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

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Chasm

With the latest couple of releases Disciples Of Christ have put out, they've rocketed their way into being one of my top American grindcore bands. I never get sick of spinning the modern classic split 12" with Triac. And last years "Decomposition Fantasy" was one of my favorite EP's of that year. Progressing and perfecting their penchant for unpredictable riffs and song structures, delivered with the utmost intensity on every record. While there was no records to speak of from D.O.C. this year, their self-governed label Malokul did release a demo cassette featuring six new songs. Released way in the beginning of 2015, but only recently arriving in my possession thanks to a lovely care package from Malokul itself. I think this was mainly released as a tour exclusive, limited to 100 copies on professional cassettes.

To get right to the point, this tape is excellent. Once again D.O.C have given us some of the rawest and most disgusting grind to come out in its year. The recording is a discordant mess, with guitar and bass tones roaring and choking each other out. It's the rawest they've ever sounded since, well, their first demo I suppose. The new tracks, all listed as "Untitled", are relentless. The brutality of their best records is not lost on this one. And as performers they seem to have only gotten rougher and more in your face. The 5th, 2nd and last track are my personal favorites. Built on the perfect blend of spastic, first wave PV and pummeling, deathy grindcore. The only qualm I do have is the 3rd "Untitled" track. The build-up during the majority of the song just dragged a bit for me. The tension from Chris Moore's repetitive and accelerating drum beat was lost on me, however the blasting payoff at the end saved the track from being a total flop. Aside from the new tracks, we also get new recordings of some choice cuts from the Triac split and "Decomposition Fantasy", in their rawest form. Nolan and Tim's vocals also sound much stronger on this tape, and I think I noticed a distinct absence of vocals from Chris. Hmm

Very cool and interesting art once again graces the cover. Kinda reminds me of something Portal would have on one of their albums. The tapes sound and look great. Very tidy and minimal layout used to good effect. As they say in advertising, the program does repeat on both sides.


This tape is actually now sold out from Malokul records, but it should pop up in distro's somewhere. D.O.C. currently are working on a split with Gas Chamber and a 5" with Shitstorm, so prepare to clean up your face from the floor when those arrive.

~VII

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Into The Void

I am not the kind of record collector that likes to passionately waste their money on multiple variants of the same album. I've done it here and there for a few beloved band. Extortion and +HIRS+ being the first ones that comes to mind. Even then a lot of the variants were generous gifts or things I stumbled upon at an unbeatable price. I do empathize with the thrill of hoarding different variants and oogling over the minor to extreme differences between them. And honestly if it wasn't for economic responsibility I would probably be buying a few more color pressings of some choice favorites. One album that I can't seem to ignore buying multiple copies of however, is the monumental metal opus, "Master Of Reality". My personal favorite of the first four Sabbath albums, and comes close to being my favorite album ever. I've loved this album from the first time I heard it to this present day. Every time I listen to it I still get the same emotional and gut reactions, during the same parts since I first heard it when I was 7-8 years old. A few days ago I stumbled upon a very cool looking copy that I had never seen at a record fair. At the too-good-to-pass-up price of 8 buckaroos. Now is as good a time as any to post about it, ay? Here is my third copy of "Master Of Reality", on Warner Brothers Records, with a green shield label.

This album has been talked about to death and dissected over it's 30+ years of existence, so I won't go too deep into why this album's great. Because you certainly should already know. In fact, if anyone who is reading this right now has never heard "Master Of Reality", I dismiss you. You need to get on your metal tip and hear this.fucking.record. Incredible, monumental, masterful, perfect, and all of the above are adjectives I can apply to this album. It stands out in the bands first few classic albums for many reasons. For one, it's the heaviest album Sabbath made in the 70's, I don't care what anyone says. You thrown on a track like "Into The Void", or "Lord Of This World" and the crushing dirge of Iommi's guitar will floor you to this day. Those two tracks I'll even put against "Iron Man", "War Pigs", or "Black Sabbath" as the best songs of the bands career. Geezer Butlers bass has the heaviest presence in the mix of the classic albums. Holding the grooves down masterfully, while jamming and supplying tons of low-end heaviness. It's also one of Sabbath's most spiritual and religious-themed records at the time. A trait that I didn't pick up on as a child, but is almost overpowering when I hear it now. Especially on tracks like "After Forever" or "Into The Void". Depicting Jesus and God more as entities that are to be admired rather then blasphemed. It comes off a bit corny to me nowadays, but it does raise questions why people thought they were shouting "Hail Satan" in their music all the time.
When my parents first showed my this album, I'll never forget, it was like hearing my life come into focus. I was immediately hooked by the classic, sliding groove and hook of the "Sweet Leaf" riff. It was heavier and more captivating then any rock music I had heard at the time, and Black Sabbath quickly became my favorite band for many years. Man, so many memories and times spent with this album. It's honestly hard not to flood this post with my life's musical history, because this really is ground zero for me. Heavy metal music became a thing that I focused and obsessed on constantly, and it really paved the road that my life would go down over the years. And here I am; still going crazy about music, and still supporting the loudest, dirtiest bands. Maybe not so in love with metal these days, but no matter what dominates my interests, "Master of Reality" will always hold that special place in my heart.


So, this here beaten and rustled looking copy is a really cool looking variant from 1971, manufactured in America. Of course, the all-blue text is what sold me on buying it. I had never seen any copies that looked like this and I think it looks so cool!! Apparently this was a "club edition" pressing, whatever that means. Probably not a part of the first press because the cover doesn't have embossed lettering. It doesn't include the extra tracks in the listing like the very first runs (I do have a super beat copy with them though, pictured below), so I'd reckon this is a 3rd or 4th issue. Sounds great too, the vinyl's in pretty decent shape.


Here are all my copies so far. Starting from the top, we have a 1971 press with the extra titles. A beautiful NM copy of a later Warner Brothers pressing with embossed letters (my main playing copy), and the newest edition. 

             

I still would love to get an original Vertigo label press, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. I wouldn't mind getting a 180g. pressing too, just too hear it remastered. One of the greatest albums ever.

~VII

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Puppet Master Soundtrack

Every month of October, I do what every young adult nerd-child does to glorify the spookiest time of the year. I watch and horde as many classic, crap, schlock, and gory horror movies as I can. This year I decided to venture into the world of the Puppet Master franchise. And over many satisfying viewings I've fallen in honest to god love with it. I've always loved the aesthetic of the Puppet's and the distinctive look that the characters had. Truly it's a love it or hate it series of movies. None of the films had any theatrical release's, and the campy, ├╝ber cheesy acting and sets are mainly to serve those in the B-movie crowd. Ironically, this is a series that really hit a peak of awesomeness as it went on. 4 and 5 are the movies in the series I like the best so far. They have a lot more scenes with the puppets and introduce a demon character for no real needed reason at all except for "plot". But it leads to a lot more puppet vs. puppet action, and some truly entertaining characters. Judging from what I've seen of the movies after those it looks like they truly are the highlights.
Anyway, this isn't a film review blog is it? I should get to the point. About a little while ago I found out that the honest to gosh Puppet Master soundtrack collection had been reissued and pressed to wax! With my nerdom at it's peak and my finances in check, I took the plunge and made the order. I've seen soundtrack reissues of this kind sell out quickly before, so I wasn't going to take my chances. Limited to 1,000 copies on black vinyl, 33 RPM. Released by Full Moon Features.

It's probably not very hard to believe, but this is the first soundtrack I've ever bought. I've never gotten the appeal of soundtrack music, and especially buying it. But honestly I'm really, really digging this record hard. I've been spinning it quite often and enjoying it totally on it's own merit, detached from any of the films. The classic Puppet Master score was composed by Richard Band, brother of Charles Band who created the films. Richards score puts you perfectly into the atmosphere of the Puppet Master universe. The opening "Main Title" music has a distinctive classic feel. It's supernatural and devilish but also with a good amount of bounce and whimsy to it. Lots of strings and synths are used, and eerie rising tones that are used very tastefully. It's very good music to put on and do other creative things too. I draw and write to this record pretty often, it has a very concoctive vibe. This record collects select pieces Richard Band created for the series. From 1-4 and all the way to 9-10. Quite a gap in between there, makes me wonder why he went back for those last two. Mr. Band also composed music for the classic movies "From Beyond" and a personal favorite of mine, "Re-Animator". How about that?

The pressing sounds very good. It's a very quite record, no hiss, pops or crackles are spotted besides the occasional bit of dust. It's not mastered to where it's booming loud like I would have hoped but they did a good job overall. I have to say that I'm really not a big fan of the art they used for the cover. For whatever reason the puppets were done with some weird 3D computer art which looks pretty cheap. A much better job could have been done with this.

Inside the gatefold we get a little write up of Richard Band and his involvement with the series, and a very nice spread of every cover from every film in the franchise. I dig that a lot. The gatefold sleeve is pretty flimsy.

Who knows if I'll buy any more soundtracks, but I do not regret buying this one. I'm a sucker for horror, so if I stumble upon the "Halloween" soundtrack somewhere for cheap, you'll see it on here.

~VII

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Brickbath

I've been waiting for Mellow Harsher's follow up to their "Demo 7"" for a long, long time. It was a solid bunch of songs for sure, but were drastically improved on with MH's more recent outputs. The two songs on the "Bitter Cold Compilation", split 7" with Internal Rot, and my long awaited "Served Cold EP", solidified them as one of the most exciting grindcore bands in the Midwest. The "Served Cold EP" was very recently released by Washington D.C. based label Malokul records in a run of 500. 100 were on orange and 100 on purple, the rest on black. Malokul very generously sent me an orange and black copy for this review. 45 RPM.

I've heard these songs dozens of times on Bandcamp, and was always thoroughly satisfied with this EP. It keeps some of the roughness of the Demo's recordings, but with the clarity and precision of their more recent output. The vinyl pressing definitely highlights this. Man is it nice to hold a new, physical MH record. Like all their releases, "Served Cold EP" is a brilliant example of how to pull of herky-jerky, techy grindcore, in the right way. The vocals, riffs and brutal drumming all trade off and switch with surgical precision, but they keep it tough! There's no flashy guitar noises, or plastic and sterile sounding production. It doesn't sound like this shit is just wanking, it's earned. Mellow Harsher apply their musicianship into actually writing some fantastic, blood boiling songs! With some very well written breakdowns that thankfully avoid blatant Infest and Crossed Out worship ("Brickbath", "Stepped On"). Playing this in my room I can't help but thrash my fists around and stomp-mosh around the place. Also, probably my favorite snare drum of the year, this drummer is unstoppable.

I love the consistent, crude, colored pencil drawings that Mellow Harsher uses. They're effectively bleak and at the same time raise questions. Mainly why the Charlie Brown sweater? Anyway, Malokul gave the "Served Cold EP" a very nice glued sleeve package with a thick vinyl pressing. No insert however.

The orange vinyl is only available exclusively through the Malokul Records webstore. The purple vinyl is actually a band-only exclusive. So I might pick one up when I see them this month. Just to round everything off since I have 2 of the 3. They look beautiful.


One of the best grindcore EP's of the year. Worship Mellow Harsher.

~VII

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lazy People Must Die

Continuing Hades Mining Co.'s reign of terror through this blog, comes their split 7" with Canada's genital stain on the music world, Cum Sock. Guys, this one is truly for the heads. I mean this one's rough, real rough. I need a cup of coffee, an upper, and a shower after I get through listening to this piece of wax. Limited to 100 copies on this rather nice looking green marble vinyl, 33 RPM. As always, released by Continuum Records.

I'll just get Cum Sock's side out of the way first, because it is truly and honestly horrible. Aside from the actually decent guitar sound that they miraculously achieve, I can't say a single decent thing about this. If you ever wanted to hear a guy junkie-snarl the words "ASIAN PUKE PORN" into a peaking microphone over the sloppiest thrashcore you heard in your life, get a friend. Also you may just like this record, maybe. Uninteresting, and schlocky noisecore that overstayed its welcome and only bugged me. Not even the charm of it's sloppiness won me over here.

Hades Mining Co. side is another live recording, most likely the full set of that night. The main chunk of their half is another sludge rock opus, entitled "The Return Of Shock Puss". The charm that's lost on Cum Sock's side is thankfully returned on here. But not in huge amounts, as I never really preferred any of HMC's slow stuff to their total noisecore. The sheer audacity of everything this track is admirably fun though. Riding a 70's stoner bass riff and guitar solo freakouts. Literally, imagine the worst 2 AM rock n' roll bar band you ever saw, it's this. The second and last track is a simple, farted out noiscore track. Leaving the crowd in an empty void of awkward applause.

Real good, cut n' paste style printed sleeve with a classic image from the freakier side of internet on the cover. It also comes with a stick of the whole cover, which is now considered packaging and thus cannot be placed anywhere.

Recommended if you like bad music.

~VII