Monday, June 29, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Gorgasm - Masticate to Dominate

Riff mark: 1:16

Brutal death metal from the U-S-of-A, a cattle ranch for these sort of blast-beat sprints of perversion and grunted expletives. This one ain't a bad representation of some of the most obnoxious and forceful music with an underground following, thanks to intelligent (but not overly complicated) guitar riffs that occasionally allude to classical tonality in minor keys, such as the surgical solo in the title track. You could do worse, or better. Cool samples.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Superjoint Ritual - The Introvert

0:21 mark.

As Pantera, one of the biggest metal bands of the 90's started having some internal issues following a cancelled European tour at the end of 2001, Phillip H. Anselmo returned to several of his numerous side projects, Down and a band that he had formed in 1993 with Joe Fazzio, Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond, Superjoint Ritual. Billed as a hardcore band, which was supposed to take the listener back to the days of early Agnostic Front and Slayer, Use Once and Destroy was released in 2002, although the bulk of the material is culled from the bands 1995 and 1997 demos.

From minute one, SJR developed a reputation for their live shows, but not the kind you might expect from an Anselmo fronted vehicle. The vocalist became notorious for stopping the show because the crowd was not "going off" sufficiently. Either the pit wasn't wild enough or there weren't enough stage divers or crowd surfers or all of the above. Anselmo would stop mid song and proclaim that if that was all you got, they were going to pack it in. In addition to pausing mid song to incite further moshing, he would also call out anyone in the back who happened to have their arms crossed or wasn't into it, calling their heterosexuality into question. It is unknown if Phil's threats were tongue in cheek or serious, but to my knowledge the band never actually left mid set.

SJR toured several times between 2002-2004 including a headlining run with Morbid Angel, Danzig's Blackest of the Black tour and a main stage appearance on Ozzfest, opening for Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. After releasing their second record A Lethal Dose of American Hatred, Phil's stage antics seemed more and more drug addled which was even more apparent during interviews. In 2004 during a show at New York's famous CBGB's club, he seemed to altogether forget whole verses in some songs. This was later explained by Phil as a side effect of the large amount of pain medication he was taking prior to having an operation on his spine in 2005.

Regardless of the drugs or antagonistic banter, the music speaks for itself. Hard as nails riffs that slam back and fourth between fast thrash riffs and blast beats to neck-breakingly slow sludge riffs and hardcore stomps that leave a trail of crushed skulls in their path. And no matter what can be said about their live set, the recorded material is an aural assault delivered like a continuous curb stomp from a skinhead parade. Phil's attempt at time warping his audience to the depths of a abandoned squat on New York's lower east side circa 1982 was a bit of a miss however, due to their fan base consisting of mostly Pantera faithful. Perhaps a tour with bands who weren't just a who's who of former Pantera tourmates (Morbid Angel, Dez Fafara etc.) might have sparked interest from a more diverse group of people.

The band recently reconvened sans Hank Williams III (scheduling conflicts) and Joe Fazio, and are forging ahead under the moniker Superjoint, presumably for legal reasons. Given Phil's mostly sober state these days (at least no heroin or painkillers), their upcoming tour dates should snap a bunch of necks and chants of SUPERJOINT SUPERJOINT SUPERJOINT will be heard echoing from clubs all over the northeast. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Morbid Angel - Radikult

 Riff mark: no

Garbage. It took five years through an eight-year studio lapse to shamelessly piss out this insulting, irritating mockery. First, the band’s a mess. Sandoval’s unceremoniously dropped following injury and Vincent’s back in the fold after a near decade of not, meaning Tucker’s out of a job, too. Dragging behind Vincent’s black leather-platform heels is all the industrial muck and residue from his wife’s BDSM sessions, which he lathers liberally across Illud Divinum Insanus. This is barely a crossover record more than it is ego masturbation, or just bad music altogether. Trey passively plays the submissive through motions of maybe-MA songs like Blades for Baal or Nevermore, but the superimposition of Cavalera-ish vocals from Evil D ruin everything. He just sucks. Too Extreme sucks, Mea Culpa sucks, and Radikult is the suckiest suck to ever suck, a 7-minute black hole of suckage that rips from both Marilyn Manson and (no, really) Body Count. Awful 90’s backyard goth with unlikable synths and those annoying over-triggered quarter-note bass beats (a studio waste of Tim Yeung for half this record). I mean it just floors me that so many critics and e-zines accepted this shit yet similar one-shot hybrid attempts like 34.788% Complete and Blackacidevil are universally chastised (relax, I’m not praising those albums, either). Hurtful. I’m writing this in 2015 and I’m still pissed. Suffering on all levels of hell.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Leng Tch'e - Too Stupid To Live

Riff mark: It's not really that long

"Blaahhhh blaahhhh blahhhh blah
Blaahhhh blaahhhh blahhhh blah
Blaahhhh blaahhhh blahhhh blah
Blaahhhh blaahhhh blahhhh blah"

There's your lyric sheet. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Soulfly - No Hope = No Fear

2:26 mark.

In 1996, Sepultura were the biggest non American metal band and coming off of back to back gold records, it could be argued that in the current scene, only a few bands were bigger. And then suddenly, tragedy struck as singer Max Cavalera's step son, Dana Wells was killed in a car accident and this began a whirlwind of events, which included the rest of the band proposing that they replace Max's wife, Gloria as the bands manager. Max decided he would rather quit than see this happen, which he felt was a personal betrayal by his band mates and he struck out on his own.

2 years later, he returned with a new group, Soulfly. Named after a Deftones lyric, Soulfly embodied Max's relationship with his step son, with whom he had written "Attitude" from Sepultura's Roots album and who had turned him on to a host of newer bands including Deftones, Will Haven and Snot. These influences as well as the downtuned guitars from Roots come together with further experimentation as world music continued to influence Cavalera's song writing. 

Boasting more guest appearances than a hip hop record, one of the main themes on display was family, or tribes. Max's tribe is out in force with Benji Webbe of Skindred, Fred Durst and DJ Lethal from Limp Bizkit, Chino Moreno from Deftones and Burton, Dino and Christian from Fear Factory and more.

Getting down to the riffs, they are as muddy as the amazon river and fans of Max's previous band are stoked. While one could argue these are basically sped up, thrashier versions of Korn riffs, it's hard to fault the bands success. This brings me to an important point, which is that this is the direction that Max's writing took, which was even further from the sounds present on Beneath The Remains, Arise and Chaos A.D.. For years, fans pleaded for a reunion, refusing to accept that Soulfly was the future. My question is, why would you want to see a reunion or new album? Most fans will admit that Roots is their least favorite Sepultura record, and Sepultura would most likely have continued in that direction, leading to more bitching and complaining from metalheads world wide. Some would say they just want to see the songs played with Max on vocals, because that's how they remember them. Well you are in luck! Soulfly play no less than 5 Sepultura songs at every show, and when time is not a factor (such as one show I witnessed in 2004) they play as many as 8. 

My final thought on this is that you should not live in the past. Enjoy those albums and memories of live shows, instead of steadfastly chanting reunion for 20 years. It probably won't happen and if it does, chances are you may be disappointed.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dat Haiku Tho: Charles Bronson - Marriage Can Suck It


Full discography
Ninety six one inch records
Out on Youth Attack

Life of Agony - Underground

Riff mark: 1:54

The band name speaks volumes about these Words and Music. Real hurt, real pain, real life domestic families torn to shreds through addictions, psychoses, and suicide, NY’s LOA transcripts the dysfunction of Generation X and a few years beyond in manners too blunt for grunge and too elite for the impending nu-metal explosion; thus, like its intended audience, fitting in nowhere, save the Brooklyn street corners where the group roots to NYHC alongside stylistic brutes Type O Negative (of which their drummer joins and keyboardist produces this album). River Runs Red is a sad diary, each song a page of isolation and rhetorical questioning in the simplest of prose, accompanied by the thickest and most direct rhythm and percussion. Joey Z and Alan Robert’s respective guitar and bass formulate the compounds of heft, never complicating matters much with notes, sticking to the Drop D with very few half-steps to spare: kicked-down Underground riffs too grimy for Metallica’s Black Album.  Keith (Mina) Caputo implores rather than screams the band’s namesake, championing depression through unique wails that find theatrical opera through a Scott Weiland acoustic. A unique likeliness despite its rudimentary building blocks. RRR seeks an outreached arm for a bloodied wrist, fists clenched and beating temples, hatred for all but for self the most.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Portal - The Swayy

Riff mark: I kind of slighty sort of gave up

As if the principles of atonality couldn’t possibly be broken any further in the damp catacombs of extreme metal, the defiance of Australia’s Portal shatters the simple logics of 12-note chromatics, inventing devil chords from 13th keys from guitars with double-digit strings. Arguably the most horrific concoction, a primordial ooze shaped from post-ejaculate Stravinsky ethics and Lovecraftian theatrics, set to the orchestration of chaos theory and the absolute nonsensical steering of melodies through twisted woods. Swarth is the novelty of the lunatic, unknown transcriptions and etchings coded in what could possibly be the origins of song, or the complete endings of such: a riddled Mobius strip. Impossible to parallel to existing acts, but allow this mortal a shy attempt: the acceleration of a Morbid Angel apocalypse? The catch: miserable production accompanying miserable music. Tales of terror told through washing machine cycles in a mid-range muffle. Perhaps for the best, as Swarth is a blackened book best open, then immediately shut.