Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: September 2021

XTC – Drums And Wires (1979)

XTC – Drums And Wires (1979)

I got turned onto XTC when the song “Making Plans For Nigel” was used in the Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch. I’d heard it before but something about hearing it again made it stick with me, and it wasn’t long before I got this album on the go. It’s a strange affair, a lot of mixed vibes and bizarre songs, the weirdest one has to be “Complicated Game”, which seems like a mix between Adam Ant and something that Korn’s Jonathan Davies would have done vocally in his earlier years. Drums And Wires is a bizarre album, I’ll just leave it at that.

Sodom – Agent Orange (1989)

Sodom – Agent Orange (1989)

Sodom are such a good fucking band. Agent Orange is probably their most well known album, and for good reason. Being one of the “big four” of the German thrash bands, Sodom have influenced countless metal musicians the world over. Their punky thrash is often imitated, but there’s no better example of it than here on this little blast of goodness.

Death – Leprosy (1988)

Death – Leprosy (1988)

What can I say about this? Its an absolute classic. Merging the stinking themes, sounds and lyrics of what was explored on Scream Bloody Gore into a more coherent package, Leprosy isn’t as blunt-force as its predecessor, but is still an essential death metal album. Too good for me to describe!

Lividity – The Age Of Clitoral Decay (2000)

Lividity – The Age Of Clitoral Decay (2000)

Crap name, crap artwork, crap vocals, but my god what an album otherwise hahaha – Lividity have been a bit hit and miss for me over the years (but slayed it live to be fair), and the weirdly dry production on Clitoral Decay works wonders for the drums and even for the riffs, but plays havoc with the vocals, which sound unnaturally loud in the mix. The “shouted” vocals in particular, rather than the gurgles/growls, are just dreadful on this one. Oh well.

Spectral Wound – A Diabolic Thirst (2021)

Spectral Wound – A Diabolic Thirst (2021)

Kudos to whoever put 2 pence in this guy and brought him forth kicking and screaming from the misty underground. This shit right here is like the second coming (or third, more like) of raw black metal. You don’t believe me? Would that cover art lie to you? Words can’t do this one justice. An absolute banger. Just give the first track, “Imperial Saison Noire” a listen if you are a black metal fan. I now have a few albums I need to go back and listen to. Cheers, Spectral Wound!

Inquisition – Invoking The Majestic Throne Of Satan (2002)

Inquisition – Invoking The Majestic Throne Of Satan (2002)

When I first heard Inquisition I just couldn’t get my head around those vocals. It seems to me, if say, Immortal is the stiff, erect cock of Satan, ready to fuck everything in its path, then Inquisition is that same cock, but flaccid and floundering; its possessor riddled with anxiety and dysfunction. All the parts are there, as it were, but they aren’t much use to anyone whilst swinging about with such half-arsed delivery. Musically, the duo are on point on this 2002 recording, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for the vocal performance. However, it is something of an acquired taste, on here on Invoking…, they don’t seem to bug me as much as some of the band’s other records.

Cradle Of Filth – The Manticore (And Other Horrors) (2012)

Cradle Of Filth – The Manticore (And Other Horrors) (2012)

So, I finally confronted what is, in my opinion, the worst Cradle record. The band was reduced to a 3-piece at this point, and we’re more or less listening to the Paul Allender show. Cynically, I could suggest that Manticore (and lets not forget its various other horrors) is like listening to Thornography Part 2, but I think that would be an insult to even Thornography. Make of that album what you will, but at least it was catchy and poppy in parts. Manticore is unfortunately, the most boring and uninteresting thing Cradle have ever done. Sure, everything is here, but never before nor after has everything ever felt so mechanical and lifeless. Manticore is Cradle by the numbers, by the book, with riffs harking back to their arguably second-worst record, Thornography, but without any of the actual charm that record did have. Across the board, this project was a total failure, despite the talent involved, and I can’t help but compare this to the album that followed it (the incredible Hammer Of The Witches). Manticore was a completely unnecessary release from a band that was on its knees. Luckily, they (or Dani and a bunch of new bloods) bounced back once again and have been going strong more or less since. Long live Cradle.

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (1980)

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (1980)

Iron Maiden’s debut is a class affair. The band were about for a good few years before this dropped so I guess they had plenty of time to hone their craft, but what a debut this is! That warm analogue sound is perfect, the bass pops from the word go, cementing Steve Harris as a legendary player from the very beginning. That isn’t to detract from the rest of the band however, all of which are on top form here as the band kick off their illustrious career, discography wise.

Esham – Mail Dominance (1999)

Esham – Mail Dominance (1999)

The fact that I listened to Mail Dominance within the last few weeks yet can remember absolutely nothing about it doesn’t exactly speak volumes about its quality. Musically, its not a million miles away from Gothom City, but isn’t as silly as that album. A solid mid-career effort from Esham, but it can’t beat the old shit.

Libido Airbag – Barrel Blow Job (2001)

Libido Airbag – Barrel Blow Job (2001)

The uhh, subtly named Barrel Blow Job was the first Libido Airbag record that I heard, I think when I was 16 or 17. Honestly, it really spun me out, as it was like nothing I had ever heard before. Sure, I’d heard reams of crappy pornogrind / cybergrind on MySpace, stuff which I suppose ripped this kinda thing off but just really badly, but I’d never heard anything quite so dirgy and heavy, with an electronic element. The closest thing beforehand would probably have been XXX Maniak, but Libido Airbag seemed even more sleazy and obscure. I’m not sure what part of my brain this appeals to, but there was something about the mix of horrible guitars and cheap electronics – not to mention the bizarre vocals – that really created the perfect balance of sleaze. Some of the sampling is a bit shit but if you like weird and wonderful music, I’d give this a go.

Electric Wizard – Black Masses (2010)

Electric Wizard – Black Masses (2010)

When it first came out, it took me a while to get used to the sound on Black Masses. The entire thing sounds like it was recorded in a wind tunnel. It wasn’t until I heard a vinyl press over at a friend’s house, that it made a little more sense to me. Granted, it still sounds a bit hollow, even on IEM earpieces, but there are some great songs here. Try to listen to “Venus In Furs” without hearing “my penis, it burns”. There we go, I’ve ruined that song for ya. Sorry!

Impaled Nazarene – Death Comes In 26 Carefully Selected Pieces (2005)

Impaled Nazarene – Death Comes In 26 Carefully Selected Pieces (2005)

When I bought this, I was 15, and I didn’t realise that it was a live album. I bought it because it had 26 songs on it, and I figured it may even be a grindcore record! LOL – it was in 2005 and I was on holiday and didn’t have access to the internet. It certainly turned out to not be a grindcore record, but it was still a fucking great live album. I’ve grown to since really get into Impaled Nazarene, but some of the live recordings here are savage. The drums are incredible, and those vocals are out of this world. It constantly sounds like the guy’s head is gonna pop off!

Gwar – Beyond Hell (2006)

Gwar – Beyond Hell (2006)

Fuck, how good is this? Easily the best later Gwar record with Oderous on vocals, and thats tough competition. There really is so much more to Gwar than the gimmick and this record is the perfect example. Technical, concept-heavy thrash, with insane vocals and incredible instrumentation. One of the best thrash records I’ve heard in a while. RIP Oderous and Cory.

Björk – Vulnicura (2015)

Björk – Vulnicura (2015)

I remember this record coming out as if it was yesterday. It marked a turn in direction for Björk, who I understand was going through a lot of personal stuff at the time. Not only is the tone and content darker, the songs are impenetrable and sprawling. Björk has released plenty of difficult or challenging records, but this album is almost painful an experience when listening from start to finish. I guess in some regards that is kind of the point, where the venom being extracted slowly and difficultly is in its own way a healing process. However that by no means makes it an easy experience for the listener. I think this is the most difficult and impenetrable Björk album to date.

Devin Townsend Project – Ki (2009)

Devin Townsend Project – Ki (2009)

There is no denying the sheer musicianship on display here, from Devin and all of his collaborators. Everything hangs perfect in the balance, and even the man’s famous wall-of-noise production style is dialled back to allow the songs to breathe a bit. However, if I had to describe Ki with one word, that word would be “listless”. Honestly, this is one of the longest listening hours of my life, and the fact that I’ve had this on the LIW to-do list since 2014 speaks volumes. Honestly, this goes absolutely nowhere. Its one for die hard Devy fans, I’d say.

Tomahawk – Oddfellows (2013)

Tomahawk – Oddfellows (2013)

Oddfellows is probably one of the tamest Mike Patton releases I’ve ever heard. Here the legend fronts an almost stonery outfit who play decently catchy numbers, mixing elements of punk rock, even grunge and a bit of classic rock. The record seems longer than 40 minutes, but it doesn’t drag. Its a decent set of tracks but not really my thing. If it wasn’t for Patton’s involvement I wouldn’t have ever listened to this.

Meth Camp – The False Promises Of Liberal Veganism And Green Technology Have Not Only Failed To Avert Climate Catastrophe, But Have Exacerbated Ecological Collapse (2020)

Meth Camp – The False Promises Of Liberal Veganism And Green Technology Have Not Only Failed To Avert Climate Catastrophe, But Have Exacerbated Ecological Collapse (2020)

Gross, obtuse, unforgiving and deafening noisecore is the order of the day, in what is a series of incredibly short blasts of noise. Honestly, its been a while since I’ve heard some noisecore as good as this, so its a rare treat. The final track, in stark contrast to the countless others, is 13 minutes or so of absolute carnage. 10/10.

Tangerine Dream – Alpha Centauri (1971)

Tangerine Dream – Alpha Centauri (1971)

Alpha Centauri is one of the records that caused me to fall in love with Tangerine Dream in the first place. Truly, what a magical performance of synth-work, one which I am sure I can do no justice. Phaedra is the early record that seems to get all the hype, but truly this is the god tier TD stuff. Hunt it down and have a goosey if you don’t believe me.

Fluids – Not Dark Yet (2021)

Fluids – Not Dark Yet (2021)

You can always count on Fluids to push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Not Dark Yet wheels out one of the most disturbing samples I’ve ever heard for its opening track, before collapsing headfirst into some intense downtuned death metal. Fluids are easily the Mortician of this generation, replacing horror movie samples with audible terror sourced from the real world. The instrumentation is sick as fuck, and there’s some super interesting flourishes in the drum programming, with some almost trap-like rushes on the hi-hats. Its a bizarre addition, but it works! Its also worth mentioning that Not Dark Yet is the first full length with the band’s new vocalist, the dude from Thorn (not Thorns), who’s name escapes me at this time (it’s Brennen Westermeyer – Ed).

Cryptopsy – None So Vile (1996)

Cryptopsy – None So Vile (1996)

Easily this has to be one of the most brutal things ever. Sure, there’s more offensive, more disgusting, probably even more technical stuff that has come since, but on None So Vile, Cryptopsy took a step up from what was happening in death metal at the time and really blew shit out of the water. Everything here is just damn crazy, yet the production is clear enough for you to make out every last brutal detail. Evil shit.

Sanguisugabogg – Pornographic Seizures (2020)

Sanguisugabogg – Pornographic Seizures (2020)

Lovely (if you can call it that) little EP from one of the most mental band names to come about recently. I’m not even gonna type it out, I’ll just fuck it up (and that my friends, is me being very, very lazy). Honestly, I don’t think I preferred this to the album they did recently, which just seemed way better and had a really good flow to it. That isn’t to say that Pornographic Seizures (what a name) isn’t any good. This is definitely worth checking out.

Bestial Warlust – Vengeance War Til Death (1994)

Bestial Warlust – Vengeance War Til Death (1994)

I wish all black metal would sound like this. But then, I would probably get bored of it. As a very well respected man (lol) once said, variety is the spice of live. Bestial Warlust, as you may be able to ascertain from the name, play intense war metal, or bestial black metal, the sub-genre of extreme intensity within an already extreme sub-genre of metal. I see war / bestial black as the grindcore of the black metal world. Either way, the intensity of the riffs, the scatterfuck drumming and the batshit vocal blasts are all dialled up to 11 on this classic release.

Final Doom – TNT: Evilution (Game) / Jonathan El-Bizri, Josh Martel, L.A. Sieben & Tom Mustaine – TNT: Evilution (OST) (1996)

Final Doom – TNT: Evilution (Game) / Jonathan El-Bizri, Josh Martel, L.A. Sieben & Tom Mustaine – TNT: Evilution (OST) (1996)

Frequent readers of the site may have noticed that I’ve started accumulating a few posts about Doom WADs. What became a nostalgic plan to replay the original Doom games in the recent version of Brutal Doom (Google it!) has now become a frequent past time for me. Its the perfect way for me to unwind from life, work, and the adult responsibilities of being a dad. For an hour or so every few nights, I fire up Doom, throw on a heavy album, and blast demons into dust. Honestly, its a system that works. But the relaxation of it can quickly turn to shit if you’re playing on bad maps. This is the risk you running playing mega WADs such as TNT Evilution; there are so many fingers in the pie, some map contributions are bound to be a bit shit. All in all though, TNT plays well. The levels are for the most part quite long, and the whole 30 map campaign (secrets aside) was a fair undertaking for me. The hell-based maps at the end were pretty challenging and designed well, and the Icon Of Sin tribute final boss was well made. At the time, this was pretty much as good as it got with Doom modding, to the point where id software took this and another mega WAD called Plutonia (I’ll be getting to that soon enough) and released it commercially as Final Doom. Confusingly, the PlayStation version of Final Doom was a super cut WAD campaign of levels from this, Plutonia and even The Master Levels For Doom II, all reorganised into another 30 map campaign. This is the Final Doom I played as a kid, not that I can remember it. However, to Doom purists, TNT and Plutonia stand separate, outside of the Final Doom situation, and to be fair they are 2 seperate 30 map WADs so I understand why. I enjoyed this one a lot. The soundtrack, just to add, is a decent composition in the MIDI format. As you can tell by the names listed above, the task was shared amongst many of the modders (Soundtrack designer Aubrey Hodges did the PlayStation version, which I will do a separate entry for). I appreciate when a WAD comes with its own soundtrack, which really helps because a.) the same Doom II music over and over is tedious, and b.) it helps convey the mood and atmosphere of the levels the music has been designed for. It adds a whole new aspect. Great stuff! (Its worth noting the TNT Evilution itself has been used by many other custom WADs.)

Insane Clown Posse – Dog Beats (1991)

Insane Clown Posse – Dog Beats (1991)

Dog Beats is one of (if not the original?) ICP cassette EP back when they were known as the Inner City Posse. Actually, I think this came after Bass-ment Cuts, because it sounds a lot better, and I think even has some rudimentary Mike E Clarke production. All in all, this is a precursor to what would come with the Carnival Of Carnage record. The vibe (and some of the tracks) are the same, with slightly different lyrics. It’s a great listen though and slaps really hard, some of the beats are not far from what you’d hear on early Wu Tang or some of the more abrasive Death Grips records. ICP deserve more credit than they get.

Shpongle – Carnival Of Peculiarities (2021)

Shpongle – Carnival Of Peculiarities (2021)

Carnival Of Peculiarities is a new EP from the lovely people in Shpongle. Now that I stop and think about it, I’ve never come across a Shpongle EP before. The format seems almost as if it is not long-form enough for the group and the kind of trip/journey approach they take with their trance music. Nevertheless, here we are, and whilst this does end up feeling more like half an album rather than an EP, the production is excellent as always, as is the additional instrumentation and worldly vibes that Shpongle mash together all so well. Great stuff.

Kots Donor / VRV – Split CDr (2009)

Kots Donor / VRV – Split CDr (2009)

The sampling on the Kots Donor tracks is pure freakery; I wish I knew what the guy was saying! There definitely seems to be a whole lot of the Mortician thing going on (long sample, tiny track) but all in all this is quite enjoyable for mindless gory noisecore. VRV is, well, true to his sound, for lack of a better way of phrasing it. I love this shit; it is horrible, harsh and repetitive to the point where you want to beer bong 36 bottles of Palm and throw feces at people. The biggest downside with VRV though, is once you’ve heard one release, you’ve kinda heard them all. But never mind; long live pointless noisecore!

RxAxPxE / Absurdgod – Split Tape (2008)

RxAxPxE / Absurdgod – Split Tape (2008)

RxAxPxEx did this absurdly noisy split with Absurd God. I got given this years ago, so passed on the love and gave it away to a colleague who was collecting cassettes in my previous job. It had a lovely yellow colour to the cassette. Nowadays I’m back to collecting cassettes, so it sucks I gave this away, but what can you do? This is blocked on the Discogs website, which made me worry if someone involved was related to something shady. However, RxAxPxE is not blocked, Absurdgod is not blocked, nor is the label involved here, Fuck You Tapes. So why is this banned from sale? Fukken mystery.

Killing Joke – Hosannas From The Basements Of Hell (2006)

Killing Joke – Hosannas From The Basements Of Hell (2006)

Hossannas From The Basements Of Hell is the sound of latter-day Killing Joke pushed to the extreme. Everything about the band is pushed to 11 on this release, as the band explore meandering, deafening compositions which were recorded in some catacombs beneath the streets of Prague. As someone who has visited some of these interesting subterranean caverns, one can only imagine the intensity that unfurled as the band conjured their ungodly work. Killing Joke have also dabbled, perhaps lightly, with the occult in the past, but those vibes are strong and ever-present here. Geordie’s hollow guitar has immense weight and clout to it. I can feel it reverberating around the catacombs as I listen. Youth’s bass pins the tracks to reality, a throbbing heartbeat in what are otherwise songs that are easy to get completely lost in. This record is the sound of a band pushing their established sound to its absolute limits. Its a corker.

Re-Animator (1985)

Re-Animator (1985)

Since I’ve started my foray into the world of horror and exploitation cinema, Herbert West the Re-Animator’s imagery has cropped up constantly. Before that, it was in the many reams of goregrind and death metal I listened to. I recently read the Lovecraft story on which this movie is based, which is actually a hundred thousand leagues away in tone and content. On the face of it, Re-Animator is a decent exploitation / B-movie flick, with suitably terrible acting and hilarious SFX work. The plot would surely send HP himself spinning in his grave, but if blood, tits and bad acting are your favourite bits about movies, then surely you need look no further.

Dissection – Storm Of The Light’s Bane (1995)

Dissection – Storm Of The Light’s Bane (1995)

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Dissection, and have always brushed over them in my black metal listening. However, I’ve recently been filling some gaps in my history so Storm Of The Light’s Bane got another listen. You can’t argue that this isn’t iconic, and some of the riffs are pretty damn cold, but I genuinely can’t figure out what is supposed to be so great about this thing. What am I missing?

Voyage Futur – Secret Earth (2019)

Voyage Futur – Secret Earth (2019)

One of the most chilled out things in a while. Related somewhat to the vaporwave movement, Voyage Futur’s Secret Earth is a lush, celebral trip filled with all-encompassing compositions of dense electronic noises (which makes it sound like a power electronics record lol). I spent seemingly forever staring at the artwork as this washed over me. Great stuff.

King Diamond – Abigail (1987)

King Diamond – Abigail (1987)

For the longest time, I couldn’t abide King Diamond’s vocals. But, in the last year or so I’ve made a conscious effort to listen to metal that I have always overlooked or wouldn’t usually partake in, so I finally allowed myself to listen all the way through. I enjoyed the concept, and most of the music (the production is definitely of note), but as legendary as King Diamond’s vocals are, I just cannot get behind it. Sorry, not for me.

Future Of The Left – Travels With Myself And Another (2009)

Future Of The Left – Travels With Myself And Another (2009)

Travels… is probably my favourite Future Of The Left album. Not only is it incredibly well produced (the rugged bass and guitar parts gelling beautifully with a fresh, organic drum sound), but its choc full of back to back bangers. My favourite tracks have to be “The House That Hope Built”. “You Need Satan More Than He Needs You” and the song which apparently is all about my youth, “Throwing Bricks At Trains”. Honestly, my shitty reviews can’t do this any justice. Please give it a list if you like rock or punk music in any form.

GZA – Liquid Swords (1995)

GZA – Liquid Swords (1995)

There’s a special place in my heart for the early Wu Tang records, and the following solo albums that came after they blew up. GZA’s absolutely legendary Liquid Swords has gotta be up there as one of if not the best of the bunch, with absolutely dank as fuck and on point beats and production. All the usual suspects are out for the vocal contributions, and this is more like another classic Wu Tang album than a solo outing. Classic, classic hip hop.

Kill The Client – Set For Extinction (2010)

Kill The Client – Set For Extinction (2010)

I first came across Kill The Client on their split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Checking out this 2010 full length then, has been a long, long time coming. Razor sharp grindcore is the order of the day, with a decent bit of polish to it, making it all very legible and presentable, despite the breakneck speeds and ferocity on show. The closing track has an almost black metal quality to the morose opening riff, but most tracks are intense short-runners with insane vocals and drums. Cracking.

Metallica – No Life ‘Til Power (1989)

Metallica – No Life ‘Til Power (1989)

No Life ‘Til Power is, I believe, some sort of bootleg or unofficial compilation of tracks taken from the early years of Metallica and shoe-horned into a fake full length album. I took a dive into this on the cover art alone, knowing next to nothing about pre-Kill ‘Em All Metallica. I guess some of these tracks are supposed to be on demos like Metal Up Your Ass and so on? (2021 edit: bro, it is clearly an unofficial release combining the No Life ‘Til Leather and Power Metal demos, idiot!) Who knows. Either way, it was a fun listen.

Sort Sind – Forkullet og Forbrændt (2020)

Sort Sind – Forkullet og Forbrændt (2020)

This is just how I like my black metal; chaotic, dissonant, and more towards the frostbitten, cold production style than the muddy and warmer styles attributed more to death metal. These two songs are over far too quickly, leaving me wanting to check out more Sort Sind almost immediately. I am not doing these tracks justice here. These are brilliant compositions, and some of the best black metal I’ve heard in some time.

Lisa Germano – Geek The Girl (1994)

Lisa Germano – Geek The Girl (1994)

Geek The Girl is a cool, somewhat twisted and impressively composed record from Lisa Germano. Granted it is the only Lisa Germano record that I have heard at the time of writing, as this was culled from some RYM greatest albums list (a good place for hipster dickheads like me to learn about new stuff). Lisa’s voice is fantastic and suits some of the slightly more unsettling subject matters addressed here. The instrumentation can sometimes be sparse but always fits the composition at hand. I’m glad I checked this one out.

Ill Niño – Revolution Revolución (2001)

Ill Niño – Revolution Revolución (2001)

God save me! I always considered myself an Ill Niño fan but somehow always passed up on this album when I was a nipper. Unfortunately, for me at least, Revolution hasn’t aged all that well, with the band’s smoothed-over nu metal sounding clumsy and over-produced. There’s a few stand out tracks, but for the most part, it’s an average listening experience. I bet these guys could still kill it live, mind you. (2021 edit: did you miss the spicy lawsuit after they broke up in 2019? – Ed)

Sperm Of Mankind – Godzilla (2013)

Sperm Of Mankind – Godzilla (2013)

Chunky, ridiculous gore and or porngrind is the order of the day, with swollen production and treacle-like back and forth riffs. There’s going to be no awards for originality won here, but if you know what you like and you like this brand of groovy heaviness (which is a million miles from any real grind lets be honest) then crack on, kid.

Fleshless – Free Off Pain (1996/2009)

Fleshless – Free Off Pain (1996/2009)

Free Off Pain is a fairly polished affair which is a far cry from the Fleshless of old. Its a good record though, if a little too clear for my personal tastes (hey, there’s nothing inherently wrong with good production, folks!). I believe this was a split or something at one point, but digitally its tacked together with an earlier demo and released as a stand alone.

Black Sabbath – Technical Ecstasy (1976)

Black Sabbath – Technical Ecstasy (1976)

Its mad to think how far Sabbath had come, or better to say maybe, how much Sabbath had changed, over the course of the seventies. This isn’t a terrible record, but if you compare it to the bands earlier Ozzy-fronted output, there is a lot left lacking. As a side note, it contains the song “Dirty Women”, which has a wicked riff, and this album has a whole bunch of keyboard stuff on it too. I’m unsure if Geoff Nicholls was on this thing, but he is the unsung fifth member of Sabbath, and definitely needs more credit when it comes to the band’s legacy. Technical Ecstasy came towards the end of the 70s album run (even if in reality, the decade was just over half way through), arguably the 70s is the decade in which Sabbath were in their absolute prime (don’t throw bricks at me, Dio fans). Unfortunately, Tek-Ek as I like to call it, came towards the arse end of a very all-consuming number of years for Sabbath, and the momentum was starting to drop. I mean, what on earth is that art? This album isn’t as bad as the final Ozzy-fronted record, Never Say Die, and I must admit that there is something endearing about Technical Ecstasy. But as I said above, whilst not being bad, for the most part, this is a painfully mediocre offering from one of the world’s greatest bands.

Deep Purple – Machine Head (1972)

Deep Purple – Machine Head (1972)

Warm, gorgeously produced analogue rock and or roll, from the glory days of the genre. There’s many reasons why Deep Purple’s Machine Head is such a well respected album, but I am not a musical scholar and won’t bore you to death which such facts. For the purposes of this submission, let’s just say that this classic is entirely deserving of your time. I absolutely love the sound of this thing, and should probably hunt down a crackly vinyl copy from a second-hand shop.

Type O Negative – Life Is Killing Me (2003)

Type O Negative – Life Is Killing Me (2003)

Life Is Killing Me is the final Roadrunner-released Type O record, and brings the band back to focus on their original doomy riffery. Don’t get me wrong, World Coming Down was heavy as shit, but things seem a little more focused here. I’m unsure if I’m remembering things incorrectly, but this release seemed very low key, and aside from single “I Don’t Wanna Be Me”, the record more or less flew under the radar. I was very young when this came out, so I could be wrong. Listening now though, its nice to see some elements of the band’s sound come full circle in the decade or so they released records for Roadrunner. My favourite track on this thing also has to be the title track, with its switching of moods and explosive chorus. As always, RIP Pete Steele.

Bathory – The Return…… (1985)

Bathory – The Return…… (1985)

The Return… has the potential I think, to be better than the Bathory S/T. But, it falls at an important hurdle. Part of me can’t really believe that I’m going to raise this point, especially when discussing black metal, but the production on The Return is so bad, I find that a lot of the tracks are not giving us their full potential. I’m all for bad production, but The Return… is quiet, muddy and lost in a sea of bad aural decisions. That isn’t of course, to say that there aren’t some incredible songs here, but it needs to be said: there can be BAD ‘bad production’, is this is an unfortunate example of it. Nevertheless, this is early Bathory afterall and there are some stand-out tracks here, like “Bestial Lust”, “Possessed” (such a fucking killer song) and “Reap Of Evil”.

Volenté – Is This Real (2021)

Volenté – Is This Real (2021)

My good friend and recent LIW contributor Gareth turned me onto Volenté when we were scouting for new artists for our Tape Co. label. I’m reminded immediately of Portishead, what with the ticking beats and low key unsettling instrumentation adorned with breezy, unique vocals. Some tracks are more traditionally structured, where others are more experimental or out-there. In parts I can draw comparisons to Enya or even Bowie, but maybe I’ve had too many whiskies.

Necro – The Sexorcist (2005)

Necro – The Sexorcist (2005)

There was a time when I thought Necro’s The Sexorcist was big and clever, but there was also a time when I was an edgy 20-something that thought rapping about fucking girls in the ass was the pinnacle of hip hop entertainment. The Sexorcist may have aged like milk, but I still love the flows, the production and the endless venom that Necro brings, even to a record that is basically about porn and shagging. The remix of “She’s Got A Great Ass” is one of the funniest rap tracks I’ve heard in a while. However, an album like this in 2021 just seems incredibly tone deaf. But hey, its fucking Necro. If you’re not interested in the darker side of life, why are you listening to this guy?

Inhume – In For The Kill (2003)

Inhume – In For The Kill (2003)

Gorgeously messy, In For The Kill is an LP’s worth of distilled chaos from the lovely folk at Inhume. I first heard these guys on the Slimewave series that Relapse put out over ten years ago (shit, am old), but this album doubles down on the carnage. How amazing is that artwork, too? I think it accurately conveys the sounds presented here, and while the production is a bit muddy, everything falls into place after a while.

Gorillaz – G Sides (2001)

Gorillaz – G Sides (2001)

G-Sides is a collection of tracks from the Gorillaz self titled era, and asides from the (frankly, pointless) single version of “Rock The House”, is rammed to the gills with excellent content. I always loved the dub undercurrent to the group’s early work and there are plenty of odd tracks here catering in this regard, “Dracula” and “Left Hand Suzuki Method” spring to mind as favourites. G-Sides is not as good as the album that came before it, but collections of leftovers and remixes rarely out-do the original product.

Fear Factory – Soul Of A New Machine (1992)

Fear Factory – Soul Of A New Machine (1992)

Fear Factory’s debut (well, the ‘debut’ that actually got released lol) is a perfect distillation of death metal meeting industrial. Coming on like a mix of Harmony Corruption era Napalm Death and Selfless era Godflesh, Soul Of A New Machine is much different from a lot of the band’s more well known stuff. Honestly, the mix is great, and as someone who has always enjoyed Fear Factory, and who loves ND / Godflesh, going back and checking out this album was a smart move. Heck, let’s just straight up attribute this entire record’s existence to Justin K Broadrick and be done with it.

Carcass – Swansong (1995)

Carcass – Swansong (1995)

I recently did a run through all the original Carcass records, ending with the rather perplexing Swansong. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Heartwork either so this one has always stood out like a sore thumb to me. My recent re-listen hasn’t changed that, but its probably the first time I’ve ever sat through the whole thing in one sitting. Swansong was an interesting time for Carcass. They had split by the time it came out, with both the band and their major label unable – or unwilling – to work with each other. Earache mopped up by finally releasing this, but it may have perhaps best been left unheard.

Hatebreed – The Rise Of Brutality (2003)

Hatebreed – The Rise Of Brutality (2003)

The Rise Of Brutality was the first Hatebreed album I ever had. I had a dodgy copy of it and it only played the first half of the CD or so before cutting off and dying, so for many years I never ever heard the ending third of the record. Which is fine, because it is more of the same, in the nicest way possible. That’s not to say that there aren’t some good tracks on Rise Of Brutality. Opener “Tear It Down” is great, as is “Straight To Your Face”, “Doomsayer” and “Beholder Of Justice”. Might throw down now, fuck it.

Dan Terminus – The Wrath Of Code (2015)

Dan Terminus – The Wrath Of Code (2015)

The Wrath Of Code is a pulsing journey through a world of synthwave and big, dense production. The colourful and perplexing cover art drew me in, but I stayed for the tunes, which is what you want, I suppose! LOL If you like music such as Perturbator or Carpenter Brut then its worth checking out Dan Terminus. None of this stuff is spectacularly my cup of tea but its all gloriously well made electronic music.

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (2021)

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (2021)

Now that the intense hype around this thing has died down I feel like I can safely stick my head above the parapet without being called a hipster or a dinosaur or (sharp intake) a boomer. I’m clearly missing something because I just don’t understand what it is that sounds so good about this album. Permission to speak freely, but for me this is just variations on a theme from the usual output of latter career Cannibal Corpse. If you like that stuff then fantastic, but I think the endless ass-kissing and hype over this thing is a testament to how bored we’ve all been during lockdown. Sorry.

Killing Joke – What’s This For…! (1981)

Killing Joke – What’s This For…! (1981)

What’s This For…! is the weirder younger brother to the Killing Joke self-titled. And yes, whilst Geordie’s peircing guitar sounds rang out even in the opening moments of the debut, here they really come into their own, finding their own unique brand of maddening dissonance. It reminds me of Voivod in some regards, whilst of course also being completely different. Admidettely there aren’t as many bangers here track wise (compared to the debut) but this is still an absolutely solid and incredible effort from a legendary band.

Vinnie Paz – God Of The Serengeti (2012)

Vinnie Paz – God Of The Serengeti (2012)

Vinnie Paz and his wicked taunting laughs are almost as much of a household name (to me) as DMX and his dog barks. God Of The Serengeti is a long fucking album, and whilst it does falter in some places (some of the songs tend to overstay their welcome), this record contains as much genius and phenomenal rhymes as any Jedi Mind Tricks full length.

V/A – Warp Records – Artificial Intelligence (1992)

V/A – Warp Records – Artificial Intelligence (1992)

Artificial Intelligence is a stunning compilation by the wonderful people at Warp Records. All the greats of the electronic music scene at the time are here, but honestly, I don’t really pay much mind to the individual track credits per se, I just let this wonderful series of compilations wash over me. Even now, in 2021, this is the perfect ambience music for working, driving, or even for music being piped into a trendy bottleshop or cafe bar. Hah! Nah, seriously though, this is fucking great and more or less legendary.

Blood – Gas – Flame – Bones (1999)

Blood – Gas – Flame – Bones (1999)

Blood are one of my favourite low key bands. They’ve been plugging away for donkeys years, releasing a slew of grinding death metal. I was lucky to catch them at OEF with Witchskinner on vocals. Anyways I digress. Gas – Flame – Bones is a haunting take on the death grind template. The production is drenched in reverb, almost in a black metal style, and the album art lends a morbid edge to proceedings, more so than usual for this kind of thing. Dark stuff indeed.

Vaporwave Aesthetic – Neon Love (2020)

Vaporwave Aesthetic – Neon Love (2020)

Vaporwave Aesthetic is probably the most uninspiring name for a vaporwave project that I have ever come across. Neon Love is a… compilation? Regular full length album? Who the fuck knows. Good friend and LIW contributor Gareth linked me this on Spotify, but with such a generic name I can’t find out anything about it at all. Its not bad per se, but its not for me, and I love this kind of shit. This is like, low effort shovelware of the vaporwave scene.

Metallica – Metallica (1991)

Metallica – Metallica (1991)

I’ve put off listening to this for about 15 years as when I was in high school, me and my mates – with our immense new found love for metal – burned this one to death with its constant rotation. I’ve been trying to imagine what it was like at the time, after the sheer heaviness of …And Justice For All, to be a metal fan eagerly anticipating the release of the next Metallica record, to rush out and buy your cassette / CD / vinyl and get home and find… this. I’m not knocking it, because its still really heavy. But damn, its so poppy, catchy and accessible. The tracks need no introduction. I tend to avoid flagrant arsey statements these days but if you’ve not heard this one, you might be on the wrong website.

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (2013)

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (2013)

If you put the memes aside, Lana Del Rey is actually a fantastic artist. I’ve been guilty of shitting on her myself (2021 edit: read that out loud mate, Jesus Christ) here on the site but off the back of surprisingly enjoying the “bonus” album Paradise (which I listened to first), I decided it would probably be best to check out the incredibly well received Born To Die. Born To Die is best listened to with big headphones, to let Lana’s incredible voice take you away for an hour. The production, is perhaps expectedly, gorgeous; everything hangs perfectly in the balance and does not interfere with Lana’s voice. I look forward to checking out some of her other albums.

Shpongle – Remixed (2003)

Shpongle – Remixed (2003)

Remixed is a cool and calm release for the most part. I suppose there is not much of a temptation to turn a winding Shpongle trip into a club banger or a hardcore 909 stomper, but I’d be onboard to hear that either way. Haha! So if mostly ethereal or, sadly, typical trance re-workings of Shpongle big tunes is your idea of a party, get in on this. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother.

Pantera – Walk (1993)

Pantera – Walk (1993)

Walk is one of, if not entirely, Pantera’s most well known song. The reason I’ve included this single is because when it was released on CD and vinyl in the 90s, it came with a series of “Biomechanical” and “Cervical” remixes and dubs. So what, I hear you cry, loads of bands did crappy dance remixes of their stuff in the 90s. But, in this case, the Biomechanical remixes were made by Justin Broadrick, and the Cervical dubs were made by J. G Thirwell. Whilst not a fan of Pantera, I had to hear what two of music’s most prolific and respected industrial / experimental artists would do with their sound. For the most part, Pantera’s intense metallic aggression is stripped to the bone, but there are some interesting flourishes, if nothing else.

Triplesickz – Requiem (2020)

Triplesickz – Requiem (2020)

Came across this record when scouting for stuff to release with the new Two Man Tape Co. that I have running with my ol’ mucka and LIW contributor Gareth, and whilst this is well polished and nicely assembled dubstep, there is very little to the release at all. That is part and parcel with the genre I suppose; single track drops to Soundcloud profiles is more common than a good ol’ fashioned record or EP.

AFX – Analord 03 (2005)

AFX – Analord 03 (2005)

Another plinky ploinky weirdo addition to the legendary AFX series, Analord. I’ve listened to this whole or in part so many times I’ve kinda forgotten what goes where. All I know, is that my brain loves this stuff. It instantly puts me in “get busy” mode (no, not THAT get busy, ya dirty fuckers) and has me inspired to do pretty much anything. I’m glad to be alive and to be able to hear stuff like this.

Agalloch ‎– Ashes Against The Grain (2006)

Agalloch ‎– Ashes Against The Grain (2006)

For as much as loved Pale Folklore, other records by Agolloch fail to wow me. I suffered through The Mantle, but was heavily and highly recommended Ashes Against The Grain, which just sounds like black metal for people who like Coldplay. I’m joking, of course, but this fails to press any of my buttons as it were, at least not to the degree that Pale Folklore does. I think at this point I may have to accept that Agalloch are not for me, but this is not to argue anything against the fact that they are a quality band full of seriously talented musicians. I wish them all of the best, but I will be listening elsewhere. Cheers!

Looking For An Answer – Eterno Treblinka (2011)

Looking For An Answer – Eterno Treblinka (2011)

Chunky, well-produced grindcore is the order of the day. My one complaint (sorry, because this is otherwise so awesome) is that the snare is a little too quiet, especially in the blast sections, but otherwise this is a well made and savage grindcore album. It’s a good runner too, sometimes feeling like its a fairly lengthy affair. I love the deep, throaty vocal approach used here, incredible stuff.

Mumakil – Behold The Failure (2009)

Mumakil – Behold The Failure (2009)

Mumakil are in the Nasum / Rotten Sound camp of grindcore, where records are polished and fully audible, yet the band are still savage as fuck. There’s a creeping melody to the way some of the riffs come across, and the drumming is absolutely insanely fast. The vocals are intense roars of furious intent. Behold The Failure was the first record I heard by the band (after I think discovering them through a split). If you’re not listening on good speakers the production can sound a bit flat / compressed but this is easy to get around.

Insane Clown Posse – Beverly Kills 50187 (1993)

Insane Clown Posse – Beverly Kills 50187 (1993)

I got shot! Beverly Kills is more of that wicked early ICP output where the band hadn’t long transitioned from Inner City to Insane Clowns. The production is actually a downgrade from the Carnage album, with Esham as the producer on some tracks, bringing that distorted KKKill The Fetus / Closed Casket vibes. Other than that though, its a great listen with some great tracks. “17 Dead” and “The Stalker” are probably my favourites.

Weedeater – Jason… The Dragon (2011)

Weedeater – Jason… The Dragon (2011)

Would you like some extra fuzz with your riffs? Then look no further than Weedeater’s Jason The Dragon, which is so heavy, its actually come full circle and is actually a pleasure to listen to, rather than a disgusting, uncomfortable experience. Let Jason fly you away on a pillow of enormous riffs, drifting off to cosmic lands unknown. Only, when you finally land, you’re outside a dive bar that only serves whiskey. Yeah.

Dead Infection / Blood – Split 7″ (1994)

Dead Infection / Blood – Split 7″ (1994)

Put crackly old goregrind on crackly old vinyl and you have a combination that is always going to win out, in my opinion. Somehow, with wanton disregard for sound quality (I need to check my goregrind privilege), Dead Infection cram 8 minutes onto their side of the 7″ record. Some of these tracks I’m sure I’ve heard elsewhere, but they are extra grimey and disgusting here. I sometimes forget just how stunningly horrible (in the best way) Dead Infection were in their prime. RIP Cyjan. Blood are Blood. 4/5 minutes or so of classic-era death-tinged grindcore is the order of the day. Bludgeoning, beating, unstoppable force. Honestly, these guys are just so good. A fantastic split, all in all. One of the all-time genre greats.

Trap Them – Seizures In Barren Praise (2008)

Trap Them – Seizures In Barren Praise (2008)

HM2 worship out the ass! Buzzsaw dark hardcore all up in this motherfucker. There is something artificial and even derivative about this particular guitar sound but you can’t argue with the immediate impact that it has. Trap Them snare this sound in a stranglehold, squeezing out pure savagery and anger. At 25 mins, Seizures… doesn’t overstay its welcome. It gets in, fucks you up, and gets out.

Shpongle – Are You Shpongled? (1998)

Shpongle – Are You Shpongled? (1998)

Shpongle’s debut album is a heady trip through pulsing electronic beats and samples. Whilst not as “far out” or as rich in its palette of colours as some of the later Shpongle offerings (this is a band that has really has gone all-out in some cases), there is something of a trippy and mesmerising quality in the more beat-focussed songs. It almost sounds binaural in some places, and with a good set on your head, the answer to the question, Are You Shpongled?, will almost definitely be a yes by the end of this album. If you’ve never heard Shpongle before check out “Divine Moments Of Truth” from this album.

Danny Brown – Uknowhatimsayin¿ (2019)

Danny Brown – Uknowhatimsayin¿ (2019)

I needed to wash out my brain after listening to some horrendously bad hip hop, so I (rightly it seems) turned to a Danny Brown record that I hadn’t heard yet. Atrocity Exhibit is fantastic, and whilst this record has an entirely different vibe, uknowhatimsaying¿ is just as good, but in different ways. I love how the beats are so abstract and interesting. The delivery from Danny and his guest peers is also, of course, A star. I don’t feel like I’m doing this much justice. If you love hip hop and haven’t heard this, I implore you to check it out.