Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cellgraft (USA) - External Habitation (2010)


Tracklist:
1. Centrosymmetric
2. Infrastructure
3. Corrupted Imagery
4. Machine Harvester
5. Diminish Resistance
6. Codex Alimentarius
7. Chronological Enslavement
8. Dormant Behavior Patterns
9. Collective Dysfunction
10. Devolved Through Dependency
11. External Habitation
12. Basis For Adaptation
13. Scum (Napalm Death)
Total playing time 11:14

Cellgraft uploaded eleven more minutes of mp3s - an upcoming tape release - their best material so far. What they did is, they became even noisier, implemented high-end vocals, and took the whole blast-break deal even further (including a Digitally Damaged thrashcan snaredrum). Cellgraft is getting to sound like a band that will need a kickass description of its own rather than the usual (albeit complimentary) Insect Warfare comparison + their lyrics are far better and possibly influenced by Assück.

Making for quite the orgasmic grind experience anyway, External Habitation is topped off with a sped-the-fuck-up cover of Napalm Death's "Scum." Seriously, what excuse could you have? I only hope that they'll beware of the sludge and take a visit to Grindmaster Jon Chang's relentless school of even more relentlessly relentless speed. 'Cause grind is where the heart is, and it's supposed to feel like a heart attack.

Grind to false death (Mediafire)

The post on their blog is right here. As for the rest, I posted their 2009 s/t here (now with lyrics that the guys thoughtfully included), and their old material here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vaginal Bear Trap (USA) - Slow Jams (2010)


Tracklist:
1. From Parts Unknown
2. Eternal Hangover
3. Beast Machine
4. Chopped and Screwed
5. Climaxipad
6. Scalping the Chief
7. Crystal Meth Mountain
8. Cockfest
9. Echoes of Extermination
10. Menstrual Gravy
11. Existential Despair
12. Miss Meth Lab 2009
13. Abortions Apple Pie & D-Beat
14. Organ Rearranger
15. World Decimation
16. Stream
17. Suicide By Cop
18. Nun So Vile
19. Scrilla Villa
20. Urethral Intercourse
21. 30 Seconds of Unending Brutality
Total playing time 26:04

By Walter's (the band's bassist) request, introducing San Antonio comedians Vaginal Bear Trap, 'cause Texan grind is supposed to feel at home on Cephalochromoscope. Musically, there's way too much groovy chugga-chugga, not enough seriousness, all around random shit, and a photo of Seth Putnam wearing a VBT shirt on their myspace. All that is subjectively good or bad, depending purely on preference, but I dare you not to crack up at some of the ridiculous songtitles and samples of sweet smooth shit for the soul. Slow Jams could use a few more blastbeats, so speed-enthusiasts ought to look the other way as these three dudes indulge in carelessly joyful songs about generally disgusting stuff. If you're an idiot like me, you'll hope that "Crystal Meth Mountain" is a cover song. And guess what, just enough of it is - just enough for me to crack a grin.

The police causes suicide. (Mediafire)

Yeah, the band too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Huata (France) - Open the Gates of Shambhala EP (2009)


Tracklist:
1. Alchemist Reborn
2. Diving in a Swamp
3. Ratzinger Pussycat
4. Jozef Fritzl Syndrom
5. Rotten Dick
Total playing time 34:18

Erm, despite having seen the Fullmetal Alchemist series, I've not been left with much knowledge about Shambhala, the Buddhist Kingdom of Heaven. Lucky for me, there's always wikipedia. "Shambhala is a Sanskrit term meaning swayam + bhala meaning self benefited or swayam + bala meaning self powered. Commonly it is understood to be a 'place of peace/tranquility/happiness'." What is this self-sufficient happy place? The perfect anarchist commune? You can scratch that 'cause "Shambhala is ruled over by a line of Kings of Shambhala known as Kulika or Kalki Kings, a monarch who upholds the integrity of the Kalachakra tantra." And, well, "another interpretation postulates that Shambhala is an actual kingdom whose geographical location can be found in the precolonial Philippines."

I figure all that shit is subjectively interesting, HOWEVER, according to Huata, Shambhala is the fucking gutter - a properly filthy shithole this side of Stephen O'Malley. Musically, we're in for colossal doom, blasphemous ritualistic nudity, a kindergarten full of Tony Iommi's ugly spawn, Burning Witches in Miserable Churches, and a whole load of sonic coercion. Huata's lyrics include non-fullmetal (yet quite metal) alchemists, papal vaginas, recreational swamp diving, Austrian monsters, and very old cocks. Well, at least I think that's what it's about. I mean, jeez, the things that people get-off to these days! I hear that way way back, before the days of Black Sabbath, all the hip lads and lasses got their kicks out on route 66 playing the blues, notwithstanding the apparently enticing qualities of sado-masochism, coprophagia, and God-knows-what else (although he'd rather not know, really) you youngsters wallow in diligently this year of our lord two thousand a-a-a-and ten. The EP was released in 2009, though, and it came to me through the blessed World-tubes as a bitchslap with the best intentions. I mean, sludge generally feels like that weird kid in elementary who just doesn't know what to say, but he tries, and tries, and somehow ends up on the topics of bowel-movement and Hitler (recalling the ghost of under-appreciated Nottingham endless doom act Vat of Fat). Give him a break - the poor kid's just trying to make friends. But anyway, listen; Carcinos (guitar, vocals), Vkng Jzz (bass, guitar, also of Cadillacs & Dinosaurs), and Coco (drums [no longer part of the band]) will tie you up and make you swallow a huge slop of top notch sludge, and you'll probably like it. I know I did.

Open the Gates of Shambhala for free (both direct downloads of 7z archives):
- MP3
- WAV

100 CD copies soon to be pressed. Pre-order here (-I- €6.66 -I-).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The year 2009 through a cephalochromoscope (Part 1/3)

Our blog had twelve less posts in 2009 than in 2008, notwithstanding the larger amount of time / months / days (first post: 4/19/08). I'm nowhere near as active as I was for reasons of my own, but what can I say - all hail Orfee! Thanks for all the awesome blues and fastcore, man. :) As for me - my future blog-plans include many post regarding Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and whatever other grind scene gets caught up in-between. About past posts - I'm aware that many links are offline, so if you'd like us to reupload just leave a shout in the shoutbox with the info or a link to the post (although there are a few exceptions which will not be reuploaded - e.g. "B-a-a-a-th Tub Shit-Ter," 'cause we've had enough of each other ;)).

What follows is a personal overview of 2009 in music, with four more album posts at the bottom (five, if you count Wormrot). The post grew out of control so I divided it into three parts + the top five album posts + included an index. As far as I'm concerned, the definite album of the year is Liturgy - Renihilation. I always choose not to explicitly rate records in general because I am often manically undecided, nervous and excited about music and because impressions often fade over time. Therefore, I compiled a list of releases that I liked, and releases that I didn't / couldn't like - releases that I found of interest, and releases that fulfilled or failed to fulfill my expectations. Not much of the stuff in the grind portion is posted on Cephalochromoscope (might be in the future, though), but most of the records have a review on Grind and Punishment - highly recommended. There is no download link for everything and most of it can be found by a simple "bandname + mediafire" in the Google search bar anyway, but I decided to include some links / shout-outs to other blogs / reviews.

Index:
Part 1/3 - index, introduction
Part 2/3 - cephalochromogrind, powerviolent me
Part 3/3 - jesus-hating metal, lost among blastbeats, neglected children, expected demisors of my hearing in 2010

The top 5 bands in a top 3 list:
3. Parlamentarisk Sodomi / Psyopus / maudlin of the Well
2. Womrot
1. Liturgy

The year 2009 through a cephalochromoscope (Part 2/3)

CEPHALOCHROMOGRIND

1. These irresistibly lovable four releases / five bands are my grind-favorites as they certainly hold some of that "Tetsuooo! Kanedaaaaaaa!" magic.

Wormrot - Abuse
Wormrot fucking ate 2009 in grind. Look for it here.

Parlamentarisk Sodomi - De Anarkistiske An(n)aler
Parlamentarisk Sodomi is the new 324! Scroll down for the rest.

Attack of the Mad Axeman - Scumdogs of the Forest
Attack of the Mad Axeman scared all the birds and bunnies out of the forest with slick death-grind chops of a kind that no one pursued as nicely since Matsubara-san of GridLink and Otake-san of Gate. I mean, these are somewhat grown men in animal costumes refreshing the shit & vomit-stained genre. Reel around the fountain, smack me on the patio, play fast or don't, but I'll have a piece of that Schwarzwald grind any time. And to think that I didn't get to see 'em live 'cause one of the guys caught the swine flu! Karma, what the fuck are you doing? Download / buy LP on RSR, CD on Scrotum Jus.

Magnicide / Half Gorilla - Split
Magnicide from Singapore is much too monstrous to stay in Wormrot's shadow for much longer. They released their debut this year, too - sadly, I didn't get to clutch it restlessly yet. Look, here's one absolutely killer grind band with three 2009 releases. This year they also did a split with Toxic Revolution which holds a song titled quite adorably the "Catcher in the Eye".
Half Gorilla is a surgically removed half of a gorilla operating around a crusty Discordance Axis somehow. They had the guts to cover DxAx - End of Rebirth, thereby giving birth to a weird gorilla-half somewhere on my body. Yup, the cover is fairly nice. Have a banana, boys.


2. While those were my purely subjective favorites. I also wanted to try and do an expansive year-in-grind overview sort of thing and hope it doesn't turn out too bad. Why? 'Cause I ordered you to conduct an investigation. I never said skip the paperwork and act like vigilantes. I certainly don't recall ordering you to barge into any Yakuza office.

Afgrund - Vid Helvetets Grindar
Afgrund is a great band from Sweden, playing great Swedish grind, Nasum and all. Those are things that I could never appreciate like the rest of the world, apparently. I mean, I do like it, but the excessive metallization always gets to me. It IS a great Swedish grind album. My loss. If you say so. I guess. I do like it better than the debut. Actually, I like it in general. Bah, have a sensible review.

Antigama - Warning
Antigama - one of the forerrunners of the excitingly growing Polish grind scene (see Suffering Mind) - leaves a trail of thick, heavy, technical blasting. Andrew-san says that he never understood why they got such praise before Warning came along, but I don't find myself agreeing as much as usually. Antigama has been a somewhat innovative, solid proponent of modern grind not only on this one, but for a while now, although I tend to dislike certain overproduced aspects of their music.

Black Hole of Calcutta / Wojczech - Split
Black Hole of Calcutta appears on several 2009 split releases (w/ Bloody Phoenix & Lycantrophy), and I'd say that this one grew the most on me. Damn solid punk as fuck grind on this one, but my favorite track of theirs is actually "The Daily Grind," a bloody reminiscence of 324 which I have only heard on their myspace.
Wojczech is like a weird, sloppy grind cousin of some mid-90s attempt at progressive death metal. They remind me of some band, but I can't quite pinpoint what. Disharmonic Orchestra? Nah.

Cellgraft - S/T Demo
Cellgraft, like Wormrot, contain some of that magic Insect Warfare dust. They also put their stuff up for free on their blog, so I'd watch this band, young grindhoppers.

Graf Orlock - Destination Time Today
Graf Orlock is just about the best cinemagrind you can get post-DxAx film influenced songs. Destination Time Today is graced by the same spastic thrashings and sometimes downright epic blast-riffs that we all got to love on their first two offerings, although they took chances and stretched the songwriting to Neverland. Take Days Of High Adventure for example: a track of crushing trumpet-thrash. But "I don't think you understand. These boys killed my dog."

Insect Warfare - Noise Grind Power Death
Insect Warfare is gone with the wind of stop-start noisegrind chaos on one-sided vinyls (1100 of them) and an UK tour that apparently sucked ass. The guys remain a band of legend anyway, and what better way to make an exit than loudly, noisily, and obnoxiously?

Joe Pesci - At Our Expense!
Joe Pesci channels Pesci's thoughts and personality, although perhaps not at his best. Screaming and blasting and swinging at nothing and everything, this debut could have been so much more had the production job been handled accordingly. I still believe in you, guys.

Magrudergrind - S/T
Magrudergrind. I am angry with you, Magrudergrind. You were always a thrashin' beauty, but now you're just an ugly grind fan. Truth be told, the album is fucking awesome. The problem, the grudge that I hold lies in the band's history - I feel like they lost a bit of themselves when they decided to follow the Willowtip way rather than thrash till death, yet here I am with a burning need to stress how good the album is. Read an excellent debunking of the S/T on Chainsaw Justice, and an answer to the post on No Funeral.

Nashgul - El Dia Despues Al Fin De La Humanidad
Nashgul rips with the same approach over and over again, headbanging 'gainst the wall, but you gotta give them grind-credit for being so determined. And who called it a bad approach, anyway?

Parlamentarisk Sodomi - Regnskog, Fred og Vegetarmat EP
Parlamentarisk Sodomi in touch with his crusty side. Well, arguably. But man, does Papirmøllen do some frankly excellent vocal exhibitions here or what? 1.16 track per vinyl inch enclosing love thrash as lovely as it comes.

Rehumanize - Resident Apostasy
Rehumanize offers - at best - above average grindcore and a lot of preaching, but they're still the best Christian grind band that I've ever heard. I mean, really. Although I probably wouldn't have heard them had it not been for G&P.

Squash Bowels - Grindvirus
Squash Bowels spread an endemically catchy and groovy grind virus. A too good production job, bangin' riffs, goddamn spot-on drumming, and that's about it.

Suffering Mind - At War With Mankind
Suffering Mind suffers for the grind-enthusiast's enjoyment - a both manly and womanly dual vocal blast from Poland. Musically, that is, grind-wise, there aren't much other novelties. But it's ace grind, man. Brothers and sisters growlin', screamin', grindin'! Life's good.

Super Fun Happy Slide - The Undislodgable Nugget Scenario
Super Fun Happy Slide would freak the shit out of the average five-year old, I reckon. It'd be like sliding down a gigantic fiery throat, raspy two meter long tongue and all. I have to admit, The Undislodgable Nugget Scenario is an exceptionally fun piece of gory, shit-stained grind.

White Eyes - Beastmode
White Eyes is an amazing DxAx-influenced grind band from Germany. But see, the problem is, I didn't get a hold of Beastmode yet. Why did I include them then, anyway? Well, only and only on the basis of tracks on their myspace. It was, just, like, you know, love on first riff. If we had two ends to DxAx, we'd have the Ulterioresquely clean, technical, slick like a glass skyscraper Asterisk on one end, and on the other this noisy, electronic, speed-demonic White Eyes violence. (Throw in Agents of Abhorrence somewhere in the middle.) I'm fairly certain that Beastmode would have been near - or at - the very top had I managed to listen in time. On a side note, the Blastasfuk promotional description is hilarious. I'll quote the ending sentence: "Just imagine Discordance Axis on speed!" I mean, how do you NOT imagine Discordance Axis on speed?


POWERVIOLENT ME

1. Pow!

xbrainiax - Hail Fastcore
xbrainiax just goes faster and faster and bleaaauurghhh! Fuck your punk rock, you disgraces to the to the corpse of Eric Wood. I love you.

Hatred Surge - Deconstruct
Hatred Surge blasts the sound of massive sludge, like a slow motion explosion. Admittedly, I miss the "Funeral" and "Old and Tired" and "Farce" sort of grind chugga; that aside - fuckin' A.

Hummingbird of Death - Show Us the Meaning of Haste
Hummingbird of Death carry the burden of an awesome bandname. They have the appeal and charisma of 80s thrash metal with all the new inventions in the field of drumming speed (e.g. the blastbeat). One thrash as fuck band.

Iron Lung, Walls, Pig Heart Transplant - Public Humiliation
Iron Lung, Walls, Pig Heart Transplant don't do a split, but a live superstar collaboration of the three bands. Enervating sludge-noise feat. Jensen Ward smacking the snare like he's in marching band. Fresh powerviolencetravaganza!

2. Er...

Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse
Agoraphobic Nosebleed's drum machine now sounds like a real drummer guy which is subjectivelly positive / negative. Like all apocalypses, the Agorapocalypse enjoys great popularity among grind/pv fans alike, but all I can do is utter a "sure, it's alright, but ...meh" due to Scott Hull really bringing nothing new to the table except for Kat, the girl vocalist. And not even that, it's like he actually got rid of (un)certain aspects that made me like ANb. You know, some rooms just ain't all that exciting without that sweet multi-colored lava lamp. Agorapocalypse is a good album in the same way that today's thrash metal revival bands create good albums. Sometimes it drives me nuts, but at other times I can enjoy it all the way. Go ahead and read some positive reviews just about anywhere.

Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable
Weekend Nachos feel like weekend nachos, even if I never really eat nachos, especially not on weekends. It's pretty good, there's no denying it, but I can't say that the record succeeded in climbing to the top over my face, which is the only way. So dub me unforgiven by the Nachos, 'cause they left me pretty indifferent. Right now I've got enough sludge stuffing my nose, anyway.

The year 2009 through a cephalochromoscope (Part 3/3)

Not grind. Not powerviolence. Still here.

JESUS-HATING METAL

Altar of Plagues - White Tomb
Altar of Plagues brought a hellstorm of grim & kvlt black metal enthusiast on themselves with a very modern-sounding (meaning: add the post- prefix) way of atmosphere combustion. After the intro straight off Two Hunters, we get the usual blastbeatery coupled with long post-metal reminiscing easy rides. White Tomb definitely isn't for the fan of classic black metal, and it isn't even necessarily thriving with originality; genre-wise, it sounds more like a coalition than an union, but I'd still like to see where it goes. Just don't go in expecting any black metal standards.

Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs
Amesoeurs create shoegazing darkwave with a predilection for the blackest of all metals, and they do it fairly well. No, really. While I don't particularly drool over all the classic post-punk stuff that they pull off certainly nicely, "La Reine Trayeuse" - for example - affects me like a wonderful, lovable, yet extremely unnerving berceuse, much like this one girl I know does. P.S. I'm une total suckeur for francais. Avance!

Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow
Anaal Nathrakh's ferocity on The Codex Necro keeps me coming back to the band, and while In the Constellation of the Black Widow is, without question, pretty ferocious, it is also much more melodic, less abrasive, with clean vocal parts. Much of it is a matter of taste, but I'm still disappointed to hear parts and riffs that make me think of average melodic death metal. Sure, it's actually a fairly nice album, but that's not the epithet I'm looking for in relation to Anaal Nathrakh.

Iskra - Bureval
Iskra completely abandoned their crusty roots for a ferociously-fast-black-metal-with-grindy-blastbeats kind of deal. It's a matter of taste, really, but I miss that old, unique, crusty rawness that they used to have. Bureval sounds like a fine record from some completely different band. That said, the thing has a quality akin to Angelcorpse's Exterminate!

Krallice - Dimensional Bleedthrough
Krallice holds many bleeding dimensions that make the listener pay attention in order to enjoy the music. Personally, I enjoyed last year's S/T more, if only 'cause it was more aggressive and comopositionally intriguing, both qualities that I find took a step back on Dimensional Bleedthrough, which is generally a great album anyway, and perhaps a much more focused record, actually. Well, jeez... I figure all of you who didn't enjoy the debut ought to try this one anyway - it has riffs. I'm a fan of Krallice, I am, but sometimes I find myself bored. Thing is, I dislike the composition becoming riddled with progressive metal clichés, and this year Liturgy just ate them and their long-winded tremolos for breakfast. Their awesome long-winded tremolos, however.

Liturgy - Renihilation
Liturgy released the definite album of the year. Read / dl here.

Panopticon - Collapse
Panopticon advances his fairly authenthic green-black metal sound with tingly howling riffs and shitloads of godless bluegrass bliss. Only ruins are left of skyscrapers, weeds have overgrown and intertwined over this concrete jungle hell, while you lay deliriously hungry on damp humus but it's-a alright. That's the kind of feeling I get. And I wonder whether the songs are faultily out of focus, or if they're supposed to wither like that, just kinda collapse away. The latter prospect makes the album charming beyond belief. Download in solidarity - along with many other relevant black metal bands (e.g. Iskra, Skagos) - on Red & Anarchist Black Metal.

Skagos - Ast
Skagos gets mentioned alongside Panopticon and Wolves in the Throne Room and a few other acts as one of the more well known bands in this whole "cascadian black metal" deal. What sets the band apart from the rest of the scene (if we could call it that) is a sort of more "Agallochian" approach to melody, nice 'n' easy. The atmosphere is soothing, melancholic, lying in a bed of soft shrubbery with the mind bent on roving throughout itself, mad on familiar, terrifying, grand thoughts and feelings like only forest solitude can condition.

Wolves in the Throne Room - Black Cascade
Wolves in the Throne Room's third full-length didn't live up to the expectations of the masses hungry for catchy riffs. Black Cascade is not too memorable at first, and it isn't nowhere near as epic as the the first two. It's fairly average on first listen, much better on the second, when you notice subtleties in the composition. Much better, but still not too exciting. As for me, I was hoping for a continuation of "A Looming Resonance" from the Malevolent Grain 12". Instead, it just feels like WITTR toned down on the aspects that made them epic and heavy, although they still remain great in other areas. I hope they get their shit together for the next one, though, 'cause this doesn't seem to lead anywhere.


LOST AMONG BLASTBEATS

1. Yuh

Burnt by the Sun - Heart of Darkness
Burnt by the Sun took an excellent theme for their new album and decided that it needed to be as heavy as possible. Man, I remember the preview vids: "It's gonna be heavy," "sounds fucking heavy," "the heaviest thing that I've ever done," etc. Well, perhaps there's a bit too much of the chugga in the end. Other than that, Heart of Darkness isn't much too catchy on the first listen except for the occasional relatively melodic vocally-powered part. Several listens are required for the album to sink in like the authenthically colossal anchor of metal that it is - their last, their heaviest, their darkest album.

Converge - Axe to Fall
Converge's latest offering doesn't leave much to wish for (except, erm... blastbeats?). Seriously, Axe to Fall has most of the good Converge stuff coupled with their classic, praisably spirited deliverance. Nice. Very nice.

dälek - Gutter Tactics
dälek's and Oktopus' wall of sound basically found a crunchy equillibrium, or so my inner fanboy says. Right at the root, ballistic Rev. Jeremiah Wright's words pummel the room's atmosphere into a battlefield for Gutter Tactics' ominous street sounds and the contra-preaching of my favorite prophet. Musically, the record is as enjoyable as most of the duo's outpot. As for the subject matter, "...we've heard my former pastor use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation..." said yet another irrelevant president.

Isis - Wavering Radiant
Isis really never went stale the tiniest bit - quite the opposite - Wavering Radiant brought back some of the heaviness and exchanged the post-rock for progressive rock + made them a much more dynamic band. Apparently, when Aaron Turner had lost his guitar pick, and all he had left was to play the guitar was a screwdriver seeing as you obviously aren't allowed to be heavy with your fingers. And that's how it happened.

Lye By Mistake - Fea Jur
Lye By Mistake was, what, a mathcore band? Some guy screamed his lungs off while the rest of the band alternated between breakdowns and flamenco, or something similar enough. After a small demo, lo and behold: Fea Jur. God knows I'm rarely modest when I ramble about music, but I figure that I'm pretty much a dilettante when it comes to modern jazz fusion except for the stray band from Tokyo or Osaka (for reasons unknown). That said, this thing holds some of the wildest, thickest fusion that I've ever heard. Dunno what the mistake's supposed to be - this stuff would make Sean Malone proud.

maudlin of the Well - Part the Second
maudlin of the Well surprised everyone by releasing their final, best album - a fan-funded thing - a free one, at that. More here.

Psyopus - Odd Senses
Psyopus remains my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band. Here's why.

sgt. - Capital of Gravity
sgt. jazz it up more and more every record. Truth be told, I sorely miss the enthusiastic optimism of Perception of Causality akin to some other bands, like Mirror's On, Then, In. That said, Capital of Gravity holds a wholly different approach, making for a totally different experience, naturally. While they're complicating their music, sgt. seem to be getting more and more playful and free and mature at the same time. There's a wonderful feeling of space and progression and exciting build-ups and fall-aparts just as exciting - if not even more. I guess we could call this post-rock, but hey, that funky-ass Japanese post-rock scene always displayed a jazz niche quite unlike most of the pretentious cookie-cuttery from the west.


2. Meh

El Grupo Nuevo De Omar Rodriguez Lopez - Cryptomnesia
El Grupo Nuevo De Omar Rodriguez Lopez is a progressive/math-rock supergroup: The Mars Volta + Hella in a nutshell. Cryptomnesia didn't fulfill my expectations, in a nutshell. I guess I expected my head to explode or something, 'cause people say it's great shit, not self-indlugent at all, more cohesive, etc., and I just don't know. I expected more, but if just feels like I've already heard it all, Omar. Not self-indulgent enough!

Mono - Hymn to the Immortal Wind
Mono is just about the most well known post-rock band from Japan, presumably stemming from the fact that they're recreating the same tried and proven songs for years. It's like asking "What's new?" and being answered with "There's a new Mono album out." Does. Not. Compute. Goddamnit. But all jokes aside, Mono are the masters of the... of this whole tragically epic tremolo build-up post-rockin' deal.

Tortoise - Beacons of Ancestorship
Tortoise too, our ancestral post-rock masters, delivered a bubbly video game reminiscing album. I don't know about you, but when I hear a song like Prepare Your Coffin, all I can do is utter a "Wooo!" Sometimes I just can't be bothered justifying the existence of any more than 8 bits. This time, I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. I enjoy Prepare Your Coffin immensely; as for the others, so-so.


NEGLECTED CHILDREN
Agents of Abhorrence / Roskopp - Split
Black Hole of Calcutta / Lycanthropy - Split
Blood I Bleed - Gods Out of Monsters
Lycanthropy / Suffering Mind - Split
Magnicide - Rise to the Annihilation
Mumakil - Behold the Failure
White Eyes - Beastmode

EXPECTED DEMISORS OF MY HEARING IN 2010
Dreams of the Drowned
GridLink
Psudoku
Wormrot / Joe Pesci

In other news, someone's throwing tarnished condoms under my window. Fuck you, guy. So that's about it. The top "3" are in the posts below. Again: [3rd] Psyopus & maudlin of the Well & Parlamentarisk Sodomi, [2nd] Wormrot, [1st] Liturgy.

maudlin of the Well (USA) - Part the Second (2009)


Tracklist:
1. An Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost 10:56
2. Another Excerpt: Keep Light Near You, Even When Dying 05:59
3. Rose Quartz Turning to Glass 07:30
4. Clover Garland Island 08:18
5. Laboratories of the Invisible World (Rollerskating the Cosmic Palmistric Postborder) 11:50
Total playing time 44:32

Executively produced by a generous and supportive group of 87 fans.

maudlin of the Well left many fans unhappy back in 2001, and Toby Driver's Kayo Dot's questionable form of music was never appreciated as much. Fast-forward to 2009, motW release a new fan funded album as a free download on their website. And their best one at that!

Part the Second plays like a combination of Kayo Dot + maudlin of the Well, leaning more towards the latter, although stripped of 90% of the metal (so they never did need it!). In essence, the record consists of unrecorded Bath and Leaving Your Body Map recordings. I found that pretty irrelevant, though. The way the whole thing is composed makes you feel like it might sort-of explode at any given moment, become something more, a revelation just beyond the horizon that never shows, a volcanic climax that starts but somehow stops. I imagine the feeling is similar to a fairly unpleasant experience, like force-stopping your own urinating process (I can't come up with a reason why stopping another's pee-time would be pleasant, however). The lyrics to "Rose Quartz Turning to Glass" hold just the right words: "I missed the room change color!" You have no idea how vulgarly I could describe this crooked penis of a record! Musically, it is far too delicate, too pleasant, unbearably hard to take in in this form, makes me wish it'd just blow up in a blastbeat already.

But the damn thing never makes me happy - it leaves me euphoric like a drug addict addicted to the withdrawal symptoms as much as to the drug, if not more! While I sure have trouble describing the atmosphere as anything other than "just right," one could bluntly describe it as a calm, ethereal thing on the verge of a heavy, metal as fuck nightmare under the surface / never to surface. Relevantly, Greg Massi is back in the band with his Iron Maiden solo wizardry for the most part, giving the composition just about the only metal reminiscence, like a memory. The whole album is like a faded memory, one of your favorites - maybe one not-so-innocent, but it sure is your favorite and you always kept it stored somewhere in the back, yet you simply aren't capable of rediscovering the old familiarity anymore. You just can't remember.

Wait, what was I talking about? (All possible formats on the motW site.)

You da man, Greg Massi!

Psyopus (USA) - Odd Senses (2009)


Tracklist:
1. 44
2. Medusa
3. Burning Halo
4. Duct Tape Smile
5. X and Y
6. Boogyman
7. Imogen's Puzzle, Pt. 3
8. Choker Chain
9. Ms. Shyflower
10. A Murder to Child
11. Bonus Track
Total playing time 1:01:47

Psyopus' third album pushes the limits of guitar music even further and in a way altogether different than grind - through composition, technicality and rethinking the definition of music AKA making noise. All together altogether different. When I say "technicality" in this context, I figure one could think of NOISM, and when I say "noise," one could even think of Melt-Banana and stuff like Cell Scape where nicely crafted noise constitutes a riff. Psyopus is different. Sure, many have blown the shape and meaning of a riff in madder ways than Chris Arp, but what he specifically takes to extremities is composition. Listen to Choker Chain, the audio samples busting up the song in short, desperate, mind-numbing droning exhibitions that could well drive a person nuts, intervowen with cacophonic blasting that could drive a, well, person listening to less extreme music nuts, and most "extreme" music fans, too, tragically or comically or both. Fuck, we might as well call Psyopus grindcore for managing to do what most grind bands don't even realize as their duty. Odd Senses is such an uncomfrotable album because there is (little to) no musical comformity.

Until A Murder to Child starts - a guitar-centered, pretty, disquietude-inducing classical composition. The inside of Arp's head sounds like a village set on fire by invading UFOs in the middle ages. Over and over and over and over. I slip your monster in the...

Odd Nonsenses (Mediafire)

Released on Metal Blade.

Parlamentarisk Sodomi (Norway) - De Anarkistiske An(n)aler (2009)


Tracklist:
01. Introduksjonell Mistillit
02. Stygg, Urban Uvirkelighet
03. Jevn Oslo Med Jorda
04. Transatlantisk Forjævligsering
05. Regnskog, Fred Og Vegetarmat
06. Statsbudsjettsblues
07. Beføl En Ordfører
08. Du Vet Ikke Om Atomåpen
09. Høyesterettsjustitiarius, Vennligst Detroniser En Minister
10. Mistanke Om Valgfusk Under Opptellingen Etter Stortingsvalget I 2005...
11. Klæbukrønikene (De Anarkistiske An(n)aler)
12. Utroduksjonelt Rævkjør
Total playing time 29:15

Heavy on politically fueled anger, how furious is this one man grind project! Like it or not, more than 324, and it beats the crap out of Rebelgrind. I did just say all that. It is furious and full of ass-kickery (kick-assery?). Like if the downright relentless blasting wasn't enough, Papirmøllen's riffs sound like a blistering (redudant much?) swarrrm of hornets, a style even more apparent on Har Du Sagt A Far Du Si Nal (and, well, World Downfall, an influence all too apparent), an album just a bit more intense, fierce, which is also the reason why I like it more (truth be told) proportionatelly to the time spent on blastbeats on the record. Really, the only way De Anarkistike An(n)aler could have been any better was if last year's debut had never happened.

I say we let Papirmøllen mark a new era of Norwegian grindcore, may many a grind band engage in Parlamentarisk Sodomi worship, let the blastbeats flow endlessly, even though the guy put this one on a hiatus to engage in another, potentially just as awesome project (Psudoku). As far as I'm concerned, he could do an album's worth of the intro's - "Introduksjonell Mistillit" - type of powerviolent noisegrind. I mean, these two albums hold almost enough firepower to solely destroy all that Swedish stuff (I am just so controversial, tee-hee! Eh...). There's even a relatively dynamic (Jesus Christ, it's a goddamn grind song) 10min 38sec-long grind epic titled "Klæbukrønikene (De Anarkistiske An(n)aler)," a phenomenon comparable to 324's three and a half minutes shorter "Boutoku no Taiyo" (it's on Across the Black Wings [and what did I say about 324?]).

Noruwei no guraindu no taiyo (Mediafire)

Released on 625 Thrash, available on Crucifiados Pelo Sistema, Missing Link.

Liturgy (USA) - Renihilation (2009)


Tracklist:
1. - 01:54
2. Pagan Dawn 05:47
3. Mysterium 04:43
4. - 00:57
5. Ecstatic Rite 04:43
6. Arctica 04:40
7. - 01:51
8. Beyond The Magic Forest 03:24
9. - 02:19
10. Behind The Void 04:18
11. Renihilation 04:04
Total playing time 38:40

I never ever thought I'd say, "now here's an album with intensity comparable to The Inalienable Dreamless," and I really didn't think it'd be a black metal album. But here it is. Wait, what? What's that? Woah... I wonder if they'll ever create a James Bond movie with a fitting title for the masses of Discordance Axis fanboys/girls shouting "bite your fucking tongue!" Don't get me wrong, guys, 'cause Renihilation is a wholesomely different kind of deal. The Inalienable Dreamless is condensed, claustrophobic, atom-grade and absolute, while Renihilation is a loose, free-form swarm drone, an explosion with a life of its own, a total annihilation of nothing, an exnihilating contradiction, non-negating of one another.

Guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader Hunter Hunt-Hendrix presents a fairly different kind of black metal. Although somewhat comparable (in the realms of the genre) to Ulver on Nattens Madrigal (says on the press release, too) for the old, and perhaps Krallice (who they predate, technically) for the young, Liturgy sounds nothing like either of those in the end. According to the myspace page, their influences range from Gerard Grisey to the Swans, featuring generally prominent avant-garde, minimalist, contemporary, spectral composers, and Vlad Tepes (Les Légions Noires). While Tyler Dusenbury's bass is rarely and barely audible, Bernard Gann's and Hunt-Hendrix's riffs are interwoven in such an organic way that one might lose sight of the start, end, time, rhythm, if not careful, making for a progressive and liberating drone of ascending tremolo melodies colliding in massive booms. Greg Fox is the Mitch Mitchell of blastbeats, unrelated to the last name / pseudonym (?) of Hunter. His drumming is a nothing short of absolutely goddamn amazing burst of the rawest, most delicate blastbeats, not intersected but symbiotic with fills akin to cascades in the river-like flow, and sudden breaks, waterfalls, where the whole world plunges into nothing and everything. He blasts with a groove, a technique more reminiscent of jazz than of metal, a somewhat oscillating chaos-constant on the tiny, very minimalist set consisting of a crash, a ride, a snare, and a double bass (this I assume), although he does the job just as nicely - and apparently more than often - with one bass drum (this I saw on youtube). The band rises into a tight, naturally magnetic bundle, culminating, climaxing almost infinitely just to finally lose their relevant properties debilitated of disappointment and unfulfillment, only to rise again, like waves surging on the tide, ebbing away, forever attempting to transcend the familiar shore.

I feel like my description thus far lacked concrete imagery, so imagine two to three film frames of a woodland bombardment looping at about 200FPS, getting subtly faster - that's right, faster - leaves and branches forcefully swinging away, blinding light and scorching heat seeping through the trees like the wind from Sheol. You are in the film. You are / it is only looping, yet you can't help but feel like it's coming closer and closer, faster and faster, impending apocalypse revelation. After the first untitled track - an eerie, sublime chant building-up into collapse - a blast of the beginning and the end turns you into a deer caught in the ghastly gaze of monstrous incoming LKW headlights, a havoc that can never settle, only reignite from the inside just to destroy itself again and again and again, so joyous that it can die and live and die forever. Moments later, have you understood? - gave in, withered away, unexisted, re-existed, re-exploded, died, un-died - saw the answer somewhere in the implosion of nothingness, like vacuum negating vacuum, but actually much simpler. Because sci-fi writers are obviously the smartest people in the world, I'll let an old and famous one do the explaining; namely, according to Isaac Asimov, we absolutely do exist, we have to exist, the same way that we don't have to exist, because of basic mathematical reasoning, the specific way that we can write a zero equation, e.g. -1 + 1 = 0. It matters because it is the same, equal, twin-truth to zero plusminus zero, 0 ± 0 = 0, nothing equating nothing, when it is actually everything that equates to nothing, everything that is nothing. Ex nihilo nihil fit, out of nothing comes nothing - out of nothing comes everything, creatio ex nihilo - all the same, because 0 ± 0 = -1 + 1 = ∞ ± ∞. There cannot "be" anything but nothing and everything, because nonexistence constitutes existence, and everything cannot "be" without nothing, therefore nothingness is not possible without something(ness), thus all there is is everything, converging at a point in the middle of the existential contrast, the droning God-loop equilibrium, the circle of life.

On an individual level, Liturgy sounds/looks/represents man as a witch moth twitching frantically on her earthly deathbed with final ripples of strength - ending, transcending, beginning - with crystally lucid interludes where chanting pagan men exit their trance-state pounding the dead, tough, trembling skin of some magnificent animal, only to spiritually explode again and again and again / re-enter with euphoric blasts of spirited, ecstatic, soul-tearing black metal aural embodiment of the elusive forest, natural panic euphoria, lost in total solitude and alienation and togetherness and oneness with everything at the same time - no ego, no pride, flickering sanity, and a spark of genius.

Album of the year, for sure. (Mediafire) Released on 20 Buck Spin.

EDIT: Not sure about that "no ego" part, but Renihilation still kicks ass. You know me as excessively self-indulgent, funky, and inane in all these "reviews", anyhow. Might / might not pertain to the actual music.

Just a photo that I liked from Liturgy's myspace page.