Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: September 2023

Corpsefucking Art – Zombiefuck (2008)

Corpsefucking Art – Zombiefuck (2008)

Whilst you couldn’t really claim that Corpsefucking Art is pushing the boundaries of death metal, it is hard to argue that they are not an entertaining outfit. The aptly-titled Zombie Fuck is home such to ditties as “Beverly Hills Corpse” (completely with parody theme song), “High Skull Musical” (lmao) and “No Woman No Grind (Bomb Marley)”, the latter of which squeezes two puns into one song title for double your money. Musically this is downtuned, nasty and horrible. The vocals are the usual Cookie Monster affair, but I suspect if you are here reading an album review for a band that actually legitimately chose to name themselves Corpsefucking Art, then you are OK with this. Tuck in.

Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny (1976)

Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny (1976)

Chronologically, Sad Wings Of Destiny is infinitely better than it’s predecessor. For a start, it sounds more like the band we all know and love today, and well, if I could make such a bold statement, this feels like the true debut album for Judas Priest.  Production wise, this is absolutely perfect. Perhaps a symptom of the times, but it’s so well put together that it doesn’t matter if it sounds a bit aged now. Production work like this makes me wish I was around back then. Song-wise, I feel Sad Wings… trails off just a little towards the end, but for the most part, is a brilliant album. One that was, perhaps, a little ahead of its time? I know we had Sabbath at this time but we didn’t really have heavy metal like we do today. And for that we can thank bands like Judas Priest. Attribution: linesinwax.com

Sepultura – Roorback (2003)

Sepultura – Roorback (2003)

I’m loathe to rate this lower than a 3/5 because of how inventive it is for what is essentially nu metal. As far as Sepultura goes, this period is definitely a low point in their career, but truly, all elements analysed, this really isn’t that bad. There’s one thing you can do for me, though, and that is to promise to avoid the absolutely fucking godawful remaster of this thing. I don’t know if the engineer was smoking crack or something, but the original is the far, far superior version by country miles. Roorback gets quite punky in parts, which is nice when mixed in with the rather boring groove riffs (sorry) and the tribal sessions. As always, Igor’s drumming is outstanding and for the most part, the songwriting is rather good, give or take the odd uninspired riff. Oh, and “Bullet The Blue Sky” was the first ever Sepultura song I ever heard, when I saw the (awful) video on some music TV channel as a teenager. Today I learned: the guy from Converge drew the album cover. It’s still awful, even though it was done by a good artist lol

Iselder – Metel Du Gwir Cymreig (2022)

Iselder – Metel Du Gwir Cymreig (2022)

With an intro speech that is no doubt going to fire up any self-respecting Welshman (I almost went out into the garden and raised a flag myself, I won’t lie to you), it is hard to not be disappointed when the first track “I’r Gad” first pops in through the speakers. The sound is flat, compressed, artificial and well… an antithesis to anything that I would associate with black metal and its production styles. Despite this, a lot of the riffs here are pretty fucking cool, even if the execution is a bit silly (“Cont”, anyone?). After the demos and EPs, I perhaps expected a bit more from an Iselder full length that what we get here.

Curta’n Wall – Curta’n Wall (2021)

Curta’n Wall – Curta’n Wall (2021)

What a lovely, lovely release (lmao). I did not expect such amazing music from such a lo-fi and kvlt black metal release, but here we are. Colour me surprised, as always. Without going off subject too much, its discoveries like this, the real special and interesting gems, that makes trawling through thousands of releases worthwhile. Like… what in the actual fuck is going on here? On the surface of it, Curta’n Wall is a medieval / seige warfare focussed black metal band, playing in a very minimal and lo-fi style. But, take some time to peel back some layers of grime and you will be infinitely rewarded. Not only is there a twinkling sense of melody beneath these slabs of dust (even the YouTube link I’m using to listen to this right now sounds like a 30 year old cassette), but the songwriting is fantastic. There are moments of total genius in each song. For example, the “Silvester Anfang”-baiting timpani in the opening song, or the closing jaunty almost flute-sounding melody closing “The Enemy So Bold”. This gave me the same exciting feeling as when I discovered Black Magick SS, only this has less terrible singing and perhaps more importantly, no NS bullshit.

Haemorrhage – Anatomical Inferno (1998)

Haemorrhage – Anatomical Inferno (1998)

A Haemorrhage record is always going to be a good time, if you are a goregrind fan (or just a Carcass fan and don’t mind a bit of “worship”). These guys (and gal) have been plugging away for years and Anatomical Inferno is their third album. I have the Brazilian reissue in my hands. Now, being from the UK, I can’t remember for the life of me where or how I got a hold of this particular version, but there we go LOL The album is a solid chunk of goregrind mixed less with death metal I guess and more with elements of punk and hardcore. This gives the proceedings their own unique sway, whilst being also rather true to the blueprints set down to which Haemorrhage operate entirely. The production on this thing is a bit loud / overblown, which is made even more obvious when there’s a few demo versions of songs tacked onto the end of the Brazilian pressing. These demos are a little dryer, and the drums are more natural sounding, but for the most part, I think I prefer these to the album versions. Throw in a cover of “Police Bastard” by Doom (also exclusive to this version) and you’ve got a winner. Tidy darts.

Regurgitate – Promo 1999 / Selfdisembowelment (1999 / 2018)

Regurgitate – Promo 1999 / Selfdisembowelment (1999 / 2018)

The “Selfdisembowelment” tape fell into my possession recently, and to be honest, without looking into it further I just assumed that it was some sort of bootleg or compilation of outtakes from around the Carniverous Erection era. What I didn’t know is that this is a reissue of a previously almost impossible to find Promo CD from back in 1999. Left Hand Patches (formerly Fat Ass Records, RIP), have done a very nice job re-releasing this fuzzy gore monster. The twelve tracks do not hang around, but provide an interesting window into a particular era of Regurgitate that certain fans may have heard over and over already in the form of studio releases etc., so this is a refreshing take on an already well established set of songs. In the case of Agathocles I would perhaps let out a sigh before pressing play but in the case of Regurgitate this feels like an exciting opportunity to hear something familiar yet slightly different. It helps, of course, that all the tracks are absolute bangers.

Phobia – Grind Core (2014)

Phobia – Grind Core (2014)

This shit absolutely fucking slaps. The riffs on this thing are outstanding. The drums are, well, bonkers. The vocals: savage. Phobia can be a bit hit or miss IMHO, but on this short EP they are firing on all cylinders, I am very much pleased to report. The production is solid and very well-balanced, without losing some of the charm that a rougher sound can give. Honestly, by the time you blink this thing is done, so if you like grindcore in any way shape or form I’d just check this out by default.

Mortician – Mortal Massacre (1992)

Mortician – Mortal Massacre (1992)

I’ve probably heard this a thousand times on the House By The Cemetry represses but was nice to go back and “isolate” this and focus on the original tracks. The evolution from Brutally Mutilated / Demo ’91 is subtle, the band still employ a real drummer here it seems, but the guitar and bass have already entered into the trademark downtuned-and-impossible-to-decipher mush that would become their wheelhouse. BTW if you’re getting filtered by the overuse of samples, you’re listening to the wrong band. BLLLUUUGGHHHHHHH!

Primordial Serpent – The Funereal Winter (2023)

Primordial Serpent – The Funereal Winter (2023)

I was drawn in by the fantastic cover art (who can resist fog and trees when it comes to black metal) and I was not at all disappointed by what I found. Majestic is a word that gets thrown around alot when it comes to certain elements of black metal, but maybe not so much when it comes to lo-fi one man projects. Primordial Serpent is not lo-fi to the point of becoming unlistenable (and to be honest, it doesn’t sound like it was deliberately recorded on a potato), but there is a duality between the simplicity of the setup and the sprawling nature of the epic guitar riffs. This is one of the many dualities that makes black metal so exciting, if you ask me, so it’s absolutely great to see that at play here. My main complaint with The Funereal Winter is that it is over too quickly. This kind of songwriting is more fitting for the LP format in my view, and I find myself playing this through twice every time I put it on, because the 20 minute or so runtime just doesn’t seem to be enough. All in all, this is hardly a bad thing, and I greatly look forward to hearing more Primordial Serpent material.

Om – Pilgrimage (2007)

Om – Pilgrimage (2007)

I played the absolute fuck out of this record back when I was a greasy 20-something stoner with nothing else to do with my life. Whilst still longer than most band’s tunes, the shorter run times to the tracks, even with the reprising nature of themes here, definitely helps Om keep things more varied and interesting. “Bhimas Theme” is one of the group’s best songs from any era. RYM review writing fun fact: Today I learned that Steve Albini produced this thing, which actually blew my mind. I can usually sniff out his involvment in something I’m listening to a mile off, but I totally missed the pairing here.

Om – Conference Of The Birds (2006)

Om – Conference Of The Birds (2006)

Mood is definitely important when it comes to earlier Om recordings. The line between this being fantastic or infinitely boring is indeed a fine one, thankfully I’ve really been craving the long-form meditative qualities of work like Conference Of The Birds recently, so I’ve been returning to this album for the first time in a very long while. 15+ minute tracks built around repetitive bass structures is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, let alone their path to enlightenment, but if this is for you and you can get into it, the journey can be a rewarding one. There is a beauty woven into this album’s initial simplicity, and a few repeat listens will actually reveal an underlying complexity to proceedings.

Cathedral – Caravan Beyond Redemption (1998)

Cathedral – Caravan Beyond Redemption (1998)

Peak “woah dude” era Cathedral, where the funky, proggy, stoner elements were at their height. This was before they returned to their heavy roots with albums like Endtyme and VIIth Coming, so one does wonder what made the band change direction like this (only to turn back to the trippier side of life with albums like The Guessing Game). Andy Sneap produced this one, so whilst it isn’t the Woolven / Cathedral dream team, it still sounds absolutely massive and clear as day. On a song by song basis, the album is very entertaining, and those who enjoy the more “fun” elements to Cathedral’s sound will be right at home. On top of that, “Satanikus Robotikus” is one of the best song names ever penned, and “Voodoo Fire” one of the band’s best tracks from any era. Caravan Beyond Redemption only pales in comparison when you put it up against the other records from Cathedral, of which there are many that are better than this, both from earlier and later in the discography.

Absurd – God’s Death (1992)

Absurd – God’s Death (1992)

Absurd-ly bad (lol, I’ll show myself out). We have to give them the benefit of the doubt (talent wise, actions and beliefs wise they can get in the bin) as they are so young here, but this demo is not one that has stood the test of time, nor is it one that promises a bright future in this particular thread of black metal. It is interesting hearing “Gates Of Heaven” here after hearing it on a later Absurd record. For real though, this thing is about 60% samples, 30% bad rehearsal room metal and 10% bad vocals.

Lamp of Murmuur – Submission and Slavery (2021)

Lamp of Murmuur – Submission and Slavery (2021)

An interesting blend of styles, taking the savagery of blasting black metal and mixing it with Lamp’s (lol) flare for extravagant synth work (we’re not talking Bal Sagoth levels of pomp here, but the synthesizers are at least more dynamic and interesting than a lot of other black metal), as well as sprinkling in the aesthetic and vibe of dark 80s pop such as The Sisters Of Mercy, which should be entirely evident from the cover art alone. Lamp Of Murmuur may be one of the front-most carriages on the modern black metal hype train, but they are a solid, consistent outfit with an interesting edge to them. Submission And Slavery is an excellent example of that.

Flying Lotus – Reset (2008)

Flying Lotus – Reset (2008)

The first couple of tracks on this are phenomenal, but with repeated listens I continue to trail off as the EP goes on, which isn’t a good sign as it’s under 20 minutes long in total. I thought initially this was a symptom of my own concentration but after several attempts I’ll have to admit defeat. Not bad by any means, because when it hits it hits hard (the production on the opening track makes me feel like I’m stoned).

Permanent Disfigurement – Permanent Disfigurement (2021)

Permanent Disfigurement – Permanent Disfigurement (2021)

If I were to give my personal, technical, in-depth opinion: This shit fucking slaps. It is a short demo but a promising one, that’s for sure. Vocally, it kinda reminds me of XXX Maniak’s Harvesting The Cunt Nectar and musically it lies between the precision of slam / brutal death and the sloppier, sewer-dwelling OSDM revival style of the last few years. So there you have it – something for the whole family to enjoy.

Graveland – Immortal Pride (1999)

Graveland – Immortal Pride (1999)

A sloppy yet endearing entry into the Graveland catalogue. Granted, it’s probably not fair to use “sloppy” as a descriptive word for this thing as every early Graveland record I’ve heard has some degree of wonkiness or amateurishness to it. Here however, the balance is struck where it definitely lends to the music’s favour rather than detracts from it. What happens when you mix Nazis, Bathory-worship and dungeon synth? You get Immortal Pride! (inb4 “ackshually RoB dArKeN iS a NeO PaGan- etc etc”)

Cathedral – The VIIth Coming (2002)

Cathedral – The VIIth Coming (2002)

The 7th Coming possesses a strange duality in that it is both underrated and also somewhat mediocre. It takes the heaviness that the band brought back on Endtyme and then mixed in some of the more “totally cosmic, bro” vibes that the band had on Supernatural Birth Machine etc. I will say that the production here is a bit better than Endtyme, with Kit Woolven back on engineering duties. Kit (RIP) and Cathedral are a fantastic match, he brings a much needed clarity to the muddy bogs of mid-paced groovy doom metal, which definitely gives this record its edge and stops it from becoming Endtyme II (which wouldn’t be a bad thing, just a touch stagnant).

Bathory – Hammerheart (199)

Bathory – Hammerheart (199)

Bathory’s ever-changing sonic palette is taking me to places that I never thought I would go. Honestly, when I think of “viking metal” I think of idiots at festivals with their plastic drinking horns and cringe shit like Amon Amarth’s stage shows, but honestly, Bathory are leading a much more genuine charge and I’m fucking here for it. Maybe I’m just forever bitter than Skyrim is infinitely more popular than Morrowind and I will forever hate the appropriation of Nordic cultures into modern day media for that reason (lmao, what a life) but it’s time for me to stop writing about absolute fucking rubbish and actually address the album I’m supposed to be talking about. Hammerheart further cements the decision to step away from thrash / proto-black metal for Bathory and instead focuses on more grandiose songwriting. The production on Hammerheart is still suitably horrible, but that does not stunt the ambition of tracks like “One Rode To Asa Bay” or the album’s opening trifecta of giant mountainous metal epics. The vocals are a bit whackier now that the blackened rasp is gone, but I suppose Quothorn may have still been finding his feet in this style. Either way, this album is fantastic.

Rome – Le Ceneri Di Heliodoro (2019)

Rome – Le Ceneri Di Heliodoro (2019)

Infinitely more well produced (and sung) that most neofolk that I’ve heard in my limited lifetime. Le Ceneri Di Heliodoro sounds like 00s Anathema, the first Bastille album and Death In June all rolled into one confusing ball. Sprinkle in some mixed vibes and hey, presto! Despite everything that Rome has going for them in regards to their talented frontman and extended palette of musicality, then let themselves down with the uniformity of their music. In parts, Le Ceneri puts forward bland patriotic hymns more commonly assocaited with bone-head right wing circles, and in other parts veers dangerously close to the whole “stomp / clap / hey!” hipster bullshit that plagued us a few years back. Despite this, there are some fantastic songs on this thing, such as “Who Only Europe Know” and the ridiculously catchy “Black Crane” – both help elevate this record significantly. I would be very interested in hearing more music from Rome, even though the 4 minute intro to this thing nearly put me off the band for life (its peak cringe).

Incantation – Onwards To Golgotha (1992)

Incantation – Onwards To Golgotha (1992)

Onwards to Golgotha is probably the most prominent musical equivalent of the words ‘blunt force trauma’. The music is an assault on the senses, and that assault is being carried out repeatedly, over and over, but some fucking maniac holding a blood-drenched brick in one hand. The other hand is around your throat, btw. Using such a ridiculous descriptive situation to describe a death metal record is usually done to convey how brutal the record is, how fans of such aural extremity will rejoice in reading such silly anecdotes before making haste to plug in and play such musical depravity at an assortment of unacceptable volumes. But, one realistic thing to take into account, and applicable here to this uncompromising old school death metal release: being smashed in the face repeadely with a house brick is a painful and – forgive me for understating – a difficult experience to get through. In that regard then, it is rather similar to this album.

Lustmord – Heresy (1990)

Lustmord – Heresy (1990)

Ah, now this is more like it! Previous forays with the works of Lustmord have left me wanting, but I should have started with the classics from the start. What a brooding, horrible noise! Such spooky, such creepy, wow. I decided to listen to this with headphones at night whilst in bed but admittedly it was infinitely better blasting out of my stereo the next morning at incredible volume. Embrace the all-encompassing noise!

Boy Harsher – Yr Body Is Nothing (2016)

Boy Harsher – Yr Body Is Nothing (2016)

I went through a phase where I was super into this duo, but I kinda let that obsession fall to the wayside. Returning to Yr Body Is Nothing (the title reminds me of Swans, “Yr Property” etc) was long, long overdue then. As soon as this record starts thumping out of the speakers I’m wondering to myself why it is I let listening to this pair slide in the first place. This album is fantastic. I love the mix of nostalgiac tape wobble, an almost VHS treacle-like vibe to the synthesizers used here, all the while the tunes almost fall into the whole trance-inducing body techno movement, but not quite so. Instead, Yr Body… sits somewhere in between in the visceral darkened margins of each genre. I suppose one could call it darkwave, but it almost feels like more than that. Either way, I don’t think there’s a single bad song on this album, and I highly recommend it to fans of dark electronic music.

The Prodigy – Fat Of The Land (1997)

The Prodigy – Fat Of The Land (1997)

Oi Oi Oi – let’s have a little dance then, shall we? If you want one of the fastest hours of your life to pass you by, throw this thing on. It has wall-to-wall bangers (some of which, as I’m sure most of you know, ended up as enormous chart-topping singles in their own right) and a stunning big sound. Not sure what sure I can say that hasn’t already been said, and I’m no scholar of the big beat movement in the UK although I remember it vividly, even though I was really young at the time. Easily, this is one of those albums that everyone should hear at least once.

Burzum – The Reincarnation of Ódinn (2023)

Burzum – The Reincarnation of Ódinn (2023)

The seemingly compilation-like nature of Varg’s “final” release as Burzum, Thulean Mysteries, coupled with the spaced out, almost relaxed tone of most of his ambient music, makes it very difficult to ascertain whether I’ve heard this before or not. It feels more familiar than it does new, and whilst that is rather welcoming in some ways, its also a bit underwhelming that this random “return” (whatever it means long term) is not something a bit bigger; a bit more impressive. I suppose one can only keep their head down, live off grid with solar panels and a small farmstead and a small “thermic” vehicle (lol), and hope that more new Burzum material will soon be on the horizon.

Impaled Nazarene – Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz… (1993)

Impaled Nazarene – Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz… (1993)

I love this thing. Dense, fathomless, evil as fuck – but with a twisted sense of humour too. Production is dank and echoic, which can make the blasting sections a bit difficult to decipher, but generally the production really lends a lot of atmosphere to the proceedings. What I didn’t expect to really enjoy was some of the slower riff sections, where the excellence of the guitar work can be easily noticed, as well as the awesome drum production. Vocally, shit is absolutely insane as is par for the course with Impaled Nazarene, but with lots of pitchshifter to go with the maniacal shrieks. Fucking scary shit, and a highlight of the early Finnish scene, for sure. I’ve long been a fan of Impaled Nazarene but coming back to the debut is massively overdue for me, so very happy to be here writing this review with a cassette copy of this dark masterpiece. Goooooaaaat Perverssiooonn!!!

Mortician – Demo #1 ’90 (1990)

Mortician – Demo #1 ’90 (1990)

UUURRGHHHH I recently got a copy of this on cassette. Whether it’s a legit repressing or a bootleg I’m really not sure nor do I really care, because this shit fucking slaps. To call any era of Mortician’s music “primitive” would be fucking lazy, but the earlier gestations of the band are not quite as streamlined as what would come on the full length records, or even EPs like Brutally Mutilated. That may sound rather obvious, being a review of a demo the band did during their infancy, but it is actually rather striking and quite odd to hear Mortician in this way. They have always been sure of their sound and the vibe that they put forward to the world, even if perhaps how good each passing studio album is does vary, they have indeed been consistent. So, hearing the differences here is very strange. Either way, this short demo fucking rips, and if you’re here right now nosing at old school death metal demos like this then I’m sure I don’t have to do much to convince you that finding a copy or stream of this is a very good idea. Enjoy!

Vond – Green Eyed Demon (1998)

Vond – Green Eyed Demon (1998)

What the actual fuck is this? Off the strength of basically every single Mortiis side project (including earlier Vond), I got myself a copy of this on cassette. It’s a recent re-issue, but still. I wish I hadn’t bothered. This is easily the shittiest thing I’ve come across that’s got Havard’s name on it. Totally fucking pointless sound collages and minimal synths. It sounds like there has been absolutely minimal effort put into making this. Whilst I appreciate that assembling such types of music was perhaps far more difficult in 1998 than it is now with an installation of Reaper and the infinite library of sound that is the internet, I can’t help but feel massively disappointed by this cassette. On top of that, the copy I have is excruciatingly quiet with a super high noise floor, which just adds insult to injury. This album sucks, and this pressing is fucking dogshit. Avoid.

Suffocation – Blood Oath (2009)

Suffocation – Blood Oath (2009)

Less of the slamz and more of the high quality production death metal ting. Which y’know, is absolutely fine with me. Variety is the spice of life and all that – and hey, it’s fuckin’ great to listen to some some fuckin’ brutal death metal every now and then when the production is good enough that I can actually understand everything that is going on! Blood Oath is just that. It won’t win any awards for sheer, edge-cutting originality, but it’s a solid death metal record all the same.

Peste Noire – Folkfuck Folie (2007)

Peste Noire – Folkfuck Folie (2007)

Well then, things don’t half fall off after the first record. Folkfuck Folie (what is the title about?) is not necessarily bad but is absolutely not what I was expecting after the super intense, evil and evocative black metal whirlwind that was the band’s debut. Folkfukk is far more fractured and experimental, heading into directions and tangents that, at first at least, seem to distract from the core material on the album – that being similar to the debut but more angular and just downright weird. I’m not bemoaning the album’s acoustic moments nor the more avant-garde atmospheric or folk-like passages such as marching drums, general sombre ambience and passages that are basically spoken word in form, but this just isn’t as good as the first album, whichever way you cut the cake.

Bowels Out – Enlightenment Through Dismemberment (2005)

Bowels Out – Enlightenment Through Dismemberment (2005)

Guitar tuning is so low that it almost sounds like it is artificially pitchshifted, like Libido Airbag were about to mix these guitars into some sort of techno-pornogrind bullshit. Alas, once one’s puny mortal ears hath adjuste to thon brutallic onslaught of disgusting noise that is the tuning ov Drop 666, one can appreciate the ants-in-yon-pants old school brutal death that Bowels Out are finest purveyors thereof. Such beautous movements as “Gourmet Vaginal Stew” and the vital “Take The Cock” (take it where, pray tell? Belize?) lull you into the catatonic stupor that only the murky worlde ov grindcore and br00tal death metal can invoke. For f(l)ans ov: Cryptopsy and Nile but you wished their albums were made instead by people who’ve played in Intestinal Disgorge.

Venom – Black Metal (1982)

Venom – Black Metal (1982)

The first time I heard this record I was 15 years old, and drunk on black metal classics like Transilvanian Hunger or Burzum’s first few records. Hungry for more I decided to start at the beginning with Venom’s Black Metal album….only to find a bunch of sloppy thrash with terrible lyrics about shagging your teacher or Satan being your dad. Safe to say, this went straight into a pile and never really got played ever again. But I’m not 15 anymore and of course I’ve revisited Venom many times in the years that have passed. I always thought that I prefered Welcome To Hell to Black Metal but realistically they are both as just as good as each other, if slightly different in production and uh, musicality. Black Metal is (only just) more polished and established than its predecessor, but the same template of cheeky, offensive, Christ-baiting thrash is the order of the day here once again. It is a really enjoyable metal record, but if you are new here, iust don’t expect it to sound like actual black metal lol

Shygirl – Cruel Practice (2018)

Shygirl – Cruel Practice (2018)

Feel like I’m on a different planet to the rest of the folks hearing this. Beats are interesting at best, irritating at worst, and the flow is just…. shit. Feels like she’s rapping at me over the tanoy system at one of those giant Tesco Extra supermarkets at 3 in the morning when all I’m trying to do is cop a Monster energy drink and a cheese sandwich and get back to the rest of my night shift. Final track is the only one that’s any good. Either way, get in the bin, tanoy witch. Edit: OK the final track is actually a straight banger haha but the rest of this is dreadful.

The Bug – Fire (2021)

The Bug – Fire (2021)

Man, I love London Zoo, and Angels & Devils, so imagine my surprise when I found out that I’d slept on this thing coming out two years ago. I won’t tell you its straight fire, because as always with this kind of thing, its impossible not to be a bit hit and miss. Some of the collabs are a bit, err, not so great, to be honest, but the ones that are (I’m looking at you, Flowdan) elevate this thing up there with the best of the best Bug. Speaking of The Bug, man himself is on his usual heavy industrial vibe thing, mixing dense atmospherics with huge bass (still got some of that “dubstep” sound) and killer beats. Generally things be oppressive, depressing, dystopian, – you know the score by now. Also, considering how much I love Kevin Martin / Roger Robinson as King Midas Sound, the opening track to this is easily the worst thing The Bug has ever put the moniker to. Leave the COVID bullshit in the past where it belongs guys, fuck that shit. (The closing track “The Missing” is much more on point). Fuck Off.

Om – Gethsemane Dubplate (2013)

Om – Gethsemane Dubplate (2013)

“Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub – yay God!” Never thought a Family Guy quote would sum up Al Cisneros’ Om so perfectly, but there we go. “Gethsemane” is possibly the best song on Adviatic Songs (it’s been a minute since I heard that album though), but these dub remixes perhaps expectedly remove the startling urgency with which that beautiful song closes after 8 minutes of pensive meditation and bass groove. Instead, said pensive meditation and bass groove is (once again) perhaps expectedly, the element that is focused on here as the piece is reworked in two separate dub tracks. I love dub reggae, so this was a nice listen for me. If you’re new to Om, or perhaps not the biggest fan in the world (or of dub music in any way), then this is an item that can skipped. Peter.Griffin.says.Perhaps.24hourloop.720p.mkv

Misfits – Dea.d. Alive! (2013)

Misfits – Dea.d. Alive! (2013)

I like this a lot more than I have any right to. I fucking HATED The Devil’s Rain, but on the other hand I’ve seen the Jerry-era 3-piece multiple times with multiple line ups (the one with Dez on guitar and Robo on drums was by far the best) and I fully enjoyed their live shows, regardless of how pointless the Jerry-led band is when on paper. The sound here is fast and loose, and whilst in highlights how lazy both Jerry is on bass and Eric is on drums, I can’t help but really enjoy this set. It gives the stinkers off Devil’s Rain a much needed roughness to them, and some of the Graves-era stuff gets a fuckin’ shot in the arm (how fast is this version of “American Psycho”? Haha – crazy!). Granted, there are some total shitters, like “Saturday Night”, Jerry should have probably left this one in the past. The clearly dubbed audience sounds are just cringe as fuck, and the cover of “Science Fiction / Double Feature” is appauling at best. The production also has a strange hollowness, which is odd because everything is fairly audible. Not sure what is causing that, but hey, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. Dead Alive then, is easily, the best thing that Jerry-led Misfits ever put out. That says a lot, I think.

Malignancy – Intrauterine Cannibalism (1999)

Malignancy – Intrauterine Cannibalism (1999)

Holy fuck, this is fuckin’ brutal; easily one of the best brutal death records I’ve heard in a hot minute. Dat bass, fam – dat bass. Fuckin’ drums on this are out of control though, mans can blast. Roger, perhaps best known for Mortician, is on point here with these drums. He can also be credited for producing this absolute monster of a death metal album. I feel however, writing endlessly about this would be trite. This shit is just fuckin’ brutal as fuck. Everything about it slaps ridiculously hard.

Cathedral – The Carnival Bizarre (1995)

Cathedral – The Carnival Bizarre (1995)

Huggy Bear, oh yeeeeahhh! Cathedral were on a roll in the early to mid 90s, culmulating I’d say, with this absolute stonker of an album. Things slowly started to cool off after this, but goddamn, the band are on fire on this thing. First off, the production is huge. It takes away some of the chonk of The Ethereal Mirror and instead heaps on a bit of frosty clarity. Kit Woolven (RIP) and Doug Cook had the production on this thing locked the fuck down. The drums are perfect, every single drum hit pierces the mix clearly, without sounding false or triggered. The guitar tone is just unreal, as are Gaz’s riffs in general (as well as the groove section from the hideously underrated Leo Smee). Hey, let’s not also forget – rifflord Tony Iommi is also on here, I believe shredding the solo out in “Utopian Blaster”. I think the opening section to “Night Of The Seagulls” has to be one of my favourite things of all time in any genre from any band. That riff, with the string bend, and the slightly off-time bell or chime going in the background… good heavens, that’s some good shit, for real. But yeah, this whole album, all 62 minutes of it, rocks the fuck out. The OG psych-doom revival.

Venom – At War With Satan (1984)

Venom – At War With Satan (1984)

I won’t lie to you, I’ve avoided this album for about 15 years, only because Venom doing a 20 minute song has never really been something that has appealed to me. However, the joke’s on me becuase this shit fuckin’ rules. Also, generally, across this whole record, the production is fantastic. The sound isn’t a million miles away from the other earlier albums, but the guitar tone is just so goddamn sick and crunchy. I’m all about that, for sure. “Rip Ride” has gotta be my favourite song here. Aaaaargghh!

Sunami / Gulch – Split EP (2021)

Sunami / Gulch – Split EP (2021)

I think I prefer the songs on the S/T EP – these are the tracks that made me fall in love with Sunami after all – but the production here has got to be the best on any Sunami release that I’ve heard. The riffs and beatdowns just seem extra fucking hard as well, the ending of “Step Up” is just absolutely fucking off the chain, fam. Gulch’s bass drum is like a mule kick to the head. The riffs also give me more death metal vibes than hardcore, but these guys go hard all the same. Don’t let the nice acoustic outro to “Bolt Swallower” (lol) fool you, “Accelerator” is coming to fuck you in the face.

1349 – Liberation (2003)

1349 – Liberation (2003)

The only truly “meh” release in the 1349 catalog. This is down to the production more than anything else. If this was an bedroom album by a one-man industrial / black metal artist then I would be very impressed, but it isn’t – it’s 1349, with some of the best players in the game. There is no need for something as fast and crazy as this to sound so brittle and lifeless. A rare swing and a miss from the black metal powerhouse that is 1349. It is even stranger that this was their debut full length. Kinda started things off on the wrong foot, for sure.

Goatmoon – Voitto Tai Valhalla (2014)

Goatmoon – Voitto Tai Valhalla (2014)

Perhaps closer to the themes and songwriting on Varjot than on the more “kvlt” Finnish Steel Storms or Death Before Dishonour, and whilst I prefer Varjot to the others mentioned above, I can’t help but feel that Voitto tai Valhalla lacks focus. Variety is one thing, but a lack of direction is another. I’m sure this was not the case during the writing and recording sessions, but I can’t help shake this feeling when more of the tracks “plod” here more than ever before. There’s a fairly long Burzum-like track and the opener is pretty cool, but nothing else stands out to me over repeat listens.

Hate Forest – Purity (2003)

Hate Forest – Purity (2003)

Love this album. I love the balance between the (dare I say) atmospheric, hypnotic riffs (a la Burzum) and just flat out brutality in the drum department. Guess it’s like Varg jamming with Frost or Nick Barker, only the drummers are not allowed to deploy their flagrant tom rolls and cymbal flourishes and must instead just focus on their machine-gun precision. Such stupid comparisons aside, Purity is fucking great. The songs are quite lengthy but do not feel so. The vocals are a different kettle of fish to most black metal and I think this helped, if anything. The vocal delivery is far more guttural than the usual expected otherworldly shrieks and howls that the genre promises. I’m not sure if this is sketch or not (the songs appear to be about Lovecraft stuff in the main?) but as I’ve said, it’s a really impressive album. Side note: I’m familiar with the reissue above, but the original art below is pretty cool too.

Nadja – Radiance Of Shadows (2007)

Nadja – Radiance Of Shadows (2007)

My friend put this album on my computer sometime in 2008. I just didn’t get it at the time. It seemed boring, pretentious, overly long. I tried a few times over the years to get into it, but I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t for a lack of patience, I love artists such as Sunn O))), Merzbow, Swans etc. – further to this, returning randomly to the album in 2023, some 15 years later after originally hearing it, and well… I like it hahah Parts of this thing are just absolutely outstanding. Totally crushing walls of sound. However, perhaps expectedly, it takes a while to get there, and this is not always perfect. I don’t know if all this stuff is improvised or what, but a lot of the runtime seems to go absolutely nowhere. I’ve got no problem with sticking with a piece of music as it builds into something enormous, but for large periods of time, Radiance Of Shadows seems to meander without purpose or meaning. Minutes at a time sail by without circumstance, or without contributing or relating at all it seems to any climax of any individual track. TLDR: when it’s good, it’s incredible. When it’s bad, it’s so boring I begin to wonder if drinking paint will be more fun. So, in retrospect, this gets a 3.5 / 5 from me, because when it hits, its almost totally perfect. It just takes forever to get there.

Cattle Decapitation – Human Jerky (1999)

Cattle Decapitation – Human Jerky (1999)

The solid, first major entry from the now-legendary Cattle Decapitation. The band that made this record is a long way from the band that is putting out albums today, but this is still well worth checking out, especially if goregrind or grindcore in general is your bag. 18 songs in as many minutes, Human Jerky is frantic and messy, both in musicality (although Serbian (RIP) and Astor hold it down) and also in voice (Travis’ multi-layered gore-drenched approach is phenomenal). FWIW: The 2020 remaster has a bit more punch and clearer samples, but for my money the original has a better balance overall and especially on the vocals. The wetter, nasty sounds of Travis’ vocals are pushed low behind the growls in the newer mix, which isn’t great.

Nile – In Their Darkened Shrines (2002)

Nile – In Their Darkened Shrines (2002)

Oh my fucking goodness gracious me (as my nan would say). I think I may have just found my favourite Nile record. I came onboard the goodship Nile (sailing towards the duat, or perhaps to Orion, if Robert Buaval is to be believed (probably not)) with the release of Annihilation Of The Wicked. That album blew my mind when I was a teenager – I really hadn’t heard anything like it, in regards to that combination of ultra-brutal guitars, drums and vocals. Y’know what I mean, right? That absurd blasting technicality that sounds like a complete car crash but then as you adjust to it you realise it is ridiculously brutal, mind-bogglingly precise. Every note is intentional. Anyway, that’s what I loved about Nile, I just didn’t find the records post-Annihilation to be as intriguing. Roll around 15 years or so, and I’ve started going into the earlier Nile catalog, again, something that is interesting and admittedly very heavy and brutal, but my God, In Their Darkened Shrines is the perfect balance between the classic Nile sound and the sound that would “blow them up” with the release of Annihilation Of The Wicked. Like, this thing, is just, idk, fucking relentless. The sheer technicality of it, balanced out of wankery and into absurd brutality by unholy guitar tones and crisp, clear drum production – it is just to die for. This is metal turned up to 12 (fuck 11), firing on all cylinders and with all guns blazing (etc etc etc). This is so good that I don’t want it to end, so I play it over and over. When it’s finished, I’m left there like Pharaoh Khufu’s granite sarcophagus: empty and cold. I’ll show myself out.

Revenge – Infiltration.Downfall.Death (2008)

Revenge – Infiltration.Downfall.Death (2008)

Quality.Consistency.Brutality – You can always count on Revenge to deliver the full-blown headcrashing sledgehammer of unstoppable war metal goodness. Infiltration.Downfall.Death is no different to any of the albums that have come before it (sans as many groove parts as its predecessor, perhaps, but we are splitting hairs), but the quality of the sonic madness offered is so high that one really does not mind to be fed the same carnage over and over and over (and to be glad to recieve it). Honestly, fucking brutal. Love it.

Veles – Night on the Bare Mountain (1996)

Veles – Night on the Bare Mountain (1996)

Shaky, ramshackle black metal from the early daze of the Polish scene. Had no idea these guys had ties to Graveland, but the world of black metal is quite incestuous. Night on the Bare Mountain tickles in all the right places, and those turning over rocks after having heard all the genres greats will perhaps find some merit in this blackened gem, as I have. As many have said before, the acoustic passages sparkle with life but the black metal can appear quite flat in parts, which is very odd. Anyway, there we go.

Commander Agares – Legions of Descending Twilight (2021)

Commander Agares – Legions of Descending Twilight (2021)

This release is great. Reminds me of Carelean-era Satanic Warmaster. There’s a lot of parallels with Satanic Warmaster, actually – the artwork too gives heavy similarities to vibes and themes that Werwolf has used with that project. I know the Finland scene can sometimes be rather incestous, so perhaps there is more going on here with this connection that tourists like me realise. The guitar tone is very fuzzy. Probably gonna be a WTF reaction but reminds me in part of abstract Brazilian goregrinders Lymphatic Phlegm. The dense fuzz of the guitar gives these tunes an unique sound, again going back to that Finnish art of balancing immense distortion and “kvlt” production with streaks of irresistable melody. I was gonna say actually, this is like a sketch-free alternative to Satanic Warmaster, but this project went and done a split with Graveland, so there’s that gone out the fucking window LOL

Gorgon – The Lady Rides A Black Horse (1995)

Gorgon – The Lady Rides A Black Horse (1995)

I love this. Definitely an under-rated gem and not one that I have ever come across before, so I was very happy to unearth it. I can’t speak for the rest of the band’s discography, which appears to have a more mixed reception than their debut, but the interestingly titled The Lady Rides A Black Horse is a fantastic 90s black metal record. The production is actually quite dense for black metal, having more in common with Turn Loose The Swans era My Dying Bride than anything more Darkthrone or Burzum. It is this warm, heavy sound (the bass pops through so well) that carries these blackened compositions of history and fantasy.

Shitfun / CrotchRot – Split CD (2015)

Shitfun / CrotchRot – Split CD (2015)

What a fucking car crash of a split. Kudos to Cemitério Records for laying down mad cash to put this farce onto an fully glass mastered CD. RIP your bank account. So, where do I begin? The artwork I suppose. I’m getting a lot of mixed vibes here, none of which make even the remotest sense to me, but there we go. Perhaps I’m missing the point. The carnage starts with Crotch Rot, who are, I’m sorry to say (I hate badmouthing underground bands) are absolute fucking dogshit. Think poor man’s Gut / Rompeprop, which isn’t the worst thing in the world when produced properly in a nice studio with a fat sound (like this, admittedly), but what makes me want to take the CD out of the player, snap it in half or throw it out onto the main road so that some truck can have its way with it is the pitchshifter vocals. For some reason, some clown thought it would be a fun idea to pitchshift “up” instead of down. This has been done to varying comical effect in the past (didn’t Gronibard do it? I forget), but it is OVERUSED to the point of maddening, infuriating rage here. Why spunk all that money on studio time to shit all over your songs with Alvin and the Chipmunks vocals? Beyond fucking puzzling to me. The only thing saving this CD is Shitfun, who’ve done some really solid stuff in the past. Here is nothing groundbreaking, but my God I’m just happy to hear a band that’s got their shit together. Fat, high quality goregrind is the order of the day (the chuggy, nasty variety rather than the liquid, blasting variety). Honestly… I just needed a break from listening to music after this. LOL

Doom – 教祖ラッシュ [Rush Hour of the Gods] (1996)

Doom – 教祖ラッシュ [Rush Hour of the Gods] (1996)

Solid, nasty, evil-as-fuck sounding crust punk from the greats of the genre. Got this CD from the band way back at some random gig. There seemed a point where Doom were all over the UK underground (perhaps they still are and its I who hath becometh the hermit). Anyway, the production is a little brittle but otherwise this kills. It also seems a lot longer than it actually is, I guess because I associate crust punk / grindy stuff with really short run times. Some redundant noise passages aside, this rules. Makes me want to get a four pack of some really strong cider and go run around in circle in my garden until I smell of B.O. and collapse into a pile of yellowing grass.

Pankreatite Necro Hemorrágica – Gross Hymns to Grotesque Pathology (2016)

Pankreatite Necro Hemorrágica – Gross Hymns to Grotesque Pathology (2016)

I found a great big pile of goregrind CDs in my cupboard from a trade about 6 years ago, all without jewel cases and wrapped up in a pile. I totally forgot I even had these fucking things. In amongst the chaos of gore and spiky logos, Gross Hymns stood out to me a mile, probably due to its super fucking disgusting album sleeve. Into the CD tray it goes… So what does it sound like? Putrid fucking goregrind, of course. Like having your fuckin’ heid blown off and you’re toenails pulled out at the same time. Like Intestinal Disgorge without the farmyard vokills and bitch squeels and just straight up goregrind pitchshifter vocals. You get the odd groovy riff, but 95% of this thing is just flat out blastbeat carnage. Thanks to the aptly nicknamed drummer Fitness Tumor for his efforts here. Very fuckin’ savage.

Tourette Syndrom – Gabbergrind (2005)

Tourette Syndrom – Gabbergrind (2005)

Hard to digest, jarring “gabbergrind” from QNZ (the guy who would go on to run Rotten Roll Rex) and some other folks, all wearing silly masks and costumes, as par for the course. Coming on like a mix between NHC666 / Libido Airbag grade sleaze and the more bottom-of-the-barrel bedroom goregrind projects one saw explode during the late 2000s (I’m looking at you, MySpace). Lots of ridiculous samples, song titles, vocals and drum programming, with some chuggy guitar over the top of it all.

Death In June – Something Is Coming (1993)

Death In June – Something Is Coming (1993)

A lovely little package, but definitely another item in the Di6 discography that is for the die-hards and collectors only. There are much better live albums from Douglas, but the studio sessions here on disk 2 are actually worth checking out for those who are curious. There are some excellent reworkings of “Runes and Men” and “Fall Apart” as well what’s almost an acapella version of “Death Is The Martyr Of Beauty”, with Douglas yapping spookily away over a bubbling, dark synth loop.

Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain (2014)

Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain (2014)

Love that fuckin’ album cover! Nice to see something from Locke that isn’t total fucking gore and evisceration (lol). So – onto the album itself. Sitting somewhere between the bludgeoning sounds of old and the more treble-heavy Rutan-produced sessions, A Skeleton Domain hits really fucking hard. There’s something about the riffs here that makes them extra dense and thick and sinister as all fuck. “Kill or Become” will melt your face off and turn you into the (faceless) walking dead. “Icepick Lobotomy” will do, well, pretty much mostly the same to be honest, but dem riffs tho fam, dem riffs! All in all, a solid effort from the legends that are Cannibal Corpse.

Stoma – Scat Aficionados (2005)

Stoma – Scat Aficionados (2005)

Scat Aficionados has gotta be one of the better sounding goregrind records you can get your disgusting little hands on. Slightly atypical of the blasting gore approach, Stoma do not employ a trashcan / bin-lid snare drum and instead have more regular produced drums (still doing lovely punk beats and insane blastbeats, of course). Production wise, this is where the album shines. Both the guitar and the bass (wow, the bass) sound absolutely gargantuan. Together they create hugh fucking slabs of filthy grinding noise. Vocally, I don’t think it would be cheap to compare the duo of vocalists here to a style used by Regurgitate, only instead of one guy switching between clean and pitchshifted vocals, Stoma have two vocalists, one for each style, allowing them to overlap or follow each other in quick succession, which just adds to the chaos on display. The cover art is basically a meme / legend of the shadier underworld of grindcore at this point, but this album is really, really fucking good (this band is really, really fucking good – it is a shame that they haven’t released that much stuff).

Scott Hull – Requiem (2008)

Scott Hull – Requiem (2008)

Requiem, I believe, was a soundtrack that Scott did for a film. Now, I can’t remember if this film ever came out or if it was just an imaginary film which existed in order for such a soundtrack to be composed around, but you’ll notice some pressings of this release will have “The motion picture soundtrack” written above the word Requiem. Either way, this was the beginning of a short experimental series of releases from Scott, which are far, far from the usual Pig Destroyer and/or Agoraphobic Nosebleed aural destruction. Requiem is a score that encompasses classical elements, as well as ambient and drone aspects. The entire thing, I think, again I’m recalling from snippets of memories from 15 years ago, is made more or less entirely using VSTs, which is pretty amazing because this sounds fantastic. Some of the fully instrumented passages shamble a bit clumsily, but otherwise this is a beautiful record. Closing track “In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli” gives you a taste of what was to come with the Audiofilm CD series.

Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly (2017)

Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly (2017)

Dawn Ray’d seem to get a lot of shit flung at them but I think that this is more to do with their “politics” than their actual music. All that “its just evil riffs bro” shit goes out the fucking window when those NSBM loving edgelords get a whiff of some of the more prominent bands in the RABM scene. If you’re getting filtered by the existence of bands like Dawn Ray’d or idk Feminazgul but clutch your pearls when people call you out on having a Goatmoon patch or something, then you need to take a good fucking look in the mirror. I try to view both sides of the coin from an anthropological standpoint (lol), but the hypocrisy here is unreal. Just thought I’d point that out. Anyways, The Unlawful Assembly, at first, comes across like good ol’ straight and narrow black metal, but with a lovely production (the drums in particular sound amazing). What’s special about Dawn Ray’d however – as many have already noted over the years – is the inclusion of violin, which really does elevate these compositions to the next level. The only track that’s really a swing and a miss is the closing track, otherwise everything else really is great. It’s a strange feeling to be listening to a black metal record and wondering when the guitars are gonna stop so the violin can come back in – it really does work incredibly well in this setting. I’m looking forward to playing catch up with the rest of Dawn Ray’d’s work.