Thursday, March 26, 2015

Slightly downtuned Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the greatest Black Sabbath album of all time

Someone uploaded the entirety of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on Youtube. I'm thinking it was a vinyl rip and the belt of the turntable or something was adjusted, but whatever happened the whole album is tuned down a half-step (meaning your G's are F#'s, your C's are B's, etc). This slight, unintentional adjustment has given the whole album an extra two tons of heft, making it an even thicker album than Master of Reality. I fucking love it. Here are the links for all eight songs of this rumbling leviathan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Motley Crue - Smoke The Sky

2:11 mark.

In 1992, not only had America grown weary of glam metal, the bands had too. Motley Crue came off the road after a 3 year run supporting their most successful album to date, the Bob Rock polished Dr. Feelgood. Despite producing a few early Canadian punk records, it is my opinion that Bob Rock is generally responsible for the neutering of great bands (See Skid Row and Metallica, I bet he wishes his name wasn't in the booklet for St. Anger) and should be avoided like the plague. But I digress, the band instead of taking a break, signed a huge deal with Elektra and rushed back into the studio. Infighting resulted in Vince Neil either quitting or being fired (the band cannot agree on which it was).

Enter John Corabi, singer of LA's The Scream. He originally reached out to thank Nikki Sixx for a kind mention of the bands debut in an interview, but was eventually asked to audition. He brings to the table a voice that is a combination of Steven Tyler's bluesy swagger and John Bush from Armored Saint's gravel throated belting. What followed was the recording of a record that sounded drastically different from anything the band had ever laid to tape.

Gone was the bands singles first, filler second song writing that had been prevalent since Theatre of Pain. This was instead replaced with heavy riffs, which were assisted by the fact that Corabi also played guitar and contributed heavily to the writting process. Tommy Lee also contributed an important factor that wasn't necessarily a traditional songwriting technique. "Make it heavy, like Pantera" (this is a fine example of how Tommy was spending his time) I believe is the exact line from The Dirt, the book penned by the members of the band a decade later.

Smoke The Sky is the definitive example of Pantera's influence over the band (despite John Corabi mentioning that he never actually listened to the band in the book). Penned about smoking weed which was as direct a drug reference as they had dared to this point, the riff at 2:13 is as close to a mosh part as Motley Crue will ever get and might not have seemed out of place on the cutting room floor of the Vulgar Display of Power sessions.

In all, the band would have benefited greatly from a name change because this incarnation was never allowed to fully spread its wings. Elektra pulled support as the sales tanked and they issued an ultimatum that either Vince Neil comes back now or they would be mired in legal issues until he does. Corabi saw the writting on the wall and advised the band to make the deal with the devil. This is a fantastic record full of great songs, it's just a shame it was released as Motley Crue.

Listen to "Motley Crue" on YouTube

The Who - Young Man Blues

Riff mark: The whole damned thing is a riff

For all those teenage years spent sopping blood from my ear canals with those orange foam headphone earpads, my post-traumatic adolescent viewpoint is that Live At Leeds is the spastic destroyer of all kinetic recorded performances. No bullshit, we’ve got the loudest shredder operating with blades of glorious, un-oiled distortion alongside Deep Purple’s In Rock for 1970, the year metal really started popping its placenta-covered head through a womb made from a few Kinks songs. Perfect timing, The Who achieving untouchable Zen in audiences greater than two or three studio engineers, for this instance the explosives experts just drop their microphones and get the hell out of there. I mean these blokes are really beating the shit out of everything, including themselves. Townshend and Entwistle are deadlocked in a 4th-dimensional war over whose wounded, blistered fingers can wrap around time the fastest, particularly in those bluesy, free-verse tracks. Moon’s Moon, but worse, given license to pound everything nonsensically in one take, as long as it fits into common time, every measure a fill more than beat. Daltrey’s got the deceptively hardest job: wail and look good at it, the bluest collar barely capable of holding back the triangular avalanche behind him. It’s all a beautiful migraine epidemic, and with all the hoopla of Zep and Sabbath bullying inside the primordial ooze of heavy metal, The Who rightfully lay claim to a percentage of that amorphous, developing mass. Mandatory noise. Original 1970 LP released with a meager six tracks. Reissued in 1995 with a generous 14 rockers, then once again in 2001 with an entire performance of Tommy (personal opinion: it never shined live, or in film, or on Broadway, or anything not studio).    

Friday, March 20, 2015

Devourment - Choking on Bile

Riff mark: 2:13

Cannibal Corpse 2000. Junk food served to voracious “brutals” who’ve been searching for this exact volume, speed, and balls forced haphazardly in their obscure, death metal compact discs served by metaphorical black-market distros. Almost the audio parallel to snuff films, of which that miserable album cover makes a convincing case. There’s a fanbase for this stuff, a small unreasonable one, playing the James Woods role in Videodrone, connoisseurs of the grainiest, torture-laden recording of which there exists one elusive, lo-fidelity master. This reeks of the dungeon’s slop-bucket, its noisy guitars and rumbling bass palm-muting through riffs that hemorrhage through the tapes. It sounds its worst when blasting, and is barely discernible during its plentiful deathcore breakdowns. Really up to the drummer to twirl the batons and dictate the start and stop of passages, whose sole, piccolo-of-piccolo snare steals spotlights too often in braggart manners, hyper-blasting into what I believe is the first instance of “gravity rolls”. Beyond-Barnes vocal styling from Ruben Rosas (who, after recording, served two years in prison, then returned to replace his replacement who died of alcoholism…boy), who obviously invested time into razor-blading his throat to usher through the nastiest racket of squeals and gurgles. Well, it takes passion to both play and listen, the symbiotic relationship between band and audience maintaining a stubborn-headed entity critics will never pierce. Whatever, you sugar junkie. You go rot those teeth.