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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

John Zorn's Naked City - Torture Garden

0:00 mark (just take all in).

In 1988, avante garde jazz composer John Zorn was living in Japan and decided he wanted to "test the limitations of a rock band format". This led to the formation of Naked City, a band that actually tests the limits of the human ears instead. Most of the players on Naked City's records are John Zorn's usual go-to guys, except for singer/screamer/psychotic wailer Yamantaka Eye, at the time of Japanese noise/performance art band, Hanatarash(i) and later of the Boredoms.

Eye is notorious in Japan for his wild stage antics and general insanity such as having sawed a dead cat in half on stage, strapping a circular saw to his back and almost severing his leg and even partially destroying a venue by driving a bulldozer through a rear wall and onto the stage. His performances with Naked City are no less strange vocally, although his disregard for public safety had dissipated. The vocals on these records are some of the most ear splitting caterwauling heard this side of a burning NICU. Drummer Joey Baron is also notable as being fast as lightning and despite playing mostly jazz, his blast beats put most drummers from that and any era to shame.

The music, is equivalent to driving down a New York City sidewalk, with all the windows down at high speed during mid day rush hour. An amalgamation of jazz, grind, surf, lounge music and numerous other genres thrown into a blender. Dropping the needle on this one is like opening the lid to that blender while it is still running, spraying its contents all over the room. 

All of their output is different, yet shares similarities and is of course aurally challenging. But Naked City's influence is clear once you make it half way through the record, as you can hear the foreshadowing of bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan in the short less than one minute blasts. Mike Patton was so influenced by the band that he fronted the band for several shows in 1991 and 2003 in addition to guesting on Naked City and Painkiller (another Zorn band) records and forming a side project called Hemophiliac with Zorn.

If you are able to make it through Torture Garden, try out some of these.

Also, Here's a slide show of Hanatarash(i)'s bulldozer gig as a bonus.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Windhand - Winter Sun

0:33 mark.

The feeling of following a band from demo to maturity is a great one, and from the minute I heard Windhand's 2010 demo which clocked in at almost 16 minutes for 2 songs, I knew they would blow up. 5 years later and they have signed with relapse and released 2 full lengths, a live record and splits with Salem's Pot and Cough.

Many reviewers seem to dismiss them as just another wannabe Black Sabbath retro doom band, which I feel is rather harsh. The thing that truly sets them apart from this classification is singer Dorthia Cottrell's soaring wails and mournful cries that seem to haunt the space of the listener like the presence of a ghastly apparition. She seems to truly be channeling the spirit world each time she steps up to the microphone.

I went with the demo version of this song because I feel like it just has that unpolished fuzz and feedback that I love. The riff plods along like a wooly mammoth slowly marching across the second floor of your house. It bludgeons the listener as though it were a series of violent swings from the mammoth's mighty trunk, trying to draw you toward the tusks and a grisly demise.

Bonus Riff:

Around the 7:45 mark, as you lay beaten by the mammoth, it delivers a final coup de grace, by stomping methodically on your lifeless body until you are reduced to a skin cover pouch of liquefied innards and broken bones.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cradle of Filth - Haunted Shores

Riff mark: 3:10

Hear me now: if black metal sounded this polished more would listen somehow. Cradle’s third outpouring (no nudity on this cover? For shame) is a sheen of shiny onyx, the antithesis of an unwritten black metal manifesto, boasting tremendous recording sensibilities instead of mimicking the lo-fi deliberations of old. Downright beautiful if you ask me, these inclusions and perfections of reverb and treble invoking the true gothic nature of this European-housed subgenre, FINALLY justifying black metal as a marketable, classical art form of baroque, Wagnerian, and Venomian-tinged extremity. Dusk and Her Embrace is a symphonic treat, not to be quickly declared a cheap cash-in commercial entryway into the black, but rather a definition is what is capable when an image positively affects its music. Make-up, powder, mascara, nail polish, finger gauntlets, ruby goblets, and beautiful bloodied women across pages of luscious linear notes are mere teasers to the superb, spectral, twisting tremolo-picked Thin Lizzied guitar melodies soaring through songs, keyboards fetching Maiden-esque 3rd guitar parts in pompous homogeneity. Dani Filth proves the looks and sounds for a requested front man of this strain, fluctuating shrieks and howls with narrative baritone, the latter often more effective. Most surprising is the harkening to new wave the Cradle tips towards, sly British winks to early minimalist foundations made by drab blokes such as The Cure and Sisters of Mercy (especially). Evolutions in directions that stretch away from a conventional black and towards a conventional crowd, yet refusing conformity, embracing perfectionism instead. A terrific, winning approach. Coincidentally released a month after Manson’s Antichrist Superstar, of which graphic similarities exist at face-value.     

Friday, May 15, 2015

Power Trip - Conditioned To Death

2:33 mark.

For about 6 years now, this Dallas, TX band has been slugging and kicking, fighting their way up the pile of mid 2000's thrash revival bands. With the release of 2013's Manifest Decimation, they have finally made it to the top of the mountain. Drawing comparisons ranging from Best Wishes era Cro-Mags to the lightning speed riffing of Vio-lence's Eternal Nightmare, Power Trip have left a trail of mosh pit casualties and broken necks in their wake with this record.

The album contains everything you need to make a true juggernaut of a crossover record. They manage to cram enough  mosh parts and divebombs into 30 minutes that even Eddie Sutton or Kurt Brecht would be begging for mercy.

This riff is a straight up punch to the stomach, taking the air directly from your lungs. If the band ever embarked on a stadium tour, you would see nothing but an ocean of hard moshing and spin kicks to the jaw. Cities would begin to boycott the tour due to budget concerns with area emergency rooms and a shortage of ambulance staff to treat the multitude of injuries. Soon Power Trip casts, slings and crutches will be sold at their merch table, not as a gimmick, but out of absolute necessity and genuine humanitarian concern.

Check them out this summer with fucking Foreseen and wear appropriate protective gear.

Stream "Manifest Decimation" on Bandcamp

Monday, May 11, 2015

Type O Negative (part 6 of 8) - Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective)

Short week with one haiku entry, might as well make it another double-header with my fav group (6 down, 2 to go...)

Riff mark: 5:47 (Killing yourself to livvvvvveeeeeee!!!!)

My appreciation for this band’s generosity grows fonder with this midnight subway train for a greatest hits compilation, alternating familiarity and unchartered stops with the calculation of a seasoned conductor. Globs of new and non-studio cuts coat nearly HALF the wax, their sprawling lengths hogging the 80-minute limit. Well, It’s Never Enough and Stay Out Of My Dreams (my pseudo-optimistic pick of the lot) are the only true unreleased babes, since the Sabbath cover of Sabbath is from a Sabbath comp, 12 Black Rainbows and that Cinnamon Girl remix are from older singles. Roughly seven “hits,” all diced for packaging but still aromatic samplers for the neophytes and nostalgic, though I pray for more level-headed opinions like mine believing Christian Woman and Black No. 1 should forever be left uncut. So, a pretty resourceful venture, the Silver-and-Steele foundation building shrines of gloomy green melancholia with budgeted, but unselfish piecemeal. Oh, and all 12 minutes and 29 fucking seconds of Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity, again.