Sunday, May 8, 2016

DRNSMS

One of the more unusual releases in the Sedem Minút Strachu discography, and it's arguable if it's even considered a 7MS release. Though it seems that these two acts worked tightly with each other on this product. The Solvak harsh noise musician Drén remixed a chunk of 7MS recordings for a crushing seven minute harsh noise bombshell. Together going under the name Drén Recyklator Nepodarkov Sedem Minút Strachu. Limited to 100 numbered copies by the Analog Freaks label.

I've never cared for or had much interest in checking out any remixes, ever. They always seemed like after thoughts or just what people did to fill up a B-side every now and again. Drén is an artist however that has worked tightly with 7MS live on a number of occasions. And it certainly helps make this tape another worthy addition to their mandatory discography. This single piece entitled "Prvy nájeb", hastily starts up with a quick swell of industrial tones, until a raging wall of cold, searing distortion erupts, burying the recognizable racket made by Sedem Minút Strachu. Drén seems to be working with the 7MS recordings from the Camphora Monobromata split and the "You Pose, But Why?" compilation. Bellowing vocals and Jan's tight snare hits peak through the distortion and the two elements work off each other brilliantly. Quick transitional passages of static or scrambled oscillations move between passages of rhythmic bass pulses and feedback, crust beats and brutal drums. Lasting all in all about as long as a solid harsh noise or noisecore set should last. This tape leaves a crater when it's done.

The tape looks as impressive as it sounds. Analog Freaks spared no expense in making this release a quality one. A double-sided, silk screened J-card on textured paper, with a professionally dubbed cassette, and like three stickers. It's a very tight looking cassette package.

I actually didn't notice until I took these pictures that I was gifted with a #4 copy of this! Huge thank's to Richard of 7MS for giving me such a generously low numbered copy. Oh yeah, and the first 25 or so tapes came with a special folded package, containing a set of ear plugs. There's no special branding on the plugs themselves, but the little box it's in is certainly a piece of packaging.


Read more about this tape here. 7MS is the best band.

~VII

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mutilated Regurgitator

Anyone who collects grindcore should have at least 1-5 Agathocles records somewhere in their stacks. I myself have about 30, mainly sticking to their 7" split releases. Reviewing their records seems pretty superfluous in 2016 though doesn't it? Their best material has been re-re-re-recorded over countless releases and bootlegged records. Is Agathocles even a real band anymore? It's hard to tell how serious the members take the band now, at least in regards of writing new material. Regardless, their releases are usually always fun and I try to pick one up whenever I can. Agromosh Records recently repressed a great double 7" collection they released years ago entitled "Keep Mincing"! 2nd press on purple/dark blue vinyl 33 RPM.

These recordings were originally released on their first press of this record back in 2002. Half studio and half live recordings all done in 1988 (arguably around their best era). The A-side is all studio tracks recorded around the same time as classic recordings like "Cabbalic Gnosticism". It's a brutal recording, loud and violent. One of the best recordings I've heard from the mincecore legends. All the classics are here, like "Christianity Means Tyranny", "Lay Me Off", "Mutilated Regurgitator", and "Introtyle". The live recording has it's charm, but like too many Agathocles recordings, it's pretty painful to listen to. The (awesome) vocals bellow over everything else in the mix, the drummer can barely keep time, the riffs are buried in fuzz. I wouldn't be surprised if it was all recorded with one microphone 50 feet away from the stage. It has charm, of course, but I'll stick with record A more often then not.

Both records come packaged in a fold over, double-sided sleeve with all the info you would want to know about this record. Class.

You can probably find this in any good distro anywhere. FFO staying true to your roots.

~VII

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cyclical In Nature

I've missed out on almost every single tape that Sea of Shit have put out. Granted I have managed to get everything on vinyl. The collector in me does get irked every time I miss getting one of the limited cassette editions though. Sometimes it just hurts to not have things. The Chicago powerviolence scum lords are prepped to have 3 releases come out this year alone; A split 12" with fellow Illinoisians Sick/Tired, a split flexi with Su19b, and a stand alone 7" on Nerve Altar. The later had a limited cassette release on Legitimate Business tapes in a run of 50, and I luckily managed to score a leftover form the Diseased Audio store.

Sea Of Shit are usually always a band I can count on to give me some solid, enjoyable filthviolence. This new EP is thankfully no exception. Their 3rd "self titled" release stays true to their sound but comes off just a bit stronger, catchier and more well written. It reminds me a lot of their first 7" (not the demo) in a lot of ways. Since this is more or less just a promotional item, I am keeping my final thoughts on the EP until I hear the proper recording in full. This dubbing, while acceptable, is definitely not a final product and should not be critiqued as such. I will say that the boy's have given us another banger for sure. Probably one of my favorite recording's they've done. With a fresher, new line-up too! Grooves, and slow parts are used in spades, and they are powerful earworm material. The typical slow/repetitive song at the end wasn't a great way to end it, but I'm just sick of that cliche by now.

NYC grind label Nerve Altar Records will be handling the future vinyl release of this bad boy. They will obviously do a stellar job with that record. For you tape collectors out there, this is now OOP, so you better start your online digging for a copy.


~VII

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our Earth's Blood Part V.

I have been on a tremendous Bastard Noise and Man Is The Bastard kick lately. I can't seem to get enough eartime with the countless hours of legendary SKULL recordings. I have been leaning more towards the Bastard Noise side of the coin though. I'm pretty sure the news of the upcoming Bastard Noise/Sickness collaboration 12" and the "The Honesty Shop" LP with the Eric Wood/Anthony Saunders line-up set it off. Needless to say, I'm extremely excited to hear both. Saunders and Wood blew my brain apart when I saw them this year in NYC. They performed some classic tracks ("Remember Thy Creator" was amazing), and some wonderful improvisations of harsh, sci-fi electronics. One of the coolest sets I've ever seen by far.
Recently Mr. Wood was very kind to me and sent over a handful of newer Bastard Noise records. To say I was deeply grateful is an understatement. This new 7" here, the 5th installment in the legendary "Our Earth's Blood" series, is one I've been very curious about since it was announced. A new nine track 7" of collabs with some of Japans best extreme sound artists. Released under Eric Wood's own label, Skull Records, limited to 300 copies on orange/yellow mix vinyl, 45 RPM.

The "Our Earth's Blood" series have all been pure noise records. Started in 1993 when the first 7" came out under the Man Is The Bastard name. Still, a very overlooked part of the SKULL's output. The 1st 7" and the follow in the series, the split 10" with The Locust, are two of my favorite records in MITB's catalog. I'm always trying to push the later on people because I think it's so brilliant. "Part IV" came in the form of a staggeringly massive 5xCD box, released in 2009. Featuring long-time and new collaborators on almost every track. This also meant longer song lengths, and is one of the most extensive Bastard Noise releases ever. "Our Earth's Blood IV" certainly dwarfs it's 7" follow-up, but this records impact is not to be underestimated. Released mainly to coalesce with the Bastard Noise Japan tour earlier this year. The line-up of collaborators honoring and "hailing" that country proudly.

"Our Earth's Blood V", is yet another unfortunately urgent and timeless message to society and the human race at large. That we are the true scum species on the Earth, and the #1 threat to it's health and beauty. The apocalypse is now and only love can help slow it down. Another diatribe of vitrol from Bastard Noise to the modern age, in both directness and sound. The recordings here are remarkably clean and clear, every texture and sound shine out in the mix. Obviously, all the tracks are on a severely tight time frame. But these masters of sound use their talents and time very efficiently. Personally I find these short, to the point, vignette type pieces to be incredibly inspirational. They hit me the same way a good 1-minute grindcore or punk song does. They get everything they need to say and play out in no time at all without any bullshit. And the consistency in quality and message on this record does not drop at all in it's run time.

Each of the nine tracks on here are simply titled "Statement I-IX", going down in numerical order. The title's reflect the lyrical format perfectly. Every song is indeed a "Statement", oftentimes only lasting a few sentences and less then a minute. But the message Eric Wood and Co. are yelling at you couldn't be more clear. The crazy amount of exclamation points in the lyric sheet should help hit the nail on the head even more. Transitioning to the music side of the record, it's exceptional. Every track balances each artist evenly. You can always tell when any of the Japanese artists are lending their own unique contributions. Naturally sticking largely to the harsh noise/power electronics side of the spectrum. All tracks but one features the classic Eric Wood growl and screech. The first two tracks, with Guilty Connector and Shayne Bowden following, are solid openers that set up the climbing intensity that follows. The tracks with Facialmess, Government Alpha and K2 are solid, abrasive sets of PE. With the classic cut up/harsh noise that these respective artists are known for. The only instrumental track with Toshiju Mikawa (most famously a member of the noise legends The Incapacitants), is a real highlight for me. Cut up edits, Trogonomic oscillations and some wonderful stuttering, staccato textures are all active and sounding off. And what sounds like a stretched, digitized vocal sample? It's a wonderful track. The A-side closer with Hiroshi Hagasawa (who most noticeably goes under the C.C.C.C name), is another one of my favorite tracks on here. Super harsh distorted walls of junk metal crash and form into ambience and vocals. Eventually climaxing in an explosive synth chord, and more harsh noise. The closing track, the shortest on the record, is a duet of sorts with Makiko Suda (vocalist for Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation). Both her and Eric roar and yell over the prettiest ambience and synths on the record, signing off before you barely even said hello.

The packaging for "Our Earth's Blood V" is classic SKULL aesthetic. Bold, black font, quotation marks everywhere, and stark, black and white imagery. The record sleeve is a glued one (my favorite), and comes with a double sided insert with lyrics. Eric really does treat his records well and has spared no expense on this project. A numbered, test press version was also released for the previously mentioned tour, on black vinyl and limited to 100. It came with a shirt or a patch I think.


"WE ARE THE ONLY FUCKING MENACE TO EARTH!!!'

Another triumphant chronicle in the "Our Earth's Blood" series, and another essential item in the Bastard Noise catalog. Thankfully, you can still find this record in many distro's with a quick google search. Best band ever. 

~VII

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Facade

Another new tape from Prime Ruin, and one of my favorite new power electronics tapes at the moment. The latest EP from Lace, a duo comprised of noise makers Weston Czerkies and Valentine Sinclair. A tape simply known as, "Facade". C24 tapes in white shells, limited to 60 copies. 

"Facade", a two song offering, uses it's mere 20+ minute run time with an expert level of efficiency. The dominant A-side title track weaves and segways between a multitude of textures and styles. Opening with the stuttering and distorted samples of human chatter, echoed and quickly layered into a wall of delayed distortion and ambient feedback. Eventually more junk metal sounds and the unmistakable rumble of a spring reverb show up. The lo-fi recording is wonderful, totally complimenting the influence of sounds from the early Broken Flag PE groups and 80's extreme industrial. When the flanged vocals kick in, the track instantly turns twice as menacing, and "Facade" turns into a mean and glaring power electronics track. Rumbles of distortion, squealing microphone feedback peaking everywhere, and abused metal crashes. I'm a sucker for that echoed, waved and flanged vocal effect, and the delivery here is excellent. Patient, controlled, only rising in inflection and volume when they needs to. Groups like Ramleh come to mind for sure. The walls of sound eventually decay and leave only the indecipherable vocal samples that started it up. It's a fantastic track, I've played it twice while writing this. 


The B-side, "Visual Anonymity" , is an instrumental and a great compliment to it's other half. A much more ambient and chilling track, beginning with slow moaning chants, and murky, dark textures. Mic'd up scrapes and dragging sounds claw their way into the mix, and eventually a wall of cold, metal screeches and synth chords has been built up and has you. The different dynamics here are effective, and don't stray too far away from the brutal A-side. Would I have preferred more vocals? Perhaps, but this song is wonderful regardless. 

Very tidy layout and printing on the thick 3-panel Jcard. Prime Ruin does a superb job as always. 


If you're quick, you can still pick up a copy of this tape at PRIME RUIN. Highly recommended!

~VII

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cutdown

Last year you might remember me posting about a lil' grind band from Connecticut called Gowl. Their infamous 7" EP, "BLURRR" took my heart and ears captive and was my favorite grindcore EP of 2014. It was a chaotic, suffocating, distorted storm of music. Full of attention grabbing riffs, grooves, and some incredibly fast drumming. "BLURRR" was all around wonderful, and the world has sat patiently ever since waiting for their first full length which was teased about. Before that however, Gowl has given us this new demo tape called "Cutdown". Containing some first drafts of songs from the full-length 10". Which was announced would be handled by Mass Deadening and Grindfather Productions. My copy was generously supplied by the band for a review. Limited to 50 copies on orange tapes. Same songs on each side.

Hopefully this tape doesn't mean that the album will be pushed back a lot longer (though with the overflow at the pressing plants currently I don't doubt it), as this tape supplies a lot of mysteries. No track listing or titles are present anywhere on the tape or online. From what I can tell there are nine songs on here, in just under 10 minutes. Gowl's usual blend of chunky death metal riffs with noisegrind's atonal chaos and frenzied hyberblast tempos still remains, and their songwriting has progressed into longer songs, and even more blasting. Seth's deep roar is more up front and clear in the mix then most previous efforts, riding their own unique pattern.
The sound of the recording really does nothing to compliment these songs however. I know it's a demo, and I certainly am not put off by a raw recording. But this kind of roughness just makes everything sound flaccid. Nothing is loud or overblown and mean. And that being the case, a lot of what's on this tape kind of goes in one ear and out the other for me. Unlike "BLURRR", a lot of the riffs don't have that aggressive punch or addictiveness that rough recordings can give music. It also doesn't help that my copy has a dub that is a little iffy. The cymbal hits all have this flanged/washed sound that's a bit distracting. I do hear parts and songs that I know would sound great with a better recording, so I'm not applying a lot of judgement on the 10" based on the sound of this tape. I do certainly hope it improves though.


Fantastic collage art again from Seth.

You can listen to a much better sounding version of this demo right HERE, and also find out how to write the band to order a tape. Bring on that 10"!

~VII

Stain In Daylight

An American noise label that I have had the privileged honor of easily keeping up with is Prime Ruin. An incredibly consistent project created and operated by a Mr. Weston Czerkies, based somewhat near my home city. Over the past few years Prime Ruin has steadily produced high quality listening material, approaching all corners of the experimental and extreme music spectrum. Harsh noise wall and pure power electronics, to heavy beat-driven noise, techno, punk and even synth pop. With the sporadic variation of styles over Prime Ruin's catalog, each new batch of tapes are equally as exciting and mysterious as they are pretty to look at. No expense is spared making sure every release looks and sounds great. No matter if it's a bands first release, or a new full-length from a veteran artist. This newest batch of tapes included the first demo of a new project called Goddaughter. Which is actually another recording alias from Czerkies himself (along with his already stellar group of projects, Sunken Cheek, Obsidian Order, Lace, and Thin Vision). Blue c16 tapes, limited to 33 copies.

I had been anticipating this tape in particular based on all of the organic instrumentation I heard would be on it. A step away from the harsh electronic screeches and drones that usually show up in Weston's recordings. New experiments are always intriguing! The opening track "Stain in Daylight" instantly caught my attention with the immediate introduction of a distant, rising moan. A sound that returns and pulses over the whole track. Right from that moment the mood and mission of Goddaughter is laid out. Focusing on a consistent musical mood of melancholy and introspection.   Layers of minor key organ hits, washed out whispers of breath, chilly ambience, and piano all slowly build. Never reaching a grand, noisy cluster, just simply evolving over a solum feeling. The distant moan slowly shifts pitch and rises into what sounds more like a synth. Everything rises in tempo slightly before very suddenly cutting off. It's a very wonderful track, my favorite on the whole tape.


These types of sounds and textures continue all over the rest of the tape. Other instruments including a kalimba thumb piano, and tape loops appear. Over on side two a more distinct presence of vocals appear, which are similarly droned, fogged, and subtle as most of the sounds on the demo. The suffering of Sunken Cheek's music is present here, as this music does not come off as immediately upifting. But it still never goes full down and depressing. The organ swells and loops do remain strongly hopeful, supplying some sort of light in the haze.
I am a fan of much of what this tape has to offer. However, in a shocking turn of events, I really do wish these songs were longer (I think this is the first time I've said that on this blog). Every song outside of side 2's opener, "It Yields The Same", sound like they end prematurely. I think a lot of these ideas could be developed and elongated a lot more and it would go over fantastically well. I could easily drone out to like, almost an hour of this stuff. I am definitely excited to hear what's in store for the future of Goddaughter.


 In typical Prime Ruin fashion, the presentation of this tape is incredible. I'd say one of the best in the catalog so far. Packaged in a silk-screened O-card, on top of another printed O-card covering the tape. Gorgeous art all around with a very wonderful blue theme. The thing even comes with a stitched 6-page booklet. Pictures do not do it justice, trust me.

This tape has at the time of this post sold out from Prime Ruin. I'm not sure if any copies got to any distro's, but it's worth a listen if you get the chance.

~VII