Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reviews 12.30.12

Kontinuum "Earth Blood Magic" (Candlelight)6/10

Icelandic hard rock/drone metal with various injections of black metal, prog, and new wave/goth. Very somber. Recalls a million bands I can't be bothered to place right now. Some good obscure epic moments here and there. Can't decide if it is really good or too cliche to get into. I guess it will take a few listens. For sure it falls a bit too far into that "arty" territory I hate, but it's got plenty of redeeming qualities as well.

Nine Covens "On the Dawning of Light" (Candlelight)6/10

Very solid, straight forward Black Metal from England. The only reason the rating is not higher is because this shit is like cream cheese on a bagel (everywhere).

Zatokrev "The bat the wheel and the long road to nowhere" (Candlelight)5/10

Real heavy and droning. High screaching vocals. Kinda like Burning Witch or Noothgrush but with really clean production and with one testicle removed. They really seem to want to be Neurosis at times too.

Ptahil "The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair (Wraith Productions)6/10

Somewhat buzzsaw guitar tone with some real fake sounding drums. At times seems intentionally industrial, at others it sounds like it's trying to sound like real drums. If it is, it is quite stiff sounding. Vocals are pretty "black." I can't tell what direction this band is going. It sounds like they wanna be harsh black metal with an old school feel. The sound has inherent contradictions which cancel itself out. You can't have a drum machine but also try to sound like vintage black thrash metal. And if you can, it wasn't accomplished here. It's kinda cool and catchy at times in a real cheap ass way, but if you're gonna put out something so unoriginal, at least meet he MINIMUM bar set by the countless others that came before you. For all its' attempts to sound "EVIL," it never gets any scarier than the silly cartoonish drawing on the front. That is a nice buzzy guitar tone though. Some great simple riffs too. Maybe these are punk rockers who recently discovered Metal? Whatever the case, this needs real drums to be taken more seriously. Or a better sounding drum machine.

Circle II Circle "Seasons will Fall" (Armoury)7/10

I guess this is the former Savatage singer. I never listened to Savatage much, but I can hear the obviouse similarities. Very melodic, clean production, fancy guitar work, nice full/heavy sound - a bit of keyboards floating around. Vocals are very melodic and clean. Nothing glass shattering here but just very solid and steady. Some gay interludes that the Europeans will love. This is basically the American version of stadium power metal/hard rock. This is music Europe is generally known for these days, but CIIC do it convincingly, and not surprising since the veterans involved helped shape the sound to begin with. There are some good heavy riffs, but the silly keyboards seem almost to exist just to soften the sound, which is a detraction if you ask me.

Defeated Sanity "Passages into Deformity" (Willowtip)6/10

I'm surprised anyone in germany is THIS into early Death Metal. I mean they have the gorguts "considered dead" tone DOWN. Even the snare has been made to get that cheap "recorded in a shed" tone. But wait, we also have the chops of crazy modern math-death. Thankfully it is kept under wraps for the most part, so the 90s demo death fest is not spoiled completely. But unfortunately, all I can see is a bunch of kids who look like Phil Anselmo and baseball hats banging their bald heads rediculously when I hear this. This music has become too infected by the latter type of Nu-Death, making it hard for me to listen to this with open ears. I will leave it at this: if you like anything from Suffocation to Decapitated you'll probably like this. For me it's just too much of what I don't like and not enough of what I do. But it does manage NOT to be annoying or offensive, so I will give it that.

The Resistance "Rise from Treason" EP (Armoury Records)-5/10

In Flame's dude's attempt to do something with more "street credibility." Has that almost jokingly obvious "Swedish Death tone." Super duper generic Swedish Death Metal vocals (now known as "Hardcorde influenced.") It really doesn't get anymore generic than this. I piss on this recording (and then throw the wallet chains on top, after ripping them off the corpses of the band members.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reviews 11.17.12

I'm using a 1-10 rating scale now at the top of each review to summarize things.

Aeon "Aeons Black" (Metal Blade)4/10

So this is Aeon, huh? A wanna be Cannibal Corpse band? Ok whatever Metal Blade...way to go Sweden!

Aranya (Self Released Promo)8/10

Northwest Pagan/Folk music. Since this is a comp, it's hard to tell if they lean more towards Metal or just folk. But it's roughly half/half here. If you are tired of typical silly Euro folk Metal, this is a very refreshing underground sound (and it's...American!) Reminds me of the way early Black Folk sounded when it was new and exciting. Highly recomended if you are a hippy Metalhead like myself. The singer is in Witch Mountain, who are on Profound Lore - so that may be easier to get and is along similar lines - perhaps a bit more doom laden.

Corrosion of Conformity "Eye for an Eye" (Candlelight)9/10

This is an album I have tried to get into over the years, but could never get past the shitty production. Now either I have just grown a new appreciation for punk or this re-master sound quite a bit better! I'm gonna assume this thing was cleaned up big time - because I can hear everything better and it's just really killer and raw sounding. I'm not sure why or how, but to me C.O.C. is one of the heaviest bands ever. And even in this early punk form, the chemistry and power is obvious. This is a complete filthy raw classic. Pretty hilarious cover of "green manalishi." 6 song ep tacked on the end is a really killer addition which shows the evolution of the band into a stronger/heavier groove. But still damned vicious.

general Lee "Raiders of the Evil Eye" (Play the Assassin)6/10

This is one of those apocalyptic post(?) hardcore noisy loud as fuck bands where the singers screams the whole time like the guy in Neurosis or Brutal Truth. I don't generally like this stuff because it is usually extremely one dimensional and self important. But, being this band is French, I think they bring a slighly more original and progressive approach - which is rare within this style as far as I have heard. Even though they seem to be trying to sound "American" there is for sure a bit of something which is their own and some nice dynamics to be found. Still, it swims in its' own artistic cliches a bit more than I like.

god Seed "I Begin" (Indie Recordings)6/10

I guess this is King and gaahl from gorgoroth. Pretty brutal modern Black Metal, which ends up sounding kind of "Deathened" to me. It's got a shade of the old Black Metal energy, but not enough to make it very above average to me. I think people just like this band because of WHO is in it, not so much for the music. Because let's face it, it is nothing specacular.

Hellbastard "Sond of Bitches EP" (Patac Records)8/10

UK crusty veterans. Yes indeed this is the origin of crust and not the trendy EXTREMELY mediocre and smug shite that pops up all over the damned place. I'm not the biggest "crusty fan" in the first place. In fact, I always said that Amoebix was just a bit "too punk" for me. But this fills the gap of Metal and rhythm guitars/drums where Amoebix type stuff fails. I imagine this band is great live, and I intend on checking em out next time they slither through town. Lots of attitude, grit, and a lack of pretense. Some vicious fucking guitars too. Even a few shreddy moments!

Kamikabe "Aberration of Man" (Unique Leader)5/10

Oh great, more technical death metal. Just what the world needs. So what scale of technical complexity would I place this? I suppose that is the question, because really that is the goal with these bands right? Ok sure, it's not bad. It's got some good riffs, drumming is not TOTALLY computerized sounding. But when the best compliment is "well at least it's not as bad as..." we're not really looking at a high rating. If you just can't get enough of the shit, knock yourself out.

Nidingr "greatest of Deceivers" (Indie Recordings)6/10

Well it's official folks - even Norway can churn out average blackened death now. Musically this has some interesting moments. Vocal wise - it is a nice change from what would be expected (a more straight forward Black or Death metal voice) Sounds more like Cronos or some punk rocker. Somewhat interesing and wierd at times. Kinda reminds me of Mayhem "grand declaration of war" which I never liked much, but never "hated" particularly.

Rocka Rollas "Conquer EP" (Stormspell)7/10

Pretty solid power metal. Nice thrashy riffs, vocals remind me of Running Wild - not so much Helloween. Songs have a nice variety and there is just enough grit to this that keeps it from sounding to "squeaky clean" which is a problem with much "power metal" these days. Very jolly at times, but not totally over the top. I would say if you like your power metal EVER so slightly understated, check this out. Or if you just like good power Metal and have not heard this - it is worth the time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reviews 10.22.2012

Anaal Nathrakh "Vanitas" (Candlelight)

I hate this production. It's totally thin, flat, and digital sounding. More and more bands are sounding this way and it does not sound "heavier" it just sounds processed and really takes away from things if you ask me. Anyways, this is typical "trying to sound like Colin Richardson" production. Fast, hectic, kinda like Nile or At the gates or something. Vocals are very harsh - almost industrial in their effect. Singer tries really hard to do interesting things, the production just kills it. I can't listen to this, sorry. People seem to be calling this "scary." Pfft. Scary my ass!

CAR BOMB "w^w^^w^w"(Self-Released)

This is kinda in that Strapping Young Lad/Devin Townsend area of heavy music. It's pretty cool. Lots of funny sounds, plenty of brutality. I just don't really dig this shit. I like more classic formula rock. But if you like Zappa and Death Metal, well you will probably wanna hear this.

DE MAGIA VETERUM "The Deification" (Trascendental Creations)

Now this is some prettey fucked music. It almost reminds of Star Wars or something. Like if you got in a roller coaster that went into an asteroid field and demons are out there dancing around at the same time. Sounds funny until you are actually up there in it! When people talk about "scary music" don't pay attention. Unless De Magia Veterum is in the sentence! This is like what Abruptum probably would have accomplished if they kept going. Warning: DO NOT take acid and listen to this! So like I was saying, it has a bit of an outer space kinda feel. Like when Ripley shut that Alien out of the ship. But it's also got that "Circus-y" feel of Master's Hammer's "Slagry" album (which I like actually). Anyhow - this is music that genuinely has something wrong with it. This is prog. Nevermind that power metal stuff that calls itself prog. I wouldn't really call this "metal" but like I said, if you like the more demented outer fringes of Metal experimentation, get this. Ah yes, the first Necromantia demo, how can I forget? Ok, this is early Necromantia if the production was way better. Also some of ELPs more fukked music comes to mind. Can' say I've been this impressed with anything new in some time. Times are clearly getting scarier, and music is starting to reflect that again.

Eviscerate (Self Released Promo)

Uh oh! It's time to get brutal folks!!!!Coookieeee! C is for coookieeeeissssgoooodenoughfoooormeeeeeeeeeeeeeeAH!WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Ooooh! Lots of "booodies" being "broooooken" here. Do I really need to say anymore? Production is good. Brutality is high. If you like old Cannibal Corpse or maybe Suffocation this isn't bad.

FISTULA "Northern Aggression" (PATAC)

Pretty fuckin sludgy bro. Sweaty, smelly, dirty, heavy as hell. Nice samples. Overall, you've heard this before. This kinda band usually is either killer or lame. There's not much in between. This is killer. It sounds real. It sounds like the original shit. Sure, it's got some character of its' own - but sludge is sludge generally. It follows the underground formula, but doesn't sound planned. Sounds natural. Did I say heavy? Jesus, that's a heavy noise! Reminds me of the godly Iommi Stubbs at times! When it's fast, look out. It sounds like a pickup truck full of pig shit moving at about 98 miles an hour with someone wasted behind the wheel. Some good dynamics. I would recommend wearing "mosh clothes" when this band comes to town.

KILLING JOKE "MMXII" (Spinefarm)

I haven't followed this band at all over the years, so my expectations were basically zero here. This isn't Metal, but it is heavy music which is more rooted in darker 80s new wave and maybe a little early industrial/punk. The lyrical themes are pretty obviously pointing at the issues many people are paranoid about today in a very matter of fact sort of way. These guys aren't pretending everything is ok but they also aren't saying "we're all doomed fuck it." I like the attitude and the songs here are interesting and pretty raw in their own way. "Fema Camp" is about the concentration camps people believe are being built in the USA. That's about as real as it gets I suppose. And like I said, they sort of face the issue head on and do a very good job. This is what political music USED to sound like, and I am glad it's coming back. Bands say they won't talk politics for whatever reason, but the real reason is usually because they are afraid of alienating their fans and losing $$$ and if you ask me, that is a pretty chicken shit reason. Killing Joke goes right into it, and it's pretty catchy and dark at the same time. Although it ain't "Metal," that one IS a heavy number. The vocals blend with the music very well. Clearly, this band is a very tight unit working together perfectly and really have their own sound. This is an album I may have to listen to a few more times. I sense greatness here.

Lyceum (CDR Demo)

Melodic Death Metal. Even though the cover titles were written with a sharpy, the production is pretty good. It sounds like these guys have been listening to a little too much Amon Amarth or the Haunted or something. It does get a bit technical at times, but not overly so. It's a pretty good balance. But everytime the vocals come in, it always settles into that "Amon Amarth" groove. The leads are just floating about like some lost viking holding a busted hammer. There is lots of talent here, but something about it just feels like a viking costume bought at the Spirit Halloween store. This is too hastily thrown together, there is not enough attention to songwriting. All the fancy parts end up all sounding the same and interchangeable. Track 4 sounds a little different. Must be another recording session? Anyways, it's tuned down lower - but manages to sound exactly like all the other songs. It's just one vibe. Every song sounds like "track 8 or 9" off of some Amon Amarth album. You know, the one where you sart getting bored and going "hmmm, I like Amon Amarth but I think it's time to switch the CD." Talented band, they just need to work on songwriting and getting somewhat of an original sound.

Satya Sena "Wide Awake Tour Demo 2012" (Self Released)

This has a nice organic tone to it. By that I mean, the instruments sound very live and unprocessed. There's a real in your face, almost retro tone to it all. I really like this type of production. The drummer is quite adept, and you can hear everything he does. The groove is steady and pounding, but the drummer clearly can do anything at anytime - and probably will. The guitar tone is very heavy, but in the buzzy stoner rock sort of way, not in the layered metallic fashion. Reminds me of how "High on Fire" sounded when they first started out. Vocals are nothing amazing and pretty monotonous, but they don't take away. They just don't add a whole lot. In fact, the guy sounds a little like Matt Pike. Anyways, this band is all about the drums. In fact, the drummer gets a little carried away. Either that, or he needs to join a Death Metal band because the riffs just sound like teenager stuff by comparison. Tell you what, if you know someone in a Death Metal band that needs a drummer - I think this guy would probably quit Satya Sena in a second. He is over qualified for the job and clearly wants to show boat his way into a bigger signed technical Metal act. Then again I been known to have an overactive imagination. Anyways, I sometimes call music like this "unsatanic" Metal. Basically, it has all the aggression of extreme Thrash or Death Metal, but they sing about pot or nature instead of satan and castles. This somehow makes them more "unique" or "punk." Or that is the theory anyways. Mastadon are the gods of "unsatanic" Metal I guess. You know, if you ask, they are like "yeah I like Sabbath - but other than that I only listen to punk." Even though secretly they probably were into Dokken and Warrant at some point in their past. Anyways, I am getting off track. this is technical stoner Metal. That about covers it. good shit, the drummer is just too good for the band. It's like a demo for him. (or her?)

SONS OF TONATIUH "Parade Of Sorrow" (Hydro-Phonic)

Aw man, more sludge???Eh...ok. This is killer sludge with a bit more dexterity and precision than the average. That's about all I can say. I can only take so much of this stuff as I quit doin speed quite a few years ago now. I know it's a cop out, but I can only take this shit in doses. Production is killer on this - and you know by now I am a dick about production! It's a good listen, I just ain't in the fukkin mood right now. Fistula is heavier, but this seems to have a bit more emotional depth and more potential to be "epic." Nice cover art.

Von "Satanic Blood" (Von Records)

The thing about Von is that once you learn a little about their history, the story behind the band quickly begins to engulf your experience of the band itself. Especially with regard to this album. I'm not sure if the band members themselves planned it this way or not, but a brief glimpse at their catalog is enough to illustrate how confusing this band is even before listening to any music. Here goes: Satanic (1990 demo), Satanic Blood (1992 Demo), Satanic Blood Angel (2003 Comp), Live at the Stone (2009), Blood Angel (2009 Demo), Satanic Blood (2010 EP), Satanic Blood Ritual (2010 DVD), Black Mass:Jesus Stain (2012 split), and finally of course, "SATANIC BLOOD!" (2012 Full Length). That's 9 recordings, all of which basically contain more or less of the same songs either re-recorded or re-issued. 5 of the 9 are either called "Satanic Blood" or have "Satanic Blood" in the title. 6 have the word "Satanic" in the title, and 2 have the phrase "Blood Angel." To make this more confusing, it is hard to know who the hell is in the band at any given time. But it seems Venien and "Goat" are the main originators of the band. However I've read that Venien quit before the "Satanic Blood Angel" recording was done and that he is not on it! Yet here we have Venien releasing the "first official full length" of Von "Satanic Blood" WITHOUT Goat present. But wait, there's more! Goat went and released "Von Goat" recently without Venien. This would seem to have been a reacion to "Von Venien," who released a sinGle in 2010. Oh yeah, then there was Sixx, which would seem to be a Gothic Death Rock side project both Goat and Venien were in briefly in the early 90s. There is more. In fact MUCH more about this band that is confusinG as hell and frankly, kind of hilarious. But I plan to Get to the bottom of some of this in my Von interview which by the time you read this, should be somewhere here on my bloG...so, down to the music. I don't need to say much here. Classic Von is classic for a reason. We all know why. SImple, dark as all hell, way ahead of it's time, and still pretty damned oriGinal soundinG to this day. Clearly Venien and Goat are BOTH talented, but here we are concerned with Venien, since he was in charGe of this recordinG. It is brilliant for sure. Almost all that is Great about the oriGinal Von recordinGs. But it is different of course. The only real difference I hear is the layers of sound/Guitars. There is simply more of them. We are talkinG about very stranGe music beinG recorded AGAIN under very stranGe circumstances. The result? A very stranGe and disturbinG album of course! Taken on its own in and of itself? This is the best it Gets because it really transcends the Black Metal label the same way old Bathory does. Yes, today we call it "Black Metal" but there is not much here I can make out which pulls any influence from modern Black Metal, other than it's own Von based roots. I would say this is mandaory for fans of raw underGround Black Metal. One other note I can add having heard this jus a couple times - there is some real terrifying moments here. As in "horror movie" come to life. So if you like your music terrifying and disturbing, ye with a consistent beat - this is worth a listen. I also liked Von Goat. I can only conclude that Von really is just a word to describe a battle between Venien and Goat for a title. All I can say is some Great music has been bourn of this duel. Keep at it fellas!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Von Interview 10.19.2012

Note: Von has an album due to arrive on October 31st, 2012 entitled "Satanic Blood." Venien regards this as Von's first "official" full length album. In most cases, this is the recording we are talking about here, not to be confused with early demos entitled "Satanic Blood." Also, "Dark gods" is an upcoming 3 part trilogy of NEW Von Material which is not yet out, but much of which is recorded and/or written already. So when Venien speaks of "Dark gods" recordings in "past tense" this is why. But this material has not been released as of today, 10.20.12.

Shaxul Records: Where is Von based at this particular time?

Venien: I'm based out of Phoenix, Arizona. 3 of us live in Phoenix. The drummer lives in Chicago and another guitar player lives in Florida. So we are all a bit scattered, but we basically rehearse here...and we been doing all the recording here, at Von Records.

Shaxul Records: I understand you have a show coming up soon in San Francisco?

Venien: Yeah, we're gonna be...[doing] that and New York...we're gonna be announcing in a little bit. Yeah that's all in the works right now. Yeah, L.A...that's been booked and is being promoted right now for November 9th.

Shaxul Records: Why did you decide to re-record all of these Von songs now after all these years?

Venien: When we started this with another guy named Shawn Calizo [a.k.a. "Goat"] in the late 80s we had made a bunch of material that was never realized or recorded properly. It was just a work in progress of tapes and demos. Nothing that we were gonna release as an album ever. Those demos were passed around with tape trading and stuff like that I guess. But nothing on the album level. So because the band had a short lived time together...in 2006 when I started this stuff back up and I contacted Shawn and we had been talking about doing it...we had found out that through the years we had stuff that was released on vinyl and stuff. That was not though us at all. So all that stuff was not from the band. So when we got back together for the London show Shawn wanted to re-record some songs just for the show because he was taking a different direction with his Von Goat stuff. I was in a different viewpoint of what we needed to do because we were doing the show and it was last minute. So we went along with it, I actually financed it. Put the little 7" out just for the show. And we'd both been working on solo material. But through all the years I've been making songs with all the other old songs and stuff so all that material...at this point I wanted to release the "final recordings" you know, finally release an [official] album. Technically here was never a Von album. Through the years I guess people call demos "albums" but to us that's not the case. When we came back from London and Goat had quit the band again to focus on his Von Goat material...so I wanted to finish what I started from the 80s. He wasn't part of the [new] recording or anything...his guitar player [in Von Goat] Giblete Cuervo, he quit Von Goat and came over to Arizona and started playing songs with me for my solo album [Von Venien a.k.a. "Venien"]...and we recorded all the material I had as far as Von is concerned. And that's over 70s songs. So the songs I had from the early years...that obviously goes into the "Satanic Blood" album. All the works from the very beginning with Shawn...as far as I look at it [the upcoming "Satanic Blood" album] to me it's the final recording of that [old demo] material. It finally has a "proper" release and this is the only album. As far as everyone else is concerned, these other companies that released stuff on vinyl and CDs and stuff like that? To us that's bootleg material. We found out about it through the years. And now that we've come back into the fold we realize that people thought that was an [official] album. It IS NOT, you know?

Shaxul Records: Well I think the "Satanic Blood Angel" release on Nuclear War Now! is regarded by people as "official."

Venien: Yeah, they do but it isn't. It's pretty simple...when people bootleg it? No matter how you package it or how you promote it or what people think? The facts are the facts. I don't have any business with those people...unfortunately Shawn does. He had been approached by NWN in London...they dropped a box of records off and gave him a check for back pay for all the stuff they bootlegged but they had never approached me on any level. I never seen a dime on anything Von related to date, except for stuff that I put out. So with that, Shawn had actually signed a contract to do a Von Goat album, or "solo album" with them. So that's probably, in a nutshell, why he quit the band because he was already doing other things with them. And he knew my feelings about that whole situation. So with that, I moved forward with all the recordings that were already in progress without him. I did all the vocals. I'm on the bass, Brent is no longer with the band, he's nowhere to be found. And Joe was really never technically with the band so...nobody from the early years is part of Von anymore it's just myself.

Shaxul Records: You said that you weren't completely satisfied with the direction of things when you first reformed and released the 7". What would you have preferred to happen with the band's direction?

Venien: Well it had probably been a year or 2 we were discussing albums and...I had already started on the "Dark Gods" material on my own. I have material written [for release] after "Satanic Blood" but there is so much material it was [decided it would be] split into 3 albums. So the stuff on "Satanic Blood" we were going to start recording...I'd flown those guys in from L.A. to the Salt Mine studios where we were rehearsing, we decided we were gonna record a couple songs just to give to the fans at the show. We had all been practicing the original material that we had created...but it was a deal breaker for him [Shawn] for whatever reason, he didn't wanna re-do the versions he wanted to change it up and all this and that...and it was a deal breaker for him. If we didn't do it, he wouldn't record. His Von Goat album, it's a different style from Von. SO he sorta applied that to the recording...it was like 2 or 3 times we had dropped the project of the recording because of that. And then at one point I just said look, let's just record whatever you got. Let's just do it and I have to get it out and package it. So I went along with it but I said "this is just for the London thing." I wanted to record everything the way it was. Why do something different than we already had? It doesn't make sense to me. When we started to record the stuff here he already quit the band and cancelled any shows that I arranged so at that point his guitar player quit Von Goat, came out to Arizona, and we just went head to toe with all these songs. So the songs [on "Satanic Blood"] are as close as possible to the original versions that we did...in a nutshell it's the truest form of what I wanted to capture as far as this album is concerned. As far as the 7" I wasn't really happy with the situation. I was involved with the mix and he was calling in every once in a while but at the same time I wasn't happy with the whole situation you know.

Shaxul Records: Regarding the upcoming "Satanic Blood" recording, upon first listen I first noticed perhaps a few more layers of guitars on there?

Venien: Originally it was just Shawn playing guitar and I was tremelo picking on my bass as well. So I'm on the rhythm with the drums. We stuck with the 2 octaves...tremelo picking and we put some chords in there to fill it up a bit. But as far as everything else it's pretty much right there with what we were doing on the original versions. But to translate the way I wanted it to translate all the way across the new albums? We picked the formula, picked the sound as close as possible to the raw sound I came up with in the 80s. We sort of brought that in and added on top of it. I didn't wanna take away from what the original was, but I wanted to add a little more to it so it would all fit together with the new stuff. It's not Shawn playing guitar, it's Lord Giblete playing the guitar. The "Satanic Blood" demo Joe had filled in on bass during that recording because I had business to take care of. They actually had to go in and record the 4-track demo for that. And all the material he [Joe] played - he didn't do too much tremelo picking - he was just single picking. I play with a pick so a lot of the sound on the recording reflects that. There's a lot more rhythm low end. The tape you are familiar with, the one with Joe, it was never meant to be performed that way. All the material was never played that way. So that is one change in the elements that you may hear [on the new recording].

Shaxul Records: Do you do any vocals previous to the upcoming "Satanic Blood" recording?

Venien: When we started out I did vocals and Shawn did guitars and you know...it was the 80s and he wanted to be the front man you know, he wanted to do the vocals in the early days. Originally I was gonna do the vocals but he wanted to be the front man so I let him do that. He wrote all the lyrics on "Satanic Blood" but as far as all the arrangements and the songs and the riffs? That was me and him. I mean if you listen to all the songs it's all bass lines. But as far as this new recording if you listen to the vocals, that's all just me. There's a couple different variations on top of myself, but it's all what I do during a live performance and during our rehearsals. So what I do is I stay true to what I wanted to have for Von in the beginning. When we first started Von we had discussed what we wanted to sound like. From the picking to the drums to the vocal delivery. Even playing a set without stopping. All the way from front to back you know "we're not here to sell drinks" you know what I mean? "I'm just here to play my show." So when I came and did the recording 20 years later it still applies today. Everything you heard on the [old] recording, and that goes for the new [upcoming] albums as well. But as far as "Satanic Blood" I tried to say as true to form to the demos, even using them as scratch tracks to try and stay as close as I can to the original stuff without going way off.

Shaxul Records: What about the 1990 "Satanic" demo? Did you sing on that one?

Venien: I played bass on that one. That demo was the first time we actually recorded any of our stuff. Not everything was on there and some of the stuff we changed through the months. That was the only recording we did actually we were just lazy [laughs]. We weren't really into recording ourselves at that point. We actually threw the mics up around the pipes around the ceiling. That's what you got. The few songs we'd done for that night. All the rest of the material we had been just working out.

Shaxul Records: On the "Satanic Live Ritual" DVD, which I guess is a boot - I think Goat is wearing a mask and as a Samhain fan, right away I kind of noticed that the band looked very similar to Samhain in terms of the image. Were you big fans?

Venien: Well obviously I am not on that, that was actually when I was dealing with some family stuff. Lemme just tell you a little bit about that. All that stuff you see on that DVD or those 2 shows they did while I was gone? That had zero direction or zero to do with what I had in mind for Von. The elements of blood and some of the more evil or dark tones of what Von is...[long pause] It doesn't even touch the surface of what I was trying to do for Von. So when I wasn't there...everything you see on stage - the mask...it had nothing to do with me. You know he [Goat] had long hair, I had long hair, Brent had long hair. We are were just headbanging, you know, crazy. You know, punk style, intense kinda band when WE played together. But when I saw that [the DVD], just like everybody else, I just sorta laughed about it wasn't really what we had intended to be. But I definitely know that he [Goat] was into that kinda stuff. You know he was into Danzig and the Misfits and Samhain you know...we all listened to that stuff back in the day. I was a big Septic Death fan you know. I was a punk rocker. I lived in the Bay . I listened to nothing but punk rock. Skateboarding in San Jose and all that. I was in the scene in the 80s and all that. So everything I had was in the punk world. As kids you know, those bands were part of it. The Samhains and the Misfits and all that. It's all obvious now looking at his stuff and pictures while I was gone. That all happened when I was taking care of my family. So when I got back to the Bay they had already all broken into their own camps. They all moved out of the Bay. Back then you didn't have cell phones and this and that. Nobody paid their bills and no phones were connected so I finally found Shawn like a year later. '93 or whatever. He had shown me the Sixx stuff he had done, he gave me the demo tape that him and Joe and Brent had did. "Satanic Blood" Demo. And he's like "yeah we recorded this when you were gone." Nothing was ever realized or formed we sorta had a short lived band. I never got a chance to do the album with them because you know, because of life! Everybody sorta moved on. And I came back to an empty city, you know?

Shaxul Records: What was your first impression of the "Satanic Blood Angel" stuff when you first heard it?

Venien: It was cool. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it was pretty close. I asked him [Goat] "well where's all the other stuff?" And he...he wanted to get away from Metal. He's like "I don't wanna be part of the Metal scene. I wanna act." He had played in some pop bands. He'd played in a band called Balinda Deluxe [?] Tansanso [???]. So he was sorta in a different direction with his musical career. So that sorta chilled it all right at that point as far as us finishing the Von stuff. At that point, it just sorta ended.

Shaxul Records: So you weren't part of Sixx at all?

Venien: No that happened at that same time period that I was gone. He turned me on to all that stuff later. I was just like "wow!" Surprise, ya know? But years later Joe, who recorded on the demo, Joe Allen...we grew up together and he was the best man at my wedding so we were really close. I asked him to play with the band while I was gone. Me and Shawn got a call in like '95 or '96 and it was Joe and he had been approached to sell that demo to somebody. And me and Shawn are like "absolutely not." [laughs] We don't want our material...you know, that's not a proper album! And he sort of hung up and told us to fuck off and that's the last time I ever spoke to Joe. Years later in the 2000s I'd gotten a bunch of calls from people I knew in the Bay area saying "I want a copy of your vinyl!" [laughs] "I want a copy of your CD! I want a shirt!" And I was sorta shocked I was like, "I never released an album." A lot of people were pissed off and told me "someone sold your demo." It was probably Joe. So 2006 came about and I was like, I gotta ring this in you know it's getting outta hand. I'm seeing bootlegs EVERYWHERE you know? And people are telling me "this has been out for years man!" When I talked to Shawn he said he had no part of it and he didn't know anything about it. We both assumed that Joe had sold the demo to these companies or whatever. So we weren't too happy about it.

Shaxul Records: My recollection of the early 90s underground Metal scene in San Francisco was a pretty bleak one. Do you think Von was bourn of that environment specifically in a way?

Vienen: Yeah you know, I spent a lot of years in San Francisco. I definitely have that vibe of the Bay Area. I'm a "Bay Area kid" you know? And I totally understand what you're saying...I'm 41 years old, but...I was into the punk scene more than anything. I dabbled with friends that had thrash bands and speed bands...but as far as my attitude I was just a punk you know. Literally a punk. I had an attitude with everybody. And just living in the Tenderloin you know dealing with the bullshit of the streets. Just dealing with day to day, doin drug dealing, and it was just hard surviving as you know...if you do that kinda life in San Francisco. Always pissed off. I was a drug dealer so...I can't hide that you know? I was goin around sellin drugs. Like that you just didn't respect anybody...When I came back in and started developing the Von stuff with Shawn...you know, we lived together for a short time and we'd sit there [with] no food or this or that, angry at the world and the city. It definitely did affect what we did. We wanted to display the brutal part of our life. We were young and we were pissed off and...it was evil and darkness everywhere so. Even today some of that stuff is still around but I translate it into actual records. All the "Satanic Blood" stuff was just a real primal state of what we were into as young adults. It was just a brutal assault. We just wanted to kill it every time we played. You know the environment and the time period and just the way the scene was? Yeah it definitely affected me. We were sorta at that point where we didn't even wanna record ourselves. We didn't even wanna play shows. We were just anti anti everything! [laughs] So many hair bands back then. There was a lot of super technical Metal...I had a lot of friends that played in bands like that but...I was listening to Sodom and Kreator and goin to Gwar shows and Slayer shows...but at the same time I was goin to punk shows and skate type shows. And the decline as far as I could see was just the glam and glitz of all the bands around us. It was a constant rejection from clubs. Like I'd show up to a club and I'd be like "hey man I got this band, Von." They'd check it out and they'd be like "we definitely don't want to have anything to do with that. That's not even something we'd consider. Sorry!" You know? "Play some Metallica" you know? Do something that's "goin on." It was constant rejection, and even if we did play bars or this or that - it was just like this blank stare. Everyone just had this "Pink Floyd-ish" just stare at us. We did our set, just non stop. We were in we were out. No response. No negative, no positive, just like "what the hell was that?" And that's what I remember. We were so disconnected from the scene because we weren't accepted by the scene. We didn't really even notice a decline or upcline or...[laughs] I was too busy hustling on the street.

Shaxul Records: It seems a big part of the early Scandanavian black metal scene began as a sort of rebellion against the then very popular death and thrash metal scene. Maybe Von spoke to them in a more basic way than is typically acknowledged?

Venien: I didn't know there was such a thing as "black metal" till later on. I'll be honest with you. People say "they call you black metal." We didn't know! I mean, truly, we didn't know what we were! I have to be honest. I didn't know we were black metal. I embrace that. I represent that now because this is what the people and the culture...it's bigger than me. But at the time all I did was infuse what I listen to. I was listening to "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" ya know? Septic Death. Pushead screaming on his microphone. Led Zeppelin ya know? Those huge drums and those toms hitting. The Bonham hits. So I'd tell my drummer "hit that tom every time you crack that snare" it would be like, tied into a Zeppelin beat. I really enjoyed that work. I had a full 70s heart you know? But at the same time I had a punk mentality and liked punk beats and style...and I loved Metal! So throw a little Venom and Black Sabbath on there? Shit, you got Von. [laughs] That's what we were happy with. We knew we were something, but we didn't know it was just too early. And so for people over the years to sort of dissect it and see what it's all about...I guess it has its' own place. I was turned on to the whole Norwegian thing and all those sorts of bands just in the past 10 years. People will be like "check this band out" you know this band has your band's name you know like Watain and...and all these bands and at the same time I can understand why people are drawn to that pure adrenaline. That rage. That "fuck everybody I'm not a fuckin slave." It's just expression and dealing with the darkness that's in everybody's heart. It's rage that people have for everything. It's not an occult thing, it's just at the time...at that age...you deal with what you're told or what you know or what you learn. You believe in a god you believe in a devil, you believe in...as you grow older you learn a lot, you decide, you think for yourself, and you ascend from a child. So that "Satanic Blood" and Von and what we were at the time was crucial for me but it's still part of me...so I still represent that. But it's so much bigger now. There's so much more meaning to it. I wanna finish what I started but I have so much art and so much material and so much to tell that I really wanted to...let's do this [Satanic Blood] and let's do it right this time around. And release the people that are gonna hold me back. And release the people that are gonna cause issues and problems and cater to young kids who are thinking "this is how it is" or "this is what it's supposed to be." If you're gonna be subject to what people say or this or that then you're never gonna get through this project you know? I still have that in me. I just don't care. I just keep goin.

Shaxul Records: How did your solo project Von Venien [a.k.a. Venien] come about?

Venien: Well Shawn had done Von Goat and he said "well you should do Von Venien" and I quickly made that jump for that. But after the fact and after I pressed it up and I wanted to change it so bad but it was already in play. I was like "that's just too confusing for people." So I said, "no I'm not gonna be like him it's confusing people." You know, my name is Venien. It's VAY-NEN! So If I do material that is more personal or more of a psychological kinda thing on my music, that would be my solo material. So I'm siting there going through all my material and pulling stuff that just doesn't fit with the Von stuff. So truly, it's a Venien project. It's still got the Von elements in it, it's just different material. It's a little confusing and that's why I changed it quickly back to "Venien."

Shaxul Records: Yeah I thought you guys just sat down and planned it that way.

Venien: Yeah, that was not right and I made that mistake because he sorta suggested it but I was like "nah, I'm gonna change it back." He stuck with it. I dunno why [laughs]. He should just go by "Goat" but to each its own. I mean I told him "Von is Von, we can't change who we are. Let's stick with the program." But he was always...it never felt comfortable for him I don't think. At least from my perspective. He might say something different. But to me...I was constantly energetic, you know you can hear I talk a lot! I got that energy. And he's more reserved, kicked back, and more vague about things. His direction was always a different direction. He had a couple pop bands that he'd been recording with...and that's where he was. I mean, if you really know the guy that's where he is. He's very light hearted. A big proponent of non-violence. Even at the London show I was like "let's do what we were gonna do with blood and the whole thing" and he was like "that's a deal breaker. No. No blood on the stage. No nothing." It was an eye opener for me. Because years later, he's matured. He's comfortable in what he believes in. And so now he's like "I don't want any part of any of that stuff." So as you can tell he's going on with his Von Goat stuff because it's a different style. It's a different kind of material. This Von stuff, it's just a monster and it has to be treated like that. You can cage it at some level, but it's still a monster man. You put out rage, you put out things that are pulse pounding, make you wanna smash your head up against the wall and you sorta have to go with it. And that's sorta what I wanna do with Von. I go for it all the way, there's no retreat.

Shaxul Records: To compare Von Goat with the latest recording of "Satanic Blood," the former does seem more "blurry" in comparison to the more visceral Von recording.

Venien: I'm happy with it. I mean I spent a lot of time on the mix, I spent a lot of time with the mastering, I mean we're up to the highest threshold before distortion. This is probably the loudest album he [our mastering guy] ever did. It's just got this huge rage affected pulse to it. And I'm happy and completely excited to let people hear it. And I wanted it to be as true as possible to what I created. Why fix something that's not broken?

Shaxul Records: So do you have a pretty clear plan of what comes after this Von recording?

Venien: Yeah, I've already recorded and mastered "Dark gods I" which is called "7 Billion Slaves." That comes out in December. And "Dark gods II" which is called "Rise of the Ancients," that comes out in July. And "Dark gods III" which we're actually recording right now, that comes out in December of next year. So it's a 3 part album kinda thing. They all hold their own because I sorted the songs that way. But they all sorta - Charlie Fell, he was hired to come in and do the drums on "Satanic Blood" you know, he plays with a band called Lord Mantis. He came in to Chicago and recorded "Satanic Blood" day one. The whole album in one day. And then the next day he did the whole "Dark gods" album. The first one, "7 Billion Slaves" the second day. So, he knocked out both albums in 2 days. So I took that back, mixed em and mastered those. And then Charlie went off to record a Nachmystium album. And so, he was just sort of a recording session artist.

Shaxul Records: So "Dark gods" is the next musical project for Von?

Venien: "Dark gods" is the all new material that you haven't heard. I recorded 3 new [Von] albums of material that nobody has ever heard. Some of it dates back from demos that I just recorded, you know just for archive purposes. But a lot of the stuff, like I said, I just recorded and recorded through the years. And finally some of these songs that were just more psychological that dealt with my persona as Venien? Those were separated and put as solo cuts. So I mapped out all this material and because of the story, I tied in "Satanic Blood" and there's a big story that I'll reveal at some point. But the "Dark gods" was supposed to be the last Von album. And there was just so much material...I had to do 3 albums worth. A lot of the stuff was put in a certain order to cater to the story. So each album hold their own sorta like a chapter in a book. "Satanic Blood" is almost like a prelude to the bigger story. So that pretty much wraps up what I'm gonna do with Von at this point. And then all the stuff I pulled aside...I have 24 tracks pulled for my solo Venien album which I call "Tribal Blood." So it's a double album. I split it into 2. And I still have about another album [laughs] that I haven't been able to put the tracks on. So we're talking about that if things go well, there'll probably be a sequel to "Tribal Blood" even. So there's literally over 70 songs I haven't even...in the box you know?

Shaxul Records: Is the "Dark gods" material all you? You wrote every single part?

Venien: Every song after the "Satanic Blood" album I wrote. I did all the vocals, I did all the bass, I did all the arrangements, I did all the riffs. Down to loosely helping doing solos. And even when I sat in with the drum sessions with Charlie, and now my new drummer Anthony...I chat with em beat by beat. Sorta like I did with Brent in the early days. You know, "I want this here and a tom there,"just the format of everything. I've done it since day one of Von I been there so.

Shaxul Records: Well I look forward to hearing you guys live.

Venien: It's just [the few US dates we're doing] a few pockets of shows to drop these albums. We would like to do a mini tour but it just seems there's not enough time for promoters in the United States to do their thing. So, it's not lookin too good. I would like to, but I can only do what people can do. But we're definitely gonna be full force 2013.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Obituary interview with Trevor Peres 9.26.12

Shaxul: So you are doing the first albums tonight right?

Trevor Peres: Yes, absolutely. It's the classic set. "Cause," "Slowly," and "End Complete.

Shaxul: So we're not gonna hear "Redneck Stomp" tonight?

TP: No you will not. Finally! [laughs]

Shaxul: Oh, do you guys typically play that one?

TP: Well...last couple years we been playin it. We were just in Europe doin it. Yeah we got asked to do a tour in Europe for November and December...and they asked us about doin a classic set. So we decided to do it on this [North American] tour to rehearse.

Shaxul: Anything you are gonna play that you've never done before?

TP: There's definitely some stuff we probably never have played. We can't remember [everything we have/haven't played] all of us were thinking about it... but there's definitely shit we haven't played in 18 or 20 years...maybe never. So it's kinda cool.

Shaxul: Have you been adverse to playing certain more obscure tunes from those first few albums?

TP: No, there's just certain stuff that we always gotta play. You know what I mean? So it was kinda cool to rehearse some songs that we haven't played in forever. I mean, I had to go back and pick out notes n shit. Cuz you know, you don't sit around playin your own shit. I don't even listen to it. Ya know? I haven't listened to some of that shit for yyyyyears! And it's fun. It's actually fun doin it [the classic set].

Shaxul: I saw an old video online of Obituary doing "Till Death" and noticed James Murphy was singing along to some parts.

TP: (laughs) Really? That's cool, yeah.

Shaxul: Do YOU sing along to those songs?

TP: Oh yeah!

Shaxul: But how do you do that? Is that possible? [I'm speaking about the fact that there are no official lyrics to the song, but not sure if Trevor gets my point -SHX]

TP: Some of it you can't...because the singing parts are similar to the parts your playing. So it's hard. You'll fuck up [laughs]. But yeah, you'll see me up there screamin with JT some of the time. In fact, I get hoarse from it.

Shaxul: You gonna do "Circle of the Tyrants?"

TP: tonight? No.

Shaxul: Ever? You ever do that one?

TP: I think we probably did back when we first released that album. We were doin "Dethroned Emperor" for a while. But for this tour we're just doin classic stuff that we wrote. I'd have to relearn "Circle" right now! [laughs]

Shaxul: Ever talk about doin any Death songs since dude [meaning Terry Butler] played on some of that?

TP: Well...[makes pondering noises] I love Death. But I mean, we never really talked about it. That would be cool as shit though. "Zombie Ritual" or something?

Shaxul: So you have a Barbeque Sauce. How did that come about?

TP: I love to cook. I have a smoker. I smoke my own meat and make my own rub. And one day I was like "I need to make my own sauce!" If you like to barbeque it's good to have your own sauce. So I spent about a year developing it. Trying different ideas and reading different recipes...had friends taste it. Finally one day my friend's like "dude that is SICK! That's the recipe!"

Shaxul: What is the signature T-Bone element?

TP: It's the center of the gamut. You know, the flavor palette of the barbeque sauces? Right in the middle. Cuz you got a lot of people who like the vinegar base, some people like it really sweet/hearty, some people like spicy shit... it's got a good flavor, it's got a good spice - it's not hot though. It's sweet but vinegary at the same time and it's tomatoey, so really...it's the center of the gamut.

Shaxul: But what is your specific signature?

TP: [Pause and a sigh] I dunno. The love that I put into it man! When I make that shit, I'm into it. I got molasses in that shit [laughs] the good stuff! And I even put a little smoke flavor in it.

Shaxul: So you like a little red wine with your barbeque?

TP: I'm more of a beer guy, but I do like red wine. I will fuck up some Merlot. And there's a grape where my wife is from in Sardinia, it's a grape called Cannonau which is kick ass. It makes Merlot look clear [laughs]. It's so dark!

Shaxul: So you guys had a lot to drink last night I heard you mention earlier?

TP: Mmmm well I was drinkin Crown Royal. Crown on the rocks. I used to drink Jack Daniels but one day I woke up and I couldn't even smell it anymore. I wanted no part of it. So one day I picked up a bottle of Crown and I was like "wow!"

Shaxul: Any non drinkers in the band?

TP: Nah...we all have a little bit, but I don't before we play. I mean, I'll have a couple beers but I won't get all fucked up before we play because we gotta perform. I won't get all stupid and belligerent because we gotta hold down the train ya know? I mean, we had that in the band already. And we got rid of that.

Shaxul: You mean Frank right? No, just kidding! [laughs]

TP: No uh..Santola! [laughs]

Shaxul: So you do all the leads now right? You're THE guitarist right?

TP: I'm not doin shit! [laughs] No actually in Europe I was doin leads but on this tour I had to learn leads from like 18 years ago, so I'm just barely gettin comfortable with some of the songs to where I'm...I'm running stereo and using a punch in switch so it sounds like a 2nd guitar kicks in. It's a little a/b switch.

Shaxul: When I listen to the old Massacre demos and I hear Allen West's tone I instantly think of Obituary. Did he come up with that sound or did you guys sorta evolve together?

TP: It's Big Al man. We kinda were doin the same thing. I mean he was doin Massacre and we were doin our thing...we were both from the same school. We loved Celtic Frost/Hellhammer, Priest, and that's why he got in our band. He left Massacre and we needed another guitar player so it was like a match made in heaven you know? I mean once I heard "Morbid Tales" I just threw everything away and started re-writing shit.

Shaxul: What do you think of "Cold Lake?"

TP: Pretty cold. [snickering around the bus] "Cherry Orchids?" JT even know what that is? [Laughs]

Shaxul: What is Obituary's "Cold Lake?"

TP: We don't have a "Cold Lake."

Shaxul: What about that song..."Bullitoberry?"

TP: Bullituary? Uhhhh I didn't want it on our album! [laughs] It's some buddy of ours. We let him come in the studio and rap over it. It's hilarious I think... Whatever...it's not serious, so...I mean we all like rap. I got Ice Cube "The Predator." It's like one of the heaviest albums in the world you know?

Shaxul: Any hardcore bands influence your playing in Obituary in the beginning?

TP: Eh...Maybe D.R.I., Uniform Choice. It's definitely in there somewhere probably. I think even Slayer was probably influenced [by hardcore]. That's where some of the speed comes from. Maybe indirectly.

Shaxul: You ever play "Don't Care" or "World Demise?" Been dyin to hear those!

TP: [laughs] I don't think we ever played it [World Demise].

Shaxul: Do you think when bands like Biohazard, Pantera, and Machine Head got popular - that your sense of "groove" was influenced a little bit?

TP: Absolutely not. Those guys never influenced me ever to be honest. Friends with those people, but I was already stuck in a rut at that point writing wise. Maybe uh...Skinny Puppy influenced it I dunno! Because during "World Demise" I was tripping on a lot of industrial stuff. So maybe that had something to do with it. Hellhammer. That's where our doom comes from I think. Hellhammer/Frost I mean...that shit just oozes out of us I think. And Black Sabbath too. Like Terry said the other day, "it's a scary movie...on wax."

Shaxul: What's this one you are watching called?

TP: I have no idea. It's pretty depressing though, this movie. I seen a couple things I thought "I don't want my children to watch this EVER."

Shaxul: Would be the right mood to get ready for the show right?

TP: Oh yeah. That's a death Metal album right there. Exactly. Scary. I don't want my children ever to see that shit.

Shaxul: It seems like you have a lot of fun playing these days. Do you ever feel a sense of irony playing such "evil" music but having so much fun with it?

TP: Yeah probably. We're all a bunch of wise-guys...we can't go a day without crackin a joke. In fact, John will look at me and say something stupid onstage and it'll make me crack up and I'm like [laughs]. "Don't do that!" I'll have to turn around and look at Donald to stop laughin. We don't take it so fuckin serious anymore. We're havin fun. We like to create heavy music. I think people appreciate, you know people come up to me and say "looks like your havin a good time up there." When we write we're definitely trying to bring out something dark and it's hard to do now cuz we're like...old dudes who...aren't that serious anymore![laughs]

Shaxul: You ever heard this band Malignancy? Their stuff is just insane with the tempo changes and such...

TP: Nah, never heard em. I'm not much into the more technical stuff. I definitely think the simpler stuff has more feeling. Like Sabbath. It's so basic but so much emotion.

Shaxul: Do you think what you do today with Obituary is rebellious? Do you feel rebellious when you are doin this?

TP: Well...not as much as I did 20 years ago. Death Metal has become so popular in the world of music. I mean even grandmas know what Death Metal is now. Or a least they've heard of it. So it's almost kind of a joke - it's not rebellious anymore. I got kids you know...I mean don't get me wrong, I'm a rebel! Yer lucky I wasn't president when 9/11 happened let's put it to ya that way! [laughs] I'm probably crazier now than I ever been to be honest. Fuckin, light the wick from both ends! I definitely black out more now! [laughs] No I mean...I try to walk a straight line most of the time. Having kids makes you different. So I gotta be around for them. I don't wanna go to jail [or anything like that]. I used to be more politically involved years ago and finally one day I just realized I ain't gonna change the world or I don't give a fuck. I can't even watch the news because I get pissed off. Sometimes I wonder why I had kids cuz I gotta let them live in this fuckin world. But you know, it's part of life I guess...I mean I think we thought of that years ago like when World Demise came out, and then one day I realized it's just a waste of my fuckin energy. It really is I mean...you're not gonna change the world. Life's too short to stress live that way. I enjoy my kids. I go to the beach, go fishin as much as I can and just enjoy bein alive while I'm here. All you can do is stress yourself out, have a heart attack, and die, and have grey hair. And I don't wanna live that way.

Shaxul: You gonna vote Romney or Obama?

TP: I'm more Republican. On my voter card it says "independent" but I vote for Republican every time seems like.

Shaxul: Is there something Romney said or did that made you wanna go that way?

TP: To be honest I haven't paid attention to much of what he said at all. I just know I don't want Obama. He's just a waste. He hasn't done anything. He's like "I got a plan!" well, what have you been doin for the past 4 years? [laughs] We gotta keep you in twice to do something? That's not fair.

Shaxul: You ever think the whole system is the problem?

TP: Oh, the system IS the problem. I mean politicians are a problem. Anybody who wants to be that has a problem. Power, control...[sighs] I can't imagine being a politician.

Shaxul: Do you think some musicians are too outspoken about their political views?

TP: I think some musicians put too much politics in their music. Definitely. Like I said, "life's too short to live that way." If you know who you are and know what you think, you shouldn't care what other people think. If you think a cerain way, that's your shit. I mean people all the time are like "did you vote for Bush?" And I'm like "yes I did. Both times!" Because the other guys were idiots! I mean who's the biggest idiot? You pick the lesser of the idiots. That's what it ends up bein at the end of the day. Cuz they're all kinda retards [laughs]

Shaxul: So is it true you are on Century Media now?

TP: Not officially but I think we're gonna sign a contract with em.

Shaxul: You guys gonna sneak in any new songs on this tour?

TP: No, we haven't even played the new stuff as a band yet.

Shaxul: Has anyone ever gotten a redneck stomp?

TP: People get redneck stomps all the time!

Shaxul: Who needs a redneck stomp?

TP: [laughs] Half the fuckin world!

[someone in the background]: Oprah Winfrey! Obama! [laughter] Oprahmah!

TP: The Yankees! There ya go! [Laugher]

Shaxul: What do you think of geoff tate and/or Queensryche?

TP: I like Queensryche. geoff tate is an incredible singer. Absolutely. I guess their music annoys people I found out last night. [laughs]

Shaxul: There's 2 Queensryches now.

TP: There is? I didn't know that. Wow. that's trippy.

Shaxul: I guess since you guys actually have something cool to do you don't pay attention to silly shit like that!

TP: Life's too short man. Don't worry about shit like that.

Shaxul: Do you think because there is so much Death Metal today that maybe you are not appreciated as much as when it was smaller?

P: I dunno. I still think it is the most extreme form of music on the planet and probably always will be. I mean it can't get any heavier. I don't know what you can do to make it heavier. I remember when I was like 20 and I'd be in the grocery store and everyone would look a me crazy because I had long hair. That doesn't happen as much anymore. There's a whole lot of us out there now so...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reviews 9.22.2012

Daylight Dies "A Frail Becoming"(Candlelight)

This has that sound which is technically heavy, but is almost so clean sounding that it's soft. It also has that signature Candlelight records "sensitive arty farty" thing going. I dunno if they tell these bands what to sound like of if they pick the bands because they sound a certain way. But for sure this band has that whole meloncholy/sensitive thing going. It's kinda like non-aggressive Death Metal with more mainsream Black Metal leanings thrown in. It's kinda cool at times, just extremely predicable and lacking of any edge really. It makes me want to take a nap really. It's not terribly melodic, but very pop-like within the confines of "dark arty" metal. It's like they wanna sit you down at a fancy restraunt, pour you some wine, and take the stage. Ew. Ok shut it off please! Now!

Doro "Raise Your Fist" (Nuclear Blast)

On the cover Doro is actually raising her knee higher than her fist, which is a bit confusing. But that's where the surprises end here. Oh, except the rather awesome duo with Lemmy on "It still Hurts." Just goes to show - Lemmy's mere presence manages to lift at least one song here above average. This is very solid traditional Heavy Metal with a modern edge. Similar to Rob Halford's solo material in that it is very traditional song structure and lyric-wise - but much heavier than 80s Metal of this type. The songs are of course, totally centered around Doro's vocals and cachy choruses. It's fun and cute with song titles like "Little Headbanger," but nothing about this is phenominal. It's basically pre-packaged for sing along to large festival crowds who will blindly love it. And that's cool, I'd rather people blindly love this than a lot of other shit. But compared to Udo, Halford, or Dickinson's solo stuff - it falls short for sure. But that it even comes close to those guys says something. Doro rocks pretty hard. I just ain't gonna sit here and say she's amazing and phenominal because she just ain't. She simply is Doro, from the 80s. Solid, fun, rockin, cheesy. Nothing more nothing less.

Malignancy "Eugenics" (Willowtip)***

Um...ok, where do I start? This is just about as rediculously chaotic and technical a Death Metal band can get. It's not my thing, but if it is your thing I have rarely heard better than this. I just can't fucking headbang to this. It comes down to the drums. They are just FUCKED. There is hardly ever a straight beat for more than a couple seconds. It's like they have this rule "we have to change the beat every 2 seconds MAX." Man, if like your shit technical and insane sounding that way? For sure get this. hey are damned good, I just personally cannot get into this shit. I mean live I would just be laughing the whole time at the absurdity of it all. And the kids would just be there in the pit going fuckin nuts. I can see it now. NOT old school at all.

Metsatoll "Ulg" (Spinefarm)

This was released last year but somehow took me till now to get it. What a mistake that was! This is the best thing I have heard in years! As far as "folk Metal" goes - I am not one of these people that just likes anything with funny sounding wind instruments and a bunch of funny clothing in the band pic and silly lyrics about beer and pirates. Metsatoll clearly has a sense of humor, but they take their music seriously and have much pride in what they do. But it is offered up in a very sincere way. There is a strong spirit to this music I must say is lacking in so many other bands of this genre. Maybe it is because so few Estonian metal bands have reached a wide international audience. I'm not sure, but there is a real passion here and a fresh feeling not found in any other area of heavy metal that I can think of. It feels "new" not tired and ancient like Thrash Metal feels these days. Like other styles, Folk Metal has plenty of fake poser garbage. Metsatoll has been honing their own Estonian brand folk Metal for many years, so they are not newcomers jumping on some band wagon. Their sound here is very developed and nice and organic sounding. It starts with a basic heavy riff based sound, very solid natural sounding drums, and various wind instruments and mouth harp (the cowbell of Folk Metal!) Overall, it manages to sound much more raw and simple than the stereotypical overproduced folk Metal out there. The vocals in this band are what really stand out. Somewhere they have added a baritone voice, which melds perfectly with the lead vocals, which are slightly higher in tone. Together there is a very strong choral effect unlike many bands I have heard. "Muhu Dread" features baritone vocals as the main and takes the album into a new direction. The flute lead clearly compliments to lead vocals and choral background vocals answer the call like some primitive symphony. I could go on and on, but simply put - this band really has their sound dialed in and is easily one of the best, if not THE best Folk Metal band out there today. Highly recommended.

Satan's Wrath "galloping blasphemy" (Metal Blade)

This has some very strong old school satanic riffs right in your face from the start. This is the sort of stuff I would expect from Metal Blade in 2012 but rarely hear. Nice guitar work. Contemporary enough to stand up to new stuff, but well versed in the old school. Vocals are very cool and somewhat peculiar. But they are not so unlike the vocals of Ross DOlan of Immolation. Basically Death Metal vocals, put to a slower 80s sort of tempo. I mean except when they decide to play all out thrash! Nice old school Slayer meets Iron Maiden guitar harmonies. Whoah - hello Possessed! Nice to hear you again! glad a band has decided to immitate you again! Not much else to say here, except that Metal Blade has not lost all sense of connection to the idea of bringing quality underground heavy metal to the front! Reminds me of stuff you typically hear from underground European labels such as Iron Bonehead. Shaxul approval has been given here!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reviews...9/2/12

Bombs of Hades "The Serpent's Redemption"

Boring mid tempo crusty death metal. It may be Swedish, but not everything Sweden shits is gold. The bio says they used to be "gristly crustpunk" but went Death metal while retaining the "d-beat/crust" vibe. Why is this story sounding so familiar? It's almost like they planned it that way just so they could say it in the bio. This whole "we used to be punk/crust" thing is becoming a cliche. I mean if you like crust/punk so much then go play some crust/punk, ya know? Leave Death Metal to the people who can actually play it without worrying how many crusty punks like it or not! Anyway...You're better off with some old Carcass or Death Breath than this 3rd rate stuff. But if ya just like anything from Scandanavia with a black and white logo in the Discharge font then knock yourself out.

Crypt of Kerberos "World of Myths"

This is a re-issue originally released in 1993. This is a worthy re-issue and I am very glad this was done because wha I am hearing right now is top notch Swedish Death Metal with a technical progressive edge which never falls into "wank land." The sound is a little cleaner than the typical Swedish Death Metal of the 90s, and the band clearly sought to destinguish themselves from the pack. I love the primitive vibe here. There is so much technical death metal these days and they all have the same overly polished sound. Crypt of Kerreros reminds me of a time when this music was still exciting, new, and ground breaking. Highly recommended.

Ensiferum "Unsung Heroes" (Spinefarm)

As expected, this album begins sounding like the movie Lord of the Rings' opening credits. Once the obligatory intro is over, we launch straight into epic blackish folk metal - with some nice church choir and keys to give the whole folkish feel. This is rediculous, but it's a good rediculous. Especially when the chorus is "In My Sword I trust." I can get on that chariot. And I will. At times this reminds me of the great Falkenbach - but the music doesn't quite sound complete with growling vocals here. This is very melodic music which screams for melodic vocals, yet desperately wants to remain in "blackened" territory for some inane reason. Musically, this is very rich and loaded with epic midaeval feeling. The choruses are WAY over the top. I mean we're talking FULL vocal choir, with guitars, keys, and growls almost all simultaneously. Then we get the dramatic "shift" into the quiet pan flute section. This is where Frodo Baggins is staring up at Mordor from Elrond's palace and thinking "oh how will I ever destroy this accursed ring? Oh why me!" DO I need to continue? Fucking Dark Crystal, maybe some Conan the Barbarian, lots of Lord of the Rings, and some good old fashioned European folk metal guitar work - a few fancy folk instruments thrown in. I mean, this is "folking" paradise! You want folk? You got it. Not the silly "beer drinking" type though, this is "take up your swords and fight for the honour of thy land" style. No beer or humor till the battle is won!

Haarp "Husks" (Housecore)

Housecore is Phil Anselmo's label. I know he's into sludge, so I was not surprised at all when this meaty sack of shit plowed out from my speakers and covered my entire room in philthy excriment from the bowels of New orleans. Singer's got a good growl. Definitely got some character and isn't just the generic "crusty vocals" that have been way too prevalant the past 10 years or so in the "underground." This is very heavy but musically you can tell there was care taken in the recording and song construction. Pretty Neurosis influenced. Nice moody vibe...I don't know what else to say, because there are for sure a million bands putting stuff out like this - but it simply stands out from the heap. Music is uncharacteristically sophisicated, but not in an obvious way. But these guitarists know what they are doing. These are not mindless meth-heads banging away. Overall this recording just succeeds on more levels than the average sludge band usually does. Pretty good shit. I dig the animal song titles too.

Khors "Wisdom of Centuries" (Candlelight)

Trippy sounding black death metal with a very big sound. They sum it up themselves pretty well with the song title "Where the grandeur of Mountains Embraces the Space." I'm not sure what their point is - but it's big n heavy n scary. Some nice sounds pop out here and there. Like I said, it's trippy. More eccentric than your average band of this type, it's not some carbon copy band. It's not amazing, but it's a worthy listen and a bit original is their Ukrainian sorta way.

Phobia "Remnants of Filth" (Willowtip)

My memory of this band always goes back to the late 90s when I saw them at gilman in Berkeley. They had this awesome raw brutal underground quality that really impressed me. It was one of the first "blast beat" punk/crusty/grind/power violence bands I remember liking. Anyhow, what I hear now is pretty much more of the same. It's real brutal and fast. Production is very good, but Phobia has managed to retain that underground feel I'd say. For me this kind of music does get old after a while, and I find it pretty interesting when a band can maintain such entheusiasm with it for so many years. Not so much what I am into anymore, but when I am in the mood for it, this is how I like it to sound. Perhaps a little dirtier guitars would be nice, but live I am sure this band still delivers the goods. Fuckin nice drumming by the way.

Swallow the Sun "Emerald Forest and the Blackbird" (Spinefarm)

Atmospheric dirge music. It's not real heavy sound wise - it's more of a layering wall of sound effect. The clean vocals remind me of Ihsahn or some other Euro "black metal gone soft" outfit. The music and vibe are very mellow dramatic in an almost gothic sort of way, but with growling vocals mixed in. There are some cool unexpected parts here and there, but most of the songs shift repeatedly from soft and somber to heavy and somber. But again, it's less riffy and more of a wash of sound. It drones on after a while and gets kinda boring. The only thing that saves it is the slight euro eccentric edge it has every once in a while. I guess this band is on tour with Kreator and Accept - I predict people will be yawning big time when this band plays. I know I will.

Reverence "Asthenic Ascention" (Candlelight)

Wow, that's pretty fucked up. Very discordant in a Blut Aud Nord kinda way. Mostly goes for the "living nightmare" sorta feel. Not a real happy place to be. Some nice fucked up drum work. I don't know where to start...there's cool time changes, some good blasts from out of nowhere, and lots of cool dynamics. Killer sound and very compeent playing. Some nice hell choir vocals. Kinda psychotic sounding. A good album to lose your mind to.

Sons of Tonatiuh "Parade of Sorrow" (Hydro-phonic)

A descent Eyehategod clone.

Vision Divine "Destinaion Set to Nowhere" (Armoury Records)

The introduction to this CD sounds like some Italian commercial for Mozzarella cheese or something. Yes, cheese is the word for sure...Anyways, I guess this is someone from the band Rhapsody. I've heard Rhapsody and my general impression is pretty much the same as what I am hearing now. Overproduced, dorky, fakely positive and happy sounding, generic Euro power Metal. I wouldn't put this in the bottom bracket at all - it's quite competent and well executed. And I can handle some cheese, believe me. But the syth sounds and overprocessed instruments just give this a very carbon copy cookie cutter sound. guitars are nice and "bludddiitybludddityBLUT-tacular" but who really cares about guitar fastery anymore? Dragonforce kinda nailed the last coffin shut with regards to "watch me shred guitar" style. There's also an annoying "trying too hard to sound modern" thing going on here. It'll just bust into some random techno beat for 5 seconds for no appearant reason. I guess this is what Euro Power Metal bands need to do every few minutes to remind the listener that they are, in fact listening to "prog metal." Vocals are actually very good - but this guy has that high winey sort of voice I never liked much. Sounds like Michael Sweet, graham Bonnet, or that dude in Angus. Anyways - if you can't get enough of that Italian gorgonzola, here you go. Ciao bella.

Winterfylleth "The Threnody of Triumph" (Candlelight)

Although not so original sounding, this band is a little bit of a breath of fresh air in the sea of faceless black metal bands. Maybe it's because they're English or something, I dunno. Sound wise it's mostly typical grim black metal with a strong epic side. But they just get the vibe that so many bands miss. There is a reason so many bands try to play TRUE black metal, and that is because when it succeeds, it is a very unique and awesome thing. The problem is most bands just don't have it. It is an obscure art form for sure. Winterfylleth really seem sencere and into what their doing musically. Whereas so many other black metal bands these days seem more motivated to attain some sort of status or something shallow like that. The sound here is very full and the production neither tries to sound raw or too polished. Recalls Blut Aus Nord's more triumphant epics, but with their own slant. Now I'm not saying this band is the fucking second coming of Bathory or anything, because let's face it - no wheels are gonna get invented again! But I would say this is a CD worth having on the shelf that doesn't simply sit there to fill the "black metal section." It will sit in the CD player often as well.

Wodensthrone "Curse"

Woden is how an infant says "Odin." Just kidding. Speaking of kidding - that's not what this band is doing. They are as serious as a record contract and as black as..oh, I dunno...the next band? These guys aren't bad, I just find myself zoning out and staring at the wall when this plays. That's not meant to be a compliment. Nor is it a bashing of the music. It's just there, being all serious and not so impressive. Songs are generally way too long and sound the same. The cover art is a joke. SOme shitty painting trying really hard to look obscure and esoteric. Sorry Brits, but ya missed the mark this time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review of "Chinese Democracy"

I never bothered to buy this album because I knew it wasn't an actual guns and roses record, but an Axl Rose solo album. I mean that's what I call an album featuring Axl Rose and a bunch of hired musicians. The result is this over produced rock album that jumps all over from pseudo industrial grooves to overly processed pop rock and pop ballads. Anyways, like I said I didn't really care to buy it. But when I saw it on the shelf at the dollar store I gave into my sick curiosity and bought it. For a dollar.

It actually starts off fairly well with 2 mostly riff based songs that at least somewhat resemble the sleaze rock vibe of the old stuff - but it's all encased in this over produced wall of sound. The guitars are so digitally processed sounding, all I can think is Nine Inch Nails or Rob Zombie. Anyways, I can see why these couple songs "Chinese Democracy" and "Shackler's Revenge" are the first 2 tracks. These are the closest it gets to the "original sound." I have no idea what Axl means by "Chinese Democracy." I guess he was inspired by some movie I haven't seen or something...

As the next couple songs roll up, that's when the songs take an obviouse pop rock turn and the vocals come much more forward. This is when Axl's voice really starts sounding strange. Now let's talk about Axl's voice - it's always been rough and pretty strained sounding. It's not really a pleasant "singing" voice. I mean, his low "where do we go nooowwwooooww" thing is a joke we buy into because "Sweet Child o Mine" is just a great rock song. At best he's next to Brian Johnson or Janis Joplin in terms of vocal range. It works in a certain context. But here he's trying to do something more like Elton John or Freddy Mercury. And he can't, because that's either a heavy pitch correction effect on "Street of Dreams," or he's doing a duet with a 10 year old robot version of himself. This vocal effect permeates the entire CD by the way, so if you think Axl died and was reborn as a 10 year old robot choir boy, well, that's just not the case. If you wanna hear what "better" REALLY sounds like, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6-4rY15KRA If you wanna know what "Street of Dreams" REALLY sounds like, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oQuipK6ucI Can you say steel wool throat? Like I said, he can't fucking sing the stuff that is recorded here. Not without heavy studio effects.

After that, things just get really fuckin wierd and schizophrenic. I mean I can enjoy a well constructed epic tune. But we already got November Rain once. There are some great parts here and I ain't sayin Axl doesn't succeed on some levels. And clearly he's gifted musically. But jesus - get away from the fucking computer and sound effects and bring some Marshall stacks into the room! By the time we get to "Catcher in the Rye," everything is just so computered out and touchy feely I don't know if I'm listening to the new Radiohead or Coldplay.

"Scraped" pulls steps back and touches a little bit of the old gnr - but again, the vocals are so obviously treated by a computer it sounds like Axl is singing from the INSIDE of a washing machine. I mean christ, the lines and even some single WORDS are edited in and out. No wonder this shit took so long to make. Axl had to digitally re-construct every vocal part 100 times. I mean I'm just guessing that's where some of the alleged "13 million dollars" and 15 years went into the making of this. "Riad" is another case where the core of the music could pass as a killer gnr tune - but there's 30 layers of shitty effects and fake ass processed vocals mixed in with Axl's actual shitty "rat being strangled" sandpaper pipes. And Buckethead's Tom Morello video game squeal sounds do alot to contribute to the whole "let's leave the bar and play a corporate private party for a million bucks" feel. As for "Sorry," well all I can say is I'm sorry you recorded this Axl.

"This I love" is reaching real far into "actual singer" territory. Honestly, if Chris Cornell or some other actual singer sang this? It would probably be a pretty killer, intense, dark ballad. But again, Axl insists on using his digially enhanced voice insead so he can say "yeah that's me on there." Things end off with "Prostitute," a straight up pop song that coulda been on a Madonna or a Cher album. Insead it ended up on this album with robo Axl on vox.

To sum up, I'd have to say this is an incredible waste of talent and money. I mean online Wikepedia is saying this is the most expensive album EVER recorded. That's saying a lot when you really think about it. R.I.P. guns n roses.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reviews...PANTERA!

Yeah I know, "what the fuck? Why are you talking about Pantera?" Well look man, once upon a time I was 15 or so and I saw this video on MTV by a band called "Pantera," and although the name was kinda weird to me the song was just heavy as fuck and the riff was really memorable. The title was "Cowboys from Hell" and I had to admit that the title was pretty cool too. I mean what the hell, were these guys from Texas? Never heard o' no "Heavy Metal from Texas!" hehe...Anyways, the video looked cheap and people were slamming and at that time I was really into Vio-Lence - who also had a similar video of themselves playing while a crazy pit was sloshing around them. I didn't see a difference as far as what it represented. It was killer, aggressive, underground Metal to my young ears. But kinda different. Kinda new sounding, but not in a bad way - and THAT was exciting to a kid who just barely missed the heyday of thrash by a few years. The singer also had a fucked up haircut. A "long hawk." I never seen that before, and he was all sweaty and, well...Philthy lookin! But at the time, that was actually cool and made me think he must be a badass to be able to own the stage so hard looking like that!

Anyways, it was just another video on the old "Headbanger's Ball" which I thought was cool enough to record on my VHS player - which was always ready to record when they stopped playing glam shit for 5 seconds! Then I saw a 2nd Pantera video, this time with much clearer film quality and all this high budget looking stuff going on. There's this pro sounding acoustic guitar and the singer comes in singing all amazing like it's a Judas Priest ballad or something. I'm like, "wait, the sweaty long hawk guy can sing his ass off?" The song was ballady, but it was worthy of almost "Fade to Black" proportions - and that's not common. That was when I ran to the store and found a cassette tape of the album "Cowboys from Hell."

I was a devout fan from that point until "Far Beyond Driven" came out. I'm not going to explain what happened all in between in detail. But basically, "Vulgar Display of Power" really impressed me (and alot of other people my age and probably older) and my personal feeling is that it is underrated by many "true metal" folks because it was so popular and influenced so much bad music of today. But I don't buy into that shit. If something is great, it's great. I used to listen to "Reign in Blood" on tape all the time around this same period. I had no idea it would become so popular over time. Did that make the music less good? No, I just can't listen to it as often or it'll get played out. Anyways, "Far Beyond Driven" had the same great songs as "Vulgar" for the most part. But something was wrong and I couldn't figure it out. I think the band blew their wad on "Vulgar" and just couldn't quite match it. The tones were more mechanical sounding and overall, just a bit more forced than seemed natural. Kinda like when you are screaming as hard as you can for hours, and grow a bit hoarse. Or should I say, a dead horse? Still, i had some killer songs and I went along for a couple more years based on their awesome caveman inspiring live show. But my interest in the band began to fade as I got more and more into Death Metal.

Now, I have finally decided - for no reason I can quite say, to actually check out the last 2 albums I never listened to. "great southern trendkill" and "Reinventing the Steel." Here's what I though of em. Note - when I refer to "the first album" anywhere here, I'm talking about "Cowboys from Hell," not "Metal Magic."

Pantera "The great Southern Trendkill"

Right off the bat I can see why this band got annoying and kind of silly. The opener is obviously trying to prove right away, "we're back and we're more brutal than ever!" with lyrics which are sorta too current to make them real timeless. "Fuck your magazines!" "Fuck yeah, that's right!" I get where Phil is coming from here and he's trying to be all "underground" but at this point in time it seems like he's tryin a little too hard to me. The music is kinda noisy, yet has a few sorta catchy riffs. But overall, it's a pointlessly brutal song, obviously created to prove something they already proved years ago much better. Fortunately, the band can still do MUCH better, and they do as the album moves on..."War Nerve" is a nice return to what Pantera does best - make seriously crushing riffs executed with a tone warmer and closer to the first couple albums. The bluesy riffs and solos that Dimebag is known for are in full effect here. Him and his brother are seriously tight on this album. Seriously. Unfortunately, Phil's vocals haven't really improved. They don't necesarily take away, but they don't match the music as well as they did before. And again, Phil is trying too hard..."Fuck the WOOOOOOOOORRRLLDD!" yeah, ok buddy - you're so angry I get it! This is where the "nu metal" mentality was born. Right here. Now comes "Drag the waters." This is an obvious instant classic. This coulda been on any of the first 2 Pantera albums. Even Phil locks right in here. No brainer. Very cool, and even kinda new sounding for them. Credit due here for this one. And by the way - that's the "bluesy" feeling in there, that ain't no nu metal shite - I don't care what anyone says. Dimebag knew the blues like fukk. So he had a badge to groove out all he wanted and I'm glad he did. "10s" is an interesting song that breaks things up nicely. I'm surprised Phil can still pull off vocals like this. Very similar to "This Love" but also fairly different. Pretty creative I'd say. "13 Steps" has that "jam" feeling that Pantera gets on the first album on a few of the songs. At times it's pretty cool, but doesn't completely work for me. It's a killer jam, but I dunno if it's a killer song. Not bad, but not sure if it really adds to the album either. "Suicide Note pt1" was a surprisingly moving song for me. A very somber ballad that is almost a little scary and believable. Especially having read what Phil was going through over the years when I wasn't really listening to the band. This one caught me off guard. Phil still has lots of talent here. But I feel like he has to reach more to get at it. "Pt II" is, of course extremely brutal. Unfortunately it's kinda stupid. I mean, Dimebag has a few riffs I can only call "sick" in the song. And I hate to use that word, but that's what they are. Fucking "sick." The vocals are "try too hard" for me, and I think it's a bit of a wasted song. In fact, the music is trying too hard to be extreme here as well. Their thing is just wearing thin. However, next song "living through me" brings the band back with some killer Thrash Metal riffing that plainly proves that Dimebag was way up there with the best Thrash rhythm guitarists - and there aren't many of them. Phil? Well again, trying too hard. Succeeding a little actually. "Floods" is a pretty cool experimental songs, mixing their soft side with the harsh drugged out side. In fact, "drugged out" is a pretty good description of this song. It's dark and I buy it for the most part. I do think Dimebag's style hits a wall a little bit here though. I'm not saying creatively, but stylistically, I just think he's not such a "sad" guy - he seems like a party dude to me. And I can almost hear him and Phil struggling to find middle ground. It's not bad - it's pretty cool at times. But something feels not quite right. "The Underground in AMerica" has a very obvious title and it's as stupid as it sounds. I don't care what Phil is talking about here. He sounds too high to realize how silly he's getting. The music is really heavy, and has a killer groove. But it feels forced again. Like Phil's trying to force the band to be "evil" but it just ain't happening. Why? Because these dudes just aren't evil! The band can do better than this. "Sandblasted Skin" has a nice stoned out fucked up Dimebag riff. It sounds like a psychotic opening into Phil's head. It's kinda cool, but to me, this isn't what Pantera does best. It's so effortless for Vinnie and his bro to jam endlessly. This is them jamming with Phil screaming all over. It's awesome at times, it sounds like shit at times. I respect them for experimenting like this - but I also hear where alot of really shitty bands came from! Overall, this album has some great songs, but a few do nothing for me. I give it a 80% rating. I respect it overall and once in a while I will check it out again.

Pantera "Reinventing the Steel"

First song...The band sounds pretty inspired, though I can't say the song is great. It's just kinda like "here Pantera! We're back, ya miss us?" I gotta admit - I kinda fall for the cheese of it. Phil is yelling his head off as usual, but it's less annoying here than on the last album. "goddamn electric" is a fun/cool song. Distinctly Pantera. Phil sounds kinda stupid here and there, but this is near classic. Clearly the band is in synch this time. "Yesterday don't mean shit." Some killer thrash riffs, some really generic nu metal sounding ones. The band sounds really fired up - just a bit too "generic suburb Metal." Next is "You've got to belong to it." In a weird way Phil's old charm really comes through in these song titles. I mean, when you are forced into a grin just reading a song title, you know Phil is on it. This is "type 5" Pantera song. Half fucked up trippy noise and half sick riffs. Yeah, I said "sick" again. I mean, that's the only description for these riffs. Sick. That used to be a compliment, and that is how it is intended here. I remember the Death Metal dudes used to say "sick" alot before the "wiggas" stole it. Pantera is a little silly - I think that's what Phil doesn't quite know how to come to grips with and what Vinnie and Dime still kinda can't shake from the "Metal Magic" days...Vinnie does some cool shit here. Tight as all hell. "Revolution" is almost industrial in it's crushing approach. Shit, I'm hearing newer Danzig here. The scary question is, who influenced who? I think it's clear. Very nu metally. Not totally my thing - but this is a sound they pretty much invented, so they are entitled to it. "Death Rattle" is pure nu Pantera in full effect. It's not for me. Again, they invented it and it is heavy. But..."Axe" is like "Mouth For War" pt II. Very similar. gets real fucked up towards the end and less "Mouth for War" like. "Uplift" is another absolute crusher. The band is on fire, just like the guy on the front of the album. I hate what this music influenced, but I can't deny the power and won't. "Disappear" keeps the krushing going, then the last song "I'll cast a shadow" unleashes probably some of the best Pantera riffs ever heard. These guys must have known what their best songs were, because this album seems to get better as it goes. The last riff was turning in my head hours after I stopped playing it.

Ok, I'm sick of Pantera again. I'll be revisiting these again in like 10 years or something.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Reviews 7.01.2012

Agalloch "Faustian Echoes" (ep)

2 song ep based on "Faust." Songs are hella long, so this ends up being over 20 minutes I guess. Very composed, moody, melodic, and somewhat unpredictable at times. The mood focuses on the brooding wintery sort of sound, with that occasional glimmer of hope, of course. But not enough to step on the dark toes of the whole thing. Overall, it's just too comfortable sounding. Nothing breaks out of the mold of countless other recordings and nothing violates the territory you would expect from such a band. This genre is at a dead end creatively. But unlike other genres which have run their course, cascadian black metal gives the impression that everything it does is artisically valid and amazing and far reaching themeatically. If this was the only recording of its kind, that might be true. But it's really lost in a sea of similar sounding albums - they just been doing it for longer than most.

Dying Fetus "Reign Supreme" (Relapse)

These guys have been around for quite a while and I imagine they have a very well established sound/following. The sound here is obviously evolved from years of trying to strike the balance between extremety and songwriting. I have to say they succeed on many levels. At times it sounds out of hand technical, but just as fast as I think that thought - they launch into a killer chugger riff. These guys know that bruality alone is not enough. there's plenty of killer riffs to satisfy the old school DM head - but enough technicality to probably make the tech kids happy. Not real innnovative or anything, but solid and no doubt killer live. Reminds me of Suffocation at times. What is up with that logo though? Fucking photoshop has better fonts!

Fastkill "Bestial Thrashing Bulldozer" (Pulverised)

Thrash Metal, unlike Death Metal, can get away with being kinda silly and rediculous - for it can enhance the chaos and brutality in an obscure way if done right. So here we have a singer who undersands full well that the more rediculous he sounds, the more his band will stand out. He has clearly found his own personal inner "Mille Petrozza" and has fully embraced it. The music is kinda aggressive the way "Terrible Certainty" is, but with an almost punk kinda over the top hyper hectic intent. With song titles like "Toxic Tormentor" and "In Thrash we Trust," these guys clearly have the intenionally retarded song title thing down. And considering they are from Japan, that's acually a feat. Because they are thinking up intentionally retarded song titles in a foreign tongue (not their own) and succeeding in making it fit with the traditional thrash sensibility. This is fun, and reminds me of random german thrash bands I hear from time to time, which shred most American bands I hear doing Thrash these days. But I'm not sure I buy Fastkill's act. It's all too obvious. Still, if I were drunk and feeling really retarded I'd probably be moshing to this if they came to town. Not classic, but fun for a one night stand.

Mantas "Death by Metal" (Relapse)

Mantas was Chuck Shuldiner's band before changing the name to Death. These are the early demos, so obviously they are important. I think it's Kam Lee on vocals but I am not sure. Not much else to say. It's an important archival document, but obviously not real high on the production value. This is not really for listening pleasure, it's for those die hards who want to take a trip into the past and explore the origins of Death,

Master "The New Elite" (Pulverised)

The Death Metal Lemmy himself returns! Paul SPeckmann is still at it, and before I say shit, let me just say every time I've seen Speckmann on stage his band has kicked total ass and not posed for one second of it! And aside from the rather silly album title, here Master jumps right into what they do best - show everyone how the fukk it is done old school DM style! Right to business and no fucking around. Just raw fukking Death Metal. Killer riffs, raw vokills, introspective lyrics that don't try to sound like broken English on purpose, and incessent raw brutality. I dunno what else to say. Master wrote the book, and here is another chapter. Kicking ass and ready to fukk you up when they come to town, which they usually do. If you wanna hear what the original shit sounded like before things got all fukking overly technikal and shit - check this out when they come to town. Pass the whiskey!

Sophicide "Perdition of the Sublime" (Willowtip)

Hella brutal german metal on the technical side of things. The guitar work here is very good, it just goes by so fast and spends so much time trying to maintain "brutal metal certification" that it is hard to get into the subtleties. What I like about this is that there are some good musical passages that stand out more than the typical "brutal death" band. If I am not mistaken, I'm hearing a little Helstar/Coroner influence. Or maybe it is just the classical bits I am hearing. I like what this band is doing guitar wise - but the vocals and drums are just standard "brutal metal" and that makes this a partially realised vision to me. Still, I'm gonna have to say this is pretty damned good considering how tired this genre has become. I would be very interested to hear what the next couple albums sound like.

Sons of Tonatiuh "Parade of Sorrow" (Hydro-Phonic)

Heavy duty baby. Molten sludge from the Eyehategod factory of hell. Stop taking showers and bust out the beeswax, because it's time to KRUST OUT with S.O.T.! I'm kinda bored with this shit, but it's well done. I'm just kinda over it.

Stonehaven "Concerning old strife and man banes" (Horror Pain gore Death Productions)

What the fuck is a "man bane?" I must be less intelligent than this band because I have no fukking clue what the hell that means. Anyways...the music is trying really hard to capture that old school raw black metal thing. They actually do a pretty good job of sounding like they are from Norway and writing music in 1993 - but when I hear this I just can't help but ask "why?" This is not bad, it's just that it might as well be a cover band - they wanna be Burzum/Darkthrone/Ulver so bad, it's kinda embarrassing. As I read the notes regarding the concept and art of this album, I feel more embarrased for them. It's like they wanna prove how fukking "Scandanavian" they are. They are from Kansas though. I'm so tired of these bands trying to be so fukking Nordic and European...

Strong Intention "Razorblade Express" (Patac)

Crusty deathy punky grindy stuff. Fat, thick production captures the grimey vibe well here. Not much else to it. SOme nice bluesy riffs! Some power violency blast beats. Singer sounds kinda like Bloodclot from Cro Mags at times. good ape man slam music.

Taurus "Life"

Who the hell comes up with this shit? This is 2 songs. "Life Part I" and "Life Part II." How fucking stupid is that? I can already tell this is gonna suck. Anyways, here we are almost 2 minutes into the first song and all I'm hearing is what sounds like a CD skipping. I'm serious, it's a sound skipping repeatedly. Ok now we have some ominous guitar which sounds like it is through practice amps. Intentionally cheap sounding for that "indy feel." Almost sounds like Weakling in a weird way. Oh man, what the hell is this? Now we have full on sound collages happening. Ok, if I was on acid this would be great. But I'm not, so it sounds like complete nonsense. Anyhow, "Life Part One" drags on for like 15 minutes. Tenatively, I proceed to "Life part II." Ok to be fair, I just want a riff - and this is not that sorta band. This is artsy noise collage shit that gets thrown in with Metal occassionally just because it is so loud and guitary - but seriously, I can't stand this crap. I mean, gimme some drugs and MAYBE - but otherwise stop the fucking CD before someone dies, please. I can't stand his pretentious artsy fartsy shit.

Windfaerer "Solar"

This ep was recorded at a place called "Frightbox." Why am I mentioning this? Because I think Frightbox is a way better name than Windfaerer. But then, I guess this band would have to change their sound to suit the name, which is decidedly UNfrightboxy sounding. Kinda reminds me of early Aeturnus or maybe a touch of the heavier Falkenbach. But closer to the early Death of Aeturnus. Basically, it's really epic Death Metal with a folky/blackish leaning. The music is pretty killer, but the singer sounds like a complete idiot. You know when you watch a high school play and the kids are doing shakespear or some shit? - some kid gets way too into the role he's playing, thinks he's the next Leonardo Decaprio or something, and over acts and you feel kinda embarrased for him? That's kinda how this singer sounds. He must know it too, because he doesn't sing much! It's kinda rediculous actually. I mean, is this a finished product? Some great guitar parts in here - but the rest really needs work. It almost gets away with it in a cheap classic demo sorta way. But the production is slightly too good. I'm not saying it's great production, but just not shitty enough to support the "accidentally classic demo" angle.

Zombiefication "Reaper's Consecration" (Pulverised)

Another EP. What is this, the year of Eps? This is good ol Death Metal in the veign of the Swedish style. And I don't mean the trendy hipster shit, I mean early grave, Nihilist, Unleashed, Dismember, early Darkthrone sorta shit. good and raw and thank satan they didn't carbon copy the Sunlight sound. This is good and raw and from the black heart of hellish Death. Rekkomended!