Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: August 2021

The Lost Episodes Of Doom / Remnants Of Earth (1995 / 2013)

The Lost Episodes Of Doom / Remnants Of Earth (1995 / 2013)

Lost Episodes was my first unofficial yet commercially released WAD. It starts off really strong, and whilst I don’t own the actual book that came with it, I was able to navigate and enjoy most of the earlier levels. The problems begin however, when towards the end of episode 2, a second designer takes over. The maps all of a sudden become sprawling, enormous and mostly empty. This is proper amateur hour here, with the map quality ranging from downright atrocious to the not-so-bad “empty and eery” feel. Starts really strong, ends badly. But its super cool to play some custom WADs from Doom’s infancy, with these being created in 1994. Remnants Of Earth, an episode 4 replacement but based in Doom II, on the other hand…. I had this WAD on the list but it was tacked on to my version of The Lost Episodes Of Doom. I accidentally ran it in Ultimate Doom rather than Doom II (for which it is intended), but I guess some sort of GZDoom or ZDoom (or even Brutal Doom) fuckery allowed all the monsters and guns to load without issue, but there were a few missing textures. I’d argue that these maps do not compliment the original Lost Episodes. In fact, they are absolutely nothing like those maps. Because these are infinitely better – and much harder to boot. Even on a lower difficulty setting (I have to play it lower on Brutal Doom, don’t crucify me, UVnerds!). Some of the maps are a bit obtuse in finding the exit or a missing key, but all in all, this was a great – and challenging – addition to Doom.

Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988)

Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988)

Hellraiser is a tough act to follow, and admittedly during watching there was a lot to Hellbound that I really didn’t like. However, in hindsight, the plot and the trippy hellscape elements, whilst not super entertaining at the time, have stuck with me and remain with me, purely for their unusual and bizarre imagery, and for their disturbing dreamlike feel. Freddie’s boiler room can do one, the maze of Hellraiser’s hell is a true nightmare.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The Cloverfield Paradox is the third entry into the uhh, Cloverfield universe. Going far beyond the previous two entries into the series, at least in terms of lore and general sci-fi vibes, the Paradox entry further muddies and complicates the end of the world setting that was introduced in the Marmite-like first movie. Honestly, this was a nice addition, but it wasn’t that great. Where are we now? Where do we stand? Was the earth invaded by a giant monster? Or was that monster(s)? Or are we now firmly lodged into alternative dimension hell? LOL – Honestly, its super difficult to not think of these three movies as being strung together in name only. Each one feels completely and utterly in a different world, not the same one.

Moon (2009)

Moon (2009)

Moon is great. A paranoid, twisty-turny sci-fi that plays up the protagonist’s isolation as he continues to uncover a mystery about his career, his moon base, and his entire existence. Can’t really say more than that without ruining it, but this was a great sci-fi movie.

Dear God No! (2011)

Dear God No! (2011)

The name of this movie amply describes the reaction I had about 45 minutes in, and therefore sustained throughout the remaining runtime. Dear God No! showcases the danger of having fucking amazing cover art on your DVD or BluRay. This steaming pile of shit does nothing to justify how awesome its cover art is, which is what lured me in.

Day Of The Dead (1985)

Day Of The Dead (1985)

Day Of The Dead is another classic entry in the classic horror series. Set underground, the story once again plays with the isolation that breeds in the setting of a world-wide apocalypse of sorts. The increase in domestic violence in the real world Coronavirus lockdown spookily and worryingly echoes that of the madness that transpires in the pocket-communities of humanity shown by the …Of The Dead series. Art imitates life, so they say. But there we go, that’s enough thinking for one day. To recap: a great and classic horror flick (with a banging soundtrack to boot).

BoJack Horseman (2014 – 2020)

BoJack Horseman (2014 – 2020)

How is it that a cartoon about a talking horse is able to be the most realistic in its portrayal of depression, anxiety and the human condition in general? Its even more impressive when said horse is a washed up Hollywood superstar, which isn’t exactly relatable for most people. Its a strange one, but in one of the boldest and most original shows to ever come out of Netflix, Rafael Bob-Waksburg’s anthropomorphic comedy hits in all the right ways and its the tragedy that stays with you afterwards, not the comedy. That isn’t to say of course, that BoJack Horseman isn’t funny. BJ is a comedy first, a unflinching look at the gamit of human emotion second. Watching the first few episodes of the first season, you would rightly be asking “what the fuck is Lines In Wax talking about?”, but like any TV series worth its salt, BoJack needs to set up the pieces before knocking them down. But don’t just take my word for it. I write about death metal, grindcore and weird electronic music. I don’t have the verbal capacity to adequately convey this show’s themes. All I’ll say is, that for a cartoon, BoJack Horseman is astoundingly well written, and absolutely gut-wrenching as much as it is funny. If you’ve ever watched a loved one succumb to dementia then you’re going to be in for a hard time during season 4. TLDR: BoJack remains one of my favourite TV series of all time, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Priest – New Flesh (2017)

Priest – New Flesh (2017)

I was sold on Priest when I checked out “The Pit” single. Admittedly it was the art that got me, promising dark and sadistic techno, and whilst its not as sleazy as I would have expected from a single with a studded gimp mask on the front, it did deliver the stunning, dark techno pop I was looking for. Thankfully, the band is not a one hit wonder, there are tons of stunning tracks here, my favourites probably being “History In Black” or the grower “Vaudeville”. If you love dark pop I can’t recommend this enough.

Metallica – Reload (1997)

Metallica – Reload (1997)

I was Re-ally surprised to Re-alise, on a Re-cent Re-listen to Metallica’s Re-Load (I’m sorry), just how much I enjoyed the listen. I used to be all elitist about this thing because it represented everything about Metallica that I didn’t like; the whiskey drankin’ mainstream normie metal verses the blistering thrash of old. However, in my old age, and for the purposes of cataloging my thoughts on it here once and for all, I can safely say that I have grown up enough to listen to it all the way through, objectively. Is Re-Load a good album? In the grand scheme of things, no it’s not. Asides from its big singles, it wallows in mediocrity. Sure, for 90s Metallica, even mediocrity comes with some riffs and beats that absolutely slap, but, and I’m definitely not the only one here, you just cannot shake the thought that these are just left over Load songs. And that is a shame. Most Metallica fans would argue that St. Anger is the band’s low point, but in my opinion, they jumped the shark right here with this half-assed release.

Boondox – South Of Hell (2010)

Boondox – South Of Hell (2010)

I don’t want to shit on any musician who puts their own thing out there for the world to hear, and doubly so I don’t want to shit on any Psychopathic Records / juggalo stuff because I feel like its an easy target and “music” “journalists” have often had a field day stroking their beards and shitting all over this stuff. But, I’m afraid that is exactly what I have to do here. South Of Hell is absolutely atrocious in every single way possible. Yes, the production is great, but this bizarre mix of rap and country (or country tropes) is downright appalling, not to mentioning the “rapping” itself, which is beyond reproach. I’ll stop there, I think. Absolute garbage.

Burzum – Draugen (2005)

Burzum – Draugen (2005)

Draugen is a mostly disappointing collection of really old dusty Burzum demos. That sentence alone mostly sells this release to me (lol), but in reality I don’t find Draugen to be even remotely enjoyable or stimulating. At this point I would usually say this is for the more full-on fans only, but apparently that’s me and I don’t really like it. Either way, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that enjoy this, I’m just not one of them.

Killing Joke – MMXII (2012)

Killing Joke – MMXII (2012)

Another chunky, well produced offering from Killing Joke in what I like to call their “second wind” period. The band did absolutely not fuck around during this time and MMXII, which is followed by Pylon and preceded by Absolute Dissent, is a meaty chunk of industrial rock. Tracks like “FEMA Camp” and “Premobile” exist to remind you that Killing Joke are one of the best bands on the planet. Geordie’s guitar is absolutely huge and Jaz’s vocals just get better with age, like a very paranoid and gravely wine. LOL

Phyllomedusa – 5 Inch Graves (2013/2015)

Phyllomedusa – 5 Inch Graves (2013/2015)

5 Inch Graves is one of my favourite Phyllomedusa releases, not that I claim to have heard them all (I even have a 5IG t-shirt!). The project’s bizarre mix of everything from gorenoise to sludgy doom metal is astounding, packaging all these styles up in a gloomy, dense atmosphere. 5 Inch Graves is cataclysmic in its heaviness, and this extended edition is a good a place as any to start with this band.

Hemdale – Rad Jackson (2002)

Hemdale – Rad Jackson (2002)

Rad Jackson is a collection of tracks from splits that Hemdale did with various bands over the years. Personally, I’d rather get out there and listen to the splits, but as time goes on and life goes on I find that task more and more impossible. There’s just too many good bands! Luckily, Rad Jackson is a fucking great compilation and showcases the strength of Hemdale as a grindcore band. The flow, as with most of these things, is a bit piecemeal, but unlike a lot of collections it doesn’t get bogged down or fizzle out as the timer goes on. Hemdale’s sessions here are completely solid, bowel-churning grindcore. Fabulous.

Sweetface – Music For Being (2020)

Sweetface – Music For Being (2020)

Music For Being is a lengthy, intense trip that I checked out off the back of the fantastic Sweetface EP, Mighty Atom. Ranging from atmospheric ambient tracks, beatwork akin to the more spaced-out Scorn output, and harsh explosions of power electronics, Music For Being is a mixed bag. I suppose its part of the fun, not knowing where its going to turn next, but I also can’t help but shake the feeling that the record is a little directionless and inconsistent. Individually, all the parts are sound. As a whole however, I’m unsure if it works.

Haemorrhage – Hospital Carnage (2011)

Haemorrhage – Hospital Carnage (2011)

One of the longest running stalwarts of the traditional goregrind sound, Spain’s Haemorrhage have been mostly consistent over the years. Its funny, tons of modern bands are now channelling this intense level of Carcass worship, but Haemorrhage have long ago made this sickness their own. Hospital Carnage, despite its cartoonish artwork, is a serious goregrind record, drawing from the school of bands like Exhumed and delivering a sound and production more on par with the true underground. If you like death metal but goregrind is still a mystery to you, this might be a good place to dip the toes in the ol’ septic pool.

Linus Fitness-Centre – Clear The Level (2020)

Linus Fitness-Centre – Clear The Level (2020)

I’ve always know that Atomck’s Linus created his own electronic music, but I never knew just how good that it was. Clear The Level is so good in fact, that I immediately shared the record with my good friend and LIW contributor Burra and we released it on cassette under our Two Man Tape Co. label (there’s one or two left at the time of writing, if you want one!). Expect fantastic synthesiser pop music, with samples/patches culled from the Spectrum as well as other analogue sources. Stand out tracks include “More Hummus Now Than Man”. “My Gut Says Maybe” or “Lets Never Do This Again”.

Herbie Hancock – Future Shock (1983)

Herbie Hancock – Future Shock (1983)

I can’t decide if this is genius or just downright awful. Either way, I respect the guts to pull off this kind of experiment, even though listening now in 2021, there is nothing futuristic about this album. If anything, it sounds like a relic from the past, from the days of proto electronic music, suffering the same fate as some of Miles Davis’ records from this era.

Venetian Snares – Songs About My Cats (2001)

Venetian Snares – Songs About My Cats (2001)

As good as any a subject to base a record around, Songs About My Cats – one of Aaron Funk’s first full lengths with Venetian Snares – is partly a homage to our whiskered friends and partly a breakcore mindfuck of the highest order. If I had the power to give out those little seals like the Queen does, I’d appoint Aaron Funk one for “purveyors of exceptional and finest Breakcore” or something. Cracking stuff.

Camel – Mirage (1974)

Camel – Mirage (1974)

Gorgeously composed, proggy music with just the right production balance between that rough around the edges retro / analogue sound and that clarity and polish required to make prog work. I know absolutely nothing about classic rock or the prog scenes, give or take a few of the bigger band names, but I went out on a whim with this one and fully enjoyed it. Cracking!

Nightfall – Lesbian Show (1997)

Nightfall – Lesbian Show (1997)

Well this is just absolutely absurd. I gotta be honest, I only listened because of the title of the album – none of this is even remotely in the ballpark of what I usually enjoy. Nevertheless, it served as a decent background soundtrack to my blasting through of The Lost Episodes of Doom lol. Question is – would I ever listen to it again? The answer is, a firm no.

I Shit On Your Face – Anal Barbeque (2005)

I Shit On Your Face – Anal Barbeque (2005)

Anal Barbeque is a perfect continuation of the sessions the band brought to the split with XXX Maniak. The songs are pure nonsense, and sometimes verge on noisecore, but I have a softspot for this band and their gutteral, squealing goregrind. Granted, I probably don’t sell it all too well with that description, but this is really great, noisy stuff. Right up my alley.

CxMxP / D.H.I.B.A.C. – Split CD (2005)

CxMxP / D.H.I.B.A.C. – Split CD (2005)

I got this CD years ago (2006?) when Divine Noise Entertainment stock was swallowed up by a then-new Rotten Roll Rex. Both bands are great, but I think CxMxPx take the prize here. Their grind is absolutely savage. Everything hits hard but the vocals in particular are super intense. D.H.I.B.A.C. have a warmer, more rounded sound and more of a powerviolence vibe, with chuggier riffing and a dual vocal attack that includes that PV low vocal style.

Gut ‎– Promo Livetape’94 – Gefotzt & Gefistelt (1994)

Gut ‎– Promo Livetape’94 – Gefotzt & Gefistelt (1994)

I decided to go way back, waaay back to the nasty cult stuff, to get my Gut hit; a hit that can only be got from the sleazy pits of the spawning vats of pornogrind. This live tape has been on the to-do list for a while now, especially since some maniac uploaded the impossible to find relic to YouTube for everybody’s listening displeasure. Unfortunately, the cassette contains a fairly weak live set with far too many long gaps between songs, causing me to become bored to infinite tears with the sounds, rather than feeling rather stimulated by the filth on offer. One for the die hards and collectors only, I would say.

Gudang – Nostagli Gaius (2018)

Gudang – Nostagli Gaius (2018)

I’ve been coming back to this one on and off for a few months now. I’m unsure why it failed to grab me, I love this treacle-paced darker side to the vaporwave movement. Anyways, I finally got through the whole length of Nostalgi Gaius in one sitting and I have to say that I’m glad I committed and in the end I thoroughly enjoyed the record. I bet it would sound fantastic on cassette.

Exhumed – Gore Metal (1998)

Exhumed – Gore Metal (1998)

I’ve always liked Exhumed, but going back I didn’t realise how much I loved this album. What a disgusting mess! Bringing the aural vibes of early Carcass (particularly with the vocals) and mixing it with elements of thrash and death metal, Exhumed’s Gore Metal is a standout release in an often dismissed subgenre (in the grand scheme of things, at least). As stinking as the album cover or your money back!

Insane Clown Posse – The Terror Wheel (1994)

Insane Clown Posse – The Terror Wheel (1994)

Terror Wheel is absolutely prime rib classic era ICP, falling somewhere between The Ringmaster and The Riddlebox records. It calls forward to The Riddlebox with the inclusion of a slightly-less polished “Dead Body Man”, and contains such insane classics as “Skitzofrantic” and the hilarious “I Stuck Her With My Wang”. ICP have a lot of hit or miss stuff but honestly they have a bad reputation that they absolutely do not deserve. This is a hard working, dedicated and enormously under-rated project. The 90s output, especially in the earlier days such as this, is up there with other hip hop classics of the time. Please look past the gimmick. Listen to “Amy’s In The Attic” and tell me this shit doesn’t slap hard!

Cock And Ball Torture – Cocktales (1998)

Cock And Ball Torture – Cocktales (1998)

Jeez, did they get enough different covers for this fucking thing out over the years, or what? Ha! Love or hate pornogrind (I’m looking at you Metalsucks, with your “lets attack grind but actually I’ve mislabelled some misogynistic slam” hipster think pieces), CBT do what they do and they do it well. Everything about this is just stinking; the art, the production, the riffs, the vocals. And this isn’t so much of a review but just a statement: if you don’t like this kinda thing, just fuck off. Nobody is forcing you to listen to it.

pilotredsun – Achievement (2016)

pilotredsun – Achievement (2016)

I’ve long been a fan of Pilotredsun’s insane animations (my favourite of which I’ve linked below for your viewing displeasure), so it was an absolute pleasure to find out that the animator had dropped this full length album of bizarro electronic tuneage. Honestly, the “cartoons” are waaaay weirder than any of the tracks here, but its a wobbly and pleasant listen, like visiting old friends and familiar places for the first time in years, after a low dose of mushrooms. Hey, I’ll tell you for what, this would be outstanding on cassette.

John Romero / James Paddock / Buckethead – Doom: Sigil (Game / OST) (2019)

John Romero / James Paddock / Buckethead – Doom: Sigil (Game / OST) (2019)

Imagine how hyped I was when I found out that this 5th episode of Doom was a thing! As someone who has played through the first 4 episodes countless times as a kid and then as a teenager, this WAD, billed as the unofficial 5th episode of Ultimate Doom, but created entirely by John Romero, was the icing on the cake when I started looking for reasons to play through Doom again. Those of you who are casually familiar with Romero’s levels probably know him for the legendary level design on Doom’s 1st shareware episode from 1993, and also for some of the more notorious levels in the 4th episode, Thy Flesh Consumed. Romero contributed a low number of maps to Doom II, but his style is recognisable, especially against that of the other “main” Doom mapper, Sandy Peterson. Colour me surprised then, when firing up Sigil, to find instead of tech bases, to find the tightest, winding corners of Hell displayed before me. Now, to clarify, Sigil is fucking difficult. A lot of which, is attributed to the map design, rather than the enemies on display. People have criticised the use of the Doom 1 IWAD content only whilst building this level pack, but considering its a follow on to episode 4, that suites fine with me. No, its the intensely packed, crammed and narrow levels, entire levels floating in lava, impossible ledges and mind-boggling red textures and dark spots that make this so difficult. Granted, I”m using Brutal Doom, which makes the enemies hit that little harder and move that little faster, and also make the levels a little darker (I wish it didn’t fucking do that), but Sigil is an absolute task. That being said, I enjoyed all of these levels, where a lot of other people online didn’t, it seems. Music wise, this wouldn’t be Lines In Wax without a mention of the soundtracks. I had the version of the WAD without Buckethead’s OST, so I had to go to Spotify for that, and gave it a listen whilst driving to work. I’m no expert on Buckethead, but out of the four or five albums I’ve heard, they are all mostly the same, and his Sigil album is no different. I found his sprightly, repetitive riffing and intense guitar solo’ing a strange match for Sigil’s creepy and terrifying atmosphere. As always, there is no doubt in Buckethead’s musical proficiency, and something drags me back to his records every now and then, but I think the decision to have him on board for Sigil was a mismatch. The MIDI soundtrack which comes with the free WAD, composed by long-time Doom modder James Paddock is much more fitting and eery. The compositions, especially those on the later levels, are particularly of note. If your into horror or dungeon synth kinda soundtrack stuff, and don’t mind the MIDI compositions, then I implore you to check out James Paddock’s Sigil OST on YouTube. Or, better yet, give this wonderful Doom ’93 megaWAD a play-through. It’s fucking great.

Haggus / Weedeous Mincer – Split Tape (2019)

Haggus / Weedeous Mincer – Split Tape (2019)

Haggus is on top form as usual. The Agathocles cover is a nice touch, and there’s a sillier vein running through the tracks here, which is refreshing to see in some ways. A brilliant quality recording too; the bass really pops. One criticism I could give is the snare is a little quiet. Otherwise, all good! Weedeous Mincer sounds like complete arse in comparison, but I’m OK with this. I really enjoyed some of the bands earlier stuff, and some of the mincing stomps here are fantastic, but for the most part, they pale against the genius of Haggus.

Vomir / White Widow – Split Tape (2021)

Vomir / White Widow – Split Tape (2021)

Picked one of these up on cassette recently as I couldn’t remember the last time I bought anything noise-related on tape. Plus, y’know, its always good to support new labels. This is wall noise at its finest, you really don’t need to look past Vomir when it comes to this subgenre (not to undersell everyone else involved – myself included) – but White Widow is worth a goose too. For the most abstract noise fans only. Bleak and depressing. Enjoy!

Last Days Of Humanity – Human Atrocity (1993)

Last Days Of Humanity – Human Atrocity (1993)

Human Atrocity is the bigger, better sounding brother to the band’s self titled release a year previous (its also the name of the 12″ record released not long back that includes both of these releases – confusing!). This is, unless I’m wrong, where the pitchshifter sound first was heard for LDOH? Which is cool to know, considering how much of a staple it would become. There still doesn’t seem to be any descernable riffs or patterns here, but its a well-recorded EP/demo (before the shifter vokills annihilate everything).

Uilos – I: Dark Night Of The Soul (2020)

Uilos – I: Dark Night Of The Soul (2020)

Uilos is an interesting project. It is dungeon synth to its core, but with the added element of guitar playing thrown into the mix too. Sounds simple no? It probably is, and I’m a cretin. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic full length and there are some truly haunting and mesmerising tracks on it. Hey, if it makes me wanna dig out TES III: Morrowind then that can only be a good thing.