Thursday, 30 June 2011

Jundland Wastes



Here's another satisfyingly shortish slab of slow motion sickness, backed up with a dose of dirty, ugly snarlcore..  Released in 1996 on Bovine Records, it's the split between San Francisco's DeadBodiesEverywhere and Cupertino's Noothgrush.  What d'ya know?  California really did know how to party!  Firstly, Noothgrush bring the smoked out despair of doomed Star Wars nerds everywhere to your ears.  Most of their songs seem to deal with: smoking weed, watching Star Wars and being depressed...  So I guess the idea to form the band must have come to them when they ran out of weed to smoke..  During a blackout..  In the middle of one their umpteenth marathon Trilogy viewing sessions..  Then they got depressed..  Coz under the cover of darkness, the fat one had hoovered up all the pizza on the sly..  Or something.  In short, it's dreadlocked doomcrust from Californian Dust Warriors: destined to drain your waning enthusiasm for life...  For seconds it's DeadBodiesEverywhere lurking on the other side.  Giving us two terse tracks of grubby, rumbling hardcore that breaks out into the occasional nasty rash of uncomfortably itchy grooves.  Not entirely sure what the fuck they're going on about here..  But, it should suffice to say their anguished expostulations sound sufficiently irate..  Enraged enough for their lyrical impenetrability to not really matter..  As their splutteringly disgruntled incoherence doesn't hang around long enough to encourage deciphering or further contemplation anyway...


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Voice From Far Away


Time for another sludgy slap round the chops I think!  Here's the 7" split between Japan's Hellchild and the U$A's Bongzilla released by HG Fact Records in 1998.  Hellchild initiate the onslaught, hitting us repeatedly with incessant deathgrooves.  Clobbering you over the head constantly like a crack addled caveman with a gnarled tree stump for a club..  Seriously, this sounds like a death metal band who've been told that they're not allowed to hit the blast beats anymore and they're pissed off about it.  They keep it to the point though and don't stick around any longer than it takes to steamroller you flat.  Bongzilla slow things down further, throwing out a thick sluggish fug of lackadaisically toasted smoke ringed riffs on side 2.  Deceptively tight as always, 'Witch Weed' is definitely one of their better later period tracks.  There's enough low end in the mix this time to give their sound the density it requires and the rhythm section is really locked in.  But it can occasionally betray their tendency to drift rather aimlessly around once they've established an invariably weed worshipping theme..  Sure enough, before you know it the time has passed by pleasantly and you arrive at your journey's end bleary eyed, a little bedraggled and not entirely certain where you left your keys..


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Directions In Music



Bouncing us back down to earth and screaming straight into the gutter with a brutally bone juddering bump...  It's the Cattlepress/Agoraphobic Nosebleed split LP on Bovine Records from 1997.  Cattlepress have first dibs on dishing out the initial pulverisation of pulpy plebian parts with six tracks of downtuned devilish delight.  Frequently shifting their tempos to achieve the maximum crushing capacity and generally heaving into a heavy sludgy swing as often as proceedings permitted.  But, The Cattle Press Hordes were never afraid to speed things up whenever it became necessary to grind your trivial cranium to a fine dandruffy powder!  Perhaps best epitomised on the final track 'Splint' where they combined discordant death metalish riffing with slow doomed out trudges and ground out grisly grooves.  Infusing them with the ire and raw, immediate intensity of hardcore, bringing their formula headswingingly close to near perfection (if that's your particular bag of course).  Next off the blocks, it's Agoraphobic Nosebleeds all round and eighteen tracks of relentlessly razor sharp riffola.  The drum machine absolutely sledgehammers the blast through all the songs, leaving percussively inclined human aspirants cowed into tremblingly abject submission!  This was the transitional period before Jay Randall stepped in to start lacerating his larynx and they went into drug addled abstract nihilist hyperdrive.  So, Aaron from Ulcer/Paindriver (later in Isis, Old Man Gloom and running Hydra Head Records etc) and Sean from Thug (and Bovine Records) provided all the unhinged roaring, grunting and shrieking that you could reasonably expect.  I gotta say tho, I find myself coming back to their earlier, stripped down shit more frequently these days.  Especially compared to the 'too many cocks spoil the brutal broth' all out sensory overload they eventually became.  Not that adding/cramming more elements to the mix in an effort to progress is inherently a bad thing, not at all..  But in their case it always seemed more effective when they took the throat slittingly direct approach...  


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Almost Invisible


San Francisco's SubArachnoid Space seem a suitably titled bunch to assume navigational responsibility on our continuing exploration of inner and outer space.  Showcased here with their fifth release, the 'Almost Invisible' longplayer from '97.  Exploring a similar headspace in places to Japanese psyche veterans Fushitsusha, mixed up with the slow build droning riffs of 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' era Skullflower.  If that's a bit obscure for ya, maybe think 70's style improv space rock or kraut, loose but lucid y'know?  Six entrancing tracks in total, but really just two time dilatingly meandering pieces of dream like psychedelia.  The SubArachnoid Space heads were intent on complete improvisation at this point and the first four tracks here are recorded live in the studio.  The last two on the other hand capture the band spinning their narcotised audio tendrils into webs of somnambulant sound at a show in '96.  I remember when I picked this up on release, I must've spent every night for about six months drifting off to it...  Lulled anew each time by it's intrinsically drifting nature into a borderline state of wakefulness, drifting through the colourful twilight of absorbingly (un)conscious impressions thrown out by the band and floating (metaphorically!) up and down the emotional spectrum.  Enough listens for me to be able to draw the requisite parallels later on with my own experiences with psychedelic states of mind and the acute awarenesses they can sometimes engender..  Now, let's move on from this mud bath of muddled metaphors before we get bogged down in banal mysticism shall we?  Wipe your feet, but leave your shoes on.. You got the stench foot...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Planet Of Pot


We're staying firmly focussed on outer space for another one, so keep squinting!  'Getting Warm On The Trail Of Heat' is the 1998 LP from California's Spaceboy.  These weed obsessed guys n gal featured ex members of The Fucking Champs and B'last, only in this project they're giving voice to their intergalactic fixations.  What we have here is spacey, mathy, stoner prog metal.  Maybe they're trying to reflect the insanely complicated equations that express or represent cosmic activity here?  Well...  Who knows, cares or dares to dream?  Not me pal.  What I can tell you is that complex time signatures abound and there's plenty of synth like space and some neat jazzy segues unfurling between the bewildering barrages of precisely executed riffology on display.  Everything seems infused with a shiny, red eyed psychedelic feeling of constantly unfolding as they pull up a smoke saturated bucket (or ten) of their influences and former bands.  The band exhales dense sections of burly hardcore, post rock and surprisingly sick metal at times, all a rollin' along with unstoppable momentum and brimming with intensity, topped with non stop noodling guitar flourishes.  For a more dramatic effect they juxtapose the unsettling fervour of these parts with the contrasting dream like placidity of the inter-track interludes and extended intro/outro's.  Balance, it's called.  Just in case you're so blitzed that their unsubtle advocacy of THC intoxication flew over your head, song titles like 'Return to Cannabis Island', 'Pink Domain' and 'Stoner Fort' might give you an idea of where their (green, sticky) hearts and lungs lie!  That's one creepy little green kid on the back sleeve as well...


Robby, The Cook And 60 Gallons Of Booze



Let's turn our attention towards the yawning, seemingly infinite gulfs of the cosmos for a while shall we?  When the tedium, pettiness, mundanity and harrowing mortality of human existence becomes too overwhelming to rationalise, only a sobering contemplation of our individual insignificance can bring about the energy required for further futile rolls of the dice...  Where's Leslie Nielsen when you need him?  Oh, shit...  That's right, the universe reclaimed him..  Now we're all completely fucked.  Well, while we wait for the multiverse to laugh in our faces before sending us spinning out of the game forever, we're going to need a relaxing, yet faintly ominous audio accompaniment, I guess..  Here's Louis and Bebe Barron's genius soundtrack to the 1956 MGM sci fi classic.  With little to no precedent in electronic music to pay too much attention to, the Barrons constructed seperate cybernetic circuits as required (mostly along ring modulator lines) for each individual theme.  Then, they proceeded to mess with (sped up, reversed, slowed down) the signals generated to create the desired mood or feeling.  To quote the esteemed artists themselves, 'Actually, each circuit has a characteristic activity pattern as well as a "voice".'!  So now you know.  Not to mention some of the best/most whacked out song titles this side of any stone cold freaked out psychster ya care to name.  I can't speak for you, but for me it always adds extra weird tastiness to the experience when I know the beeping, burbling, throbbing and screeching that's deconstructing my synapses is called, 'Robby Arranges Flowers, Zaps A Monkey'...




Sunday, 19 June 2011

Just Another Warsong...



I don't know about you, but I definitely need regular doses of rabid d-beat dementia to get me through the week. So, on that bombshell (ouch)..  Fresh from the quarantine ward: what about some Brazilian one man(iac) Dis-Beat Crust Horrorcore?  Here's a double whammy for ya.  Two of the Best (ouch x2) from the relentless (anti)warmachine that is Besthoven!  To spark the initial border crossing conflict it's the 'Just Another Warsong' EP from '03, jointly released by Cries Of Pain and Plague Bearer records in the US and Europe respectively.  Dropping six dirty bombs of Scandinavian streaked raw punk on unsuspecting civilian ears.  None of yer ridiculously slick 'stadium' crust here, just crudely carved d beat hardcore!  Remorselessly hacked out with that trademark (jointly held with Kawakami (RIP) from Disclose) monomaniacal fixation on a rigorous observation of the 'Dis' aesthetic.  So what you get are seemingly endless elaborations on a singularly interpreted theme.  For an (un)developmental comparison it's followed up with 2008's similarly six tracked 'Visions Of Hell' EP released on Abuse records.  Go on, see if you can gauge the progression!  Five years down the line and he's still pumping out even more relentlessly Discard and Anti Cimex flecked cacophonic convulsions!  Some may find the monotony of this approach to the medium (in general) insufferably dull and utterly bereft of inspiration..  Maybe.  Others see in the metaphor a musical mirror held up to reflect the numbing repetition of an ever increasing number of civilian casualties and a meditation on the escalating human cost of perpetual armed conflict.. But then again..  Maybe not.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Casualties Of Progress



Let's go go grind it up some more shall we?  This time around it's Enemy Soil from Virginia with their 'Casualties Of Progress' EP.  Recorded in '94 and once again released on the Relapse singles series in 1995.  With a demented drum machine providing the pulverising percussive power here, the two humans in the band produce a driving hardcore/grind hybrid.  Very near to the sound of powerviolence in places, Enemy Soil had definite links to that scene.  Appearing at one of Slap A Ham's celebrated Fiesta Grande fests back in the day and on the subsequent album those shows produced.  Gloomy social observations and incitements to insurrection are yelled and squawked over a barrage of downtuned rhythm and tempo changes.  The band clearly grasped the concept of dynamics and knew when to slow things down and when to step hard on the gas.  These guys formed in 1991 and were also to prove influential on a certain Scott 'Agoraphobic Nosebleed' Hull who was to start up his own nihilistically grinding drum machine project shortly afterwards in 1994.  Indeed, ES's guitarist/vocalist Richard Johnson (also responsible for the ace 'Disposable Underground' zine) would later (2002) be drafted into the ranks of the aforementioned Agoraphobically inclined Nosebleeders just in time to Stuff his Dope inside a Frozen Corpse...


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

(I'm) Stranded



Next up...  We'll have some of that original tastin' old school Aussie punk rock n roll, if you please!  Don't sweat it though brothers and sisters, it's an undisputed classic this time..  The 1977 debut LP from Brisbane's finest stamp on your face funsters: The Saints!  I'd like to say how unique a band they were/are, if that wasn't over simplifying things to the point of descending into incorrect twaddle..  Thanks partly of course to the parallel degenerate development of a certain Radio Birdman from Sydney!  I suppose thinking about it, there was a particularly pesky bunch of punk pretenders, all posing hard with the same surname round the same time from NYC..  Begins with an 'R', ah, it'll come back to me..  Not forgetting to mention that ol' Cleveland connection with the Rocket From The Tombs / Frankenstein - Stiv + CBGB's = Dead Boys equation type thing..  And oh yeah, what about Electric Eels!?  Their single's from '75 isn't it!?!  And hey!?!?  There's that proto punk band Death from Detroit!?!?!  They recorded their shit in '74!?!?!?  And pressed just 500 copies of their one and only 7" in 1975!?!?!?!  And hey!  Actually.  Never mind all that..  In fact..  Shut The Fuck, UP!!   Okay, our sanctified antipodean brethren initially came together as the fairly kick arse sounding combo Kid Galahad & The Eternals (!) in '73, then they changed their (immaculate) minds and (blessed) name to The (Almighty, look.. you get the point) Saints in the seraphic (sorry) year of '74..  I started to say unique, simply because they were active as a group and started to sculpt their own sound early enough to be influenced by and conceivably be classified as (what came to be defined as) proto punk..  But hey, this is all pretentious posturing and a load of blustering bollocks anyway..  It's gone unsaid for all the posts so far, but it's bound to be repeated.  For maximum results...  Crank it up loud!! 


Stop Spinning



Seattle's semi-legendary U Men here with their second release the 'Stop Spinning' EP, 6 tracks on the Homestead Records label from 1985.  Notorious for their riotous on-stage antics, including deliberately setting the stage on fire during one particularly chaotic show back in the day..  This EP is a good example of where post punk darkness hits the band's patented swamp-o-billy stomp rockin' madness with the unpredictability and dangerous swaggering edge of hardcore.  Running their Birthday Party, Gun Club and Cramps influences through the crazed inbred ancestral tradition (The Sonics, The Wailers etc) of the Pacific North West's garage punk scene.  With a history of raw, recorded 'in the red', pounding R 'n' R and R 'n' B bands round these parts, punk and hardcore must have always been just an illogical shuffling mis-step away...  Whatever.  Theirs was an ahead of its time sound and stance, which was to prove influential among future Amphetamine Reptile (Jesus Lizard) and Sub Pop (Mudhoney) noise makers and scenesters (Tom Hazelmyer AmRep head honcho played bass for just one show, opening for Big Black in '87).  After they split in early '89, guitarist Tom Price went on to form Gas Huffer and their first LP 'Janitors Of Tomorrow' to my ears seems to take up where U Men left off, albeit with a more direct garage punk approach.  Vocalist John Bigley and drummer Charlie Ryan started up The Crows and released an LP on AmRep, keep meaning to check that out!  


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Redeye



Here we go with another unsubtle slab of surly, snarling, anti-social UK aggro.  The 1997 split between Leeds' Manfat and Nottingham's Hard To Swallow issued by our pals at Flat Earth Records again.  HTS featured two Iron Monkey members (Justin and Jim on drums and gits respectively) and they have some heavy wah-wah-ed out groove sections to mix up with their dual vocalled Deadguyish discordancy.  Filtering this dissonant approach through an intense, fast hardcore feeling or an enraged powerviolence-esque sensibility to arrive at their destination of intimidatory audio destruction.  Manfat on the other hand have a much more menacingly considered approach to mangling your mind.  They remind me a lot of -(16)- with their druggy repetitive mauling of Helmet style grooves.  Tightly controlled sludgecore riffs coil and expand colliding with a methodical machine like precision.  While the vocalist Bri delivers his on the brink sermons of despair and confrontational desperation.  This gives a bruised 'n' battered edge to their music, imbuing it with an impersonalised and systematically alienated feeling of embittered dead end existence.  Sometimes life really is a cruel joke hidden at the bottom of a wet bag of shit..


Monday, 13 June 2011

Remove The Dead Bodies



Let's increase the fetid stench factor just a tad.  I'd like to introduce a heavy dose of twisted filthy sickness to you if I may.  Here's some punkified rockin' shenanigans of death, with just a hint of crusty doom for good measure.  This was an Autopsy side project (Chris molesting the drums and Danny does bad things to the guitar) recorded in 1993, but not released until 1997 on the the Relapse Records singles series.  This sounds (unsurprisingly) somewhere between 'Shitfun' era Autopsy and early Abscess.  So, that means raw death metal injected with a dirty needle sharp sense of stripped down hardcore punkish songwriting.  That was one of the things that set Autopsy apart from the rest of the death metal pack, their songs never felt like just a hastily assembled collection of riffs.  Decrepit lurching grooves devolved, hand in skeletal hand with a decayed morbid atmosphere to match and as infamously heavy stoners they were never afraid to mix things up with some doomier passages. You get a condensation of that virulency here.  Whenever you've got Chris Reifert on the skins you know he's gonna back up every riff with that sickening loping swing.  Like a savage lumbering lummox catching your eye at the bus-stop and stumbling towards you with a blood curdlingly murderous glint in his eye and a bowel looseningly ominous bulge in his pants..  Huge, sausage fingered paws outstretched, grasping for your skull and squishy bits..  Then, brow creasing with disbelief and turning round, you step on the bus and the doors close in the slavering sub-moron's face.  The overwhelming sensation is one of disturbed revulsion at the depravity displayed, fringed with a borderline panic of bodily contamination.  Followed by a sense of relieved voyeurism at escaping (relatively) unscathed and a curious urge to repeat the experience until disgust sets in.  Thanks for that lads.


Never Healed


Here's another masterpiece of unabashedly unmusical mayhem for your bleeding brains and mangled ears!  Nottingham's premier purveyors of full throttle UKHC, it's Heresy with their 1986 flexi 'Never Healed' EP.  Recorded and mixed in four and a half hours and it certainly shows...  Six sizzling tracks of lo-fi hardcore thunder from the high energy hardcore masters!  That so much of the power on this record emanates from the drums is remarkable really, especially considering at the time 'producer' Chris Price insisted to the band that the 'drums were not meant to be played that fast'!!  Despite his best efforts at sabotage, Steve's awesome playing skills, as demonstrated on this EP really are the driving force of the band.  Sure, the vocals are mixed really low as well, so much so that Reevesy sounds like an enraged yet slightly bewildered drunkard of some kind, bellowing to be heard in the distance over the band's blazing racket.  But that just ends up bringing your focus squarely back to the music.  Expect explosively fast (for the time!) blast sections that always seem on the verge of (yet never actually) dissolving into chaos, contrasted with the occasional collapse into mid paced primitive chugging.  This is markedly more metallic than either their earlier incarnation as Plasmid or the post-Reevsy period of ever increasing USHC worship but it remains (to my ears) their most essential offering.  Quite simply, it never veers too far from the all out rabidly thrashing hardcore mania that we know and love them for...


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Mentally Murdered



We've had some slow, so now let's have a bit more go!  It's Napalm Death's seminal 'Mentally Murdered' EP from '89, the final release from the 'classic' Dorrian/Embury/Harris/Steer line up.  Recorded shortly before the band set off on their acrimonious Japanese tour, Lee Dorrian and Bill Steer would quit the band shortly upon returning.  So, a band very much on the brink here and this EP is audibly solid evidence.  It's not hard to discern the band's blatant attempts at resolving the simmering (sonic and personal) tensions that would all too swiftly overwhelm them.  Listen closely to the increasing song lengths and the favouring of (Master, Death Strike and Repulsion style) death metal tendencies they display, to the (eventual) detriment of their extreme hardcore (L'arm, Fear Of God and S.O.B. etc) influences.  Now, look again at the photo on the back of the sleeve.  Lee off to the left with a distinct gap between him and the rest of the band, wearing a Discharge t-shirt and a Confuse logo on his combats.  The rest of the band are off to the right, in standard issue metallers gear.  Shane (leather kecks!) and Mick with matching Morbid Angel t-shirts, Bill staring off into the distance, perhaps in contemplation of his future musical eviscerations with Carcass...  Possibly their raised profile on the back of the 'fastest band, shortest songs' media hype was proving to be so annoying that 3/4ths of the band felt sufficiently compelled to prove their credentials as serious death metal contenders?  Lee has explained (in Ian Glasper's 'The Day The Country Died') that he felt uncomfortable writing lyrics after Jim's departure and unable to reconcile earlier incarnations of Napalm's anarcho politics and DIY attitude with the other members (and Earache's) increasingly fervent pursuit of a more (mainstream) metal audience..  Didn't stop him signing right back up once he'd formed Cathedral though!  Hmm, sensationalist speculation, don't ya just love it?  Ahem, let's put it down to 'providing context' this time and move swiftly on... Indeed, please don't let all this tabloid intrigue put you off if you've yet to wrap yer lugholes around this ugly little beauty.  It remains a tsunami like high water mark.  A snapshot of state of the art extremity in the late '80's (anti)musical underground and a tipping point in the then ongoing evolution and collision of hardcore and metal.


Sacred Predictions



Hailstones in June, predict that!  Ah, the bleak British weather..  Puts me in the mood for some more derisively droning doom actually.  Sure enough it doesn't get much doomier or more disparaging than this one brothers and sisters.  It's Seattle's Burning Witch and their 'Towers...' EP.  Captured in all their magnificently anti human mordant misery back in '96 by Steve Albini, but not released until 1998 on good old Slap A Ham Records.  Between these guys and Eyehategod you've pretty much got the sonic territory for the next 10/15 years of sludge/doom mapped out!  Theirs is a sonic template much imitated (just like EHG's), but really, so very few can drag themselves down through the necessary depths of degradation and despair and return in sufficient health to render the often startling results.  Alternating between bouts of slow motion riff suffocation and a nodded out sickly droning ambience.  Edgy 59's voice similary slips between a hysterical horrified shrieking and ominously incantatory intonations.  The Witch manifested a palpably unhealthy headspace, sneeringly daring you to enter the accursed realms of their raven dark psyches to await the inevitable gibbering insensibility and/or death by slow asphyxiation, as they saw fit.  Who could say no to that?
  


Friday, 10 June 2011

Supercoven



13th post.  So let's have some bong blasted cosmic horror doom from beyond, courtesy of Dorset's mighty Electric Wizard.  This was released on the short lived Bad Acid Records back in 1998.  Like so many other of the Wizard's finest tracks, these two epics seem to musically mirror the physical and mental effects of drug experiences closely.  Few bands were as candid or confrontational about their consumption as this portentous power trio.  From what I recall from interviews circa this recording, the tracks only came together in the studio when the acid kicked in...  Literally!  So, we have two long foreboding tracks jammed out into inner space.  Lovecraftian themes predominate in the title track, which seems to deal with an (accidental?) invocation/awakening of the Ancient Ones (much like a number of H.P.'s stories).  While side B is the comedown, as the literally burnt out psychonauts keep grinding out the shuddery sledgehammer slug riffs while the panning and phase keep spinning further and further into chaotic delirium..  Definitely the soundtrack to a drugged out doomster's daily excuse for substance abuse.  Well, it's always worked for me...



Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence


Under the influence of Leeds's Minutemen worshipping Solanki that is!  Here's their 1998 EP/Mini LP released on Flat Earth Records for your consideration.  They're certainly not shy about wearing their influences on their (record) sleeves, but that doesn't stop the guys giving it their own twist.  Breathtakingly tight, but with a jazzy looseness to the riffs and a constantly shifting tempo that never seems excessive.  True to their hardcore inspirations, all the useless fat has been trimmed and discarded.  The band threw down the music for 13 tracks in 2 hours and the vocals were added in just 30 mins a couple of months later!   This gives the recording the air of capturing a power trio near the peak of their musical powers, at a particular moment of potency.  Doesn't matter how many times I listen to this record, when bassist/vocalist Seth yells that final line on 'Pastiche For D', I can still get a little shiver down my spine at his voice, so simultaneously defiant and pleading.  You just can't help but hope it's still true.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

War Of The Lords


Quick! While we've still got that taste in our mouths..  Let's have another dose of D-Beat poisoning...  This time, it's Spain's Human Bastard with their 2005 'War Of The Lords' EP.  There's no fucking round here whatsoever, these freaks know exactly which of the rules work and they milk them shamelessly.  Nice job boys!  The rawness is pronounced but captured crisply, the vocals are a guttural imploring roar, they've noted we only need a couple of riffs per song as long as they hit the spot and the lyrics are brief, to the point statements.  So far, so good!  The solos on the other hand are what shoves this four tracker into the near transcendental, having just the right juxtaposition of manic widdle and monged out scree.  If you follow me...


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

It's A Dead End



Okay, okay, let's have another bout of aural fisticuffs shall we?  Some crunchy, crispy and exceedingly crusty capers here, a Sweden vs. UK contest for the (pen)ultimate warriors of raw punk!  Face to face at last, some serious standoff shenanigans, an intra-continental toe to toe in fact!  Go on then, a 'D-Beatdown', if you will.  Here we have ourselves a Discore (remember that?) double devastator!  A re-pressing of the semi-legendary (in their own lunchtimes?) Dischange/Excrement of War split seven inch on Finn Records, originally released in '91/'92, this second press dates from an uncertain period, i picked it up about 6 or 7 years ago.  Dischange are representing the Swedish hordes here and yes, just as they've changed a single letter of their moniker to be as close as possible to their heroes in name, they sound remarkably similar to a certain bunch of spikey haired shit kickers from Stoke (their name escapes me for the moment, I do beg your pardon).  For a brutal bonus, they recorded their three cuts at the (definitely) legendary Sunlight Studios with Thomas Skogsberg (Entombed, Carnage, Grotesque, At The Gates etc etc) so you know the sound is fittingly crushing.  Then there's Excrement of War, keeping that stinky upper lip stiff for all us Brits!  Strangely enough, alongside their Doom and ENT like thrashings, there's some distinctly Swedish strains to be detected in their own particularly murky miasma of moribund musical expression (as some cynics may have you believe)!  But, perhaps that's the point.  Each band takes the inspirations they've internalised from each others countries, and regurgitates it back in the face of their fellow exponents with just a fraction more bile. Hey, at least it's personal that way.


Fuck Fresno!


Heads, ears and necks ready for some schizoid, breakneck hardcore thrash then?  Thought so.  Fresno, California's Straight Edge Kegger's first 'full length LP' from around '06 skitters through 16 tracks in about 16 minutes, (hopefully) leaving you (even more of) a drooling, twitching halfwit.  Just like me.  This is super speedy, snotty female fronted Schwarzenegger Era Hardcore shrieking with the spitefulness of small town psychosis.  Though Fresno certainly ain't out in the sticks by any means, they sure can channel that ol' time alienation baby!  Anyways, there's certainly no love lost between these guys n gal and their home city...  Like four brain damaged hate apes, minds mangled on meth, mainlining cheap booze n blunts and set on permanent blast speed.  They serve up a teeth grindingly fast n loose version of 'Minor Threat' for your consideration, oh yeah and try to keep an ear out for the Governator on the last track!  Along the way the guitars regularly deconstruct themselves into squalls of frantic feedback and noise but the hyperactive drums tripping over themselves and the obnoxious venom dripping from Meg's sarcastic mouth should make sure ya minds don't wander too much before it's over...

Last Sunset



Let's get heavy.  Portland's Hellshock with their first stand alone release (I think the split with Consume came first?) from 2003.  When these guys joined forces they really came up with an explosive mixture of styles.  While this doesn't match their first LP's sheer destructive power and sense of desolation, all the fundamental elements are in place.  It sounds like they're teasing out the potentialities of the sound they're producing here.  Combining early English style Crust/Anarcho Punk (Antisect, Amebix etc) with European Thrash (Sodom, Destruction) and infusing it all with Hardcore power and urgency, a formidable concoction!  It's probably not surprising when you consider some of the bands that spawned these guys, (Atrocious Madness, Remains Of The Day, Detestation, WarCry, MassKontroll, Bacteria etc etc) a who's who of killer crust and punk!  Released on the Whisper In Darkness label run by Frank formerly of Atrocious Madness now in the equally excellent Lebenden Toten, he also had a dark little Lovecraft/Punk zine called R'lyeh Rising as I recall.  Hmm... Cthulhu fhtagn!  For some reason I always found this record worked better if I spun the longer B side first, but it does the job whichever way you spin it...


Monday, 6 June 2011

Re-Ignition



Well then, how about a quick all killer no filler post of the infamous Bad Brains then?  Righto.  This is a live boot that came out in the early to mid '00's, I think I picked it up at a gig in the 1 in 12 round 2004 maybe?  Anyway, what ya get is three tracks capturing the Brains consistently ripping it up and spanning one of their most vital periods.  Two blasters ('How Low Can A Punk Get?' and 'You') on the first side recorded live in California in '82 and a more measured yet no less potent chugger ('Re-Ignition') live in NYC '85 on the flip.  Not much info turns up online for this EP, released on Mumboclaat Records with a hand stamped A side.  But ya just can't go wrong with this 'un.

Gettin' Heavy



Let's keep the NWOBHM rolling for another one.  Here's Witchfynde from Derbyshire with their first single from 1979 to satisfy your early metallic cravings.  Another cleanish production (they actually picked the studio because Def Leppard's 'Getcha Rocks Off' EP had been recorded there!) but there's a thinness to the guitars this time (the Leppard effect?) that conjures up more of a late 70's basement metal feel.  Not as doomy as I'd been hoping with such an 'evil' sleeve, but there is an ever present undercurrent of Sabbath and other clumsier '70's heavies in both tracks.  Again you'll get the faint whiffs of heavier things to come if you sniff listen hard enough. They released an LP with the same name and cover in 1980 then hit the road playing with the likes of Maiden, Motorhead, Girlschool and Saxon amongst other metal monoliths. Enough with the trivia already...


Wiped Out!



We've had a couple of punkers on the bounce so... Now one for the headbangers!  It's the 1980 debut single from Newcastles's Raven, two tracks of irresistible early NWOBHM (or 'Athletic Rock' as the band preferred at the time)!  Sporting a much sharper and more powerful production then the majority of their metallic contemporaries, the band sound intensely tight, yet relaxed and playful throughout.   The economy of the arrangements, speediness and semi unhinged screeching lets you know that the '70's are definitely over pal.  But as they'd been playing together since '74 (!) traces remain in the sound.  They simply streamlined their riffs and raised the tempo (and consequently the bar for fast bands everywhere at the time).   A double whammy of non stop chugging power and infectious screams that should have you snapping ya necks frantically next time the beers are flowing!  Only managed to pick this up fairly recently, but I'm already cursing the fact that my cash was 'Wiped Out' before I'd spotted their 'Rock Until You Drop' LP was there too!


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Someone Buy I Gurt Pint


Yes, well, I can never decide which Disorder EP I love the most so here's their third seven incher from 1983 for your consideration as well.  Only half the band remains from 1981's 'Complete Disorder' EP (guitarist Steve and the drummer Virus), but Taf who nowadays is the longest serving member makes his debut.  Don't worry though, they still sound like demented drunken cavemen bashing out bone shaking (non)musical butchery!  Some of my favourite Disorder songs are on here, you've just got to love their cover of 'Three Blind Mice' ("That's about the sum of my musical education!!")!  This EP has that 'clean bass crossed with trebly fuzzed out guitars, thumpa thumpa drums and a nutter on the mike' sound that you associate with Disorder and which Chaos UK, Confuse, Swankys etc took inspiration from and amped up into noise oblivion.  In fact the next (noisier, faster, heavier) wave of UKHC was influenced by this and would take most aspects of the Disorder sound to their (il)logical conclusions of  'extremity' (for want of a better word).  But that's a different story.  How about that cover as well?  Got to be nearly as ripped off influential as Discharge's 'Realities Of War' by now!