30 April 2012

Scenes from the American Hard Rock Underground


This is a documentary I first saw a few years ago, and as far as I'm concerned, is a must-see for any fans of hard rock. It does an awesome job of tracing the evolutionary steps originating with the music industry and state of heavy (i.e. not popular) music that began taking root in the early 70's, to the rise of indie labels and DIY ethics rising in the 80's, and right through the 90's with the continued paradoxical segregation, yet continuity of various sub-genres and styles that all kept the genuine spirit of creative freedom with dignity and esteem. Plus, it opens up a Pandora's box of underground bands worth digging into alongside the standard heavyweights like Saint Vitus, Sleep, Kyuss, Sunn O))), High on Fire, Acid King and Dead Meadow, among many others. Interesting sidetracks include a look behind the music scenes, the day to day lives and inspirations of these artists, and coverage of the leading artwork designers and journalists within the whole stoner/jam/psychedelic/desert/grunge/hard rock scene over the last half-century. Read more to watch the entire documentary, pack the bong and get comfortable, it's time to do some homework. Don't forget to support the artists and buy the DVD.

27 April 2012

Parasight, Pure Sight, Parasite, You will See

Mitochondrion (Canada)
January 18, 2011

Cavernous occult death metal supreme. Absolve your will to this plague from within. Drink to the blood of stone, thirst to the bile of ash, feast on the flesh of iron, and reap and ignite the impure. The tomb from which this emanates consumes with vitriolic wisdom, pure deathly spirit that curses the crescent below the cross. The spear of Satan shall strike down Saturn, and the purity will melt your lead idol. Omnivorous and omnipresent teacher for the adept of high agony to transcend parasanity. Only pure order can come of this infinite consuming of the nature of the beast, the throne of the worm, the blood and sperm of God and the hallowed parasite. The All parallels the Fall. Much like the world's favourite beverage of consuming blackness, Parasignosis is for Strength. I'm catching these diabolical alchemists live tomorrow night, and this album has been on repeat all week. Take a listen and transcend this vile earthly realm. Become one of the eleven.

26 April 2012

Always Upon You, Light Never Ceases

Isis (USA)
October 19, 2004

The electric eye is all-seeing. No matter what you do, an electronic trail is left behind. Someone, somewhere is keeping tabs. Watching. Cold, distant and clinical voyeurism. Panopticon is the zenith of post metal. After tribal space sludge (Celestial) gained new life through a crash landing in the seas of the bermuda triangle (Oceanic), the invasion takes form as a transparent entity of modern artificial sourveillance and control over societal behaviour, conforming the path of mankind. However, the human touch is all but forgotten, as there is delicacy to be found here, a gentle touch that can only come from warm blood, as showcased particularly on the provocative crowning achievement of "So Did We" and the heartfelt transformative power of the instrumental "Altered Course." Distortion comes encrusted with a binary residue, a film of luminescence that is all seeing, and yet unseen. We cannot hide ourselves. Our souls rain down at the foot of authoritarian towers. Eyes unseen, they may be watching, perched upon grinning mouths and cancerous tongues. Resist. Listen. Read more.

25 April 2012

A Lesson in Violence

Exodus (USA)
Bonded by Blood
April 25, 1985

What if there was an album that had the recklessly driven enthusiasm of Kill 'em All, the gang mentality attitude of Fistful of Metal, the ambition and workingman class of Killing is My Business..., and the razor sharp murderous insanity of Haunting the Chapel? Well you get all that and more from Exodus' debut Bonded by Blood. Kirk Hammett-style (and -written) riffs chug out midrange pits of bloody slaughter-mosh, solos wailing back and forth, conversing with the screeching tongues of satanic demons. You know what you're getting with this, it's furious, it's youthful, violent as fuck and often overlooked. Highly influential Bay Area 80's thrash metal, over the top subject matter and stage presence contributed to style slowly emerging as death metal. Besides, get a load of that amazing cover artwork (which apparently may be what delayed the release for this for many months)! Now get on your knees and bow, or learn a lesson in violence!

24 April 2012

Where Only Spirits Walk Upon the Overgrown Paths

Walknut (Russia)
Graveforests and Their Shadows
April 24, 2007

Keep moving forward. What's done is done. Iron dreams propel momentum under grey skies heavy with ghosts and mystery. Death and tragedy lay as long forgotten songs, pungent with the smell of graves and autumn soil. Only the vast horrid woods speak out over endless fields and riverside barrows. Only the truths of their neverfading memories are heard. Acceptance will be granted to those who embrace the deadmen, the ghostmen, the wolfmen, the murderous haunting spirit of winter in us all. Martially driving rhythms command glorious ashen monoliths of pagan melodic sorcery. The constant forward motion from beginning to end anticipates a spiritual progression that awakens the senses to the silent witnesses of the grim woods throughout the rises and downfalls of the past. A thrust of stellar grief spills from the horned moon, illuminating the titanic ruins, cold as the hearts of men who have forgotten their roots. This solitary introspection is not a breezy meandering aloof self-analysis, it's a surging gale of empowerment and grounding force. The best Russian band I've ever heard, a project growing out of the obscurely influential Forest. For fans of nature based eastern European nationalistic black metal loosely along the lines of Drudkh, Hate Forest, Astrofaes, Burzum, etc. Just like Guinness, this is for strength. Read more for a listen.

23 April 2012

Alien Speaks

Oranssi Pazuzu (Finland)
Muukalainen Puhuu
April 22, 2009

Thrusted through the cosmos, a parallel universe, a mirage from 1968, but utterly alien. Raven guides the way, a black creature of ominous portent as wormholes engulf all that was thought of as real, swallowed through a vacuum of primordial consciousness, leaving nothing but a swirling halucinogenic maelstrom of Astronomy Domine fermentation, residing within a gaping black void of dark matter and cold atmosphere of Danjo's Zero. Cascades from the heavens occasionally strike amongst the stars with a disorienting feverish aura, while marching rhythms sweep forth out of extraterrestrial insectoid origins. Emanations of THC storms brood with ghostly calm and krautrock sessions of improvisational jam shuffles through extrasensory states of nodding astral dub, haunting visceral tribal trances and bleary malicious rave. Let this alien transmission speak to you, and travel to where evil has no name. You will trip hard on this black acid. The music sounds like what the cover artwork looks like.

20 April 2012

Attention All Planets of the Solar Federation

Rush (Canada)
April 20, 1976

Happy 4:20 everyone. Happy birthday Hitler. Here's an old album worth blazing a fat one to. I already posted Rush's Fly By Night, which only hinted at what was to come from these crazy canucks, boasting a youthful exuberance and less of a direct focus. 2112 is where all the pieces fell into place. That cover has got to be one of the best classic rock covers of all time too. The title track takes up all of side one, a crazy rockin' psychedelic spacey prog rock epic. Wooo. Fuck yeah. The coolest album by Rush. Mandatory to any fan of hard rock/metal/prog. Anyways, I'm pretty preoccupied to write about this (cough), so read more for a stream and light one up. Then repeat.

19 April 2012

How Long Can You Hide

Leaving Eden
April, 2007

Not to get all sensitive on your ass, but today I'm leaving Eden with a brand of melancholic acoustic rock that aims to melt souls and tug on heartstrings. The city lights outside are low, and it looks like it's going to be another one of those rainy days again. Originally formed by the bassist/songwriter for Anathema, Duncan Patterson, Leaving Eden was released after his departure and remains the work of sole current member Mick Moss. The undercurrent of subtle electronic momentum (albeit slow moving) is used as a foundation for emotional dirges through a spectrum of greys. The quality of the songwriting is what keeps me listening to this mopefest, whether its the delicately tense and quiet melodies of "Ghosts," the eerie chilling ballad of "The Freak Show," or the depressive majesty of the title track in all its' guitar soloing glory. Minimalism is used extensively to allow for maximum impact, the guitar lines will absorb through the pores of the skin, making their way to the bloodstream, where the downcast effect is truly felt from within. Beautifully naked music, there's always a time and a place. Give it a listen below.

18 April 2012

I Wish to Be Alone with My God

November 4, 2003

Welcome to Satan's burlesque cabaret, hosted by none other than the Son of the Morning himself, Lucifer the Light-Bearing Fallen One. Hell's house band, Akercocke, the sharpest dressed men in death metal, will be providing tonight's soundtrack. Gentlemen and VIP only beyond this point. The blood of Christ shall be served all evening, aged over 2000 years to sinful perfection for only worthy occasions such as this. Only the finest of exotic dancers shall provide the entertainment; seduction and temptation know no bounds down here. Give in to your desires, and partake in deathly defilement. Bear witness to a head-spinning display of brutality with an un-fucking-touchable sense of class. Eternal black mass orgies shall follow as the after-party. Brutal avant-garde death metal, one of the best vocalists in the business and a subtle keen sense of progressive flair around the edges and a ruthless display of instrumental pyrotechnics. Light that cigar, this harem oasis amidst the desert of Hell awaits your presence.

17 April 2012

Everything is Falling, Can You See It?

White Tomb
April 17, 2009

One day, when everything collapses into chaos, Ireland's Altar of Plagues' sound will be known to all, as the embodiment of urban decay and complete deterioration of contemporary civilization. It will be felt beforehand, as a swelling shockwave in time of the disaster yet to come, but will strike with sudden urgency and overwhelming distress. Awareness comes slow, if at all. Regression to roots and bark will be a painful bloodletting of the land, but from the wounds will come grain again. The destruction of everything we know, the lands and seas opening great cracks in the earth where mankind gathers upon the cliffs under black clouds of ash and cast themselves to the abyss, reigns down until only silence and desolation remains. The mist chokes the land as the forces behind the waves, the forces from the skies, continue their relentless attack, a replenishment of primal wisdom, a truth to be grown out of the ruins. The atmosphere of this is bleak, and dense as concrete, but organic growth provides a warm pulse of inevitable cyclical cleansing. This plague is a purging. Realize our descent. Listen to this album below. Hugely influential and inspiring grimy blackened sludge post-doom apocalypse.

16 April 2012

Southern Sugar

South of Salem

In a nutshell: Bluesy, soul-stirrin', hip-shakin', sexy swingin', southern-fried sludgy witch doom metal. This will keep that midnight oil burning strong and low all through the night. The sultry evocative vocals bring to mind Janis Joplin, and melt like hot wax over the steamy restraint of the seductive drum beats. Less is oh-so-much more with the smokey riffs made up of Black Sabbath, Goatsnake, Sleep and Electric Wizard. A hint of country twang and a heaping serving of lust-inflected blues show off the curves of this bewitching mistress of the night. An undercurrent of occult vibes blends well within this bubbly cauldron of analog spirits. Bask in this authentically vintage sound with herbal respite. Slow down and feel the mood massage its way from within, let it caress you with a warmth that craves to be shared amongst others. You don't choose to sway your being to these sensual rhythms; you just do. Burning under the sun after a hard day's work never felt so goddamn good. This comes highly recommended, read more for the stream.

13 April 2012

Altar of Blood, Altar of Pain

Asphyx (Netherlands)
The Rack
April 13, 1991

Fuck yeah, Friday the thirteenth! Let's bust out some old school death metal horror! So Asphyx have released their latest -post, -post, -post breakup album, Deathhammer, as everyone knows of course. I'm not a big fan of band reunions, or comeback albums, etc. It's not that I'm against the reasons for reforming or anything, or the idea behind coming back together to relive something long past or whatnot, I just find that in the vast majority of cases, the new albums suck compared to the old ones. To me that doesn't necessarily imply their reputation is tarnished in any way. If anything, it makes me listen back to the classics that much more. Granted, Asphyx have not been idle for a few years now, but they've got me pumping out their influential early-90's classics despite the wealth of new material. The Rack is a significant contribution particularly to the Netherlands extreme music scene, but also had far reaching impact elsewhere. They took an approach to death metal with a lot of punk attitude, combining bludgening post-Pestilence power and Van Drunen's unhinged vocal snarls ala Autopsy or Obituary, sped up Discharge-fed d-beat intensity with crushing epic Celtic Frost doom marches, all scoured in grimy crust. Worth it for the title track alone, it's a fucking beast. Stream below.

12 April 2012

Mix Tape: Jazz 2012

I've been noticing a lot more metalheads getting into jazz lately, though maybe that's also because I myself am only beginning to flex my newfound smoky suave lounge chaos muscle and have been opening my eyes to a rich oasis of new sounds foreign to my bloody and beaten down ears that have existed for all to find, but only if you're looking. I owe the great Aesop Dekker (of the infinitely amazing Cosmic Hearse, as well as current drummer for Agalloch and Worm Ouroboros) a heaping debt of gratitude for introducing, in a manner that I can relate to, the world of great jazz music. All of these songs came from his personal selections on his blog, so I suggest you take a ride on the Hearse if you haven't already. This mix will fit on a standard 80-minute CD. Try something new, I included a small writeup for each song, just read more for the goods. Light that cigar, swirl the ice in your glass and relax with my favourite collection of jazz.

11 April 2012

Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head

Astro-Creep: 2000
April 11, 1995

In my opinion, the best release Rob Zombie ever put his name to (Besides "Thunder Kiss '65" or "Black Sunshine"). I feel like it was around this time that the final nails in the smack-encrusted coffin that was American grunge (whom White Zombie very much influenced in the mid-80's) were hammered through cast-iron, piss and blood, and buried alive in the woods where nu-metal dumpster divers began taking root. But besides all that, I grew up during the 90's, so bands like this were somewhat of a stepping stone towards the madness and mayhem lurking just a bit deeper in the underground. Sure, there were a few embarrassing stumbles along the way, as anyone who's ever grown up will attest to, but listening back on this particular slab of horror-drenched white trash, there's a disturbingly alluring physical sleaze to such meat headed stomps through graveyards. Perfecting the formula that Ministry laid out, driven by a super-charged psychedelic hearse from the 60's and beefing up the commercial sensibilities of Alice Cooper and Kiss, with the depth and subtlety of any 70's slasher flick, this was made to enjoy at surface level, so leave your thinking at home, and dance the zombie shuffle. Read more to stream.

10 April 2012

The Place Seems Still Alive When the Smoke is Going Down

Scorpions (Germany)
April 10, 1982

Arguably the highest regarded of Scorpions releases (though I do have a soft spot for In Trance and Lovedrive). These Germans took quite a while to gain recognition over seas due to limited early releases and banned controversial cover artwork. Before "Rock You Like a Hurricane" made them international superstars, "No One Like You" brought the first glimpse of savage glory well into their careers. Success came with the balance of catchy hard rock, the brief addition of Matthias Jabs' blazing fretboard assaults (they were quite reigned in compared to Michael Schenker's), and Klaus Meine's distinctively animalistic vocals. The sound seemed to follow the commercial success of Van Halen, but I will take this over the latter any day. Dumbass dad-metal hits like "Can't Live Without You" and "Arizona" tangle up against bar room bruisers like "Now!," "Dynamite" and "China White." No one will argue this was pretty tame in 1982, but it gave a reason to check out their stellar 70's releases that paved the way for teutonic proto-thrash. Make some love in the back of your car to this. Read more for the album stream.

6 April 2012

Waiting to Find What Sets You Free

Old Growth
February 5, 2008

Fuck yeah, today I got the day off work, so I'm heading out with some friends for the first camping trip of the year. I always listen to Dead Meadow when going out camping. Old Growth, in particular, suits the laid back freedom that only nature can provide. From the cruise down the most obscure backwoods logging road, beaming sun, warm breeze, glistening cold beer, to the acid-fried campfire-side jam-outs shared only with good buds, the animal kingdom and the illuminating tapestry of the stars above. Tonight it also happens to be a full moon, so there's no better choice to light the spark that will blaze the evening full of feral ritualistic hedonism and woodland debauchery than 60's-influenced stoner rock jamming out infectious blues/folk tinged pych rock similar in sound to Wolf People and Black Mountain, but paying homage to literary greats J. R. R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft. The darkness of this band is implied but not necessarily blatantly portrayed, appealing to just about anyone who enjoys any kind of rock and roll throughout history. That includes you, I guarantee it. Read more and give it a try. Don't forget the bug spray.

5 April 2012

Start Saving for Your Funeral

When All Became None
April 5, 2010

Horror descends and madness takes control. Crusty doom sludge monster lurching through the sewers under the grey rainy city streets. Disease and stumbling disorientation overtakes with the odour of malicious intent. Occasional flashbacks of 'shroom-induced paranoia pump up the blood pressure, while a sonic freight train chugs through the skull. Psychosis takes reign over nihilistic attitude, channelling the fantasies of serial killers and other perverted scum of the earth. Becoming the lurching shit thumping urban monster of death and doom. The apocalypse will be brought with oceans of blood and terror. The cancer breeding forth from hearts of the cities becomes an epidemic. The sickening crushingly dense buildups of corpse intoxication continue to exchange with destructive stomping mosh fits of murder and cannibalism, spreading the plague further towards the death of all. This came out a couple years ago. Great band. Get high on the stench of this decay, and kill some zombies or something. Read more for the stream.

4 April 2012

If the Light Takes Us

Burzum (Norway)
Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
May 15, 1994

Well, it looks like Burzum is coming out with another new album next month, so I might as well get this post out of the way. For all intents and purposes, this album is absolutely mandatory. I don't care what your personal disposition is, if you even marginally enjoy any kind of black metal (or really anything remotely 'blackened'), this is a must-hear. While I regard the subsequent release, Filosofem as Varg Vikernes' absolute peak, it was also conceived as a backlash against the rising global popularity of the genre, whereas Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is the epitome never to be reached again for what black metal as a whole is all about. This is what it sounds like. This is what it represents. This is where it comes from. This is required listening. A solitary quest for answers, a bittersweet youthful rebellion against modernity, brooding atmosphere of distant hateful cold to the point of trance-like catharsis. The intensity and singularity of intent can capture equally both the dire fury and reflective solemnity of nature itself. Step inside and leave your politics at the door. Listen below, read more...

3 April 2012

Death Awaits You, What are You Waiting For?

Loss (USA)
May 31, 2011

Let us put to rest our silence. There is nothing cosmic about this. No divinity to be found here. No consciousness expansion or mystical secrets to be revealed. Flesh has been cut, blood has been shed, and only pain and deprivation provide company in the presence of absolute loneliness. Surrender is the only path out of this cold and damp black corner. Misery is the saviour dragging the noose around your neck towards the gaping void beyond. Choking desperation provides a tourniquet for the wounds that will never heal. Your vacant shell of a body will know sorrows not meant for the living. Sacrifice yourself, the curtains are falling. End it all before you know fear. If you saw the darkness before death, life fading before its last breath, then you would know. If you saw life without hope, death without reason, then you would know. Once you listen to last year's painfully beautiful catharsis of funeral doom excellence, then you would know...

2 April 2012

Star, Reign Down on You

Neurosis (USA)
Through Silver in Blood
April 2, 1996

Seeking shelter from the storm. Heart racing, the grinding of industrialized machinery crippling forth destruction of urban realities. Atmospheric forces of alien origin invade the senses, a chilling caress made manifest in a serpentine breeze, pulsating with shockwaves of malignant electrical energy, steals the breath right out of the lungs. Concrete collapsing all around, colours disintegrating with the hopes of survival. Flesh slowly decays and the veins of the soul begin to leak streams of translucent matter, surging forth from the oil fed furnace of iron pumping hearts to the open abyss of the sea of spirituality that is blanketing the world in unified breakdown, global decay and regression towards the one true centre. A return to the soil, a return to stone. Doom encrusted within a tribal trance, ebbing and flowing amongst primordial truths and instincts long since systematically eradicated from human consciousness. The sun pierces the sky, scarring the black with the luminescence of stars. A death of the self, a death of the ego. Rebirth of enlightenment. Listen to Neurosis' finest hour below. Not for the weak.