Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: April 2024

Darkthrone – It Beckons Us All……. (2024)

It’s always a good day when Darkthrone release a new album. it’s something that can be consistently relied upon as something to look forward to, even if the result of each offering may vary slightly. Or in this case, perhaps not so much at all. It Beckons Us All is great, but it is very similar in production and approach to both Eternal Hails and Astral Fortress – whilst also reminding me of some of the doomier moments on Old Star a few years back. Mix all of this with a healthy does of Celtic Frost worship and you’ve got It Beckons Us All. Some may perhaps wish that Darkthrone would move on from this style, and whilst I do have some of my favourite Darkthrone tracks on Astral Fortress (“Impeccable Caverns Of Satan”, “Stalagmite Neckalce”), I feel like the band have truly taken this particular style to its apex here on this record. “Eon 3”, “The Bird People of Nordland” and opening number “Howling Primitive Colonies” are all world class examples of blackened doomery.

Burzum – The Hidden Name (2024)

As bad as – if not worse than – the first single. The programmed drums are stepped up a notch but the production seems infinitely shittier, probably due to the guitar taking up so much of the track. Somehow the guitar manages to be hollow and lifeless yet also drowns out the drums and vocals too. Once again, the saving grace is that this is – hopefully – some sort of demo that will be polished up in time for the album. Failing that, if this is the finished product, things are not looking too clever.

Burzum – Aske (1993)

I was checking out the latest Burzum tracks (sideshow.bob.steps.on.rake.sound.effect.mp3) when I realised I hadn’t ever written a little spot about the Aske EP. This was easily missed, I guess, what with Aske being bundled together as part of the self-titled releases on CD etc. since the early 90s. I think there was a stand-alone Aske recently, on cassette, as part of a bigger box set, but if you want an original stand-alone Aske, you’d best be prepared to spend the bigger bucks. Aske has an unfinished feel, to me at least. This may be because of the raw production coupled with the generally short length of the record as well as the fact that one of the songs, “Stemmen Fra Tarnet” (the best song, I might add), just cuts off unceremoniously at the end. Aske has a noticably warmer production than the frostbitten debut album, and has the notable inclusion of Samoth from Emperor on bass guitar, in what is I think the only time another musician has ever played on a Burzum release. It would be remiss of me to not mention the cover art for this EP, which is as legendary as the music itself – if not more so, to be honest. The church in question a site of arson from the creators of this music, boldly placed on the sleeve of the EP in an almost mocking tone. This is an essential black metal recording, but you probably don’t need me to tell you that.

Burzum – The Magic Of The Grave (2024)

When I heard there would be (NEW) Burzum music I was cautiously optimistic. Varg can be, after all, something of a music genius. He is responsible for some of the greatest albums of all time. This however, is bullshit. Man is just strumming a cheap guitar over a fucking GarageBand loop. It sounds like someone fed Umskiptar into one of those crappy AI music apps and instructed it to: “make this again, but as shit as possible”. I feel safe in my assumption that this was knocked together in two days because Varg documented it on fucking Twitter. This is the state of black metal in 2024, folks. If there’s going to be an album’s worth of this shit, then it needs a lot of work. Hopefully this is just a demo or something.

Judas Priest – Firepower (2018)

Solid. That much I can say: solid. Definitely one of the strongest records the band have done since 1990 onwards. I’m not super sure if a fat, overproduced modern sound really works for Judas Priest, what with the compression and the scooped mids and what have you, but there’s some bangeroonies here on Firepower. “Flame Thrower” is a bop, as is “Necromancer”, and these are probably my favourite tracks here. Firepower is a pretty long album, but not one that I find overstays its welcome.

Sonne Hagal – Ockerwasser (2014)

A beautiful piece of neofolk, of which I’m happy to report blends effortlessly with other genres, such as displayed in some of the more electronic offerings found in the latter half of this album. Admittedly, I had not heard of Sonne Hagal until recently, and I feel that I am very late to the party. Glorious production reigns throughout, with twinkling guitars and instrumentation accenting the typical neofolk “low key” chilled yet anxious kind of songs. Highly recommended for any fans of neofolk music.

Hide – Girl On Girl / Mommy (2019)

Powerful industrial music that sits somewhere between the greats like Godflesh or Throbbing Gristle and the more (dare I say) energetic styles of say, Youth Code. There’s only two tracks here but it gives you a perfect taste of what to expect in terms of theme, vibe and general sonic palette. Good stuff!

Black Sabbath – Headless In Vienna (Live in 1989) (2003)

Excellent quality show. Even better than the perhaps more commended “When Death Called ‘89” from earlier in the same tour. Sure, there are a few audible artefacts on the recording, but it’s a small price to pay for what is an excellent line-up performing songs from all eras of Sabbath (Gillan and Hughes aside lol). As with other boots in this era, it’s a pleasure just to hear Cozy playing Ozzy and Dio era stuff. This Vienna set is one of the best for this tour though because of the variety and Tony Martin sounds on top form here. Well worth tracking down.

Black Sabbath – Death Called ‘89 (1989)

The best thing about this particular live recording is hearing Cozy Powell play with the band in the arena space; for his three albums with the band his time on the road with them was often fairly limited for various reasons. Hearing his super awesome interpretations of the fills on tracks like “War Pigs” is a real treat. Quality is pretty good here, although there is like a flutter effect that’s appeared on the tape, but what can you do. Considering it’s the Headless Cross tour the band don’t really bother all that much with songs from it, instead playing mainly Dio-era tunes and a few 70s classics. Martin sings mostly in a low register, which is a shame because he could still belt out the vocals back in 1989.

Discharge – Disensitise (2008)

Is the album title spelt incorrectly on purpose? Discharge with Rat is probably my favourite incarnation of the band since the classic days. I’m probably biased there because this was the version of the band that I first started seeing live here or there around the UK when I was a young’un. Either way, Disensitise has a raw, demo-like quality without sounding like complete shit. Snare drum is the chef’s special of the day, with a side order of everything else in the band. Expect all the hallmarks of the classic sound recycled (thrashy guitars, listless solos, d-beat drum beats, yelped vocals) but in the most pleasing and entertaining way. Makes me want to open a circle pit in my living room.

Discharge – Shootin’ Up The World (1993)

Manson Child! Manson Child! Manson Child! Fucking hell, honestly… with that “epic” out of the way, Shootin’ Up The World isn’t too bad. Granted, the vocals, as per the two albums before this, are absolute fucking dogshit (with all due respect), but musically this is the strongest of the three Discharge “experiments” of the 80s and 90s. I still wouldn’t recommend checking it out unless you have a strong stomach for monotony.

Black Sabbath – The End (EP) (2016)

As someone who found 13 to be rather tedious in both production and actual song content, it will be of no surprise that I find this little EP of left over tracks to be equally as uninspired and devoid of anything of worth. On top of that you have some of the most dogshit art the band have used in some time. It’s a no from me, Tony mate.

Black Sabbath – The End 4th February 2017 Birmingham (2017)

Wow, this get’s off to a shaky start! The drumming on “Black Sabbath” is so bad (not to mention Ozzy’s appalling singing) that I almost gave up before I started. I’m glad that I did stick with the whole record though, because I missed out on the Birmingham shows in person and felt like I had missed a momentous event in history. However, having consumed this entire live album several times, I don’t feel like I missed all that much. Many have commented on the heaviness here, especially of the low end and the percussion, and admittedly Geezer DOES sound incredible and the session drummer does pull it together nicely after the first song, I can’t shake the fact that Ozzy is well beyond his best and his performance here is painful, to be honest.

Judas Priest – Battle Cry (2016)

Judas Priest circa 2015 were a well oiled machine. This live album is tight as fuck. Some of the older classics sound a bit weird at first in such a modern form (I’m so used to them in their warm 70s analogue sound) but once that initial shock is out of the way, Battle Cry is a really fun listen. They went pretty heavy on the Redeemer Of Souls material too, which is a brave move for a band with a festival slot and a bazillion fan faves spanning (at the time) five decades.

Candlemass – Ancient Dreams (1988)

Ancient Dreams feels like both a sequel to Nightfall and a spiritual successor to Epicus Doomicus. The trouble is, and I mean no disrespect as this is still a highly enjoyable record, is that Ancient Dreams is not quite as good as either of the two previously mentioned albums. Nevertheless, let the phenomenal cover art draw you into a world of powerful, epic doom metal like only Candlemass can so expertly craft. If you enjoyed Nightfall but the reverb-drenched bombast was just a little too much for you, then try this instead. Highlights for me include “Mirror Mirror”, “A Cry From The Crypt” and the title track.

Black Sabbath – Asbury Park, New Jersey, 5th August 1975 (1993)

Quite possibly one of – if not the – greatest live album that I have ever heard. The fact that I’ve been listening to Sabbath for over 20 years and have never stumbled upon this recording until this week is nothing short of embarrassing. I feel like I have unlocked some sort of secret. Anyway, the release itself is phenomenally good. The production, for a 1975 live recording, is absolutely fantastic. I’m not sure how much work has been done after the fact to clean it up, but either way, it sounds incredible. The entire band are firing on all cylinders – even Ozzy sounds brilliant – but Iommi’s riffs are just… I have no words. The version of “Symptom Of The Universe” here is off the chart. Forget Live At Last, Reunion and definitely put The End in the bin. This is THE live album for the classic lineup of Sabbath. This particular boot is from 1993 but this thing has been released on the black/grey market a million times.

Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Solid later effort from the legendary Priest. After the safe Angel Of Retribution and the uhhh “brave” (lmao) Nostradamus, Redeemer is a breath of fresh air. Long story short, here Priest stop fucking around and instead focus on doing what they do best. We all miss KK Downing, but honestly, like super honestly, at first I didn’t even notice he was missing. TLDR: not as good as some previous discography highs but a solid album nonetheless.

Overmono & The Streets – Turn The Page (2024)

Seemingly pointless reworking of the original (pirate material lol!) classic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely, but I’m not sure what purpose it serves. Does it need to serve a purpose? Dunno. I’m not going to get philosophical about it. It would be really cool to get more tracks from the first album reimagined like this, but on its own its ability to impress is limited.

Squarepusher – Do You Know Squarepusher (2002)

Love this shit. Comparisons to Aphex Twin are lazy but apt, let’s be honest. A clanking, clattering collection of electronic madness that’s over way too soon. Production is fantastic, and really shines on tracks like “Kill Robok”. The Joy Division cover is pretty dumb but otherwise this is solid.

Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (1985)

Rain Dogs comes in the middle of a trio of absolutely classic releases from Tom Waits. The man was, truly, on a roll with these studio albums. There’s something so magical and unique about these songs and the feelings that they conjure up. Rain Dogs is also a rare album where its remaster has caused me to appreciate it more, at least in regards to listening digitally.  Such a brilliant album.

Black Sabbath – Past Lives (2002)

I’d originally written off Past Lives for being the “official” version of Live At Last but with a bunch of extra shit added onto the end. In some rather dim world views that is perhaps correct, but Past Lives is so much more than that, as I have recently found out. Yes, disc 1 is the same as the Live At Last album so if you’ve heard that, there’s no point in bothering with the first disc at all, really. The reward really comes with disc 2, which is a collection of live tracks that were previously only released in bootleg configurations. Whether those bootlegs have cooler art, release notes etc., I am not here to argue, but Past Lives collects these sessions together in one place and over its two-hour run time I suppose it could be argued that it makes a definitive “classic” Sabbath live album. Some of the sessions on the second disc are just incredible, such as the versions here of “Hole In The Sky”, “Symptom Of The Universe” and “Black Sabbath”. Great stuff.

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008)

I’ve thought quite long and hard (oo er) about how to rate this one, and half marks seems like the best idea. Musically, of course, Judas Priest are not to be sniffed it. It is however, the misguided energy of which they have thrown themselves into such a massive concept album that is perhaps worthy of criticism. I appreciate the concept, as well as the vision involved, but unfortunately, Nostradamus is a bloated corpse of mostly middling songs that do absolutely nothing for even the most die-hard Priest appreciator. Do not get me wrong, there is a baseline of excellent on which such mediocre ideas are built, but that is not enough to save Nostradamus from being one of the least entertaining records that ever got given the Priest name – nor for that matter is the presence of several tracks which are actually really good; they are drowned out in the sheer mass of everything else. A shame.

Black Sabbath – Headless Cross / Anno Domini (2024)

It’s very cool to see the Tony Martin era music start to get some of the attention it deserves. I’ve probably been a bit harsh on some of the material myself. But I gotta say the remaster of both the title track of Headless Cross as well as “Anno Mundi” from Tyr sounds absolutely great. This single has definitely raised my excitement for the rereleases of all of these albums. I’m not going to buy them all again as I spent plenty of time and money hunting down the originals (more fool me), but I’m hoping these remasters bring a new generation of fans to this forgotten era of Black Sabbath.

Forbidden – Forbidden Evil (1988)

Forbidden’s vocalist Russ Anderson is cheesy as fuck but let’s not allow that to detract from the fact that this is an excellent thrash record with extremely good production, amazing riffs and solid-as-fuck drumming. I’m not familair with the people who produced this thing but truly it is a marvel of consistent yet punchy sound, delivered perfectly by the band in the first instance, then hammered home by the engineering team. As I eluded to, I’m not totally sold on the vocals here, but I’m sure they will grow on me with time.

First Days Of Humanity – Lithic (2022)

Ah, isn’t it such a beautiful thing? Blasting goregrind to the point where the drums are tuned so high they are floating in outer space. The guitars are so fast that they have turned to a liquid, and possibily a little to gas also. The vocals are the dying (or birthing?) sounds of a creature (or creatures) flopping about in a vat of hideous bright blue liquid in a secret subterranean laboratory. Truly, this is glorious.

Earth – Hex: Or Printing In The Infernal Method (2005)

Hex is Earth reborn anew – the dawn of their “clean” period. It started here, reflected backwards with Hibernaculum, and was then arguably perfected on Bees Made Honey… but here is where it all began. Hex is probably one of my least listened to releases from Earth. I’m not really sure why, but the songs have never stuck with me. They are not necessarily bad in any way, in fact they are very much enjoyable, and the production is very well put together.

Human Pancake – No Cowards (2023)

Oh what hath we done to deserve the best part of 80 minutes of gargling goregrind? We are not worthy! We are not worthy! Lesser bands could no doubt have turned this same session into four separate “albums” or a lifetime’s supply of split material. Here however, Human Pancake treats us to a veritable buffet of 80s sci fi horror villain vokill-fronted, trashcan snare drum banging, guitars tuned so low they basically sound like bodily fluids sliding from corrupting gaseous corpses shredding mayhem. Yeah. Top shit.

Earth – Legacy Of Dissolution (2005)

An interesting set of remixes, which is more than I expected. Perhaps unsurprisingly, drone is the buzzword of the day, and whilst like any remix album the quality varies track to track, the general overall level of quality is pretty high. Legacy Of Dissolution presents us with a shockingly pleasant set of reinterpreted textures – one that was quite uplifting, despite its heaviness, to listen to on a Sunday morning with a black coffee, watching the sun come up through the valley. The Justin Broadrick remix of “Harvey” sounds like some extra spacey Jesu outtake.

Earth – Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions (1995)

Phase 3 has always been my least favourite of the early Earth releases. Moving away from the crushing drones of the earlier releases, Earth instead turned to shorter tracks of varying texture and feel. Whilst the band would refine this approach for the excellent Pentastar, Phase 3 is, frankly, a disjointed mess of ideas. Granted, a lot of these ideas are very pleasant and fun to listen to, but the album as a whole has a rushed, unfinished and “that’ll do” vibe to it. Is it bad? No. Does much better music come both immediately before and after it? Yes.

Gehenna – Black Seared Heart (1993)

Rougher than what would come on the much more well-formed First Spell, but surprisingly more clarified than Ancestors… which soon followed. It is likely that most modern listeners will have heard these songs tacked onto the end of rereleases of First Spell, rather than have hunted down the demo itself, but these are still worth your time. There are some bizarre choices, such as the synth that opens “Angelwings and Ravenclaws” or the guitar that opens “Black Seared Heart”, but these are small niggles in the grand scheme of things.

Gehenna – Ancestor Of The Darkly Sky (1993)

This one easily falls between the cracks of the other early Gehenna releases. The production here is chunkier but we lose a lot of fidelity in the blunt trauma attack of the sound. Add to the fact that these are the same songs that appear on the debut and First Spell and that makes revisiting Ancestor a fairly pointless activity, unless for those who prefer these studio sessions to the other early recordings.

Gehenna – First Spell (1994)

Glorious early second wave black metal with a fantastic, dark atmosphere. The keyboard usage is pretty heavy, but not so much in the orchestral, bombastic way. More so that it just adds another layer to the sound. The production is organic and balanced and the whole thing breathes, which is rare for black metal, and is also a refreshing change from some of the other earlier Gehenna stuff (none of which is super badly produced but First Spell is a clear improvement).

Deicide – Insineratehymn (2000)

Solid fuckin effort from the legendary Deicide. For some reason I was always under the impression that this was where Deicide started to fall off, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. This shit slaps. Hell, even J-Dawg likes it! Darkness and evil, goddamnit, what’s not to love? I gotta level with you all – I think I prefer this to Serpents Of The Light. I may have had one too many knocks to the head but that’s how I’m feeling right now. Savage, savage shit.

Dan Forden – Mortal Kombat Trilogy OST (1996)

Not sure if enjoy this soundtrack for what it is on its base electronic compositions, or whether because I played MK Trilogy religiously when I was a kid. The OST for the game, which shared a lot of tunes with MK3 and Ultimate MK3 if I’m not mistaken, hardly breaks new ground, but the dirty new urban sound the MK tunes got given for this era of the franchise seemed to really get the blood pumping, to really get the craving for a death match or six into your head. Whatever the reason for my occasional spin of this thing, the effect the soundtrack has for me is unmistakable. For that reason it will always hold a special place in my heart (lol). Tooooooasssstyyy

Spoonful Of Vicodin – Spoonful Of Vicodin (2008)

I used to think this was the shit, but honestly it’s pretty messy and disorganised. And it’s like, OK, you’re talking about raw underground grind / powerviolence here – what do you expect? Whilst there are plenty of barrages of blasting carnage to inflame the senses (lmao) its the “downtime” in between where SOV loses me; there is an irritating harshness to the cymbals which almost drowns out everything else, as well as a general sloppiness to anything thats not a blastbeat that gets a bit draining after a while. I’m sure this band sounded fucking insane live, but this 6 minute EP is more than enough whilst listening at home.

Autopsy – 1987 Demo (1987)

Amazing quality early demo from the legendary and unbeatable Autopsy. Am I biased? Of course, I fucking love Autopsy. But I mentioned something similar in a recent Immolation review; this demo is of such high quality that it comes off as more of an EP than an early demo. Without wanting to repeat myself as I did there, I can only say that this early offering is well, well worth exploring if you are after more of that early sick sound the band gave us. This session is hardly a long one, but every second is purely amazing.

Death – Death By Metal (1984)

I’m no scholar on the work of Chuck and Death / Mantis, but this noisy rehearsal demo featuring the now legendary line up of Chuck, Rick Rozz and Kam Lee, is nothing but an absolute pleasure to listen to. It is perhaps easy to put this up on a pedestal due to its historical significance, but it is, at the end of the day, a noisy thrash-becoming-death metal demo made by a bunch of very talented kids. Beneath the haze of the production you can hear the incredible riffs and strong song structures. If I had to compare to other / later bands, parts of this gives me Autopsy vibes whilst other bits are more in the school of Kreator. Good shit.

Immolation – Immolation (1989)

Immolation’s self-titled demo was nowhere near as dusty, shitty and low quality as I expected it to be. Instead, the band presented to us, in 1989, something which is more akin to an EP than a demo, such is the quality of the production and songwriting. Of course, all three of these songs go on to appear on the debut proper anyway, but this is worth checking out because the band were firing on all cylinders, even from the very early days.

Carcass – Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment (1987)

My brothers in gore! If Reek Of Putrefaction wasn’t enough for you, or, inversely, it was too much for you (lmao), I implore all of you to work backwards to Carcass’ early demo offering, the aptly-titled Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment. Now, somehow magically sounding better than the band’s actual debut album, Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment is a foundation brick in the wobbly, fleshy building that we can call goregrind. Therefore, to silly idiots like me, it is a vital release. Thankfully, it is not an shaky, prototype kinda “vital” gem, yknow, the kind of ones that are historically important but you don’t listen to all that much because, well, they aren’t all that good. No – Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment is absolute aural carnage in its finest form and a total poser filter for those who claim to love “goregrind” (I’m looking at all you tupa-tupa OEF party goregrind listening fuckwads).

Venom – Calm Before The Storm (1987)

Calm Before The Storm marks the point where I first was bitterly disappointed with a Venom album. Gone is Mantis, replaced by “Jim and Mike”. It says a lot about a guitar player if it takes two separate people to replace you, I think. Anyway, Calm… still has Abaddon and most importantly in this regard Cronos, so it is not immediately indistinguishable as a Venom release. After a few minutes however you begin to get the feeling that something is off, and even though this is Venom in name and has Cronos barking all over it, there’s just something about it which feels false and hollow. The production is pretty bad but I’m not really bothered by that. I wasn’t a fan of this one. It feels half-arsed.

Limp Bizkit – Significant Other (1999)

This has aged pretty terribly, like all nu metal, but of course with Limp Bizkit in general. There is no changing however, that I listened to the absolute fuck out of this record when I was a kid. I remember it as if it was yesterday, following along – or at least trying because the lyrics were so small in the booklet. I remember rumours of there being a hidden track with Eminem on it hidden between the tracks on the CD – I guess this spawned because Eminem is mentioned in the booklet (and shows up in the “Break Stuff” video). The truth of the matter is that Durst and Em recorded together, but the song didn’t appear on this album. Anyway, production-wise this is really solid. Terry Date is always a good choice when it comes to nu metal, and whilst he can produce albums that are too homogenous or “safe”, Significant Other still sounds amazing and fresh 25 years later, considering the contents. Some of the musical collabs are a bit wet (the album would be even better without Jon D from Korn, Aaron from Staind and Scott from Stone Temple Pilots crowding it) – you can leave Method Man where he is though, everything is automatically better when Method Man is involved. Oh, and I guess I’ll give this a bonus “half point” (lol) for having “Re-Arranged”, which is hands down the best song the band ever made.

Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel – Nail (1985)

I’m probably not qualified to talk about this in all that much detail, but what I can say is that Nail is a bizarre collection of sounds, sitting somewhere between Holy Money era Swans, Big Black, Test Dept., Mr. Bungle, The Cramps and Nine Inch Nails, whilst also having the honour of predating most of the bands in that list. It is an album that’s taken me multiple attempts to digest, not because I find it difficult, but because of how much is going on I’m unsure of what the message or intended vibe is. Either way, this is fucking great, and one hell of a sonic journey.

Kaevum – Kultur (2023)

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, there is absolutely no denying that Kaevum are one of the strongest black metal outfits around at the moment. Kultur takes place 12 years after Natur, but expands on the excellent sonic groundwork already laid in place on the debut. Don’t take my word for it, I implore you to give this a go instead of reading my shitty review.

Graveland – Memory And Destiny (2002)

Beautiful piece of work from Graveland. Memory and Destiny is not an album I see recommended all that much, but it’s a great example of the band’s shambling yet majestic sound. I’m pretty sure the guys had switched up drummers by this point but the percussion is still pretty shambolic. In this big, clear production it has nowhere to hide. Thankfully, the songwriting is outstanding on this record, and a bit of shakey drumming can be easily forgiven. A great album.

Disordered – Within The Mind Of A Mortician (1994)

What a gem! I’m I randomly stumbled upon this one (thanks to Ken’s Death Metal Crypt). This demo / EP is incredibly good. Immediately I draw parallels between this and Akercocke, is it possible those gentle brits (lmao) took a lot of influence from this? The clanking bass and subterranean low vocal screams yes to me. An easier comparison would perhaps be Deicide, but the two bands don’t quite match up aurally. Anyway, my shitty comparisons aside, Within the Mind… is a diamond in the rough, and makes wading through countless hours of forgotten demos absolutely worth every single second.

Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard (2017)

Colour me surprised when I went back to this record to review it and found out it was now 7 years old this year (lmao). Like, we need a Wizard to fucking rewind time because that shit is fucking bizarre! This shit only came out last month, right? Right!? Anyway, Electric Wizard’s “latest” studio effort seemed to have been met with a resounding “meh” and whilst I initially wasn’t super into the pared back sound, on subsequent relistens I have found the agreeable runtime and the excellently catchy songs to work well in WBW’s favour. It may not be the best thing they’ve ever done, but it’s a solid album with some fantastic tracks (“Wicked Caresses” is up there with the Wizard greats).

Sarcastic Terror / In-Quest – Split 7″ (1995)

The Sarcastic Terror material here is a bit clearer than their debut demo / EP, but I can’t say that they have evolved much musically in the 3 years between the 2 releases. I’m not knocking it though, their decrepit grinding death led with demonic pitchshifter vokills is well worth checking out. In-Quest are a new discovery for me, with this split, and they are a bit busier and more energetic than Sarcastic Terror. The music has a slightly more technical edge to it, the drummer is much busier, and the production in general is a bit lighter.

Sarcastic Terror – Sarcastic Terror (1992)

I’ve gotta give props to Choppin Headz zine for pointing me in the direction of Sarcastic Terror (I can’t remember which issue, sorry!). This is some true underground sickness right here; some proper off the beaten path shit. Sarcastic Terror toe the line between grind and death, with the muddy, chugging riffs of the latter meeting the sensibilities and pitchshifter vocals of the former. Take Fascination With Mutilation era Agathocles and throw them in a blender (sorry lads) with I dunno, Winter or something like that. Oh, and a random mid-90s dungeon synth artist too. The resulted mush, once committed to shaky, dusty ferric tape, should sound a little bit like this.