Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: June 2023

Agathocles / Nunslaughter – Split EP (2011)

Agathocles / Nunslaughter – Split EP (2011)

Agathocles are once against testing my hearing, seemingly deliberately wanting to give their listeners tinnitus with the mixes on their EPs. Honestly, the songs sound absolutely great but fuck this production all the way to hell. Anyone have an address so I can post some of this treble back to the band? Jesus fucking Christ. Nunslaughter on the other side of this disc are absolutely fucking excellent, bringing two songs of grinding, thrashing sonic carnage. NS are also guilty of sometimes having shoddy sessions but this shit sounds amazing and blows your head off. The artwork on their side of the split’s sleeve is really sick too.

Agathocles / Deche-Charge – Split EP (2018)

Agathocles / Deche-Charge – Split EP (2018)

Finally, I come across a split between two legends of the noise worlds. Unfortunately, the AGx stuff here is ear-piercingly uncomfortable to listen to, I almost consider taking the 7″ off the platter and throwing it into the fucking garden, but alas not. I’m glad I didn’t because the Deche-Charge side, whilst is equally as noisy if not more so, but at least it is at a frequency that isn’t carving out the inside of my skull. Noisecore nonsense for lost, wastoid grindfreaks only.

Swans – The Beggar (2023)

Swans – The Beggar (2023)

The Beggar has taken up quite a lot of space in my life recently as I have tried to form an opinion on this thing. I think its now been long enough and that I have let it settle in. The first thing that I noticed about The Beggar was how similar it sounded to Leaving Meaning. I felt Leaving Meaning was a bit of a disappointment (moreso because it was following up something as insane as The Glowing Man than because it was terrible), so the first impressions were not great. But, this thing has absolutely grown on me. Much focus is given to “The Beggar Lover (Three)”, and whilst this isn’t as good as similar stuff from Soundtracks For The Blind or even the Body Lovers CD, it’s still one hell of a trip and I commend Gira for including something like this on the album. It almost acts like a reprise, a medley even, but at the same time is something new and experimental. As for the album tracks featuring the whole band, my favourites include “Michael Is Done”, “No More Of This” and “The Memorious”. Musically, tracks seem to have a bit more “go” in them than the ones on Leaving Meaning, the drums hit a little harder etc.etc. – but like I said above the same meditative, ritualistic qualities are equal across both of these albums. There is also a streak of finality through the album’s lyrical themes, which gives an unsettling edge to the otherwise mostly peaceful and serene compositions. Finally, I’ll round this out by saying as always the production is absolutely fucking gorgeous. I wanted to make note of the track but I’ve forgotten – there’s a bit in one song where a grand piano comes in over the cacophony and it’s so beautifully recorded I just wanted to fucking cry. Honestly, the production on this thing is perfect, a phenomenal job of the highest quality and infinite props need to go the studio engineers Ingo Krauss and Doug Henderson. Where Does A Review End? Why, right here. Cheers.

Goblin Cock – Bagged And Boarded (2005)

Goblin Cock – Bagged And Boarded (2005)

Well then. Goblin Cock was recommended to me by Spotify, and I simply had to check it out immediately because of the audacity of the name. What I did not expect was metal in the doom / stoner style, unusual in the way that it sounds entirely typical yet also as if something is completely off and wrong. It’s as if aliens heard early Sabbath and maybe some Kyuss and then decided to make some music in that style. Or perhaps more topically, if AI could make doom metal, it might sound like this. Let’s be real here though, the doom / stoner / rock scenes are flooded already with mediocre bands to the point beyond saturation, so is another terrible band, albeit one that appears to be a purposeful parody, even at all remotely needed? Granted, Goblin Cocks seems to predate the stoner doom bubble but my point stands. Listening to this is a waste of time for absolutely anyone.

Siege Golem – Rises Above The Walls (2023)

Siege Golem – Rises Above The Walls (2023)

Through a download code that was kindly shared by a friend I had the pleasure of being introduced to the world of Siege Golem, a project that walks the lines between dungeon synth and video game music. It reminds me a bit of the Kobold project, only updated and more varied in a set of a final boss themes. There’s all sorts of different vibes going on here, which is nice to see from a modern DS project, as some of which can be accused I think rather fairly of being rather one dimensional. Some Siege Golem tracks have additional programmed percussion and odd vocal tracks, which is a nice touch. The whole thing sounds like it’s buried under a layer of time and dust too, which is just lovely (not in the Revenant Marquis sense, more in the “this cassette tape is a bit dusty” sense). Tidy darts.

Crossed Out – Crossed Out (1991)

Crossed Out – Crossed Out (1991)

Intense, raw powerviolence. I’ve definitely been sleeping on Crossed Out, which is another one of those legendary names that I’ve just never got around to checking out. Honestly though, the sonic impact that this thing has is just fantastic. This 7” is the shit. It’s sound is atypical of a lot of the tropes of the PV sound but also intensely emblematic of the scene and movement. This review is garbage but trust me this is some really good shit, so don’t be like me – if you’re thinking of listening to it then do it right now.

Nuclear Remains – Radioactive Decomposition (2022)

Nuclear Remains – Radioactive Decomposition (2022)

Radioactive Decomposition delivers far more maturity and dexterity than a band with this kind of vibe, aesthetic and sound should have any right to. Death metal is the base ingredient, but forgive me for embarrassing myself by saying that Nuclear Remains do to death metal what Vektor do for thrash. That is not to say that Nuclear Remains is just a clone of Sound Of Perseverance era Death, but flexible and original in their compositions and songwriting. If you like spacey death metal shit like Cryptic Shift or Blood Incantation but would prefer your metal with a little more sickness and brutality at the same time, then Nuclear Remains may be the band for you.

Cock And Ball Torture / Grossmember – Split 7″ (2000)

Cock And Ball Torture / Grossmember – Split 7″ (2000)

Grossmember play thick, bludgeoning grindcore with rough production, but the charm of such sounds on such a format (7”) are really what it’s all about when it comes to listening to obscure shit like this. The subject matter and vibe are as disgusting as the cover art, and I really enjoyed their side to this record. If the CBT full length albums are well-formed healthy stools in the toilet bowl of life, then this EP material is the sloppy explosion that comes out after 20 pints of beer and a kebab. The watery vocals on this thing are absurdly delicious, and the band’s earlier fast and loose style is just as appealing to me as their later chunkier, dryer grooves.

Death In June – Peaceful Snow / Lounge Corps (2010)

Death In June – Peaceful Snow / Lounge Corps (2010)

Some of the critical responses aimed at Peaceful Snow are incredibly harsh. Do I understand where such criticisms are coming from? Of course I do – the depth of Miro’s piano playing really brings out the “one trick” aspect of Douglas’ voice; something that works well in its own way, but it is definitely something that is left wholly exposed against the beautiful backdrop of keys that Snejdr provides. But, Peaceful Snow was an excellent idea (regardless of whoever has recorded piano albums before Death In June), and it is a record that is excellently recorded. The audio quality on this is nothing short of sublime, and the piano playing is beyond stunning. It is a shame however, that this only really works about half of the time. Some of the new original songs here are absolutely phenomenal, others are much more dragging and lacklustre. This album may not be my favourite thing in the world from Douglas but it spawned some brilliant live sets featuring Miro on piano (which really need to be seen to be believed) as well as of course the follow-up album, where the songs in their acoustic guitar forms were then released, in a much more typical Di6 fashion. I won’t deny that Disc 1 has it’s moments that drag, but “Peaceful Snow” is one of my favourite songs of all time. Disc 2 is much more of a treat, especially if you are a long-time fan, as for the second hour of this set, Miro Snejdr is given full run of Douglas’ back catalog, and here he presents to us 17 Di6 classics re-interpreted via the piano. “Hail! The White Grain”, “Luther’s Army”, “She Said Destory”, “Heaven Street”, “Ruins And Men” and “Fall Apart” all sound so, so fucking good that it really does make up for the maliase that is Disc 1 (which only has about 1/3 of really interesting music, I’ll be honest). Also, never thought “Rose Clouds Of Holocaust” could be intepreted to sound like something that plays over a silent, brutal slow-mo scene in a Shane Meadows movie. But hey, we know how Meadows feels about people who fool around with Nazi symbolism so maybe that’s a pretty terrible scenario to invisage LOL A snippet from the title track probably sums up this entire album: “Old Gods… on new streets…. (but) outlook bleak….”

Master’s Hammer – Ritual (1991)

Master’s Hammer – Ritual (1991)

There’s a lot of big brain takes about this album, its sound, its place in the history of metal and therefore and its influence, but I am not anywhere near qualified enough to comment on these matters so I’ll keep this much more down to earth. My Foundation Degree in Master’s Hammer permits me to speak soley about the music and its production, and not much else. Maybe once I get my Advanced Diploma + in Master’s Hammer I can return to this and offer a more panoramic take. Anyway, I always thought Master’s Hammer were a doom metal band. I mean, with a name like that, I can be forgiven, right? But no, Master’s Hammer, are, of course, a black metal band. An unique one that are seemingly lodged somewhere between the first wave and second wave of black metal. I suppose you could compare it to the third/fourth album eras of Bathory, but Ritual is absolutely its own beast. The entire album has this stunted, compressed sound, giving the record a “sound check” kind of feel. It’s almost as if the engineer had the entire band record their parts, and then realised he had no idea how to mix any of this shit, and just stared at the console for a few hours before declaring it a job well done. Despite this, Ritual does not sound particularly bad, in fact I think it sounds rather good and the oddness of its production instead lends to the unique atmosphere that the band conjures with this release. This is not just one for the black metal historians. Do not think that. This is as great metal record for anyone who is interested in such a thing.

The Gates Of Slumber – Suffer No Guilt (2006)

The Gates Of Slumber – Suffer No Guilt (2006)

Saw these guys live a few times back in the day but never considered myself a fan, so was very surprised to find this CD when rummaging through old CDs in the attic. I have absolutely no idea where it came from. It sounds just as I remember Gates Of Slumber to sound, and my 3 year old seems to enjoy it (lmao), but there’s just something about this I cannot enjoy. Some of the songs outstay their welcome for me. Turns out this is sought after quite a bit, so I sold it on (it was snapped up very quickly for very cheap lol) to someone who will no doubt appreciate it a lot more than I do. I will say however the production of this thing is very well done.

Esham – Erotic Poetry (1990)

Esham – Erotic Poetry (1990)

Esham’s songs about “love making” are not subtle nor particularily clever, but they do make me laugh. Whether or not that was the original intention or not is perhaps debatable. But the moral of this EP is, well, mans was horny, by the goose of it. Erotic Poetry isn’t as filthy as say, The Sexorcist by Necro, but I still wouldn’t play “The Jaw Bone” for my gran, if you get what I’m saying.

Spy – Habitual Offender (2021)

Spy – Habitual Offender (2021)

Not gonna win any awards for originality but deffo should be winning awards for splitting heads: this shit is intense. I can imagine the kind of pits that open up for this kind of thing and that should tell you all you need to know about Habital Offender. The production is rougher than most “hardcore punk” but lends to the music infinitely because of this, especially in the faster passages. More often than not things slow to a crawl to allow those riifs to throw down, and that’s where Spy really shine. It’s only ten minutes long, but make sure you count all of your teeth before and after you’re done with it.

Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy (2023)

Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy (2023)

An improvement on the base sound, Sanguisugabogg step things up a notch with their second record, which has a much better sound all around. The drums in particular, sound absolutely fantastic – both in the initial performance and then in the production. The snare tone is wicked and punches right through the mix. Musically, everything else hangs nicely in the balance but the drums definitely lead the mix, for sure. Either way, if sick caveman riffs and absurd vocals are your cup of tea, you can do no wrong in checking out this hyped-up unit of death metallers. Tracks like “Mortal Admonishment” for example show that the band is capable of much, much more than the usual chugga-chugga-ping-ping skreeeeeeee kind of deal. There is a technicality bubbling beneath the brutality that keeps threatening to surface. Also, I’m undecided whether that art is brilliant or terrible, Write your thoughts on a postcard.

Gruesome – Dimensions Of Horror (2016)

Gruesome – Dimensions Of Horror (2016)

Depending on what you want from your death metal, you may find Gruesome to be tired and derivative or instead scratching that specific itch that only early 90s death metal can. The excellent cover art (by Ed Repka) should give you some indication of the presence of the “classic” sound here, but by what degree this is a case of the spirit of such being kept alive vs. being aped as a gimmick… well, that’s up to the individual listener to decide. Taking originality out of the question, Dimension Of Horror is a super fun 20 minutes, with 6 tracks of prime-cut death metal goodness. Tracks like “Raped By Darkness” or “Seven Doors” really showcase the sinister vibes here, and the production is on point across the whole release, allowing the songs to be delivered with the required impact and audible punch.

FesterDecay – Carcasses Revenge (2017)

FesterDecay – Carcasses Revenge (2017)

Not as good as the later shit but still intense pathological grinding death metal / goregrind in the vein of early Carcass. A short release of only 8 minutes (the version I heard didn’t have the Carcass cover at the end), but worth every second of your time. Tracks like “Liquidised Gallbladder” (how is that even medically possible? I don’t want to find out) and “Centipede In Ass” are just as digusting as you may imagine them to be. Expect lots of blasting drums, crunching guitars (and a few odd, wailing solos), and a ton of disturbing gory vocals. Tidy.

Bethlehem – Dictius Te Necare (1996)

Bethlehem – Dictius Te Necare (1996)

I first heard of Bethlehem after Ralner Landfermann appeared on an Anaal Nathrakh song, and I was blown away by how crazy the vocals were. So perhaps my enjoyment of this album has been primed somewhat, unlike say someone who stumbled upon this talked about mid-90s release and had no idea what was coming when they pressed play. I have actively come here in search of these vocals, and I am very much on board with them, as divisive as they may be. In fact, I would go as far as to say they are one of the highlights of Bethlehem’s sound. Musically, the band fluctuate between “traditional” black metal riffery and plodding, slightly melodic doom metal, with these slower riffs and passages – along with the wailing, screeching vocals – giving Dictius Te Necare a very unique sound for a black metal record from the 90s. The production is as clear as it is rough around the edges, but I couldn’t really imagine this working with a bigger, better production. I don’t have any stand-out tracks to recommend per se, as all were really good, but closer “Dorn Meiner Allmacht” caught my attention as it rounded out the album with a much slower pace and more sinister vibe. The absurd vocals may not be for everyone, but if you can get into them, then this is a gem of an album.

Bathory – Under The Sign Of The Black Mark (1987)

Bathory – Under The Sign Of The Black Mark (1987)

My professional opinion about this piece of work is thus: this shit fucking slaps. Everything from the artwork to the production to the guitar tone is just absolutely fucking perfect. Well, not perfect, but pretty damn fucking good, y’know? Anyway, Under The Sign Of The Black Mark is when Quothorn more or less takes the fate of Bathory into his own hands, performing pretty much fucking every single role on this thing except for the drums. Everything that was great about the first two Bathory albums is turned up to 11 here: the riffs are far more sinister, the drums aren’t as sloppy and the vocals are absolutely savage. As daft as it might sound, things slow down a lot too, falling into some wicked grooves, like on “Call From The Grave”. Contender for best Bathory album? Definitely.

Carnivore – Carnivore (1985)

Carnivore – Carnivore (1985)

The first Carnivore album probably isn’t as good as the second but it’s still a pretty solid album. Some of the doomier riffs are fantastic, despite the trashy nature of the album in general. You can tell from the off that it has that unique Pete Steele sound, not to play down the other members. There is plenty of hay-wire ideas here, as well as strange interludes and takes on things (the chilled bongo sections in “God Is Dead” being a perfect example of what I’m talking about). I love the production, especially the drum sound, but to be fair most of the record is very well balanced. Tidy bit of thrash, and something a little different.