Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Chaos



Still got an itch for early noise-punk that ya just can't scratch?  Couldn't get enough of those early Disorder EP's?  Relax flaky face, you can stop frantically shedding dead skin cells now (and I can stop following you round with the hoover)..  Here's Chaos UK's debut album which was released back in '83 by the punktastic overlords at Riot City Records..  This version is the Japanese re-issue on Toy's Factory Records from '91 with the tracks from their 1982 'Loud, Political & Uncompromising' EP as a bonus.  Perhaps due to it's blatant musical crudity, it would be all too easy nowadays to underestimate the visceral impact that this neanderthalic blast of audio projectile vomit had back in the day..  The seismic shockwaves these guys initially produced, along with the aforementioned Disorder and (maybe) Chaotic Dischord would resurface in the subsequent explosions of savagery occurring simultaneously in hardcore punk scenes round the world.  Love 'em or loathe 'em there's no denying their everlastingly imbecilic influence..


Monday, 22 August 2011

Power Violence Forever



Hey!  I wonder what these guys sound like?  It's just so hard to tell, what with the title, band-name and cover being so oblique and subtle like..  Let's see..  Starting off with the soothing sounds of the surf, gently breaking on a no doubt idyllic beach somewhere..  Great.  Just what we need..  More fuckin' hippies.  Then, all of a sudden Fuck On The Beach snap into a snippet of their eponymous theme song and proceed to flatten your face with a relentlessly break-neck barrage of goofy speedcore!  That's more like it!  Here's their first full length platter: 1999's 'Power Violence Forever' released on the (nearly) always reliable Slap A Ham Records.  Really though, their sound is a lot closer to straightforward fast hardcore rather than the downtuned brutality and fast / slow tempos you'd expect from powerviolence bands..  No complaints here though as the songs are generally kept short 'n' sweet and there's enough guitar 'n' bass trade-offs and rhythmic variation to keep things interesting.  Plus they kindly included a quick live set as a bonus track, those cheeky scatterbrained sleazeballs!  In short, as an experience it's decidedly less irritating than waking up hungover with an arse-crack full of sand and a generous sprinkling of the local crabs..


Saturday, 20 August 2011

American Paranoia



Attitude Adjustment's scorcher of a debut album, 'American Paranoia' surely cemented their reputation (in certain circles, admittedly) as one of the most exciting and high-energy crossover hardcore bands of all time..  Eagerly anticipated on both sides of the Atlantic by the time it was initially unleashed in '86..  It was released by a certain Mr. Pushead, on his world-renowned Pusmort Records.  This particular version is the 1993 re-release on Germany's Bitzcore Records though..  Whassa matteh?  You gorra problem wid dat, punk?  Ahh..  Worreva!  Ahem, moving on as swiftly as possible from my seemingly overwhelming issues with vernacular..  Sixteen tracks of breathlessly snotty hardcore thrash that ultimately helped to codify the 'crossover' sound..  Their location in San Francisco's Bay Area at that particular point in time must have helped considerably when it came to sniffing out musical influences!  I'm sure I've heard of 1 or 2 decent metal or punk bands coming from the Bay Area before..  But hey, who pays attention to these things anyway, right?  By mixing up hardcore's stripped down 'n' speedy approach to songwriting and socially conscious lyrics with plenty of neck-snapping palm-muted chugging riff sections, lifted from their favourite thrashing metalheads (there must've been a few around at the time)..  Okay, fair enough, maybe the production is just a little bit too clean on the LP, robbing the band of their earlier addictive rawness..  But sweat it not brothers and sisters, as a sweet sweet bonus Bitzcore included AA's 1985 'Dead Serious' demo on this 'un as well..  Phew!  Now you too can pledge allegiance to the exclusive and world-famous 'I Only Like The Demo' club!!  Is right.


Friday, 19 August 2011

Mean



Here's another classic slab excavated from the 'golden age' of grind..  This time it's Filthy Christians from Sweden with their first and only full-length, 'Mean' released by Earache in 1990.  Featuring Per Thunell from the legendary fast hardcore band Protes Bengt on vocals..  The Filthies clearly drew their deepest inspirations from the intensity-obsessed international hardcore / grindcore / noisecore and death metal scenes that were in full fucking swing at the time..  Forging a unique sound for themselves simply by refining a combination of musical ideas from their favourite underground bands.  Despite the confrontational cover-art which is a photo of the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme who was assassinated by persons unknown in 1986..  You can still easily get the impression that they were keeping it somewhat tongue in cheek..  Tracks like 'Herring Attack', 'A Case For Teddy' and 'Introitus' should hopefully give you a chuckle or a smirk anyway!


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Zoroaster




Let's have a bit more of the sludge rock from San Francisco's Acid King shall we?  Here's their debut full-length, 'Zoroaster' released by Sympathy For The Record Industry all the way back in '95.  This female fronted power trio were inspired to name themselves after the notoriously homicidal stoner dimwit Ricky Kasso.  Infamous for his massively over the top drug-drenched multiple stabbing of a former friend..  Inflicting somewhere in the region of 40 knife wounds mostly to the face and neck..  All over some stolen PCP.  Lured out to the woods and violently murdered on Long Island, New York back in '84..  All in a sensationally satanic stylee of course..  Say You Love Satan!  SAY YOU LOVE SATAN!  Sure enough, this was followed swiftly by his capture and subsequent suicide in jail..  Anyway, let's get back to the tunes..  You can expect to get a strong dose of psychedelically tinged stoner doom, with some speaker rumblingly heavy low-end frequencies..  Always resolutely unhurried, most of the jams take their own sweet time to unfold..  But once they hit their sonic stride it's always a worthwhile journey..  Steadily rollin'..  Ominously on, to an irresistably burned-out destination..


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Death To Music



The final full-length release from Weymouth, Massachusett's massively nerve-damaged sludge / noise narconauts: Nightstick!  It's 1999's end-of-the-century wake-up call, 'Death To Music' released on Relapse Records.  Sounding increasingly weary of dealing with the relentless shittiness of life, but still incandescent with righteous outrage and anger..  The 'Stick shrugged off yet another monster-sized hangover and delivered some of their most punishingly heavy tracks here..  Despite getting exceedingly high at all times and tuning so damn low, they still come off sounding surprisingly focussed.  Achieving an attention-maintaining dynamic range by mixing epic tracks of sludge / doom with uptempo hardcore infused rock-outs..  By slightly reigning in and / or condensing their improvisational tendencies, they revealed an equally entrancing approach..  That allowed them the space to reconsider their emphasis, shifting it onto a more explicitly emotional exposition of their ever-growing alienation.  Great lyrics as always with these guys, themes of revolutionary frustration, societal antipathy and candid self-deprecation delivered with all the disgust they could muster..  Nightstick regrettably imploded not too long after this album came out..  The usual insurmountable issues with substance abuse and an inevitable incarceration ultimately conspired to tragically cut short the creativity of this trio of visionary fuck ups..


Monday, 8 August 2011

Praise God And Pass The Ammunition



Here's another dose of eye-opening, ear-hole-cleaning medicine that's just too Hard To Swallow yo..  This time round it's their split EP with Liverpool's under-acclaimed dissonauts - Underclass..  Released in 1996 by Merseyside's Days Of Fury Records.  Dig the pic but spotted a swastika?  Don't panic knee-jerk PC's!  No guilt trips necessary here y'know..  The front cover's taken from a Spanish Civil War propaganda poster called, 'How The Church Has Sown Its Religion In Spain'..  Phew, bask in that left-wing revolutionary afterglow baby!  You can relax and relinquish your righteous outrage again..  HTS deliver three tracks of more discordantly thrashing grooves bound together with their customarily cynical perspective..  It's early days but they already sound frighteningly accomplished here..  The swine!  Underclass on the other hand somehow remind me of a slightly more melodically inclined Locust (circa the first LP and s/t 7")..  That would of course be minus the analogue keyboards and stylish green hot-pants of course!  Lyrically sharing a similar seen-it-all-before outlook with HTS..  Their five quick blasts of shrieking dissonance help to ensure that an equally awkward but mutually effective approach to skullcrushing is achieved by both bands..


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Saturday Morning Powerviolence!



It's Sunnyvale, California's finest two man head-wrecking crew: Godstomper!  With their 'Saturday Morning Powerviolence' EP released by San Francisco's Slap A Ham Records in '98..  That's right, with only filthy bass noise destruction riffs and explosively propulsive drum detonations at their disposal..  These guys knew exactly which of dem powerviolence buttons to press..  Oh yes!  The song structures are more relaxed than an intoxicated red-eyed sloth on the verge of hibernation yet somehow also seem ridiculously compressed..  They'd generally dawdle along, building up steam, alternately crunching and droning..  Then, suddenly realising there's only a couple of seconds left in the song, they'd quite simply crank up the speed..  Trying desperately to fit as many beats and bellowing screams in as they possibly could before collapsing..  Then they started again.  Sounds kinda like if 2/3rds of Forced Expression were suddenly, unexpectedly devoured in the praccy room by one of the Man Is The Bastard bass molesters in a fit of enraged hunger..  Then, still drooling red chunks everywhere - calmly picking up the now blood-drenched bass and staring vacantly, glassy-eyed at the drummer until fear-induced bodily panic sets in and he just starts jamming along with him..  11 tracks, signed, sealed and delivered in 8 minutes..  Beautifully barbaric stuff!

He Came Home



Surely, no introductions should be necessary for this fuckin' majestically suspenseful little number?!  C'mon, it's the 20th anniversary special-edition of the original soundtrack for the 1978 genre-defining stab 'n' stalk slashterpiece..  John Carpenter's score was minimalistic, certainly..  Rhythmically repetitive in a decidedly minimal stylee?  Definitely!  But to me this only reinforces its stark effectiveness at (not so) subtly increasing the tension and simultaneously squeezing every last drop of suspense out of a handful on notes..  Mr. C was on a strict deadline and had just two weeks to lay down the entire soundtrack later admitting he was heavily influenced by Hitchcock's go-to-guy Bernard Herrmann (Psycho OST) and of course the eternal Ennio Morricone.  Overdubbing layers of sketchily disconcerting synths for an overwhelmingly creeped-out and  unsettling effect..  Want literal proof of how crucial to the chill-factor the vibes were here?  In the liner notes J.C. himself admits that the film was no way near as scary before they dubbed on the soundtrack! Anyways, you get plenty of quotable dialogue excerpts from the movie here as well, which doesn't hurt much either..  Well, not as much as being violently stabbed to death anyway!


Friday, 5 August 2011

West Side Horizons



'West Side Horizons' was a seriously heavy-duty 62 track collection of chaos by Inglewood, LA's Despise You..  Released in 1999 by Pessimiser Records.  These guys and gal indisputably delivered some of the bleakest and most enraged hardcore / powerviolence ever committed to tape..  Everything's fucked and somebody's not too happy about it!  Tuned down all the way to oblivion and utterly hate filled..  Indignation was their inspiration!  Seriously, fucking concussive blastjams with an overwhelming atmosphere of sheer aggressive despair..  Some kind of simultaneous nadir / apex in intense musical expression..  It compiled a bunch of split EP's, compilation tracks and 7"s with some unreleased shit that was meant to be on a split LP with Man Is The Bastard..  All recorded between 1994 and '96.  The band (at the time) included members of Excruciating Terror, Stapled Shut and Crom with Pessimiser Records head honcho Chris Elder providing most of the vocals..  But in a bid to avoid a 'featuring members of' supergroup scenario, they all assumed pseudonyms..  Nice touch!  Proudly displaying their metal and hardcore inspirations, there's some ripping cover versions..  Including: 'Burning In Hell' by Possessed and 'Couch Slouch' by DRI..  Both have their intensity stakes upped considerably!  Go on, subject yourself to a 40 minute pummeling and let DY mentally massage your blues away!  Or something..


Divided We Fall




'Divided We Fall' was the second full length release from LA's inhuman whirlwind grinding holocaustic hellraisers: Excruciating (Fucking!) Terror!  Unleashed upon the underground back in '98 by our good buddies at Pessimiser Records once again.  This lot sounded like early ENT and Napalm Death having a bog-eyed jam sesh after smoking a few dusted joints..  Unhinged!  ET never bothered themselves with overly complex song structures..  But why should they've done? They sure as fuck weren't trying to impress you..  They could already flay your pathetic flesh from the bone with their flying fingers!  Interestingly, the guitars sound like they're tuned slightly higher than you'd usually expect to hear in grind..  Maybe after the brutal low-end heaviness of their 'Expression Of Pain' LP they just wanted a bit of definition to their riffs?  Anyways..  You can expect to hear incessant blastbeats, constant cupped-mike grunts 'n' growls, blown out bass lines and generally all the hallmarks of good old fashioned grinding brutality!  Yet another absolutely essential slice of primo 90's manic grind violence!  Go on.  You know it makes sense..


Misery Index




Next up it's Florida's Assuck with their second 'full length album', 'Misery Index'!  Released back in 1997 on Sound Pollution Records.  These guys (down to a power trio on this release) had a noticeable death metal influence present in their non-stop blasting..  It's probably not too surprising when you consider their home state was a hotbed of death metal dementia at the time..  Not forgetting to mention it was recorded at the studio of choice for aspiring '90's deathbangers (Morrisound) with Scott Burns at the helm..  That particular studio and producer combination seemed to get slagged off a fair bit back in the 90's for one reason or another..  But you can't complain here, the production's got just the right balance of murk and clarity..  Lyrically you get existential observations of profound alienation, weary resignation and raging disgust..  Y'know, all that happy stuff!  All barked out in a relentlessly ugly monotone growl..  Nearly every other grind band was increasing their song lengths at this point in time..  Not these dudes!  Fifteen tracks in fifteen mins?  You know what I'm talkin' about!


Means Of Existence




Whoops!  Well, what can I say?  It's been a couple of days..  So to compensate, I'll attempt to curtail my usual nonsensical ramblings..  Instead, I'll quite happily just try to hit you up with a succession of hate filled blasterpieces!  Don't worry though folks, it's nothing personal, I assure you!  Up first for your (un)delight and (non)delectation, it's California's heavy grind veterans: Phobia!  With their first full length 'Means Of Existence' released by Slap A Ham Records in '98..  This album saw them belligerently blasting out slab after slab of golden era Napalm Death styled grind..  All shot through with an unhealthily urgent dose of powerviolence-esque rabidity..  Just for good measure of course!  Lyrics touch on most of the traditional topics for the 'politically aware' punx..  The songs are well structured and prove the band's firm grasp of dynamics..  Aided by the raw and immediate production, it should all go some way towards compelling your attention, for a good while at least..  Between tracks there's plenty of tasty samples and occasionally some choice, brooding clean-guitar intro's/segues sprinkled here and there..  Yum!  In short, it's a mandatory slice of state of the art late '90's grindcore..