URTHONA I Refute It Thus (Head Heritage) cd 13.98
It took a while, due to some mysterious email incompatibilities... anyway we've got a few more, and hear tell there's soon to be a new one as well, we'll keep you posted... "Feedback-laden West Country psychedelic free-noise garage metal" eh? Released by the record label division of druid rock dude Julian Cope's indispensable Head Heritage website? Gotta check that out!! And so we did, and so here it is... Urthona's I Refute It Thus. The cover of this disc bears a picture of a giant granite outcropping on a remote moor in England, beneath white clouds and a curiously pink sky. These massive, lichen-encrusted rocks have loomed over this particular Dartmoor hilltop for untold ages. If you look closely at this photograph, you'll see the figure of a long-haired man standing amidst the stones, facing the dawning sun, holding an upside down electric guitar, headstock jammed into the earth. Now imagine that his guitar is actually powered up, feeding back, plugged in somehow to the cyclopean stones, themselves both a source of earth-energy and also an obvious visual parallel to a wall of Marshall amplifiers... well, that's just about what the music on this cd sounds like!! Rock, from the rocks. (Except, Urthona use Fender amps not Marshalls... the liner notes also tell us Urthona play Les Paul guitars, and "make frequent use of the Durham Electronics Crazy Horse fuzz pedal", aha.) There's three long instrumental tracks on this mystic silver disc... beginning with the woozy, vertigo-inducing electric strum and howl of the ten minute "Urthona Cannot Be Destroyed", which sorta sounds like the Dr. Who theme being played on primitive feedback guitar by krautrock hippies Amon Duul... nice. Track two, "The Bright Burst Of Morning" (19:34) is dronier, calmer, yet expectant with doomic potential. And finally, the third track, "Sun And Moon So Heavy" (21:44) does indeed do justice to its title. Waves of deep, grinding, spaced out guitar, so heavy indeed. Blissful at low volumes, vibrationally destructive at louder ones... seriously you need to be carefully turning this disc up! It's certainly heavy, but in an in-the-red atmospheric way that can reward a quiet listen... The primal sheets of shrieking skree and dense distortion unfurled by Urthona's guitars (multitracked, as it's a one-man-band; Neil Mortimer take a bow) are also intertwined with pretty, folkish melodies, with also brief bouts of hand percussion or field recordings of gurgling waters mixed in... We're put in mind of the gritter moments of Steven R. Smith's Ulaan Khol I. Or perhaps a heavy Keiji Haino session, if he were channelling some cosmic acid-folk concept in his mind's ear. The other Neil (Young) and SUNNO))) could be further comparisons. This cd comes in a unique eco-friendly tri-fold cardboard sleeve, with card inserts bearing details of art by William Blake and quotations from Walt Whitman and Albert Einstein, amongst other thought-provoking text found here. The photograph of the "Hound Tor" on the front is by J. Cope himself... The packaging, designed by like minded pagan droner and fellow Cope associate, Holy McGrail, is fantastic, except that we have preferred if the cd itself had been given its own paper sleeve. The pocket it sits in, along with the two inserts, isn't snug enough to hold it completely securely, and some minor cosmetic scuffing might occur to the disc's playing surface as a result. Bah, but that's a minor complaint, and interferes not a whit with our enjoyment of Urthona's glorious shoegazing freeform rural-psych-noise-guitar-drone!! We love this, and a lot of you are sure to, too.
"Urthona Cannot Be Destroyed" MPEG Stream:
"The Bright Burst Of Morning" MPEG Stream:
"Sun And Moon So Heavy"
URTHONA Urthona 3: Super-Heavy Hamoazian Reverie (Further) cd 13.98
Time once again, we're honored to announce, that we all are enabled to plug directly into the Earth's own Ur-Drone, 'cause we've got the new album from England's Urthona, psychedelic drone warriors heavily inspired, or even empowered, by the mythic natural landscapes of their rural West Country home, a green and pleasant and pagan land... Previous Urthona missives have all contained long, epic tracks, but this one takes things further, as it's but one single piece, clocking in at 47 minutes, 59 seconds, conceptually concerned with the "elemental cyclic seasons" and patterns of weather in the Southwest of England. "Super-Heavy Hamoazian Reverie" lives up to its title, and you don't even have to know what "Hamoazian" means (The Hamoaze is a stretch of river in Devon and Cornwall, it turns out). There's field recordings from the area's moors and ancient tors woven into/buried under the hazy, echoing guitar distortion, feedback and assorted electronics of the main Urthona dude/druid Neil Mortimer - whose usual amped up, windswept guitar and synthesizer is augmented by more modular synth from prior Urthona collaborator The Asterism, as well as for the first time on an Urthona recording, drums! Though we feel like we've heard some subtle hand percussion on other Urthonas, before. The drums here, though, are more to the fore, when unleashed - while much of this is droning, drifting drumlessness, when they do start pounding the skins, additional krautrocking power is manifested, and maybe it's no surprise that one of the guest drummers here is longtime Urthona associate Julian Cope, who knows a thing or two about ritualistic rock n' roll. The other two (!) drummers are Mr. E from Cope's band Braindonor, and one Albert Snazz. We're beginning to think of the Boredoms, say circa Super Roots 5. And as always, we'll mention Ulan Khol, Keiji Haino, and maybe Neil Young a la Arc. Cope you may remember once appeared on a SUNNO))) album, spouting pagan poetry... and while this is all-instrumental (they confine the poetry to the text found on the cd's sleeve and its inserts), Urthona could definitely (again) be compared to a pastoral SUNNO))) of sorts. This album is a sometimes blissful, but often blistering, trip, certainly meant to be played LOUD for full submission/submergence. There's feedbacky frenzies and quieter, calmer stretches too... sometimes The Hamoaze is flowing strongly, water roiling, other times it meanders gently, into an estuary with "strange eddies and weird tides", where you could certainly still slip beneath its placid surface and drown, down among the "conger eels and U-boat nets"... we're quoting here from the text that accompanies the cd, which is packaged, as with previous Urthona releases, in a handsome, eco-friendly cardboard tri-fold sleeve, with lovely photos/art, including two card inserts bearing quotations from William Blake and Fredrick Douglass.
"Super-Heavy Hamoazian Reverie excerpt 1" MPEG Stream:
"Super-Heavy Hamoazian Reverie excerpt 2"
URTHONA AND THE ASTERISM Murmurations (Further) cd 13.98
Chuffed to get another gorgeous transmission from the pagan UK dronester known as Urthona! Previously we've enjoyed the heavy organic sounds of his J. Cope approved "shoegazing freeform rural-psych-noise-guitar-drone" via Urthona's I Refute It Thus cd on Head Heritage and Amid Devonia's Alps cd-r on Further. Now he's back, teamed up with a likeminded mysterious entity known as The Asterism, for a cd (not cd-r) on Further called Murmurations. There's two tracks here, "River Severn Bore" clocking in at 24 minutes 20 seconds and the title track, a mere 19 minutes 50 seconds... about what we'd expect, epics! Both pieces are titled after natural phenomena that even though admitting of scientific explanation, still may appear mystically significant even to modern day observers. "River Severn Bore" refers to an unusually high wave that in ancient days inspired legends, "Murmurations" are what vast swirling swooping flocks of starlings are called, as they dance in the air, seemingly synchronized in their movements. Both titles make for excellent inspirations for the sonics here, Urthona and The Asterism's amped up guitars building buzzing drones massive enough to match such awesome spectacles, with their own field recordings captured on hikes in the English countryside mixed in perfectly, the electronic fuzz eventually morphing into a wash of rain/water sounds at the end of "River Severn Bore" ferinstance. That's the denser/darker of the two pieces, throbbing thickly, grinding drones licked with feedback, SUNNO))) and Boris fans should bow down... "Murmurations" is heavy too, but as befits its subject, displays more agile, active movement, sounding somehow exotic and raga-like, with delicate high-end shimmer from guitars and amps echoing the cries of birds from the field recordings that are also present in the mix, as is, we think, some gentle percussion... it falls somewhere between James Blackshaw and Bong, perhaps. Quite lovely -and- fuzzy. Packaging is again a trifold "eco-wallet" affair, recycled cardstock, vegetable based inks, these fellows nature worship taken pretty seriously, in more than just the music...
"River Severn Bore" MPEG Stream:
USAISAMONSTER, THE Wohaw (Load) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Always thought this band was called The Usaisamonster, one word like that, but on the cover of this there's spaces between the words, The Usa Is A Monster. In interest of being consistent in our catalog, though, we're gonna continue to run 'em together. And either way, it's a damn good, unfortunately true, bold-statement kind of name, perfectly matched to the radical political attitudes expressed in the songs of this weird Brooklyn art-spazz-core-folk duo. We've been fans of these guys since they first brought us a bunch of self-released cd-rs and LPs some years back, and really really loved their previous Load release, 2003's Tasheyana Compost. The brand new Wohaw, which unleashes more of their rather unique blend of prog, punk and folk, has a similar appeal. It's a bit like a weird combination of Lightning Bolt and Robbie Basho! Herky jerky heaviness (with the 'Bolt's brand of bug zapper distortion) meets what could be traditional folk songs. Children's folk songs even. And there's a definite Native American Indian obsession/appropriation still going on here as well. This is the kind of band that uses big amps and a gizillion effects pedals, but also likes to take off their shirts to play flutes and hand drums (as pictured on one side of the folding cd-insert). Partway through, this album maybe loses some steam for us, going a bit too far in the acoustic-folk direction (something their singing ability can't quite support, to be honest). Suddenly it's campfire sounds and poetry, with nothing electric to be heard. But when they're doing the unique Usaisamonster hybridization of folk and noisecore that we prefer, this is fantastic. Definitely check this out if Lightning Bolt, Deerhoof, Amps For Christ, and/or Thrones are bands you're into, as something about this reminds us of all of them.
"Clay People" MPEG Stream:
"The Hobokon" MPEG Stream:
USURPER Necronemesis (Necropolis) cd 14.98
The "brimstone fist" of Chicago metal warlords Usurper strikes again. Necro this, necro that. Deathly grunts and ironclad guitars old skool style, as these dudes are well-known worshippers of Celtic Frost and other '80s underground thrashers. Leather, spikes and chains. This release even has black metal god King Diamond singing backup on one track (which, apparently, he did in return for Usurper rescheduling the recording of this album so that King Diamond could use the same studio to finish his recent disc).
USURPER Skeletal Season (Necropolis) cd 12.98
From Chicago, black/death/thrash metal in the vein of Celtic Frost, including the vocalist's love of Tom G. Warrior's death grunt. "Unghah, hey hey".
USURPER Twilight Dominion (Earache) cd 15.98
USVA / DRACO Re-Desecrating The South Carelian Graves (Bestial Burst) cd 13.98
USX (AKA U.S. CHRISTMAS) Valley Path (Neurot) cd 14.98
Yay, it's Christmastime again. Well, US Xmas time that is. We don't know why they picked that odd name (abbreviated here to USX, dunno if that's an official change or what), but it doesn't matter now anyhow, since we've become firm fans of this band of Southern, psychedelic space rock, Hawkwind-worshipping, country-flecked heavies. Fans like us will be happy that they've got a new album out, and it's good, real good. However, The Valley Path may or may not be the best one for the uninitiated to start with, as it consists of but one long (38:53) song! A real doozy, obviously. Listening to this, we realize USX remind us of True Widow, if they stretched out and drew more on the majestic post-rock dynamics of the Neur-Isis contingent (USX are on Neurot after all), big and bombastic yet seriously moody and atmospheric at the same time. This album/song is replete with weary vocals, epic wailing psych guitar eruptions, wide open drone-twang, sweeping strings, martial drums, ambient field recordings, and sizzling synth FX... Yeah, we think you'll like it, if you dig anything/everything from latter-days Earth and Barn Owl to Godspeed You Black Emperor! to Six Organs Of Admittance to Grails to more recent Zoroaster. Merry USX everybody!
"The Valley Path excerpt 1" MPEG Stream:
"The Valley Path excerpt 2" MPEG Stream:
"The Valley Path excerpt 3"
UTARM Apocryphal Stories (Handmade Birds) cd 12.98
For some reason, we've never properly reviewed a Utarm record on the aQ list before, even though the aQ metalheads here are longtime fans. We did review their split with Servile Sect offshoot Sadness Saturn, and dug their half quite a bit. And we gave a brief mention to their 2009 full length Minus The Divine, but now is the time to give this weirdo Norwegian black doom experimental one man band his aQ due, and it's pretty good timing too, as this might just be his most warped and what the fuck outing to date, which makes it even more fitting that he found their way on to the Handmade Birds label, his twisted take on doom-ed BM a perfect fit, alongside outfits like Circle Of Ouroborus, Pyramids, Crooked Necks, Sutekh Hexen, Pinkish Black, Theologian, not to say Utarm sounds like any of those groups, he most certainly doesn't but like those outfits, Utarm most definitely forges his own twisted, idiosyncratic sonic path. Only five tracks, but most are loooooong, the opener begins with a smoldering expanse of keening, music box melodies, over sheets of super distorted high end tones, feedback, anguished vocal mewlings, woozy and druggy, more twisted electro-ambience, and droned out avant psychedelia, it's not until six minutes in before there's any trace of actual metal, black or otherwise, and when it does erupt out of the warped sonic swirl, it's not the buzzing blackness you might expect, instead, it's a sort of epic, heaving, Gnaw Their Tongues style bombastic majesty, pounding, slo-mo drum crush, keening soaring metallic guitar buzz, howled wailed vocals, the melodies unfurling mournfully, a sort of ur-drone doom, almost like Sunroof! if they were from Norway and sported a black metal pedigree, we kept expecting it to burst into something buzzier or blacker, but instead, it continued to ratchet up the tension, total heart of the sun, black doom, ur-drone bliss out. The following track laces weird samples into swoonsome symphonic swells, and tortured, near operatic vokills, the vibe dense and dramatic, almost like some sort of satanic cabaret. The music warped and warbly, the tempo shifting constantly, as if someone was physically altering the speed, the result a woozy, creepy sprawl of dramatic black ambience that unwinds like some blackened, noise drenched murder ballad. That is before it crumbles into near silence, only to explode a weird black tangle, buzzing guitars, wild shrieking vokills, the whole thing wreathed in static, and glitch, and malfunctioning FX, but somehow retaining that twisted cabaret vibe. From there on out, it doesn't get any less weird, or any more traditionally black metal, instead, each of the three remaining songs, unfolds like some cursed garden of poisonous black flowers, heaving swells of epic chordal buzz, doused in sheets of crumbling distortion, but within this blacknoise, all sorts of swirling minor key melodies, layer upon layer, heavily textured, and strangely moving, "Black Light Aeon Apocryphia" almost sounds like Tim Hecker or Nadja, that same sort of warm melodic doomdrone swell, blown out and gorgeously gristly, while "The Headen Of Men And A Left Hand Dagger", the shortest of the bunch, still clocking in at a whopping 6:42, is a dense squirming tangle of layered guitar buzz, a tranced out electrified dronescape, brilliant arcs of whiteheat guitargrowl are channeled into a single sure of super heated Skullflower like guitarnoise, underneath which all manner of other sounds roil and churn. Tranced out and totally hypnotic. And finally, the record ends with the 10+ minute "Above Death", which is another sprawling field of high end howl, a sky full of burnished, black energy, streaks and contrails bleeding into a blinding white light, a grinding onslaught of industrial white noise, filtered through a fractured avant black metal filter, emerging on the other side some sort of damaged avant power electronics, the sort of thing that would make Utarm right at home on a label like Cold Spring, or the perfect group to tour with Whitehouse, Sutcliffe Jugend or Theologian. Fierce and fucked up and dementedly brilliant, but black metalheads tread lightly, this could definitely be the gateway to much scarier, much noisier stuff...
"AltEtender Skaper" MPEG Stream:
"Of Rape, Solitude And Bliss; The Triangle Of Flesh"
UTARM Minus The Divine (Turgid Animal) cd 11.98
No review for this... but here's what we said about Utarm's half of their split with fellow experimental metallers Sadness Saturn: Utarm are up first, and the sound is more doom than black, the programmed drums a monstrous pound, the music a soaring epic swell of synths, not guitars, or maybe they're super processed guitars, either way, the sound is really unique, reminds us a bit of Gnaw Their Tongues, a sort of cinematic depressive blackness, less about blasting buzz, than dramatic lurching mystery, plenty of strangled tortured heaviness, abstract ambience, everything rife with glitch and skree, the vocals a tortured wail, all wreathed in a blackened haze, raw and in the red and super intense and harrowing.
UTARM / SADNESS SATURN split (Chrysalis Of Matter) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Ultra limited split between these two experimental black metal entities. Sadness Saturn is one of the guys behind aQ faves Servile Sect, whose most recent release just got re-issued on vinyl via Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label, and Utarm is a one man band from Norway; the two square off on this split cassette tape. Utarm are up first, and the sound is more doom than black, the programmed drums a monstrous pound, the music a soaring epic swell of synths, not guitars, or maybe they're super processed guitars, either way, the sound is really unique, reminds us a bit of Gnaw Their Tongues, a sort of cinematic depressive blackness, less about blasting buzz, than dramatic lurching mystery, plenty of strangled tortured heaviness, abstract ambience, everything rife with glitch and skree, the vocals a tortured wail, all wreathed in a blackened haze, raw and in the red and super intense and harrowing. Sadness Saturn traffic in something much more raw and grim, unlike the glistening alien drone drenched blackness of Servile Sect, the sound here is a pounding black murk, the vocals and guitars nearly indistinguishable, all wound around each other like a single cloud of muted black buzz, the drums relentless and machinelike, but buried within SS's cavernous lo-fi crush, are haunting melodies, soaring and epic, the riffs, after repeated listens seem to crystallize, become much more intense and emotional, transforming simple black metal into something strangely melodic and abstract, but still plenty black and grim. Incredible packaging, printed black and white fold out covers with the band logos printed in extra glossy black ink, the tape case housed in a hand assembled slipcover, hand screened with a super striking, and super evil sigil. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES. We have about 15, probably the last ones we'll ever get...
UTERUS Goatgod (Funeral Moonlight Productions) cd 10.98
UTLAGR 1066 - Blood And Iron In Hastings (Sepulchral Productions) cd 13.98
We were pretty obsessed with the debut from this Canadian Viking black metal horde, released way back when on bad ass UK label Paradigms, so we of course planned on reviewing their second record as well, this one right here, but for whatever reason, it just sort of slipped through the cracks, and thus it was only quite recently that we realized A) we had somehow never reviewed it, and B) we had a handful in stock. Better late than never we suppose, and if we had more copies you can bet this would be a big ol' blackened highlight, but as it is, it's more of a warehouse find, and what a find it is! Like their debut, Utlagr spit out a furious (but still melodic) blast of epic, majestic, Scandinavian style blackness, a little bit Viking for sure, but more in the imagery and themes, sonically, they continue to channel Immortal, Satyricon, Mayhem and most especially Enslaved. Frantic riffing, sweeping melodies, furious drumming, the sound slipping from frosty buzz to waltzy melancholia, grinding grim crunch to mathy DSO style gnarled blackness, woozy depressive drift to almost classic sounding metal majesty. Fucking awesome!
"Soleil Invaincu" MPEG Stream:
"Terre De L'Ouest"
UTLAGR Traditions Normandes (Paradigms) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another blast of frosty grim blackness from the always reliable Paradigms label. In the past, they've brought us the drone dirge of Hjarnidaudi (an AQ Record Of The Week), the chamber gloom of Amber Asylum, the cult black metal of Throne Of Katarsis, the druggy prog of Blueprint Human Being, and now two new releases, a slow motion dirge metal epic from The Angelic Process (reviewed elsewhere on this list) and this, the debut (as far as we can tell) from Canadian black metal warriors Utlagr. This is epic, classic, Scandanavian style black metal, very much in the spirit of Immortal, Satyricon and Mayhem, and while Utlagr may not be Scandanavian, their roots most certainly are, as evidenced by this blackened tribute to their Pagan heritage, in honor of Rolfr Utlagr, founder of Normandy, their ancestral homeland. They may in fact be from Canada in the year 2006, but eyes closed they could be from Norway circa 1995! Whirling winter winds blow an ill wind from the North, while melancholy acoustic guitars, offer up lilting melancholia, before being obliterated by a burst of blasting Pagan brutality. Six tracks of buzzing majesty, blasting beats, gloriously epic melodies, all wrapped up in a thunderous swirl of dense and grim, furiously foresty classic cult black metal might! Limited to 750 copies, packaged in a mini lp style sleeve wrapped in a hand stamped brown paper outer sleeve.
"Our Last Days" MPEG Stream:
UTTER BASTARD Slaves To The Grind (self-released) cd-r 7.98
V/A 2XH vs. HHR Vol. 1 - Where Is My Robotic Boot? (Hydra Head) 2cd 14.98
This "co-operative venture" between the 2XH and Hydra Head Records labels (both divisions of the same company, in reality) brings together fifteen both relatively well-known and obscure names from both the worlds of current underground metal/grind and experimental electronic drone, spreading their darkness and dis-ease across two entire compact discs. On the first disc, dedicated to acts on the more 'experimental' 2XH imprint, we hear from Final, Shifts, Stephen O'Malley (of SUNNO))) and Khanate), Craig Dongoski, Tribes Of Neurot, Monotonos, Merzbow and Kid606. Indeed, no comp would be complete without a Kid606 contribution, so how about two? His typically crazed tracks bookend the calmer drones of the other 2XH entries, which range from ambient delay-scape of Monotonos to the heavy-duty noise of Merzbow (a good one!) to the shortwave voice sampling cacophony of Mr. Dongoski... We're pretty sure that anyone who liked that Record Of Shadows Infinite comp we reviewed last list will also enjoy these selections. Crossing over to the more metallic disc 2, Hydra Head's half of this, we enter a realm of spastic brutality. Most of the bands represented here, like Jan Michael Vincent Car Crash (who get two tracks like the Kid on disc 1), The Abandoned Hearts Club, The Austerity Program, Gezoleen, Phantomsmasher and Orthrelm -- are basically aggro, arty, ADD avant-metal, all pretty amazing stuff for those into the likes of Melt Banana and Fantomas... There's also a track from Khanate, doing "German Dental Work" live on WFMU, and though they're more of a creepy crawl than careening chaos, they still fit in there on this heavy and manic disc. So, which disc you like better may depend on your mood at the moment (or how you want your mood to be). Both are impressive and make us look forward to vol. 2 (wherein, also, maybe we'll be enlightened about this robotic boot business). Graphically, this disc's artwork is suitably glitchy, computery and dense looking, and the liner notes -- by our own Jim Haynes -- quite adequately explain the aesthetic represented by these two labels and the bands on these two discs.
STEPHEN O'MALLEY "Gui-Fang" MPEG Stream:
JAN MICHAEL VINCENT CAR CRASH "North London Book Of The Dead"
V/A A Tribute To Uglakh - Waerloga Compilation Vol. 1 (Waerloga) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. From the Swedish Waerloga label, who you should remember as the folks responsible for the Orc-ish and vampiric dark ambient rituals of the mysterious Za Frumi, comes a massive comp of like minded bands and individuals, all exploring the dark damp recesses of their souls, trolling through moonlit forests, dripping caves, lunar landscapes and other mysterious and dimly lit lost worlds. Pretty exciting comp considering we haven't heard of about 90 percent of these bands and most of this stuff is pretty great. Two tracks from Za Frumi exploring similar territory as on their records proper, a a little dark ambient moodiness from The Soil Bleeds Black, and one track from AQ faves Sagor & Swing, and that's about it for bands we know. But fear not, the rest of the comp travels a similar musical path, dark rumbles, dreamy atmospherics, festive renn-faire frippery, downright scary doomscapes and all creepy and creaking stops in between. By the way we think Uglakh is the name of an orc, not a band...
ZA FRUMI "Baurukat" MPEG Stream:
THE SOIL BLEEDS BLACK "Kyrie Eleison" MPEG Stream:
ALVSKUGGA "Feelings Of Cold"
V/A All Tomorrow's Parties 3.0: Autechre Curated (ATP Recordings) 2cd 15.98
This comp bring together two discs worth of artists who appeared at the Autechre-curated All Tomorrow's Parties 3.0 festival in the UK earlier in April. Featuring unreleased tracks from Masters of Illusion, Push Button Objects, Jim O'Rourke, San Francisco's own O.S.T., Dr. Dooom, Anthony Shake Shakir, Mark Broom, Disjecta, Autechre, Earth (that's right, an unreleased Earth track!), Bola, Pita, Baby Ford and Hecker as well as tracks by Public Enemy, Gescom, Made, Stasis, and BFC.
EARTH "Dissolution III" MPEG Stream:
V/A Alpha Motherfuckers (Hopeless) cd 13.98
Are you ready for some darkness? 'Cause here's a tribute to Norway's kings of darkness -- no we don't mean Emperor or Dimmu Borgir or any other black metallers, we mean those bastard spawn of the MC5 and the Village People, the one and only none-too-PC-punks Turbonegro! Tributes don't usually rate too high with us, but this is better than most, even if half of the 26 bands on here are Norwegian outfits uknown to us. The other half? More familiar names like Queens of the Stone Age, Supersuckers, Nashville Pussy, Therapy?, Dwarves (of course!), Ratos De Porao, Zeke (doing the always-controversial tune "Midnight NAMBLA"), and more. Making the unlikely Tom-of-Finland-meets-Tom-G.-Warrior connection, maybe the highlight for us here is the version of "I Got Erection" by Norway's best black metal band, Satyricon! (Why isn't there a band that sounds like this track all the time, a hybrid of grim guitar metal and hooky pop?) This is a fun comp, with Turbonegro's twisted high-octane Alice Cooper-inspired pop punkrock songwriting amply celebrated on such tracks as "Rock Against Ass", "Rendezvous With Anus", "Bad Mongo", "Hobbit Motherfuckers", "He's a Grungewhore" (a jazzy version of that by Motorpsycho offering some respite from the pogoing, fistshaking rock of much of the rest of this album). Another leftfield twist is Toby Dammit's percussion/sound effects laden non-rock version of "Prince of the Rodeo" that closes the disc. Despite being a covers comp, this may be one of the best rock records of the year so far...certainly it's the most tongue-in-cheek homoerotically rockin' one!
MARYSLIM "No Beast So Fierce" RealAudio clip:
SATYRICON "I Got Erection" RealAudio clip:
ADZ "Good Head" RealAudio clip:
GRIFFIN "Bad Mongo"
V/A Anti-Geldof Compilation (Supernal) 2cd 33.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
ASHES "Fimbulvetr" MPEG Stream:
ASTROFAES "A Moment Of Immortality" MPEG Stream:
BENIGHTED LEAMS "Believe, Submit, Obey" MPEG Stream:
CONTRA IGNEM FATUUM "The Belly Of Black Attrition" MPEG Stream:
DARK AGES "1347"
V/A Audio Apogee - Frequency Thirteen Records Compilation: An Anti Baroque Fieldtrip Into Aire Movement And Grey Vibration (Frequency Thirteen) 2xcd-r 9.98
It's been a while, but finally, the return of Frequency Thirteen, and TRUE SHEFFIELD BLACK PSYCHEDELIA!! Yep, in the past we've championed killer discs from Black Vomit, Ice Bound Majesty, Trolskull, Dukkha and Rape Rack, all offering up a truly twisted take on blackened heaviness, and ever since we've been dying to hear more, so this pretty much hits the spot, a massive sprawling double disc compilation, featuring tracks from most of the Frequency Thirteen roster, and as far as we know, all the tracks here are EXCLUSIVE. So if you're already a fan, and snap up F13 cd-r's whenever you see them, then you obviously need this, exclusive new music from Skultroll, Dukkha and Ice Bound Majesty, as well as a whole mess of others. But for those new to Frequency Thirteen, it's tough to imagine a better introduction to True Sheffield Black Psychedelia. Which is a bit of a misnomer, as much of this is not from Sheffield, much of this is not necessarily black, although it's ALL psychedelic, and it's all TROOOOOOO. Beadle, who we had never heard of before, open up the first disc with a crushing chunk of looped riffage that reminds us of a more blackened Gore, a lurching, lumbering, hypnotic crush. Which perfectly gives way to a new Dukkha jam, that sounds like classic nineties style noise rock, heavy and crunchy and weirdly melodic, with some awesomely twisted melodies and arrangements, and some wild freaked out guitaring. Brobdingnagian who you might remember from their ep on Rusty Axe spews out some noise drenched black filth, like some sort of Ildjarn Merzbow mash up. And so it goes, the whole disc a twisted, convoluted, buzzy, blasting, psychedelic sonic travelogue, with some surprises along the way. Trolskull, slow things down with their murky heroin house minimalism, buried voices, a muted pulse, swirling swaths of synth. Ice Bound Majesty offer up their fiercest filthiest blow out yet, furious and frantic, doused in effects, with programmed drums so fast it almost sounds like a chest rattling drone. Charles Dexter Ward crafts a weird sort of Dan Higgs sounding bit of ritualistic sea shanty style guitar drone, albeit crunchy and distorted, and War Ethic does some weird super murky grindy thrash, but with some skittery almost jazzy sound blastbeats, and there's more more more more. And that's just the first disc! The second disc starts out with some super minimal sinewave shimmer courtesy of a band called Syn, before Dukkha kick shit into gear with the most awesome hypnotic looped psych jam, that would make Circle or Cave proud. In fact, it sort of sounds like a mix of the two, but with a bit more metal drumming, and some convoluted tangled arrangements, but always slipping back into super mesmerizing hypno-rock. KPTMichigan unfurl some gorgeous hazy woozy Tim Hecker like gauzy dronemusic, while Scum Also Rises (awesome name) so some strange post industrial mathy groove rock, that sounds WAY better than that description makes it sound, fat fuzzy bass, weird skittery electronics, all fuzzy and blown out. Sluglord stir up some sort of unholy blackened orchestral doom, all dense tones and deep shimmers, and the Disobedients do a sort of super minimal bedroom doom pop, and Trolskull return with some murky abstract rhythmic weirdness, that sounds a bit like a less loose Avarus, a bit more sinister and haunting and a bit krautrock too. And of course again here, there's more more more! Easily one of our favorite labels, with a roster that should make most other labels bow their heads in shame. And this is definitely one of the few comps where you literally want to hear more from every single band. Fancy packaging too, a fold out die cut full color sleeve, jam packed with about a million inserts, liner notes, an obi... hell, just buy it, you won't be sorry. And odds are, like us, soon you too will find yourself obsessed with TRUE SHEFFIELD BLACK PSYCHEDELIA!!
BROBDINGNAGIAN "You, You Smell Like Death" MPEG Stream:
TROLSKULL "Unutterable Hideousness" MPEG Stream:
DUKKHA "Deu!" MPEG Stream:
PULSAR "Praeternational Light"
V/A Blackened Volume 2 (PHD) 2cd 18.98
An inexpensive double cd collection of over twenty of the world's most evilly evil black metal outfits. A true pantheon of Satanic art: Abigor, Dissection, Satyricon, Enthroned, Impaled Nazarene, Emperor and many others.
V/A Blue Explosion: Tribute To Blue Cheer (Black Widow) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. As "tribute" comps go, this is a really good one. Usually a tribute succeeds only if the cover versions are really different from the originals (for instance, the pop-punk bands doing metal covers on the "I Heart Metal" tribute). At the very least there can be some humor value in that (another example: the "Red Star" comp of grunting death metal bands covering Rush!). But sometimes, the tribute works because the bands doing the tribute are well matched with the band being covered, AND it's not a band that gets a lot of cover-song attention. Such as this one. I've never heard anyone cover "Fresh Fruit & Iceburgs" before, have you? Blue Cheer of course is the granddaddy of all metal/stoner bands, with their first two and a half classic albums still being heavier in their own way than most stuff released today. And Black Widow have put together a pretty excellent international line-up of their progeny to pay tribute. Pentagram (who are on here twice, and may as well BE Blue Cheer 'cause they do it so well!), Internal Void, Thumlock, Natas, Fireball Ministry, Ufomammut are a who's who of some of today's best doom/stoner acts. Plus there's some more obscure names from the space/prog axis as well. The only puzzle about this comp is that several bands chose to cover songs from Blue Cheer's not-so-heavy early '70s albums, which turn out well, but I can't figure out why they did that, except to be different and demonstrate what big fans they are. Still, quite a bit of 1968's "Vincebus Eruptum" and '69s "Outsideinside" is represented. Right on!
PENTAGRAM "Doctor Please" RealAudio clip:
THUMLOCK "Out Of Focus"
V/A Brazilian Assault (Relapse) cd 14.98
Brazil's nastiest: Ophiolatry, Nephasth, Mental Horror, and Abhorrence.
V/A Bring You To Your Knees: A Tribute To Guns & Roses (Law Of Inertia) cd 13.98
You know the drill. A covers record. Not entirely respectful, but not entirely tongue in cheek either. I mean, c'mon, who didn't love Guns And Roses? At least for a while there. Well, here you have some heavyweights tackling their favortie G&R tunes. Most are thrashed out and metalcore-d beyond recognition. A few try to do them straight but have trouble pulling it off with their limited vocal range. Highlights are the totally obliterated "My Michelle" by the Dillinger Escape Plan, the pummelled into submission "It's So Easy" by Unearth and the only sort-of-straight-and-actually-pulled-off cover, "Paradise City" by Eighteen Visions, whose vocalist manages a pretty respectable Axl!
DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN "My Michelle" MPEG Stream:
UNEARTH "It's So Easy"
V/A Brotherhood Of Light (Brotherhood Of Light) cassette 5.98
After a handful of killer releases (Sunchariot, Svetovid, Surt, Lascowiec, Gnieu, Uruk-Hai) comes this long in the works compilation from local black metal tape label Brotherhood Of Light, which gathers up a handful of rare and unreleased tracks from some of those same groups, as well as a bunch of others in BoL's underground orbit. Up first is local BM duo (trio?) Lascowiec, who unfurl a gorgeous bit of super lo-fi, pastoral psychedelia, that gradually expands into a buzzing black cloud of washed out buzz wrapped around soaring majestic melancholic melodies, stumbling murky drum lope, and some seriously fierce bellowed vokills. Surt deliver a dreamy bit of piano laced drift, haunting and spectral, more of a sonic fragment, but quite lovely, like some lost Caretaker B side all fuzzy and hazy and dreamlike. The oddly named Vinland Special Services layout some strange industrial soundscape, all sampled voices, weird buzz, creaks and clatter, a sprawl of abstract collaged noise, the sound constantly shifting, and eventually splintering into a woozy bout of primitive turntablism, all warbly melodies and warped voices, before slipping back into more strange blackened industrial ambience. Finally, the A side is closed out by Uruk-Hai, and whose sounds is a mournful, depressive black metal drift, that's almost dreamy, with the guitars soaring majestically, the busy bassline providing a woozy melody, the vocals appropriately harsh, but otherwise, it's very Alcest like, all shoegazey and shimmery. The B side starts off with Sunchariot, whose recent tape was a big hit around here, and is a new unreleased track from a forthcoming full length a blurry, bleary washed out avalanche of crumbling buzz, buried drums, muted melodies, and anguished vokills, super bizarre production, definitely can't wait to hear the full length. Up next is Cosmic Breath 88 who deliver a sort of abstract blackened industrial blowout, all flanged guitars, processed vox, and blacknoise buzz. Then there's a super raw, lo-fi chunk of primitive black buzz from USBM outfit Lord Foul, brittle guitars, the sound woozy and warped, almost looped sounding, tranced out and hypnotic. Aryan Art unfurl some surprisingly melodic black buzz, everything washed out and almost dreamy, a little bit shoegazey and blissed out, the vocals super anguished and WAY up in the mix, jarring at first, but then it sorta makes sense. The music gets very folky and medieval, even at its most furious it's sort of warbly and darkly dreamy. And finally, Svetovid finish things off, with some fuzzed out drum machine driven black buzz, laced with inhuman croaked vox and some super fuzzy dreamy melodies, again a weird mix of harsh and pretty, but it makes for a pretty compelling listen. LIMITED TO 200 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered, and housed in full color J-cards.
LASCOWIEC "Ulfhetnar" MPEG Stream:
SVETOVID "Blood On The Ground" MPEG Stream:
SURT "Deeper Into The Void" MPEG Stream:
VINLAND SS "Anticommunist Minutemen"
V/A Call To Irons (Dwell Records) cd 12.98
Yup, an Iron Maiden tribute compilation. Tortoise, Ui, Alec Empire, Jim O'Rourke--no wait, that's not right. Sorry. It's metal bands doing covers of classic Maiden material. Absu, Angelcorpse, Opeth, Vital Remains, Morgion, Solitude Aeturnus, and others.
V/A Chamber Metal (Dwell) cd 15.98
Subtitled "Neo-Classical Metal Guitar". No doubt you've been hankering for a collection of Yngwie-style '80s metal guitar shred instrumentals, and the fact that there's almost no chance you've ever heard of anyone on this comp (they're ALL from the Czech Republic, something never adequately explained anywhere in the liner notes, although we'd have to guess this was originally released there) shouldn't keep you from enjoying the over-the-top chops on display. It's actually pretty cool, and if you don't already have a cd like this in your collection (you don't?) then what are you waiting for? If you missed the Guitar Godathon (and also, especially if you *didn't* miss it) then you need this!
JOSHUA CRAIG PODOLSKY "Sarabande" RealAudio clip:
MILOS "DODO" DOLEZAL "To Escape For Life" RealAudio clip:
ROMAN KROKUS KRIZ "Presto"
V/A Contaminated 3.0 (Relapse) 2cd 6.98
Two cds at a bargain price, it's death/grind label Relapse's 10 year anniversary "multi-death" compilation. Fifty-one tracks (!), including a handful of previously unreleased ones, from the whole Relapse roster, everyone from Nile to Neurosis, Amorphis to Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Dying Fetus to Dillinger Escape Plan. Certainly a cost-effective way of dabbling in the realms of death.
V/A Crushing The Holy Trinity (Northern Heritage) 3cd 35.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This will most likely end up being the most essential, and due to its ultra limited status, soon to be most sought after, black metal artifact of 2005. Three discs, six bands, some you know, some you've never heard of, all completely killer. And unlike a normal compilation, each band on Crushing The Holy Trinity contributes 20-30 minutes of music instead of just a single five minute track. Three discs, titled appropriately enough, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, two bands to a disc. Most of you will probably need this just for the exclusive Deathspell Omega track, and rightfully so. A single 22 minute track (nearly as long as their recent full length!), epic and totally amazing, lots of moody post rock rhythms, grim black metal crush, and all sorts of damaged squiggly guitars, and unlikely riffs, strange arrangements and all the brilliantly un-black metal stuff that makes DSO's black metal so compelling. But the other five bands manage to hold their own, and then some! The other band on the Father disc with DSO is a band we had never heard of, Stabat Mater, whose lengthy single track is bleak and gorgeously depressive, a monstrous gutteral bellowing over a dreary melancholic doomscape, brutal blackened dooooom. Pretty darn good. Disc Son starts off with four tracks from Finnish BM outfit Musta Surma, another band new to us, who deliver buzzing blasts of harsh and brittle, true and grim sounding thrashy black metal. Then comes Clandestine Blaze, a band we are quite familar with, and who despite having never been reviewed on the AQ list, are one of our favortie BM outfits. Thick guitars, churning and crunchy, with minor key melodies atop them, a bit like Xasthur's Nocturnal Poisoning, all midtempo and hypnotic, with lots of strange ambient drones and creepy martial percussion. Really cool! The final disc, Holy Spirit, introduces us to two more bands we knew nothing about. First up, the curiously named Mgla, who definitely hit the spot for classic grim black metal, super buzzy and droney, very lo-fi, lots of thrashing rhythms and mosquito buzz riffage and demonic howls! The big surprise out of all these bands would definitely have to be Exordium, who completely kicked our asses tens seconds into their first song. Wow! Super white hot hyperdistorted buzz guitar, lightning fast blast beats, killer riffs, the whole thing blown out and recorded so hot the speakers can barely handle it! The whole thing comes packaged in super nice, DVD sized cardboard sleeve, with a big booklet, two pages for each bands, with photos and liner notes. SUPER LIMITED. We have a bunch of these in stock, and a bunch more on the way from Finland, but be prepared to be patient, and realize that we won't have these for long!!!
DEATHSPELL OMEGA "Diabolus Absconditus"
V/A Czech Assault (Relapse) cd 14.98
Besides being one of the best collections of metallic grind (or grinding metal) in a while, this compilation is also notable for having perhaps the largest collection of vocalists that grunt and growl in a remarkably bowel loosening, rib cage rattling almost inaudible (except maybe to dogs) subsonic slowed-down cookie monster gurgle. It really is amazing. Plus all of these bands are from the Czech Republic! Had no idea it was such a hotbed of metal/grind. Of the 5 bands represented, only one (Contrastic) fails to please, lacing their grind with some sort of Red Hot Chili Peppers neo-funk. Ugh. But the other four bands more than make up for it, with some of the most punishing metal we've heard in a while: blazing tempos, impossibly fast drumming, crushing downtuned guitars, and those aforementioned sick, growled vocals. Check out the sound samples and you'll be sold.
IMPERIAL FOETICIDE "Feature" RealAudio clip:
NEGLIGENT COLATTERAL COLLAPSE "Chain Reactions' Domino AKA Termic Firer" RealAudio clip:
INTERVALLE BIZARRE "Blood Psalm" RealAudio clip:
FLESHLESS "Defy The Fear"
V/A Darkthrone, Holy Darkthrone (Moonfog) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Quite possibly the ultimate Norwegian black metal disc EVER. This tribute compilation celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Norway's self-proclaimed "most hated band in the world" Darkthrone, an event that the band themselves suggested be commemorated with a mere backpatch! Lucky for us, their label had a more ambitious idea. Yes, most "tribute" discs suck, but not this one. How could it? The bands and cover material mesh perfectly, and with feeling. The best, evilest, most infamous black metallers in Norway (the likes of Emperor, Satyricon, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, Thorns, Gehenna, Immortal, and Dodheimsgard!) pay homage to one of the oldest, coldest, most trollesque bands on the scene. Totally deadly. Standout track: Thorns' almost "cybernetic" version of "The Pagan Winter".
V/A Daze Of The Underground (Godreah) 2cd 16.98
We admitted a while back to catching on unbelievably late to the drug addled, space rock brilliance of Hawkwind. What can you do? We've tried to make up for it, by listening to NOTHING BUT Hawkwind for hours at a stretch, trying to get everybody who walks in the door to buy at least one Hawkwind record, and trying desperately to convince AQ customer Cayce to start a Hawkwind tribute / worship band with us. We're still working on that last one. But on the subject of tributes, it's always nice to know that all over the world there are little enclaves of equally obsessed music freaks. One of those enclaves just so happens to be Godreah records in the UK, home to the Meads Of Asphodel, and fellow Hawkwind obsessives. So obsessive in fact, that they've scoured the globe looking for bands willing to put their Hawkwind love on display for all to see, on this here massive double cd compilation. It should of course come as no big surprise that some of our favorite groups just so happen to also have a thing for Hawkwind and put their music where their mouths are. The Meads Of Asphodel cover "Utopia", Circle turn "Don't Understand" into a suitably circular krautrock workout, Acid Mothers Temple take "You Know You're Only Dreaming" completely apart and turn it into an burst of interstellar freakout, and Sigh tackle Hawkwind's finest pop moment "Psychedelic Warlords..." and give it the ol' Japanese what-the-fuck treatment. And that's just four of the 27 tracks. Some familiar, Acid King, Farflung, Amorphis, but mostly loads of unknowns, all of them steeped in their own particular brand of fuzzed out freaked out spaced out Hawkwind worship! Massive batch of liner notes, complete with band photos and a track by track description of the group and their particular take on each song.
MEADS OF ASPHODEL "Utopia" MPEG Stream:
SIGH "Psychedelic Warlords" MPEG Stream:
CIRCLE "Don't Understand"
V/A Destroyers From The Western Skies (As Night Devours The Sun) (Kill Zone) cd 14.98
There was a time, not so long ago, when any self respecting metalhead would have scoffed at a black metal band from the United States. If it wasn't Scandanavian who gave a shit. Sure there were a few bands from Germany or Poland, even the UK, but the US seemed to have nothing to offer in terms of pure grim cult black metal. Well, plenty has changed, and now it seems, outside of a handful of bands from elsewhere, a lot of the truly important, personal and risk taking BM bands come from the US. In fact a good handful of our favorite BM comes from right here in California. If you've been following the AQ list, you've probably become plenty obsessed with the likes of Xasthur, Leviathan, Draugar and Inquisition. And rightfully so. In terms of black metal, these bands have been taking the sound of classic black metal and twisting it to suit their own devices, whether it's Leviathan's post rock flecked avant garde weirdness, or Draugar's demented brain melting confusional freak out, or Xasthur's doomy ultra depressive moodiness, they all offer totally unique and highly personal musical visions filtered through each group's singular perception of what black metal is and sounds like. But outside of black metal, each of these bands is making a wholly unique sound, a dark and dangerous outsider art, based in black metal certainly, but offering up totally original, bizarre and beautiful slabs of droney, dirgey, pummeling, pounding, ambient, abstract musical vision. Most black metal aficionados will no doubt be familiar with many of these bands, but those of you who can't get enough of all the above mentioned bands might find some new bands to obsess over. Mostly exclusive tracks from Leviathan, Xasthur (a Manes cover!), Draugar, Krieg, Azrael, Demoncy, Inquisition, Teratism, Thralldom, Cobalt, Engorge, Typhus, Summon, Bahimiron, Kult Ov Azazel, Harvist and Hordes Of The Lunar Eclipse.
XASTHUR "Maane's Natt" MPEG Stream:
LEVIATHAN "Hissing And Sullen" MPEG Stream:
DRAUGAR "Running From Us"
V/A Devil's Triangle (Illinoisan Thunder) cd-r 8.98
Raw Hatred, Vampyro, and Tjolgtjar together on one blackly blasphemous cd-r!
V/A Downer Rock Genocide (Audio Archives) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We know people who work at other record stores give each other gifts of music for birthdays and Christmas. Makes sense, that's what they love, right? But from another perspective, there's something just a little too easy about that... "here, I bought you this from the store where we all work". So, 'cause of that, here at AQ we don't have much of a tradition of giving cds and lps as presents. But, Allan was thankful that Andee broke with tradition last year and mailordered him a copy of this hard to find cd for Xmas. (Andee got himself one too, of course). And now we've finally managed to contact the label directly, over in England, and order a few to sell here at AQ as well. Definitely any lover of early '70s proto-metal heaviness needs to put this on their wish list. Downer Rock Genocide is a collection of super rare tracks by some really obscure heavy psych/prog acts who kicked around the same scene as early Black Sabbath. And it's pretty darn killer. There's 16 tracks by 14 bands, here they are: Flying Hat Band, Clear Blue Sky, Necromandus, Egor, Monument, Iron Maiden, Gnidrolog, Iron Claw, Red Dirt, Slowbone, Bram Stoker, Hackensack, Bum, and Writing On The Wall. We'd heard of some but others were new to us, unearthed from way down deep in the murky underground of decades past. Too many gems here to talk about 'em all, but we'll mention a few... Flying Hat Band (2 tracks from them, from a never released 1973 album) was where Glenn Tipton hung (flung?) his hat and slung his axe before joining up with Judas Priest. No wonder they hired him! We'd never heard FHB's stuff before, and already this comp is worth it just for the badass rockin' doom of their first cut, "Seventh Plain". It's like Comus meets Judas Priest! Clear Blue Sky, who also contribute two demo tracks, is one of the bands we -had- heard before (their album is a Sabbathy treat). And Sabbath lovers will really want this for "Nightjar" by the Tony Iommi produced Necromandus, easily that band's heaviest and best track. So good. What else? The Iron Maiden on here is NOT the Iron Maiden you're familiar with, it's another, earlier band with the same name but a much doomier disposition. Actually who they really sound like is Wishbone Ash, Argus-era, all folky and epic. Gnidrolog is another one we knew, a great, super dramatic prog act in the vein of Van Der Graaf Generator, who offer up their doomiest "Long Live Man Dead". Red Dirt are a gruff slice of raw, primitive bluesy heaviness, that just got Cup to remark "that music has hairy balls!". Iron Claw kick out the jams big time on "Lightning" from a 1971 cassette only release, Egor tear it up on the blown-out live track "Street" also from '71, Hackensack deliver some wild fuzzed out soloing and wailing vocals on their kick ass cut "River Boat" circa '72, and Bum bring us the pagan "God Of Darkness" from way back in '68. Did Sabbath hear these guys? All of it good stuff for fans of bands like Sabbath, Budgie, Leaf Hound, High Tide... and Witchcraft today. Give yourself the gift of downer rock. Some of these tracks are from albums, many are demos or archival live recordings. So sound quality varies, but not the occult-inspired, heavy-riffing, proto-metal awesomeness.
FLYING HAT BAND "Seventh Plain" MPEG Stream:
NECROMANDUS "Night Jar"
V/A Drum>MachineGun (Relapse) cd 14.98
The humble drum machine. It's had a tumultuous existence, equally loathed and loved, no more so than in metal (where for the most part it tends to be loathed). Without it, there's be no techno, or hip hop, or grime or industrial music. Or maybe there would be, but it would sound drastically different. It opened up a whole new world of sound, allowing musicians to program beats and sounds that they couldn't necessarily play or make themselves. So it was only a matter of time before extreme musicians discovered the sort of speed and brutality one could wring from that little box. It's nothing new, metal bands, grind bands and the like have been using drum machines for ages, but as extreme music gets more aggressive, more fucked up, more complex and more extreme, folks making this sort of music are pushing the limits of what a drum machine can do. Before, a band couldn't be any faster than their drummer could play. Now there is no limit, 100 bpm, 200 bpm, 300 bpm or more, speed is now no longer an issue. Nor is arrangement. Now a deft drum machine programmer can fit millions of beats and an insane number of different rhythms into a one minute song. Faster, more furious, more freaked out, we love it. From the murky blackened dizzyingly complex mechanical drums of black metal outfits like Draugar, to the pounding industrial grooves of Godflesh, to the lightning fast blasts of Agoraphobic Nosebleed, we can't get enough, we love the sputtering stuttering pounding skittering drum machine. Not as a replacement for real drums, and a real drummer (lord knows that usually the best part of seeing a band live is seeing a kick ass drummer totally destroy) but as another tool in the already formidable arsenal. So here we have Drum>MachineGun, an audio report on the current state of grind. And metal. And more specifically, just what these grindmetal freaks are doing with their drum machines. And what they're doing is totally fucking mind blowing and face melting and completely confounding. Forget about music you think is fast, or heavy, or complicated, or freaked out, or fucked up. Because whatever you think, these songs, and these bands are more. Much more. 20 bands playing 67 songs in 73 minutes. Average song length about a minute. Average number of parts per song? More than our puny minds can handle. If you could imagine the most insane, most complicated, heaviest weirdest grindmetal band in the world, this comp is the record they would make. Each band linked in some ways, sometimes obviously, sometimes not so. But it makes for an incredibly cohesive listen. Which is rare for comps in general, especially one with 20 bands and almost 70 songs. Probably our favorite discovery amongst the bunch is Noism, who might possible be our new favorite band. Imagine a group that sounded like a skipping Pig Destroyer cd. Or like multiple Agoraphobic Nosebleed cds playing at the same time. A totally mind blowing freaked out shredfest, impossibly convoluted rhythms, bizarre and brutal riffage, splattered all over the place, but sometimes lopping and skipping into bizarre industrial metal breakdowns, like a death metal Oval or something. Drum patters that are mind blowingly complex, and chugging squiggly guitars that somehow sync up perfectly. It's like a super scratched up, skipping grindcore 45, played at 90 rpm. We are dying for more than these 5 minutes. Then there's Jet Jaguar Kr3 Kill Spree, maybe the weirdest of the bunch. Imagine any of the other bands on this comp, having their blasting grind picked apart, chopped into tiny pieces and then flung haphazardly into a swirling black froth by V/VM or someone equally demented. An industrialized black metal music concrete. There are riffs and harsh vocals and all that but they are scattered amidst all sorts of bizarre sounds, damaged FX, and random looped samples. Some familiar AQ faves are present as well as a whole bunch of bands we'd never even heard of but were immediately blown away by. On the familiar side, BIG faves Black Mayonnaise, who we hadn't really expected to find on this comp, but they do indeed employ the machine made drums, although BM use them much differently. A sludgy ambient freaked out drug dirge world of fucked up home recorded doom. Noxious ambience, dense clouds of grinding guitar grrr and swooping FX drenched synths, all over a relentlessly pounding simple machine made beat. Like Hawkwind with a drum machine, or a super blissed out on-the-nod Butthole Surfers, a deliriously dark lugubrious creepy crawl. And no drum machine grind comp would be complete without Agoraphobic Nosebleed, the patron saints of mechanical grind, the lords of drum machine destruction. A technical grind metal juggernaut, who choose to instead indulge their industrial techno jones here, spewing forth a thick wash of pounding doom drenched gabber, with creepy vocal snippets, whirling clouds of synth fuzz and lo-fi hiss, all over a relentless 4/4 pound. Then there's Nemo, who we last heard from years ago on a split cd released by the now defunct Rage Of Achilles label. And we went absolutely apeshit for their new wave video game death metal grind. Wishing for a full length that never came. Thankfully not much has changed. If anything, they've gotten weirder and faster and more fucked up. It's like classic eighties metal chopped up and sped up, splattered with drum machines, run through some 16 bit video game system, and then performed by some grind metal super group. Yowza! On the new to us side of things, there's Mecha Bongzilla, who we're tempted to believe is Bongzilla's faster, less stoned alterego, but it's a bit hard to tell. One track is downtuned buzzing blurry techgrind, but with INSANE vocals, like some alien gargling with a mouthful of kazoos and croaking frogs. Although their other track is downright sludgy and doomy so who knows? Also, Mad Cow who spit out weird echoey blast beats and spastic rhythmic splatter underneath thick sheets of low end guitar grind and super fucked black vomit vocals. Oh and a bunch of bird calls, monkey sounds, and a totally bizarre sped up super affected Elizabeth Clare Prophet sample right in the middle!!!! Woah! Ok, it'll probably be easier to go through the rest of the bands in list form: Artificial Intelligence Agency: more of a strange series of interludes, mostly weird sound effects, movie snippets, found sounds, bizarre FX, and only the occasional bit of music, and it's NOT metal, more some sort of weird ambient porno funk. Voltron: chugging super fast gurgling vocalled death metal grind, with guitars and vocals so indistinct they are just blurs of low end sound and of course lightning fast drum machine blasts. Submachine Drum: murky lo-fi industrial grind, so fast it's all a dizzying blur of hyperspeed drums and looped processed guitar riffs. Slough: Not related to the similarly named Slough Feg... and take away the Feg and you've got a guttural grindmetal shred fest. Impossibly downtuned guitars, all a growing gurgling blur. Scumfusion: some seriously shredding grind, but with plenty of wheedily lead guitars, grinding sludge metal riffs over ridiculously fast rhythms and super weird processed vocals, that sound like some underwater alien. Surprisingly melodic, but still furious and fierce, pounding and pummeling. Prosthetic Cunt: We reviewed these guys' full length ages ago, a gleefully perverse and sick sick sick take on ultragrossoutgrind. Super blown out guitars and a drummachine cranked to 11 and programmed at about 300 BPM. And of course lots of goofy movie samples. Ocrilim: No comp of insanely technical grind would be complete without some Mick Barr madness. Ocrilim is Barr (Orthrelm, Octis, Crom Tech) shredding wildly to sputtering spastic machine drums. SO insanely inspired but incredibly hard on the ears. In a good way. Nerve Not Found: Prog gone grind. Keyboards swoop in and out of super complicated arrangements. Like the Locust covering Magma. Hellz Army: Pounding DHR style industrial gabber. Big static repeating guitar riffs and pounding four on the floor drum machine pummel with bizarre samples of fifties rock, Space Ghost and tons of other random weirdness. Genghis Tron: We sure do love these guys. Imagine Slayer sped up to impossible speeds, a grinding super technical satanic death metal, then mix in a bunch of fuzzed out new wave synths, hip hop breakbeats, samples and prepare to have your mind melt. Decomposing Serenity: These guys represent the old school. Super blow out death metal gore grind. Downtuned riffing, chugging guitars, machine made blast beats, and a vast array of gurgling, strangled, alien, monster growls. Bits of this are almost even funky, making them sound at times like a gore grind Chili Peppers. Data Clast: Another grind new wave hybrid, but with a bit of a prog bent. Heavy and super pummeling but with plenty of thick fuzzy synths, and convoluted song structures, complex arrangements, and processed guitars that skip and stutter as much as they riff. And of course some huge slow and low grumbling monster gurgle vocals. Cocoon: Stretched out industrial black ambience, one of the few tracks whose drum machines are more a part of their whole vibe than the driving focal point. Crackling, rumbling drones, clouds of drifting glitch, and shuffling stuttering rhythms, an ominous dreamlike subtly drum machined drift. This is the kind of record that leaves you bruised and bloody, beaten and exhausted. Like having the musical shit kicked out of you. This is a seriously intense bout of heavy listening. Hard listening. Nothing easy about this at all. Super furious, totally relentless, loud as fuck, faster than a speeding bullet, grinding and gurgling and bellowing and blasting and skipping and looping and crushing and pulverizing and pummeling and shrieking and shredding and so goddamn amazing.
THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY "1" MPEG Stream:
DATA CLAST "2" MPEG Stream:
NOISM "11" MPEG Stream:
JET JAGUAR KR3 KILL SPREE "17" MPEG Stream:
PROSTHETIC CUNT "30" MPEG Stream:
NEMO "37" MPEG Stream:
DECOMPOSING SERENITY "40" MPEG Stream:
MECH BONGZILLA "42"
V/A Dutch Assault (Relapse) cd 14.98
Ok, so far this Relapse series has visited Brazil, Poland, Japan, the Czech Republic, and Sweden, and all of those comps were pretty great, solid purchases for any grind/death metal fan looking to do some armchair travel. So why make single out this Dutch entry as a highlight? Well we think that at least two of the four bands on here take extreme metal to extremes that maybe would appeal to not necessarily just metal fans. If you're the sort of AQ customer who revels in fucked up sonic fuckery, who digs silly weird noisy music of any variety, you should check this out. A band called Suppository start things off in righteous grindcore mode, blasting through ten tracks at a zillion kilometers per hour, pausing only occasionally for a humorous audio sample as per grindcore standard operating procedure. Good stuff. Then, Eindhoven's Last Days of Humanity take over with nine tracks of even faster and nastier grind, with titles like "Decrepitated Regurgitation In Foetal Leprosy". Wow, that's morbid and gross sounding, yes, but does it even make sense? Lyrics aside, what's really notable about this band are the amazing vocals. This singer may in fact have the most extreme, low-end, belching, vomitous voice we've ever heard. Incredible and inhuman, a rumbling drone instrument unto itself. And the band's music is as shreddingly-distorted to match. But then, when you think *that* was some crazy grind, comes band number three, S.M.E.S., who are all about silly drum-machine dance beats, and super grunty vocals. Vocals that I'd say are even more bowel-scraping that those of Last Days of Humanity, but it turns out it's the same guy. Apparently S.M.E.S. is the solo project of Last Days singer Erwin. S.M.E.S. sorta sounds like an electronic polka mixed with a Chris Watson field recording (lion, rhinoceros, and birds perhaps). A grind rave safari? Erwin must be taking the piss, but regardless these five totally cracked tracks are pretty freaking great. Batting clean-up, Inhume can't hope to compete with that sort of ridiculousness, so they just stick to providing four straight-forward tracks of killer grind. RRRRrrrrrrrragh!! So, Holland makes a strong showing here. If you're only gonna get one foreign four-way split grind comp this year, Dutch Assault maybe oughta be it!
LAST DAYS OF HUMANITY "Morbid Phallus Grinder" MPEG Stream:
S.M.E.S. "Cricket Bat Man"
V/A Eight Acts Of Origin (Raging Bloodlust) lp 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Killer black metal comp featuring exclusive tracks from a few big time aQ faves, the mere mention of which should probably have most of you metalheads frothing at the mouth. Which is good since we only got 20 of these and apparently it's already out of print. So check it out. AKITSA. ASH POOL. WOODS OF INFINITY. Yep, that's all we needed too, to know we had to get some of these. But there are also tracks from Darkest Grove, Pagan Hellfire, Morker, Gaszimmer and Nasheim. Indeed. Here's a quick rundown of the bands and their tracks: Akitsa: A surprisingly plodding dirgey jam, filthy and blackened, raw and grim, with an awesome woozy main riff. Darkest Grove: Some seriously primitive thrashing blackness, the drums buried beneath a layer of relentless old school black metal, grunty growly vocals and soaring epic choruses. Pagan Hellfire: Another blast of brittle lo-fi black metal, plenty raw and buzzy, with a cool loping bridge, and some crazy wheedly guitar shreddery. Ash Pool: Fuck yeah. Been far too long since we've gotten some Ash Pool. Totally fucked up and genius. A damaged gnarled main riff, so killer, woven into a dense mathy arrangements with some lurching start stops, the drums muffled and thumpy but plenty chaotic, the vocals howled then shrieked, and like all Ash Pool, a weird undercurrent of unlikely poppiness. Morker: Super epic, ultra melodic midtempo black metal, that reminds us of Lifelover, melancholy, almost poppy, with an explosion of frenzied blackness near the end of the track. Gaszimmer: These guys give up some WAY lo-fi, practice space, demo tape black metal pound, muted, muffled, the guitars buzzy and brittle, but with an awesome vocalist, who has a sort of maniacal froggy croak, which balances the other, cleaner chantlike vocals. Nasheim: Super abstract and cinematic, and seemingly barely even black metal, epic, sweeping, melodic, like the music that would be playing during the credits of some black metal anime. So weird, but really awesome. Woods Of Infinity: A lurching, tripped out damaged blackened dirge from these weirdos. Mournful guitars laced with off kilter electronics, dueling tortured vocals, howling and crooning and wailing, the whole thing warped and wacked and awesome. Comes with a huge 4 page, 12" x 12" booklet, with band logos, liner notes and lyrics. And fair warning, there is some NSBM action happening here, Gaszimmer is the only blatantly NS band of the bunch, but the title with all the 88 symbolism, and one or two of the tracks, definitely problematic, so if you can look past that stuff, or ignore it, and maybe just get it for Ash Pool and Akitsa and Woods Of Infinity, or just dig the music and pay no heed to whatever lame politics are happening, or maybe just skip/ignore the Gaszimmer track, definitely an awesome collection, otherwise, you have been warned, steer clear. LIMITED TO 488 COPIES, each one hand numbered. Already sold out, last copies ever.
V/A Electro Grind Gore Compilation (Alarma Recs) cd 14.98
Back in stock! (And, also, when we reviewed this a few weeks ago, we spaced out and somehow listed it under the title of Electro Grind Holocaust, which is a totally different comp on the same label, whoops!) For those of you who just flipped over our recent Record Of The Week selection the Drum>MachineGun compilation, and want MORE crazed drum machine grindcore insanity, this other collection entitled Electro Grind Gore Compilation should also be of interest! It's slanted a bit more toward the underground and obscure than the Drum>MachineGun comp, and also more towards the porno/gore obsessed side of this bizarre metal/punk subgenre -- a subgenre that features, as displayed here, razor sharp spastic guitar riffage, techno dance beats, belching death metal grunts and growls (some so subsonically extreme that they sound like bubblings from below the earth), non-sequitorial samples (often offensive and, um, humorous), and lots of bleepy bleepy bleargh distortion and noise. There's a unexpectedly high catchiness quotient, in spots, but these tracks are definitely utterly maddening at the same time. It's kind of a "chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter" deal with the electro danciness and the harsh splattermetalgrindnoise in collision. In fact, it's kind of unclear just who this sort of music is supposed to appeal to: we can't imagine techno fans digging all the noise and gore, and we didn't think so many metalheads liked techno-dance beats -- but I guess we were wrong! Of course we like it, so... Electro Grind Gore contains 28 tracks from 17 bands, most of whom we'd never heard of before. Some names: Atomik Surfing, Shunt Incision, Basket Of Death, Vomitrone, Skrotum, 666.Porn.Star, SMES, Posthuman Worm, Absurd God, Tourette Syndrom, Firbrosarcoma... A very international line-up indeed, the bands hailing from Brazil, Japan, Mexico, France, Croatia, Holland, Germany, Panama, Spain, Australia, and Italy. It's a veritable World Cup of sick underground electro grind! While here at Aquarius we're better versed in black metal, doom, and "true" metal, if we ever do decide to turn this drum machine fueled electronic grindcore deviancy into an AQ specialty, we'd definitely start by tracking down more stuff by the bands on this comp!
TOURETTE SYNDROM "Giggle Geriatric Gypse Giggolo" MPEG Stream:
FIBROSARCOMA "Angiokeratoma" MPEG Stream:
SKROTUM "I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll"
V/A Entering The Levitation: A Tribute To Skepticism (Foreshadow) 2cd 10.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** In honor of the first new Skepticism record in 5 years, we figured we oughta relist this tribute to Skepticism, easily one of the best tribute albums we've heard in ages, some of the covers are just as good if not better (okay, maybe not better, but damn close) than the originals! Some of our favorite doom bands take on their masters, as well as a whole mess of new bands we hadn't heard until this here collection... The world may be full of doom and gloom, and your shelves may be bursting at the seams will all manner of slow motion sludge and funereal dirges, but there was a time, when true doom wasn't so easy to come by, the world wasn't prepared for slow motion misery and abject musical miserablism, but we were, and we hunted and searched, and thus we discovered Finland's Skepticism. The heaviest, most beautiful, most perplexingly atmospheric music we had yet encountered. It was so washed out and dreamy it was barely metal. So slow and pretty it almost sounded choral. We described the music of Skepticism as sounding like sitting in a church, while a doom metal band practiced in the basement, the huge thudding crush, barely audible through the floor, the sounds intertwining with the warm whir of the church organ, some strangely spiritual sonic confluence, that was as magical as it was mysterious. And it wasn't just us. The sound of Skepticism spoke to all sorts of people, metalheads, doomlords, drone freeks, weirdo music obsessives, and it made perfect sense, as it was all those things, metal, doom, drone, weird. Add to that, lovely, haunting, creepy, ominous and absolutely fucking brilliant. So here we have a double disc tribute to the masters of slow motion doomed beauty, from a handful of bands, as with most comps, many we'd never heard of, a few we were already big fans of. And also with tributes, how do you pay tribute to a music that is already so perfect? Do you try to sound as much like it as possible, or change it into something else entirely? Somehow, all of the bands here have managed a little bit of both, enough that this is a gorgeous and epic funereal doom record all the way through. Pretty enough to appeal to folks who just like their music dark and dreamy, but heavy enough to mesmerize the blackest hearted of metalheads. Right out of the gate, Nest (who we'd never heard of) offer up a 14 minute version of a track off the first Skepticism, and do their own sort of blissed out reverential dronedoom version which might be our favorite track on the comp. Stretches of lilting acoustic guitars over rumbling drones, separated by shimmering keyboards and slow plodding muted riffs, so soft it's barely metal at all, more a sort of droning slowcore. Much like the original, but even more soft and shimmery. The rest of disc one, offer up more traditional doom versions of Skepticism classics, but each twisted and tweaked enough to be a good fresh listen. The final track on disc one, "The Organium" by Oktor, might be the weirdest, a sort of industrialized, mechanical stumbling doom lurch, with sung / spoken deep crooned vocals. Weird but super cool. The highlight of disc two is of course Rigor Sardonicous, who we of course LOVE, and who do a killer version of "Chorale", beginning with backwards guitars, which eventually morph into a massive downtuned dirge, with that mournful melody buried in the mix, and the strangely loud cymbals we love so much (see some of our other RS reviews about that). The other groups on the second disc definitely take their liberties, Calmsite, turn their track into almost death metal, Aarni give Skepticism a folky makeover, and It Will Come, start out slow and sludgy, but then slip into some sort of drifting post rock slowcore. It's all pretty awesome. How bad could it be starting with Skepticism songs after all?! But either way, this is an awesome collection of intense and beautiful, slow sad heavy dooooooooom, that most definitely does Skepticism proud.
RIGOR SARDONICOUS "Chorale" MPEG Stream:
MONOLITHE "Edges" MPEG Stream:
SHROUD OF BEREAVEMENT "Forge"
V/A Everything Comes & Goes - Black Sabbath Tribute (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
We remember when Temporary Residence's Jeremy Devine was first putting this tribute to Ozzy-years Sabbath together, some years ago. Before The Osbournes, the Sabbath Ozzfest reunions, the Kelly and Jack backlash, etc. etc. At long last, though, he's finally got it finished. And for Sabbath fans (aren't you one??) it's good fun, and might be a neat way to introduce some young indie-rock-only friend of yours to the music of the best band ever (sez Allan). There's an odd, random assortment of participants to be found here, none of 'em metal bands, and they take a variety of approaches to the material at hand... Wisely, several opt for doing instrumental versions, cutting back on the amount of faux-Ozzy crooning, the likely failure of which would have detracted from what turns out to be a quite enjoyable collection. Thankfully, also, the rule that the weirder and less-like-the-original a cover is, the better, is generally observed here as well. Briefly, track-by-track: Track 1, Matmos. Taking the piss? They do the non-song "Fx" off of Vol. 4. A good joke, and very Matmos appropriate. Track 2, here Japan's Ruins almost render the rest of the compilation obsolete, cramming almost every famous Sabbath riff into one of their insane medlies! Wow. This also appeared as a bonus track on their last album Tzomborgha, though. Track 3, a blissful post-rock instrumental version of "Black Sabbath" from Grails, lacking the menace of the original but enhancing the melodicism. Track 4, Fourtet. Lovely. But is it really "Iron Man"? Definitely the least recognizable cover on here. Which gets a lot of points 'cause of the rule mentioned above. Track 5, Curtis Harvey (of Rex and Pullman) and friends turn in a kinda No Depression country-folk version of "Changes" with female vocals. Real nice and a darn sight better than Ozzy n' Kelly! Track 6, Paul Newman do "Fairies Wear Boots". More instrumental post rock (hey this IS on Temporary Residence) and very very good. A fine interpretation, recognizable yet renewed, wound up with that post rock tension... Track 7, The Anomoanon play and sing "Planet Caravan". One of Sabbath's most haunting numbers, not "heavy", well-suited to these folks. A respectful cover that you should try on any Sabbath-haters. It can't be denied. A spacey, psychedelic, folky beauty. Track 8, shifts moods again, as the maniacs known as Racebannon fuck shit up with a noisy rampage through "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". Their art-punk-mayhem is the most racous thing on here so far, and certainly captures the "going insane" vibe of mid-to-late Ozzy era Sabbath. Track 9, maybe the odd one out here, and not only 'cause we have no idea who Greeness w/ Philly G is (thankfully Philly G is not a rapper, indeed, he's got the Ozziest vox on the comp). Whoever they are, they do a grunge by way of the Butthole Surfers run-through of stoner nugget "Sweet Leaf" that ends this comp with a clear reminder of Sabbath's riff mastery. Overall, something like this is hard to review -- curiousity as much as anything ought to compel fans of the Sabs and/or any of these artists to pick this up. We certainly can say that this is a varied and enjoyable listen!!
PAUL NEWMAN "Fairies Wear Boots" MPEG Stream:
THE ANOMOANON "Planet Caravan"
V/A Everything Comes & Goes - Black Sabbath Tribute (Temporary Residence Ltd.) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We remember when Temporary Residence's Jeremy Devine was first putting this tribute to Ozzy-years Sabbath together, some years ago. Before The Osbournes, the Sabbath Ozzfest reunions, the Kelly and Jack backlash, etc. etc. At long last, though, he's finally got it finished. And for Sabbath fans (aren't you one??) it's good fun, and might be a neat way to introduce some young indie-rock-only friend of yours to the music of the best band ever (sez Allan). There's an odd, random assortment of participants to be found here, none of 'em metal bands, and they take a variety of approaches to the material at hand... Wisely, several opt for doing instrumental versions, cutting back on the amount of faux-Ozzy crooning, the likely failure of which would have detracted from what turns out to be a quite enjoyable collection. Thankfully, also, the rule that the weirder and less-like-the-original a cover is, the better, is generally observed here as well. Briefly, track-by-track: Track 1, Matmos. Taking the piss? They do the non-song "Fx" off of Vol. 4. A good joke, and very Matmos appropriate. Track 2, here Japan's Ruins almost render the rest of the compilation obsolete, cramming almost every famous Sabbath riff into one of their insane medlies! Wow. This also appeared as a bonus track on their last album Tzomborgha, though. Track 3, a blissful post-rock instrumental version of "Black Sabbath" from Grails, lacking the menace of the original but enhancing the melodicism. Track 4, Fourtet. Lovely. But is it really "Iron Man"? Definitely the least recognizable cover on here. Which gets a lot of points 'cause of the rule mentioned above. Track 5, Curtis Harvey (of Rex and Pullman) and friends turn in a kinda No Depression country-folk version of "Changes" with female vocals. Real nice and a darn sight better than Ozzy n' Kelly! Track 6, Paul Newman do "Fairies Wear Boots". More instrumental post rock (hey this IS on Temporary Residence) and very very good. A fine interpretation, recognizable yet renewed, wound up with that post rock tension... Track 7, The Anomoanon play and sing "Planet Caravan". One of Sabbath's most haunting numbers, not "heavy", well-suited to these folks. A respectful cover that you should try on any Sabbath-haters. It can't be denied. A spacey, psychedelic, folky beauty. Track 8, shifts moods again, as the maniacs known as Racebannon fuck shit up with a noisy rampage through "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". Their art-punk-mayhem is the most racous thing on here so far, and certainly captures the "going insane" vibe of mid-to-late Ozzy era Sabbath. Track 9, maybe the odd one out here, and not only 'cause we have no idea who Greeness w/ Philly G is (thankfully Philly G is not a rapper, indeed, he's got the Ozziest vox on the comp). Whoever they are, they do a grunge by way of the Butthole Surfers run-through of stoner nugget "Sweet Leaf" that ends this comp with a clear reminder of Sabbath's riff mastery. Overall, something like this is hard to review -- curiousity as much as anything ought to compel fans of the Sabs and/or any of these artists to pick this up. We certainly can say that this is a varied and enjoyable listen!!
PAUL NEWMAN "Fairies Wear Boots" MPEG Stream:
THE ANOMOANON "Planet Caravan"
V/A Fals.ch FB50 (Mego) 3"cd-rom 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The second compilation of the Mego affiliated online audio/visual community Fals.ch. Compiled by Fals.ch heads Florian Hecker and Oswald Berthold, FB50 collects audio works by artists featured in the last 24 online "releases": Koji Asano, COH, cd_slopper, poire_z, Atau Tanaka, Ulf Bilting & Zbigniew Karkowski, *0, Pain Jerk, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, Martin Ng & Jim Denley, Frank Metzger and more! Also exclusive tracks by Mego artists General Magic, gcttcatt, Evol, J.O.K.E. and i.d. There are also a few multimedia goodies included in addition to MP3s: a Merzbow A/V loop, an excerpt of a Francisco Lopez performance and a cryptic file courtesy those Gescom pranksters. In fact, the Gescom file is an incredibly hilarious standalone application that makes your computer seem like it's being hijacked by glitch terrorists! Trick your friends and coworkers into believing your hard disk is being trashed right before your eyes! Fun as shit!
V/A Fenriz Presents: The Best Of Old-School Black Metal (Peaceville) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Okay, if you could choose anyone to make you a classic black metal mix tape, who would it be? Andee? Allan? Well, yeah obviously, but we mean what if you could choose ANYONE? Yep, we'd probably pick Fenriz too. Leader of the mighty Darkthrone, Fenriz definitely knows his black metal first hand. And his selections certainly demonstrate that. And there's even some unlikely choices that perhaps indicate some friend rock influence. But even so, this is a seriously kick ass, introduction to TRUE, CULT old-school black metal. Tracks from Blasphemy, Sarcofago, Celtic Frost, Nattefrost, Mercyful Fate, Sodom, Tormentor, Aura Noir, Destruction, Samael, Bulldozer, Mayhem, Hellhammer, Burzum, Venom and Bathory. Plus cool, funny liner notes. Recommended schoolin'.
HELLHAMMER "The Third Of The Storms" MPEG Stream:
BURZUM "Ea, Lord Of The Deeps"
V/A For The Sick: A Tribute To Eyehategod (Emetic) 2cd 13.98
In the realms of extreme metal, few bands have had as much impact as NOLA doom sludge legends Eyehategod. Even if said impact is based solely on the number of bands who cite them as a musical influence (read: totally ripped off their sound). Do you think we'd have Cavity, Mistress, Floor, Dove, Monarch, Khanate, Goatsblood, Iron Monkey, Bongzilla, Khanate, Moho, Zoroaster, Graves At Sea, Shallow North Dakota, Sourvein, Crowbar, Dot [.], Fleshpress, Marzuraan, Toadliquor, Wellington, Weedeater, Ramesses, Electric Wizard or any of about a million other downtuned doom metal sludge bands without Eyehategod? Don't think so. So finally, Eyehategod get their due, in the form of, a two disc tribute album, For The Sick, a massive collection of sonic prayers from various worshippers at the throne of Eyehategod. Lots of the above mentioned bands, as well as loads of other heavy headz like Cable, Bowel, Alabama Thunderpussy, Deadbird, Kylesa, Brutal Truth, Byzantine, Raging Speedhorn, Total Fucking Destruction, Minsk, Lair Of The Minotaur, Bloody Panda, Mouth Of The Architect, Swarm Of The Lotus, Kill The Client and loads more! Most folks will want to buy this already either because they LOVE Eyehategod, and need to own anything even peripherally related, want to hear their favorite EHG songs done by some of their other favorite EHG acolytes, or they love some or all of the bands involved. Probably for most of us it's all three. Two discs, over two hours, a veritable downtuned doomsludge orgy, guitars grind, low end throbs and buzzes, riffs are glacial and soul crushing, squealing serpentine feedback all over the place, vocals are spittle spewing glass gargling, throat shredding howls, every track a tarpit dirge with pummeling pounding drums, and that strange slowed down almost-groove that seems to lurk within every EHG song no matter how slow or blown out. Hard not to recommend this. It's slow, heavy, crushing, and it's got some of the most amazing songs ever! "Sister Fucker", "White Nigger", "My Name Is God (I Hate You)", "Kill Your Boss" (What?! No "Hit A Girl"?!) Positive vibes, not. If somehow you've managed to miss out on Eyehategod, drop everything and run out and pick up Dopesick or In The Name Of Suffering or Take As Needed For Pain, and then once you're properly indoctrinated into the cult of EHG, come on back and pick this up. The rest of you sludge heads already know you need this...
DOT [.] "Man Is To Ignorant To Exist" MPEG Stream:
KYLESA "Left To Starve" MPEG Stream:
BRUTAL TRUTH "Sister Fucker" MPEG Stream:
BURIED AT SEA "White Nigger"
V/A From The Entrails To The Dirt (End All Life) cd 11.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** We figured that since we were reviewing two collections of old Deathspell Omega stuff on this list, that we oughta get a few of these back in, as a few folks probably missed out on this amazing comp when it first came out, featuring as it does excluive Deathspell stuff as well as exclusive music from Antaeus, Mutiilation and Malicious Secrets! Originally released as a series of SUPER limited split vinyl eps, a 7", a 10" and a 12", each teaming up bizarre mysterious French black metallers Malicious Secrets with some of their more well known countrymen: Antaeus, Mutiilation and Deathspell Omega. Holy shit! You might as well stop reading right now and order one of these as fast as you can. You shouldn't even need us to tell you how totally fucking mindblowing this comp is. Antaeus offer up a short buzzing blast of ultra grim blackness, a fuzzed out blur of droning black metal, downtuned guitars, blown out lightning fast blast beats, guttural growls, the whole thing a white hot lo-fi blast of utter brutality. Then of course there's Mutiilation, who not only offer up a reverb drenched burst of atmospheric blackened buzz, also super lo-fi, blasting and buzzing, and hauntingly creepy crawly like it was recorded in a cave or at the bottom of a well, but they also do a cover of Sinatra's "My Way"! But you wouldn't necessarily know it, the croonsome original becomes a harsh pitchfork to the head, dripping with thick droney guitars and shrieking black howls, although it does have a super cool, riffy sort of un-metal breakdown in the middle. Most of you will need this for the final track, a brand new, exclusive to this comp 20 minute epic from Deathspell Omega, rife with impossibly obtuse riffs, weird atonal guitar skree, super complex rhythms, haunting ambient dronescapes, weird math-metal breakdowns, and of course some of the fiercest fucked up black metal ever. Woah. As if that weren't enough, let's not forget the three tracks from Malicious Secrets, each of their three tracks from the splits are totally dizzying swirls of ultra fucked up, BIZARRE black metal, riffs are bent and twisted into impossible shapes, blasting drums are sprayed wildly all over the place, each song is a serpentine, non-linear sonic mindfuck, a huge spastic black churning whirlpool, with little bits of riff or little streaks of blast beat surfacing now and again, while over the whole thing the vocalist moans and groans, low and haunting, each syllable stretched into long drawn out bellows, sometimes breaking into hacking coughs or throat clearing before once again returning to an utterly agonizing wail. So totally fucked up and so totally amazing!
MUTIILATION "My Way" MPEG Stream:
DEATHSPELL OMEGA "Mass Grave Aesthetics"
V/A Grave Command: All Hallowed Hymns (Unseen Forces) picture disc 14.98
Not sure what the theme of this compilation is, but it hardly matters, cuz holy shit is it amazing. From the art to the nearly all exclusive tracks, from a weird array of outfits from weirdo Finnish black metal to kosmische synth wranglers! Might as well just give a run down track by track... Ghoul are up first, but instead of their usual brand of metallic mayhem, offer up a creepy ominous pipe organ intro. Yep, just pipe organ, which leads directly into a track by late great eighties Portland true (Christian) metal band Xinr, whose track of Judas Priest style classic metal KILLS, replete with deranged laughter, and badass vox that are weird and warped but so good. Local Sabbath soundalikes Orchid deliver another dose of uncanny Ozzy era Sab worship, and as always, it's a dead ringer for the original, and thus, sounds amazing! Then our favorite fucked up weirdo black metal Finns, Ride For Revenge spew a filthy primitive caveman dirge metal pound, all practice space drums, crumbling distorted guitars, growled demonic vokills, and even when they crank it up to doubletime, it's still a woozy midtempo churn. The A side finishes off with Xander Harris, and some super rad, creepy Carpenter like soundtrack synthscapery, ominous and sinister, totally kick ass retro slasher flick score for sure! The flipside starts off with Grave Violators, who we had never heard before, and who traffic in grinding blackened thrash, with some seriously unhinged vocals. The mighty Deceased are up next with some classic metal menace, brand new, but sounds like it could have been recorded back in the day. Occultation follow, and deliver what might be one of the best tracks here, a sprawling epic of witchy proggy female fronted doom, epic and haunting and heavy, definitely need to hear more! Up next, also new to us Venenum, who kick out some serious progged out metallic Voivodisms, with echo drenched vox and some twisted arrangements, and finally, Danava finish things off, and like Ghoul, forego their usual sounds and finish things off with the perfect outro, all creepy synth horror movie madness. So good. And perfect for Halloween listening. And incredible packaged, garish cartoony cover art, which is also featured on the A side of the picture disc, the B side an even darker creepier drawing, and as things things usually are, quite limited, only 1000 copies.
V/A Grind Bastards 2 - For The Grind Freaks (Grave / Grindfreaks) cd 14.98
Worth it for the first 51 seconds alone, a mind blowing blast of furious pop flecked grind, but heck, there's also a shit ton of blasting grinding heaviness to follow after that first minute of grindpop bliss... What more do you need to know!?! It's a compilation called GRIND BASTARDS. Subtitled "For The Grind Freaks". Released on the label run by legendary Japanese grinders Unholy Grave. And check out the band list. Tons of killer groups, and a whole bunch new to us, almost all heavy and brutal and kick ass: Mortalized, Insect Warfare, Butcher ABC, Unholy Grave (of course), Exgreed, Disgust, Top Breeder, Motiveless, Gods Of Grind, Little Bastard, Red, 48, Gate, Spiral and more. Plenty of downtuned chug, furious blasts, growled cookie monster grunts, wild hysterical shrieks, insane chaotic riffing, most songs clocking in at under two minutes, many of those under one, short sharp jagged blasts of grinding fury, with some songs super well produced and heavy as fuck, others blown out almost Japanoise sounding boombox blur, a handful of crusty D-beat pounding, super varied, but super cohesive, heavy as hell, should totally hit the spot for punk rockers and metalheads alike, as long as you like it ultra heavy, ultra sick and blazing fast. The biggest surprise for us, is probably the 51 second long Mortalized track, "Nailing Descartes To The Wall", which just might be the catchiest minute of grind we've ever heard. Similar to how Jon Chang's new bands incorporate eighties metal and crazy power metal hooks into impossible complex grind, Mortalized sound a little like Iron Maiden on 78, or maybe some super catchy 3 minute pop single spun as fast as it will go, the guitars raging and soaring, the hooks undeniable, even some leads, but that main melody has been stuck in our head nonstop. The only solution seems to be listening to that track over and over again. Which we're still doing. And it does seem to be working. We just. Can't. Ever. Stop. Packaged in cool fold out punk rock sleeve style with each band getting their own little square for artwork and liner notes.
MORTALIZED "Nailing Descartes To The Wall" MPEG Stream:
BUTCHER ABC "Crime Against Humanity" MPEG Stream:
INSECT WARFARE "Death Gate" MPEG Stream:
UNHOLY GRAVE "Marionette"