. Either way, I never got around to listening to this until now, and was blown away by the mix of hardcore and black metal, which admittedly isn’t a mix I’m all too familiar with hearing. The production is quite typical of things in this trendy corner of metal, but nonetheless presents the music as a thick, chunky force to be reckoned with. An enjoyable listen.

Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt (2015)

Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt (2015)

(2020 edit: This review was written several years ago, I just dug it out from the lost drafts on my old Blogger account). And the award for quickest maturing member of Odd Future goes to Earl fucking Sweatshirt. Doris has always stood apart from most of the other Odd Future stuff I’ve heard, and now this… well, this is something truly special. On the strength of “Faucet” alone, this record is fucking outstanding. The beats are stoned, drawn-out romps tinged with as much misery as they have groove; they meander through dreamy synths that are the audible equivalent to watching the world’s most beautiful sunset whilst being manically depressed and completely numb to it’s beauty. Yeah.

Realize – Machine Violence (2020)

Realize – Machine Violence (2020)

Machine Violence is a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, if I wanted to be a cunt I could say that Realize sound like a mix of Decline & Fall era Godflesh, and something like Static X, but this is industrial metal folks, and it’s pretty difficult to not be derivative. When I say a breath of fresh air – I mean, when was the last time an industrial record was pushed by a label like this? Machine Violence is great. It has the aesthetic, the chunky sound and the hopeless vocals. My one complaint is that the percussion elements like cymbals etc are just completely eaten up in the high end hiss, but I suppose this just adds to the machine-like nature of the beast. Machine Violence by Realize

< READY > The Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time – Stage 4 (2018)

The Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time – Stage 4 (2018)

The fact that three of the four tracks on Stage 4 of this excellent examination of aural dementia are called “Post Awareness Confusions” should tell you a lot about where this project is going. I mean, I suppose we all know where this is going, its just we don’t know how its going to be interpreted into sound. This is one of the main things which has made this entire journey so exciting yet equally terrifying for me. Stage 4 is where Everywhere At The End Of Time gets very fucking real. Gone are the 3, 4, 5 minute songs, here instead we have 4 20-minute-plus slabs of meandering noise. The big band samples are still there, memories still from all the way back in Stage 1, only mangled, drawn out, and lost in some sort of ethereal fog, only to come plunging out again, if only momentarily. Scary shit.

Dimmu Borgir – Stormblåst 2005 (2005)

Dimmu Borgir – Stormblåst 2005 (2005)

Stormblast 2005 has to be one of the most pointless and unneccessary re-recordings ever made. I’m not too clear on the band’s intention or reasoning, and to be honest, I don’t really care. The end product is vastly inferior to the original, even with Dimmu’s more modern, lightening fast and heavily over-produced symphonic pomp. There is a magic and density that is missing still, however, in this somewhat soulless rehashing of the black metal classic.

Dimmu Borgir – Stormblåst (1996)

Dimmu Borgir – Stormblåst (1996)

The original Stormblast record (stolen keyboard compositions or otherwise) is a stunning work of ‘symphonic’ black metal. I write ‘symphonic’ like that becuase this doesn’t sound like metal with a fat orchestral section dumped on top, the keys and atmospherics are instead an extension of the existing tone and vibe; kinda like how Nocturnus put keyboards effortlessly into death metal. Each track is a gem, and the mix – which has its detractors I’m sure – is perfect for me. It conjures a medieval world of unknown forces and adventure. Plus, how cool is that cover art?

Rotten Sound – Cursed (2011)

Rotten Sound – Cursed (2011)

Rotten Sound is truly god tier grindcore. Grindcore perhaps even, for people who don’t listen to much grindcore. Cursed is super tight and ultra polished, with even the crusty d-beat passages hitting with lightening precision. A blisteringly fast performance from start to finish, with dat Entombed-core crunch, yo.

Undergang – Misantropologi (2017)

Undergang – Misantropologi (2017)

This is just so gloriously sexy. Maybe that isn’t the word you’d usually use to describe Mortician-tinged glacial pace death metal, but Undergang’s Misantropologi record is just so beautifully nasty. Somehow, through the mire of sludge the drums sparkle, the vocals croak, and the guitars crackle with fire and crispness. If I was in Coffins, I’d be keeping my eye on these guys.

Cradle Of Filth – Dusk… And Her Embrace (1998)

Cradle Of Filth – Dusk… And Her Embrace (1996)

I mean… where do I begin? Dusk… is probably the benchmark for measuring all Cradle albums, and whilst yes, there are some issues with the production, these aren’t anywhere near as glaring as those which plagued the follow-up record, and if anything, these gremlins add to the atmospheric whole, rather than detract from the experience at all. If I was to make one gripe about the production, its that sometimes the drums are almost totally drowned out by the other elements at play. The leap the band made between Principle… and Vempire was astounding, so hearing that maturity form further through the gorgeous meandering menaces on this record is an absolute pleasure. The guitars as much as weep out of the speakers, and the keyboard work is some of the best yet. In cases of extreme music and keyboards it can feel like the two sit apart, or awkwardly alongside each other, but here the keys only seem to enrapture the entire composition, as if some ethereal, ghostly blanket of goodness is wrapping itself around all of the songs. Oh, and “Funeral In Carpathia” is one of the best metal songs ever written. Just sayin’. Does Dusk…. deserve a remaster? Perhaps not. But I would be interested to hear it.

Cradle Of Filth – The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh (1994)

Cradle Of Filth – The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh (1994)

The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh, is, simply put, one of my favourite albums of all time. Of course, I did not start with this as a teenager, and I got into Cradle through Bitter Suites… and Damnation And A Day, but I eventually worked my way backwards, where Principle… and Vempire became my favourite works of gothic horror. A lot of people say that The Principle Of Evil… is where Cradle Of Filth came closest to being a black metal band. I have to disagree, because despite the massive gothic overtones, the corpse paint and the hammy keyboards, Cradle’s “metal” as it were – the meat behind the pomp – has always been based in more death metal riffage, or traditional heavy metal harmonies stepped up to 11 and dripping in black gloss and steroid sweat (lol). Nowhere is this death metal under-layer more prominent (demo tapes aside) than Principle…, with its dirty, drab and slightly rough production. A lot of the time, the record reminds me of Serenades-era Anathema (not a coincidence that Darren White appears on guest vocals for “A Dream Of Wolves In The Snow”), from the tone of the death-doom of the guitars, to the almost identical drum production. It’s also worth noticing that Nick Barker’s pace is also much slower here than usual, maybe not so much to meet the songs but more to do with his youth and developing drumming skills? His performance here is the only one I’ve ever been able to personally keep up with, and his flourishes, fills and cymbal usage / variation taught me so much as an aspiring drummer. Anyway, I’m rambling. This is bear-bones Cradle, but contains some absolute belters, “The Black Goddess Rises”, “To Eve The Art Of Witchcraft”, “Of Mist And Midnight Skies”, “Summer Dying Fast”… I could go on and on and on. Easily one of the best metal albums of all time, in my humble opinion.

Desecration – Process Of Decay (2005)

Desecration – Process Of Decay (2005)

More nastiness from the Welsh death metal masters. Process… had my favourite drum sound of any of the band’s records, and the nuances of Mic’s style are much more prominent, rather than just provided a lightening fast backbone for the brutality. This record contains the bangin’ set staple “Bacterial Breakdown” as well as a couple of mega-disgusting guesties from Amputated / Crepitation vocalist Mark Pearce. Closer “Gravewax” is also a total fucking gem.

Del Tha Funky Homosapien – Both Sides Of The Brain (1999)

Del Tha Funky Homosapien – Both Sides Of The Brain (1999)

Smooth, cool as all manner of fuck and with a flow to boot, Del’s 4th record is an execution in true hip hop genius. I mean, Del is surely self aware of the fact – but not rubbing it in people’s faces or boasting about some of the same old shit most rappers get caught up in is one of the best charms about this man and his glorious body of work. This was also a classic period for Del, if one could say such a thing, as it was around the time he would collaberate on the Deltron 3030 project, and more famously, the debut Gorillaz record.

Bogus Blimp – Chords.Wires (2000)

Bogus Blimp – Chords.Wires (2000)

Its not often I get to say this with much conviction, but this album is a bloody weird one. Bogus Blimp are strrraaange as fuck, with Cords.Wires taking you on a meandering trip through all sorts of vibes and audio collages. Its not all vignette-style aural wandering however, there does appear to be a smattering of fully-formed, more traditionally structured songs thrown in too, but for the most part, this is a bizarre journey. I have no idea how I ended up with this album on my to-do list, but what an enjoyable listen.

Sutcliffe Jügend – Offal (2016)

Sutcliffe Jügend – Offal (2016)

Unsettling and disturbing as always, SJ embark on yet another plunge into the depths of humanity’s darkness. For all the storytelling that makes you feel like you want to take a shower, Offal is actually quite a pleasant listen. The noise on offer is clearly harrowing in its origin; it feels like there is a prolonged screaming suffering mangled through the tracks, but in such a way that it is delivered almost like a purifying fire, rather than a depthless mire of filth and depression. There’s a lot of disturbing noise and power electronics out there, but you can always count on Sutcliffe to bring the aural thwack that so heavily matters in circles such as these.

AFX – Analord 05 (2005)

AFX – Analord 05 (2005)

On my journey through the excellent world of the Analord series, 05 is probably the trippiest one yet. Sure, the point of this shit isn’t really to be “trippy” or “weird”, but from the opening effects on the acid bath that is “Reunion 2”, through to the laid back futuristic sprawl of “Cilonen” (and the additional bonus material), there’s just something about Analord 05 that seems to be in a whole other world.

Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us (2016)

Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us (2016)

Bro, like, bruh, you’ll never like, be one of us, bro. Bruh. LOL for all the quality memes that this hideously bad album title spawned, one must look past the elitist attitude and the penchant for performing powerviolence in leather jackets (totes veegs bro), and see that beneath the layers of masculine posturing and internet ridicule, Nails’ third offering is actually a vicious assault on the senses. Heavy, dirty drums and Entombed-core riffage is the order of the day, but sometimes just to bang your head is all you want to do. Bro.

Profundo Rosso (1975)

Profundo Rosso (1975)

Even for a movie in the giallo style, Deep Red (or Profundo Rosso) has a fairly unusual plot. That aside, the production seems stark and eerily sparse, the exact opposite of say, Susperia (except for maybe that bit where the dog goes for the guy’s throat in that wide open city square). Honestly, Profundo Rosso is the detective story of your nightmares, with only the twists and turns your dreamworld can conjure up. The pacing falls off in the final third but the visuals are striking enough to keep me interested. A classic, no doubt.

Hell Comes To Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes To Frogtown (1988)

Well isn’t this just awful? Hahaha – I mean, I expected it to be, truly I did, but off the back of how terrible yet entertaining They Live was, I fell into this with my expectations set far too high. If there were any illusions of Roddy Piper being able to act, Hell Comes To Frogtown will shatter those illusions forever. Giant lizards in fantastically entertaining makeup, and the odd bare breasted machine gun toting 80s lass aside, Frogtown is an absolute mess. An abortion of plot is carried by dreadful dialogue and boring action sequences. I can’t believe I made it to the end, to be honest with you.

Negative Approach – Negative Approach (1982)

Negative Approach – Negative Approach (1982)

The prices that this thing fetches on sites such as Discogs absolutely boggles the mind, but I suppose if anything, it shows the influence that Negative Approach had on hardcore punk. NA have always kinda simmered beneath the surface, being that awesome band that always kinda stayed underground, if I can say something so stupid. Anyway, the self-titled EP is a part of punk history now, and is a savage little beast. Well worth a listen if you’ve not heard it.

Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi – Seventh Star (1986)

Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi – Seventh Star (1986)

Wow. This has to be the absolute low point thus far in my Sabbath journey. Surely it cannot get any worse than this? I mean, for a large portion of their (read: Iommi’s career) the band have peddled awful rock and or roll with that inescapable 80s feel. Surprisingly this varies in flavour and in quality from album to album, with Seventh Star being the absolute lowest point utter dogshit rock bottom that is nothing short of a total embarrassment. I understand that this was supposed to be an Iommi solo record that was forced to take the Black Sabbath name. Either way, its absolute horse shit and I hope I never have to listen to it ever again.

Mayhem – Chimera (2004)

Mayhem – Chimera (2004)

Jesus Christ this is absolutely savage. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Mayhem can go hard, this is an established fact, but on Chimera the band expand upon the festering viciousness present on Wolf’s Lair Abyss and dial that up into a full length. All the usual elements are here, being the razor sharp and dexterous riffing, and the insanely fast drummer of Hellhammer, but on this Maniac-fronted offering, the band hold back on the robot voice effects and instead let the frontman out of his cage without his meds. Just listen to “Whore” and then try to deny yourself the rest of this record.

Danzig – Danzig (1988)

Danzig – Danzig (1988)

WOMAN! I hope you are ready for Danzig’s dark and evil moooosak to pour all over you? Wolves, wine, satan, leather and enormous belt buckles are the order of the day here. But, in all seriousness, this is a genuinely enjoyable romp through Danzig’s unique charge of rock and or roll. Listen loud, and enjoy.

Mayhem – Daemon (2019)

Mayhem – Daemon (2019)

Mayhem have been on something of a streak in recent years, with consistent and quality releases being dropped. Daemon is of no exception, and whilst it doesn’t exactly extend leaps and bounds away from the work presented on Esoteric Warfare, it does present a growth and maturity which is easily noticeable and a pleasure to identify in the songwriting process. I mean, Mayhem are now the gold standard of intricate yet deadly metal. Hellhammer, for all that I’ve said about the man in the past, is nothing short of phenomenal on the kit, and to be honest the performances all round are stellar, from the needling riffs to the – of course – bizarre vocal offerings of Attila.

Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones (1983)

Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones (1983)

Quite possibly the perfect record to sit in an old city centre pub with, drinking strong ale and watching the revellers go about their business. Truly I suppose, Tom Waits’ music is probably more suited to smashing back an Old Fashioned in a dusty, smoky hole of a piano bar, but I’ll work with what I’ve got here in little ol’ Wales. Whilst not as macabre or as experimental as later offerings, records like Swordfishtrombones are still a cerebral listen, taking elements of many classic genres of music and twisting them into a strange and drunken world, which we are viewing through a broken lense. By the end of play, I’m strangley craving a packet of cigarettes.

Yuzo Koshiro ‎– Streets Of Rage  (ベア・ナクッル 怒りの鉄拳) (1991/2015)

Yuzo Koshiro ‎– Streets Of Rage (ベア・ナクッル 怒りの鉄拳) (1991/2015)

Retro gaming is an absolute gold mine for decent tunes, and the original Streets Of Rage soundtrack is a fucking banger, and probably one of the best places to start. It’s basically everything you could ever want from music in this style; it captures a time and a place, yet is also quite futuristic and exciting. Top stuff. The OST finally got the treatment it deserves with an official release in 2015, making Yuzo Koshiro a musician rather than just a crazy games designer who programmed his own code to write music with. There are some stunning vinyl releases thanks to the Data Discs label.

Vulvectomy ‎– Abusing Dismembered Beauties (2013)

Vulvectomy ‎– Abusing Dismembered Beauties (2013)

Crisper than a freshly deep fried corpse! If you like your misogyny dressed up in hardcore-tinged death metal, then look no further than Abusing Dismembered Beauties, a poor effort at an album title, even in this disgusting world of slam death metal. Despite my sarcasm, I must say this is brutal as fuck. The sound is fresh, and as I’ve already mentioned, crisp as fook. The sampling is a bit tacky (par for the course I know, but Family Guy samples are not high on my list of things that I want to hear mid album). I’m gonna round this off because I’m just listing shit I don’t like about it, when it’s actually pretty brutal. For slam fans only, most definitely.

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)

The first Selected Ambient Works record was the album that introduced Aphex Twin to the wider world. If you’ve not heard it, it’s not a collection of ambient tracks per se, but more of a collection of chilled musical electronic workings. There are plenty of beats and “actual songs” here, unlike Vol. 2 which went more full on into the introspective, meandering ambient soundscapes. Here, Aphex Twin takes the sound perfected on his EPs and streamlines it into a musical journey which has stood the test of time. This is a fairly long album but one that is now considered a classic and vital electronic music release. It was a pleasure to sit with it again recently, after so many years.

Necro Deathmort – Music Of Bleak Origin (2011)

Necro Deathmort – Music Of Bleak Origin (2011)

Necro Deathmort are an incredibly underrated band. Music Of Bleak Origin is – I think – the band’s own origin, and they have come leaps and bounds since then. The records since this one float away in a dreamy yet claustrophobic hell of electronic and industrial music, but this debut album has more in common with Godflesh than it does to say, something like Scorn. There is an electronic backbone to this nightmarish journey, but there is also a large amount of guitar-based riffs and textures. All in all, Music Of Bleak Origin is not quite as bleak as the title promises, there is a full array of moods and textures, none of which get boring but do tend to stew in the slow and miserable territory. Good fun!

Tumour – Too Large For Digestive Capacity (2006)

Tumour – Too Large For Digestive Capacity (2006)

Ahh, Too Large For Digestive Capacity lives up to its name by almost being just that; an undigestible mess of different sessions and chunks from around the Tumour world. Presented in seemingly no particular order at all, this “full length” captures songs recorded between 2001 and 2005, with zero cohesion or visible plan. There’s even a 10 minute or so live session thrown in, but more studio tracks follow it before the record finishes. Yes, this is a hideous mess. But, the grinding digi-gore on display is actually rather enjoyable. Tumour could probably have gotten 8 or 9 splits out of this thing, but here it is in all its ridiculous glory under one title. If you’ve 1hr 20mins worth of appetite for badly recorded digital grindcore, then by all means continue.

The Chromatics – Cherry  (2014)

The Chromatics – Cherry (2014)

Dreamy, otherworldly pop, which for all its ethereal atmosphere, is a touch devoid of originality. Once one track is done, I feel like I’ve scoped the vibe for the entire album. Every track is delivered with the same pace; that same valiumed-up-to-my-eyeballs vocal delivery, regardless of who is behind the mic. That being said there are some solid tunes here, including a great version of “Shadow” (in the online version) and the various iterations of the title track. How amazing are both versions of the album art, though?

2wo – Voyeurs (1998)

2wo – Voyeurs (1998)

Well isn’t this just awful. I was reading about Halford’s 90s musical excursions when I discovered he’d collaborated with John 5 on an industrial project. ‘What was all this then?’ I thought innocently to myself, but it was not long before the shitty, studded metal dildo that is 90s industrial fucked me once again. Like, this is not industrial music. The tag is used far too loosely. You can’t just get some heavy snare sounds, some robotic riffs and some crappy lyrics about being alone or horny or whatever and call that industrial. No, this is bland, boring, borderline nu metal tripe for greasy 90s kids with too much Brylcreem in their hair. Horrendously bad.

Witch – Witch (2006)

Witch – Witch (2006)

I’ve been digging this album since I caught Witch at one of the two Roadburns I went to (can’t remember if it’s 2011 or the 2012 off the top of my head). I love their blend of stoner rock, it really works quite well. The guitars are crackling like fire over lazy, swaggering rock, and the vocals are energised and sultry.

Tangerine Dream – Electronic Meditation (1970)

Tangerine Dream – Electronic Meditation (1970)

The first Tangerine Dream full length is a fairly short affair and set the presidence for what the band would expand on in the coming albums over the early 70s. Don’t get me wrong, Electronic Meditation is great (how cool is that album name?) but there are much better examples of the band’s stunning synthesizer explorations that can be found in the same time period.

Daft Punk – Homework (1997)

Daft Punk – Homework (1997)

Coursing along on the pulse of the explosion of electronic and dance music in the 90s, Daft Punk introduce the wider world to their slick, sexy, and dare I say French approach to composing dance music. You hipster fucks can give this any ridiculous genre name you can care to pull out of your collective arses, but yes – this is dance music.

Megadeth – Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! (1985)

Megadeth – Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! (1985)

Megadeth’s first record is full of vitriol, hate and boundless energy. Its quite sad that Mustaine’s entire career has been a case of trying to one-up Metallica, but off the mark with Killing Is My Business…, it certainly shows that there are far worse motivations than this kind of thing. The album is fast and fairly heavy. I can’t get my head around the Megadeth “version” of “The Four Horsemen” but that’s a small price to pay.

Korn – Life Is Peachy (1996)

Korn – Life Is Peachy (1996)

Say what you want about Korn but the early records are dismal affairs of grubby downtuned heaviness and generally unsavoury vocal topics. The self titled is a dark journey in itself, but Life Is Peachy sounds heavier, more drab and scruffy, and generally is a very nasty record from start to finish. The nu metal stylings may not have aged well, but the creepy, messed up vibe of this thing lives on even today. This scared the bajeesus out of me when I was 12 years old.