Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One(more) Last Final 2008 Post

The scene: an untidy bedroom, full of musical instruments and recording gear. An enormous LCD monitor dominates a black desk by the window. Sitting at the desk, typing a nonsensical comment about Sony on UKResistance is a shaven-headed chap in amusingly large flared trousers and an Arcade Fire hoodie. The camera settles in the middle of the room as the chap turns, looks surprised, and begins to speak.

LORD DAVYDD GRIMM: Oh, hallo, I didn't notice you there! I was busy giggling like an idiot at a picture of a bootleg Chinese Sonic the Hedgehog toothbrush. I imagine you'd like to hear my thoughts on the year?


Two Thousand and Eight was rubbish. Trufax. Many interesting things failed to happen, many otherwise lovely people revealed themselves to be nought but poltroons, many overhyped videogames failed to deliver and, sadly, only one record truly stood out. Amber Grey.

I waited slavishly for that record. I recall having a link to Studio Grey on my Vampirefreaks profile years and years ago, as I belmed about how they were going to be the saviours of grind, and while I was a little pre-emptive, I was right.

A man. On a tractor. In 2008. Yesterday.

Other things that I wasted my year on included far too much Call of Duty 4, stoned David Lynch marathons, that awesome Gravetemple gig at Supersonic, At The Gates on Rock Band, Tam's pony Parsley and a subversive graffiti campaign in Barrow in Furness that NOBODY NOTICED. Bastards.

Two Thousand and Nine looks a little more promising; I no longer have an Xbox 360, Pete and I have written the skeletons of some excellent Deftones-ish metal groovery and there are certain things to be posted on here which you will hopefully enjoy listening to as much as we did creating them.

Happy Another Year. Thank you for your attention. Bye.

As the camera moves slowly backwards out of the room, Davydd turns to find his monitor hilariously full of flashing orange IM windows, each angrily asking why he is ignoring them. I mean, seriously! I'm a busy man, you know? Sometimes I'm not terribly quick at responding. Anyway.

One Last Final 2008 Post Part 1

So how was 2008? T'was good I guess. Especially musically. After centuries of only playing video games and watching anime, Jon Chang decided to make me a happy man once again, two times in one year.

Yes, Chang and the rest of his pantheon are the gods of grind, an unstoppable force continually deconstructing all philosophical bullshitting about music and its respective purpose into a perfectly clear, primal purpose = SPEED.

So... album of the year? Fuck the year. It transcends time.

Our gang of three aside, here's the best post of the year, on the best blog ever (I would have added Noisear though, but I wouldn't know what else to kick off the top 10).

Happy New Year everyone.

Act now.

[There is no second part to this post.]

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cephalochromoscope embodied in song

So here's a holiday present for all you Discordance Axis fans!

Davydd Grimm says (13:50):
so, that cover...
Davydd Grimm says (13:50):
when are you emailing it to jon chang?
Zmaj says (13:50):
what cover?
Zmaj says (13:50):
Zmaj says (13:50):
well, let's think about that carefully
Zmaj says (13:51):
I'm not sure if I want to disclose any personal information at all since he might attempt to assasinate me
Davydd Grimm says (13:51):
Davydd Grimm says (13:52):
he does own guns

Rare 2008 Information Sniper Cover (Mediafire)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grind and loathing in Melbourne: The Agents of Abhorrence [Part I]

So finally (well, at least as far as I'm concerned), another interview on Cephalochromoscope!

The Agents of Abhorrence are probably my absolute favorite when it comes to all these "new wave of powerviolence" bands. About this term, "(new wave of) powerviolence"; I wouldn't really say that it fits too well, and I use it somewhat hesitantly, but since many people like to identify bands such as Iron Lung and the Endless Blockade with the aforementioned term, I guess it's not that far off. These bands aren't that similar per se, but they all play quite original, and intensely precise, extremely fast music with the occasional sludgetastic chug (you know, for contrast). I urge you all to check out whatever AoA release, but especially the 2007 full-length, Earth.Water.Sun. on 625 Thrash.

Actual interview aside, Max (the drummer) told me that putting up some music with the interview would be pretty cool too, so I compiled 9 AoA songs spanning 4 releases for a hopefully good representation of the band's work. The songs move from the fastest to the slowest to showcase their diversity, but with 'Salt and Earth' being the first track just 'cause I think it's a great opener.

Some releases to look out for in the future are the split with Insect Warfare (it should come out... eventually), and the split with Extortion (coming out this month). Speaking of which, here's their 2004 demo too, but it's (being a tape rip) pretty lo-fi stuff and I'd recommend it mostly to fans.

Agents of Abhorrence (Australia) - Cephalochromoscope Compilation

Nice shirt.

1. Salt and Earth
2. Shock Treatment
3. Once a Bind
4. Hollowed
5. Open Up
6. Heirloom
7. Character Dissection
8. Covert Lobotomy
9. On Ice
Total playing time 12:38

Tracks 1 - 3 were taken from Earth.Water.Sun, recorded in 2007.
Tracks 4 - 5 were taken from the 7" split release with Iron Lung, recorded in 2005.
Tracks 6 - 7 were taken from Character Dissection, recorded in 2006.
Tracks 8 - 9 were taken from the 9" EP Covert Lobotomy, recorded in 2004.

Download (Mediafire)

Okay, that's it. Enjoy the interview!

Grind and loathing in Melbourne: The Agents of Abhorrence [Part II]

Interview with the Agents of Abhorrence. I am bold.

Zmaj: Do the Agents of Abhorrence have a specific musical objective or something similar? To be as clear as possible with this question, I'll use NOISM as an example: the objective is to produce the most technical, fastest possible stuff, which is in turn supposed to result in the ultimate aural brutality, but without going into (harsh) noise territory, so to say. I'd like to know if you guys have any compositional principles like that. For another example see the infamous first rule of good music by Jon Chang, "No slow parts!".

Max: To make music first and foremost for fun with 2 of my best friends, that we all enjoy musically. To achieve all goals that we strive for and to put 100 percent into song writing, live shows and tours when we find the time. To push ourselves, both creatively and physically. Fast doesn't always equate to brutality. Technicality doesn't make a good song. Discordance Axis had slow parts.

Zmaj: How did you come up with the bandname, "Agents of Abhorrence"?

Max: We came up with it at random when it was just Ben and I playing as a two piece. Slightly cheesy. Slightly in homage to many of the great Bay Area/West Coast American grind/punk bands in the 90's. If I knew we would last this long as a band I would've considered a different name - but in the end it isn't the name that does the talking.

Zmaj: What inspires you? I do not mean this as in "bands that influenced you" (in fact, that's the next question). It's a very general question, so feel free to recommend artists and whatnot.

Max: At the moment I am inspired by a whole array of things. Roy Orbison and his ability to write perfect love songs. Roskopp playing live grindcore. J-dilla's production. Finding new ways of playing and recording drums. It's always inspiring meeting young people who have a general passion and drive to create new things - without a trace of arrogance within them. My other band just finished a tour with another band whom each member was double our age - yet still played an energetic kick ass set night after night, that was pretty inspiring.

Zmaj: Time to ask the inescapable interview question/request that somehow always manages to remain relatively interesting (well, for me at least) - name your influences! I am 101% sure that there's a big Discordance Axis influence present, which is pretty much the only thing I care about, but please expand on that a little anyway.

Max: A lot of Australian grindcore has influenced me just as much as DxA has. The Kill being just one of the important local bands for me. Our good friends Iron Lung in America. Mortalized, Immortal fate, Neanderthal, Regurgitate, 324, Repulsion to name a few off the top of my head. A huge influence on us is also SWANS.

Zmaj: Lyrics. I wish that every booklet contained expansive liner notes about the lyrics, like the DxAx reissues, or some Shank stuff. What I'm most interested about is the meaning behind seemingly less personal songs like Under Earth, but really, I'd just like to talk a little about the lyrics. From what I can tell, most of the songs on Earth.Water.Sun are sort of angrily emotional, as in short bursts of self-expression. Is the newer stuff like that too, or is it heading in a particularly different direction?

Max: Well Earth.Water.Sun is the most recent release we have. Although we have recorded for a split 7" with Insect Warfare since then. Our lyrics are often dictated by the theme of the record itself. For example with Earth.Water.Sun we often refer to images of land, soil, water, life, energy and use them to express ideas of isolation, death, fear, human fragility and most of all love. As new age hippy as all that sounds. We did the same for earlier work such as Character Dissection - the lyrics were themed around flesh, blood and physically separating the body from the mind to describe our experience of losing touch with today's generation, anger and ideas of love and romance. Basically being a cold being, cut with precision and then internally analyzed for hidden truths. We all contribute lyrics so this may be just my outlook. Our newer stuff is mainly about Mango's and rollerblading.

Zmaj: Musically, how does the new AoA sound compared to Earth.Water.Sun and earlier stuff? Any changes and/or important differences?

Max: Well, again Earth.Water.Sun is our latest release. Here is a list of what's recorded:
2003: 14 song demo. Really quickly put together by me and Ben for the fun of writing fast songs with a mate. 4 track recording in a room. Released on tape on a few different pressings.
2004: Covert Lobotomy 9" E.p. Our first studio recording was a nightmare. This record came out way to thin sounding. We were unhappy.
2005: Split 7" with Iron Lung. Our last batch of songs as a 2 piece.
2006: Character Dissection Album. Our first record with Grant on vocals. The first big change for AOA was becoming a 3 piece and expanding our song range.
2006: Split 7" with EXTORTION. Took forever to come out for many reasons. Out now (December 2008) on Deep Six.
2007: Earth Water Sun Album on 625thrash. Our best material recorded. Although not our fastest songs, I think they are the most intense and planned out.
2008: 5 songs recorded and unreleased. Supposed to be a split with our mates Insect Warfare (r.i.p) who we have toured with. Raw and Faster. We hope it comes out soon!!

Zmaj: What equipment do you guys use?

Max: Drum kit, single kick pedal. An Aluminum made guitar run through 1 guitar amp + 2 cabs and 1 bass amp and fridge. One throat.

Zmaj: How do you like touring and gigging in general? Does any AoA member dislike it? In the case of DxAx, Rob Marton didn't enjoy playing live at all (if I remember correctly). Just thought it was kinda weird.

Max: I love touring. We have been lucky enough to have traveled a lot as a band and I hope that doesn't stop. I can understand how it might not be for some people.

Zmaj: What do you guys do, other than AoA? Feel free to mention any other bands you're in, but it's more of a "what do you do for a living?" question.

Max: I play in a few different bands. Produce music for people and work as a bar tender. I also Dj for extra cash. Grant does phone service work and looks after autistic children. Ben is a painter and does a lot of sound work for bands. We all play and have played in many other bands.

Zmaj: What do you think about file-sharing in general (how's that for a worn out topic, eh)? Do you think it's positive or negative for the more underground bands (and music in general)? I know a lot of people like to complain how it's so different from the past "when we used to trade tapes and write letters" and whatever, but you can obviously still do all that now, it's just much easier (and "less-personal").

Max: I think it's positive. Let it all hang out. Fuck purity. People will always put out records and I will always be a fan of buying them. Whatever makes people happy. We can still write letters, emails and send packages in this day and age. The "old way" only dies when people let it and the digital age only threatens the musicians who see dollars in art. My only concerns in the future would be for live music and how well shows and bands are supported.

[Note: Nice.]

Zmaj: If you'd like to express the band's political stance, go ahead.

Max: Always use lube.

[Note: Nice!]

Zmaj: Okay, if there's anything else you'd like to add, feel free to do so.

Max: Thank you so much for the interest and the support. We are very sorry we didn't get to play Croatia this year. Borders are a nightmare!

Zmaj: Thanks for the interview!

[All photos are from the band's myspace.]