Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tales Of Terror

So..  What's happening ghostface?  You're looking a bit pale today..  Iron deficiency kicking in?  You'd better crank this.  Close your eyes head / fistbang hard and listen closely to Hallows Eve's debut LP from '85 repeatedly..  Mentally quaff from the trough of molten metal goodness..  I can't offer a more effective prescription than that right now.  These guys were an early embodiment of idiot-savant speed metal craziness..  They knew how to balance their influences on the edge of a blade and annihilate their instruments with aplomb..  It's certainly an intriguing combination of strands that they drew together..  'Plunging to Megadeath' opens the steel-laden show, kicking things off by reaching an almost Dark Angel-esque ('Darkness Descends' era) intensity..  The rest of the tracks relentlessly and feverishly pursue HE's combination of exultant speed metal meets early punk inflected NWOBHM..  It's all over in 27 minutes or so and they've got a guitarist called 'Skellator'..  Sold!

Saturday, 24 September 2011


Re-emerging reluctantly from yet another of their sporadic periods of contemplative torpor in 2004, Rudimentary Peni sounded particularly invigorated this time around on the 'Archaic' EP.  Finding themselves arriving at a point where every conceivable part of their sound had been stripped back to its bare boned constituent parts.  Each track has a few lines of lyrics at most and rest assured there's not many sunbeams to pierce the unrelenting gloom, apart from maybe a few sardonic lines in 'X N.H.S.'..  The music is so remorseless in its simplicity that it resolves itself as swiftly as it can and each track says all that needs to be said in a minute and a half or less.  Distinctly mid-paced throughout but genuinely impressive stuff all round..  Especially when you consider their longevity and particularly single-minded determination to cling to their personal vision of absolute artistic freedom within a strictly defined and constantly refined set of musical aesthetics..

Friday, 23 September 2011

Defiance Of Power

Now then, here's some more of that good ol' UKHC in full effect!  It's Ripcord's first (mini?) LP on Manic Ears Records, 'Defiance Of Power' which stormed off the starting line with lung-bursting alacrity back in '87.  They were attempting to compete for your attention by blazing up some fast-as-they-could hardcore festooned with generous helpings of gloriously cack-handed metallic chug-dung..  Coming on strong, like Heresy's cider lovin' cousins from the glorious South (coast) and in the end destined to follow a strangely similar trajectory in terms of style and subsequent implosion.  Of course Baz went on to simultaneously flay the frets for Heresy not too long after this was released, reinforcing the mutual respect between the two groups.  Both bands would tidy up their respective acts, opting for more of a clean-cut USHC informed style of high velocity noise worship to varying degrees of success..  But hey, this one's still nice and dirty!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Mellow Out

You'd better believe it brothers and sisters, when I say that the heavy-psychedelic freak flag is still defiantly fluttering atop Outer Focussed HQ..  Just to reaffirm our commitment to (not so) gently rapping on the doors of perception, an artifact has been unearthed from the bottom of a pile that may well have traversed half the known universe just to be back here, mumbling and blinking with us now..  Japan's Mainliner literally picked up where even High Rise themselves backed off shaking their heads..  By executing a cunning masterstroke, recruiting Makoto Kawabata from Acid Mothers Temple on 'motor psycho' guitars.  Then somehow condensing their trademark OTT approach, seemingly into a sonic representation of the interior of a gigantic cumulonimbus stormcloud.  Blasting huge, blue jets of radioactive flame fifty miles into the stratosphere, whilst simultaneously sending sizzling bolts of lightning strength voltage to explode upon the hapless fools on the ground.  Tapping into the cosmic grid to unleash psychedelic destruction on an unprecedented scale..  Asahito Nanjo's vocals sound tremulous and timid, emerging from the tumult like the reverberating whispers of a terror stricken psychonaut, trapped in the eye of a cosmic storm.  Meanwhile the music is locked into an ongoing de/re-construction loop of steadily increasing hysteria..  So, here's Mainliner's first full-length, 'Mellow Out' originally unleashed on an unsuspecting world back in '96 by Charnel Music, this is the Riot Season Records re-issue from 2003..

Friday, 16 September 2011

Sweet & Innocent

We need more NWOBHM!  Here's Stourbridge's most sterling set of down to earth rivetheads, Diamond Head!  With their second seven inch, 'Sweet & Innocent', issued in the summer of 1980 and released by Media Records.  For sure, you can hear that there's no speed-of-sound records being broken here..  But, those irrepressibly Diamond geezers still had an unpretentious and utterly engaging approach to their upbeat metallic boogies.  Both tracks dish out plenty of straightforward riffs and solos that give off more than just a whiff of the unique 'chips, gravy, fags 'n' brown ale' vibe that the finest acts of the NWOBHM seem to have emitted on a casual basis.  Not forgetting to mention that you can discern the often overbearing shadow of the 70's still lurking in the back of the band's minds..  I'm of the opinion that the (non-album) B side, 'Streets Of Gold' is the catchiest of the 2 tracks..  It out-rocks the A-side a little bit harder and the solos are just that much sweeter (it's like the 70's vs the 80's!)..  But if you disagree and shit, just relax..  I mean, there's no need to get litigious or anything..


'Supercollider' was the 1999 full length from Miami's clammy-palmed sludge hammerers Cavity.  Later reissued by Hydra Head Records, this is the original Man's Ruin version.  Opening up proceedings with (what should hopefully be) a familiar sample from John Carpenter's 'Prince Of Darkness', they don't really put a foot wrong over the next 36 minutes.  Upon initial exposure back in the day, Cavity may have struck you as yet another unremarkable or sub-par sludge troupe..  Let's face it they weren't exactly in short supply, even back then!  Closer listening however, revealed many layers of progressively more intriguing ingredients in Cavity's carefully constructed concoctions.  Skillfully blending the prequisite slabs of hardcore strength pseudo-Sabbathian sub-sonic riffology into a conceptual whole.  With segues of radio static, samples, brooding clean intro's and some wrongly-wired droning intermissions all conspiring together in a dimly lit room for the sole purpose of fucking with your wretched head.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Weeding Out The Thorns

Fifteen years ago (to the day according to Discogs!) New Jersey's Human Remains released their final word in fucked up tech-death terror: 'Using Sickness As A Hero'.  Bowing out on a true high point of innovation in the 'brutality in a blender' approach to cranium-crunching.  Spewing out seventeen minutes of seemingly spasmodic riff-vortices that should suck you in and serenely slice your useless carcass into dripping chunks, then fling you carelessly into the void with a shrug of its gore-flecked shoulders!  HR used a combination of signature volume swells and finger tapping riffs to emphasise the uniqueness of their jerky dissections of the death metal template.  Featuring legendary drum devastator Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Melt Banana, Municipal Waste, Gridlink etc) in his breakthrough performance (!) and Jim from Deadguy abstractly abusing one of the twin grinding axes, you know that quality is assured..  Or, you can at least have a bit of fun playing the ol' 'name the film sample' game..

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Hallow's Victim You Are!

All the way back in '85, the brotherhood of doomed outlaws in Saint Vitus squinted into the incandescent swirling vortex of the blood-red Los Angeles' sun and sombrely exhaled their second full length for SST Records.  'Hallow's Victim' emerged from the sweet, intoxicating smelling clouds of smoke, like a schizoid Viking climbing out of a recently defrosted oildrum of barbarian-strength LSD.  Even putting aside the chemical goggles for a moment, it still stands as one of the sincerest statements of melancholically majestic musical intent ever conceived.  Guitarist and chief axe-wielding alchemist Dave Chandler was clearly reaching back through time to channel and manipulate the burnt out psyche's of the unholy trinity of Elder Gods (Iommi, Stephens and McAllister).  He weaves an improbably balanced tonal / atonal tapestry of fuzzed out leads that vacillate frantically in density between wistfully evocative snatches of sweetly sad melodies and eerie purple lightning flashes of pure psychedelic chaos.  The rest of the band backs him to the hilt with a brutally beautiful sparseness.  Percussionists!  Please, pay special attention to Armando Acosta's masterclass in minimalism on the drums..  Providing all the required impetus with unfussy, complimentary patterns that are direct and catchy..  Yet always striving to reflect and represent the ever-present emptiness that hovers nearby throughout the haunted entirety of the album.  Strangely up-tempo sounding at first..  For such a self-consciously downbeat bunch of unrepentant freaks and especially by today's 'ultra low to no' bpm bore-a-thon standards..  Fear ye not!  The tidal waves of doom shall engulf your inconsequential bones all the sooner..

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Failure, Fucker.

Hey there stinkypants..  Is it possible you're still feeling a distinct lack of crustoid contamination?  Stop chewing yer dreadlocks and don't sweat it anymore.  I got somethin' to hit the spot!  Whoa there, take it easy ya freako and don't do too much!  Finally, you can stop irritably raking your inflamed crevices and frantically checking your fingernails for more dirt to eat (and I said stop sweating)!  Instead of all that guff, here's Severed Head Of States's self-titled seven inch from 2001..  Four tracks of cold 'n' drizzly crust that should slowly seep into yer subconscious..  Constantly roaming basslines, steadily rolling on in like the next batch of inevitable rainclouds..  With some darkly melodic licks subtly lurking in amongst the moist, gloomy shadows.  Firmly planting a mud-spattered biker boot into both the 'epic' and 'barbaric' swamps that seethe either side of the skull-strewn barbed-wire fence that divides the assorted hordes of Road Warrior rejects..  The Head featured at the time ex and current members of Tragedy, His Hero Is Gone, World Burns To Death, Defiance and Detestation..  That pedigree definitely shows in the band's deft and decisive delivery of the rocking good crusts..