Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Black Flag - My War

1984, SST Records

1. My War (3:46)
2. Can't Decide (5:22)
3. Beat My Head Against The Wall (2:34)
4. I Love You (3:27)
5. Forever Time 2:31)
6. The Swinging Man (3:05)
7. Nothing Left Inside (6:45)
8. Three Nights (6:03)
9. Scream (6:52)

Black Flag was an American punk rock band formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California. The band was established largely as the brainchild of Greg Ginn: the guitarist, primary songwriter and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands. The band was known for the intense and evocative lyrics found in their songs, most of which were penned by Ginn. Like other punk bands of this era, Black Flag gave voice to an anti-authoritarian, non-conformist message, featuring songs punctuated with descriptions of isolation, neurosis, poverty, and paranoia, themes that would be explored further when Henry Rollins joined the group as lead singer in 1981. Most of the band's material was released on Ginn's independent label, SST Records.

Black Flag was—and remains—well respected among their underground culture, with their influence primarily in their tireless promotion of a self-controlled DIY ethic and aesthetic. They are often regarded as pioneers in the movement of underground do-it-yourself record labels that flourished among the 1980s punk rock bands. Through seemingly constant touring throughout the United States and Canada, and occasionally Europe, Black Flag established an extremely dedicated fan base. Many other musicians would follow Black Flag's lead and book their own tours, utilizing a word-of-mouth network.

My War is the second full length album by Black Flag and was released after a long period where the band could not release any albums due to a legal dispute with Unicorn Records. The first six songs on the a-side of My War are similar to the material on 1981's Damaged, but the three songs on the b-side proved that Black Flag was moving away from the band's early, fast-paced material. The b-side songs are played at about half the pace of the band's earlier material, each clocking in at over six minutes, and display a doomy, ominous sound indebted to Black Sabbath. My War is generally cited as being a major influence on many bands in the sludge metal and grunge genres. Two of the songs featured on the album are solely written by Chuck Dukowski (My War, I Love You) though he was no longer a member of the band by this point and does not perform on the album.



Goatsnake - Trampled Under Hoof

2004, Southern Lord Records

1. Portraits of Pain (7:01)
2. Black Cat Bone (2:53)
3. Juniors Jam (9:05)
4. Burial at Sea (Saint Vitus Cover) (8:42)
5. Hot Rod (Black Oak Arkansas Cover) (3:20)

Trampled Under Hoof is the final release from American doom metal band Goatsnake. It was released in 2004 by Southern Lord Records. The name is a reference to the Led Zeppelin song "Trampled Under Foot." The album contains two covers: Saint Vitus's "Burial at Sea" and Black Oak Arkansas's "Hot Rod."



Wolves In The Throne Room - Diadem of 12 Stars

2006, Southern Lord Records

1. Queen of the Borrowed Light (12:58)
2. Face In A Night Time Mirror Part 1 (13:21)
3. Face In A Night Time Mirror Part 2 (13:58)
4. (A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem of 12 Stars (20:22)

Wolves in the Throne Room is an American ambient black metal band based in Olympia, Washington. Their sound is influenced by Scandinavian black metal, doom metal, dark ambient, crust punk, and folk music. The band has described their sound as “purifying black metal” or “transformative black metal”, although in interviews the band has shown an unwillingness to be restricted by any musical label.

The band was formed during April 2003 when brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver bought an old farmstead called Calliope, which had previously been rented by students of the nearby Evergreen State College, on the outskirts of Olympia, WA. In mid 2004, guitarist-vocalist Nick Paul joined the band and the group recorded the 2004 Demo but left the band amicably later that year. The addition of vocalist and guitarist Richard Dahlen solidified the band’s line-up and went on to record the 2005 Demo, and the Diadem of 12 Stars and Two Hunters albums.

The band is well known for their eco-spiritual and eco-anarchist vision, which they consider to be a step beyond the vision offered by satanic, fascistic and nihilistic black metal. They often state that traditional black metal should be seen as a jumping-off point in a process of continual spiritual growth, and not an end unto itself. Aaron and his wife farm the land at Calliope, the band’s stronghold. Aaron has also often expressed interest in biodynamic agriculture and the teachings of Rudolf Steiner.

Diadem of 12 Stars is the debut album of Wolves in the Throne Room. It was this recording that caught the attention of Southern Lord Records, who subsequently signed the band in late 2006 and re-released the album on vinyl. The album's producer, Tim Green, was a producer for Weakling, a band which Wolves in the Throne Room have often been compared to.



A Storm Of Light - And We Wept The Black Ocean Within

2008, Neurot Recordings

1. Adrift (1:48)
2. Vast & Endless (7:27)
3. Black Ocean (9:11)
4. Thunderhead (7:54)
5. Undertow (3:16)
6. Mass (8:05)
7. Leaden Tide (7:50)
8. Breach (2:06)
9. Descent (5:00)
10. Iron Heart (10:21)

A Storm of Light is a Doom Metal/Post-Rock band from New York City. The band was started by Josh Graham, who has been a longtime visual collaborator of the band Neurosis. Josh left the group Red Sparowes, of which he was a founding member to focus on Storm. The group is completed by bassist Domenic Seita (ex-Tombs) and drummers Vinny Signorelli (Unsane) and Pete Angevine (Satanized). "And We Wept The Black Ocean Within" is the first release and full length from A Storm Of Light.



Electric Wizard - Come My Fanatics...

1997, Rise Above Records

1. Return Trip (10:03)
2. Wizard In Black (8:14)
3. Doom Mantia (8:50)
4. Ivixor B/Phase Inducer (8:48)
5. Son Of Nothing (6:44)
6. Solarian 13 (8:00)
7. Demon Lung (5:56)
8. Return To The Son of Nothingness (6:39)

Electric Wizard are a doom metal band from Dorset, England that formed in 1993. The band have since recorded six albums, two of which are now considered to be landmarks of their genre: "Come My Fanatics..." and "Dopethrone". Electric Wizard have a distinct yet traditional doom metal sound that incorporates stoner and sludge traits, with lyrics typically involving the occult, witchcraft, H.P. Lovecraft, horror films and cannabis.

Come My Fanatics... is the second album by the doom metal band Electric Wizard. It was released in 1997, and is widely viewed as a landmark in the history of the doom metal genre. Extremely slow, down-tuned, bass-heavy and psychedelic (or "spacey"), the album is often ranked among the "heaviest" of the 1990s.



Sunn O))) - White1 & 2

2003/2004, Southern Lord Records

1. My Wall (25:17)
2. The Gates of Ballard (15:32)
3. A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You (17:52)

1. Hell-o)))-ween (14:11)
2. BassAliens (23:22)
3. Decay2 (Nihils' Maw) (25:15)

White1 is the fourth album by Sunn O))). It was the most significant departure from their original style to date. Each track was experimental in its own way, with Julian Cope reciting occultic druidist poetry for half of "My Wall", Norwegian lyrics sung by Runhild Gammelsæter of Thorr's Hammer as an intro to a drum machine and stoner metal bass riff in "The Gates of Ballard", and the drone track "A Shaving of the Horn that Speared You."

The lyrics to "The Gates of Ballard" come from "Håvard Hedde", a Norwegian folk song. Another metal version of Håvard Hedde had been recorded in 1995 by Storm.

In Q Magazine's August issue (named the loud issue), they named White1 as the 18th loudest album of all time, just below Jimi Hendrix's album Are You Experienced?

White2 is the fifth album by Sunn O))). It was actually recorded during the same sessions as White1, but it was not released until a year later.

This album features Attila Csihar of Mayhem fame quoting the Srimad Bhagavatam on "Decay2 [Nihils' Maw]". "HELL-O)))-WEEN" is a more traditional Sunn O))) track, harkening back to The Grimmrobe Demos in its all-guitar-and-bass approach. A DOD Buzz Box effects pedal designed to imitate the sound of Buzz Osborne of The Melvins was used for the bass effects on "bassAliens."



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Order From Chaos - Stillbirth Machine & Crushed Infamy

1993, Decapitated/Wild Rags - 1989, Wild Rags- 1998, Osmose

1.The Edge of Forever07:09
2.Power Elite04:45
3.Iconoclasm Conquest02:35
4.Forsake Me This Mortal Coil05:11
5.Stillbirth Machine07:33
6.Blood And Thunder04:02
7.As The Body Falls Away04:09
8.Webs of Perdition04:51
10.Crimes Against The State03:34
Of Death And Dying02:47
12.Blood And Thunder04:41

Order From Chaos. Stillbirth Machine. These two terms are analogous to death metal, and unfortunately haven't received the full recognition they deserve until more recent years, with various reissues becoming available. This album is a downright classic, and manages to capture the true spirit of death metal (and extreme metal in general), and at the same time avoids being like anything else that has come out of the genre. The combination of 80's death metal and the power of hardcore punk coupled with Pete Helmkamp's lyrical genius has made "Stillbirth Machine" (and every other OFC release for that matter) a top release in the metal world.

The album starts off with "Aion", which some may recognize as a piece used in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey", and is quite an appropriate build up of ambience and eerie noises to the first actual song, "The Edge of Forever". Right away, the production stands out. The guitar tone is thick and filthy, with the bass simply adding to the album's black mass sound. Overall, a very fitting production style, it suits the riffs and makes them just all the more devastating, with the other instruments coming though without sounding polished in the least.

The riffs here are fantastic. Chuck Keller certainly has his very own style of riff writing, with tons of rhythmic flair and variation. This works extremely well with Mike Miller's punk influence drumming, as he pummels away and pushes the riffs in just the right spots. Each riff is carefully arranged, ensuring that they each stand out and have purpose in the song. Nothing seems out of place, and at the same time nothing seems predictable. Order From Chaos manage to keep their songs interesting, and you never feel like anything drags.

One will probably notice after a few tracks that there are no blast beats on this album at all. This works pretty well for Order From Chaos, as they never really do anything typical for death metal. This band, as mentioned, works a lot on rhythmic flair, and such a straight through beat as a blast beat would probably not benefit them very much. Instead, intricate work between feet and hands playing barbaric and sometimes primitive beats are the main offering on this album.

Keller's lead work is also worth a mention. The horrifying guitar tone achieved on the rhythm tracks has also been translated over into the lead tone. Dive bombs, slides, tapping, among various other techniques have been utilized in his solos. Thankfully, Keller's technique is not the main focus of the solos, as he strings together memorable licks that sound chaotic yet have their own sense of melody. Some solos are certainly noisier than others, like in "Iconoclasm Conquest", where others are more lick oriented (see: "Forsake Me This Mortal Coil").

Of course, one of the winning features about Order From Chaos is found within the lyrical department. Pete Helmkamp wrote the majority of the lyrics on this record, Keller handling two of the tracks. Helmkamp's lyrics tend to revolve around Nietzsche influenced philosophy. Helmkamp's basic idea is about the "will to power", a belief in the self's ability to achieve, as well as ideas related the band's name, all mixed with some occult allusions. His lyrics in Angelcorpse were great, but these are more focused in a "grand scheme" of things. Keller's lyrics have more to do with the cosmos and prove to be just as interesting to read. His interest in space certainly expanded later in OFC's career, and later in his solo project, Vulpecula. Helmkamp spits these lyrics out in a violent rage storm, proving himself to be one of the most ferocious vocalist in all of metal. There is use of double tracking, with the second track being much lower, much like Sarcofago.

There isn't a single thing I can find wrong with this record. It's memorable and well written, has one of the most horrifying atmospheres ever recorded in death metal, features great musicianship while managing not to be flashy, and contains thoughtful and provoking lyrics. This is a record that every metal fan should hear, as it unites music and lyrical concept very well in ways that so many bands wish they could.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Mitochondrion - Archaeaeon

2008, Independent

1.Chapter 1100:52
2.Into the Pit of Babel09:12
3.Agonizing (In the Shadow of the Hammerblow)03:37
4.Eternal Contempt of Man05:31
5.Infernal Weapons Summons05:09
6.Oath In Defiance07:17
7.Descent ...02:31
9.Akashic Predation07:40
10.137 (Death's Hedecaratia)14:51
11.Organum Exitus03:27

Victoria's Mitochondrion are truly leaders in the current Canadian extreme metal scene. Proof? Just listen to this album - brilliantly structured songs, clever dynamics, low as fuck vocals, and blistering blastbeats dominate this album. It takes a couple listens as it's a bit much to digest at first, but each listen will reveal more to your ears. This is some truly twisted death metal, get it now.


Atomizer - The Only Weapon Of Choice

2003, Lycanthropic Fervour

1.Power, Not Participation02:29
2.And the Hunt Starts Again02:50
3.When I Die, I Wanna Die Violently05:04
4.The Campaign04:28
5.The War That Never Ended03:51
6.The Only Weapon of Choice03:43
8.One Man's Failure03:41
9.So Terrified, Yet in Control02:55
10.Join the Blackheart Reich03:34
11.For Blackness Absolute03:13
12.Sometimes They Hear the Bullet02:52
13.The Fog of War01:34

Fully titled "The Only Weapon of Choice - 13 Odes to Power, Decimation And Conquest", Atomizer deliver their dirty brand of blackened thrash metal that only an Australian band would be capable of delivering. This isn't your typical Destroyer 666 type of band, Atomizer certainly had a sound of their own, and this album is one of the highlights of their career. Check this out, it's a guaranteed rocker!


Mefitic - Signing the Servants of God (Demo)

2009, Drakkar

1.Henosis of Void05:42
2.Execrable Precept of Ha-Melekh Ha-Goel05:18
3.Diseased Ruth05:19
4.Prayer to Lamashtu06:19
5.Sepulcrum Antistitis XIII04:54

There's been a handful of demo tapes I've received this year that have kicked my ass, and this one is no exception to that rule. Mefitic are an Italian band that play black/death metal that would be somewhat comparable to Necros Christos and Grave Miasma - very old school sound and dark, so obviously something I'm going to drool over. A friend hooked me up with this tape plus the mp3 rip of it, so thanks a lot HT for your efforts!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lust - Genesis of a Satanic Race

2005, Blood Fire Death

2.Birth Of The Unconquerable One09:14
3.Oh Horror01:21
4.Storming Under Steel05:46
5.Genocide Bitch00:25
6.Spear Of Destiny06:19
7.Hymn To The Exhiled02:04
8.Iron Warfare05:27
9.On Beyond Andromeda Part II01:58
10.Portal To Cygnus - I Via Eydonia05:52
11.Nazi Occult Metal (Spear Of Longinus Cover)05:09

"Genesis of a Satanic Race" is not for weak minded "metal heads" who can't stomach extreme metal. This release is one of the most over the top, layered, and extreme records to ever come out of Canada. Even a seasoned metal fan will have to listen to it several times for it to make sense. Contained within the madness here is cleverly arranged songs, complex and dissonant riffs, and a truly violent performance. Lust certainly has all the elements of what a black metal record should be, and pushes everything to a new extreme. Listen to this and have your eardrums beaten to death!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sleep's Holy Mountain

1993, Earache Records

1. Dragonaut (5:43)
2. The Druid (4:52)
3. Evil Gypsy / Solomon's Theme (7:07)
4. Some Grass (0:48)
5. Aquarian (5:38)
6. Holy Mountain (8:45)
7. Inside the Sun (5:45)
8. From Beyond (10:34)
9. Nain's Baptism (3:02)

Sleep's Holy Mountain is the second studio album by the stoner doom band Sleep. It was released in November 1992 in Europe, and March 1993 in the USA through Earache Records.

The recordings that would become Sleep's Holy Mountain were originally sent to independent label, Earache, as a demo. The label immediately signed the band and released the recordings exactly as they were received. It was the last album to be released by the band as a fully functioning group, as their subsequent albums were released after the group had broken up.

The album, which includes the word "stoner" in the lyrics of two songs and prominently features cannabis leaves in its album art, is widely considered one of the seminal albums in the evolution of stoner rock. It became a favorite of the heavy metal press and the band was heralded, along with Kyuss, as leaders of the emerging stoner scene.



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Owen Hart - 2005 Demo

2005, Independent

1. My Manhood Is Not Measured In Inches (3:55)
2. She Drinks Of Pills and White Russians (3:20)
3. My Name Is 29628146 (3:45)
4. Gomorrahs Season Ends Saved My Life (5:32)

Metal influenced hardcore hailing from Tacoma, Washington. Featuring members of The Helm. Owen Hart have plans for a full length release in the near future.


Graf Orlock/Greyskull - Split

2005, Dood Records

Graf Orlock:
1. Hauser (2:16)
2. Vilos Cohaagen (1:52)
3. GeorgeQuato (1:23)
4. Melina (2:00)
5. Bob McClane (1:51)
6. Richter (2:17)
7. Dr. Edgemar (2:09)

8. Vegan Death Squad (3:10)
9. When You Use The Word 'Gay' As A Pejorative You Sound Like A Big Fucking Idiot (2:01)
10. Wizbo (0:53)
11. The End Result Of Four Years Temp. Labor (2:46)
12. Rainbow Glitter Unicorn Vs. Rambo (4:55)

In late 2003 Graf Orlock formed as an answer to monotony of “heart felt” lyrics and “sincere” prose. By pushing the envelope of the “cinema-grind” genre, Graf Orlock balance on the illusory edge of relevance and complete absurdity, longing for the heyday of late 80s and early 90s action movies, and the artistry of thematic creativity contained therein. Exploring issues as wide spread as terrorism, cybernetic revolution, inter-planetary colonialism, and psychotic delusion, Graf Orlock investigate the nether regions of the human condition. Through the medium of film, they articulate an increasingly radical view of the world around them, forming a brutal social commentary of the dwindling present, and a speculatively pessimistic outlook of the future ahead.

Greyskull are a metal-influenced hardcore band hailing from Tacoma, Washington, active between 2003 and 2007. The band was slated to release a full-length through Crimethinc, although they broke up before it was ever recorded. Members include former and current members of a number of other bands including Marrow, Graf Orlock, Owen Hart, divinity of truth, Houses and Elphaba.



Yaphet Kotto - We Bury Our Dead Alive

2004, Ebullition Records

1. Instrumental (3:03)
2. We Bury Our Dead Alive (5:23)
3. The Heavy Burden (2:40)
4. Past On The Stairs (3:48)
5. Chime The Day (3:05)
6. Paths (4:15)
7. The Constant Ringing (3:11)
8. Instrumental (6:20)
9. Chime The Night (5:22)
10. Instrumental (1:00)

The emotive hardcore band Yaphet Kotto, formed 1997 in Santa Cruz, California, is named in homage to the actor. The group is now based in San Francisco, California. Its members are Creeyvy May, Lincoln Borst, Nicolas Gravery, CASEY WATSON, and Alexander Depp. Some of its members formed Saviours.