Sunday, February 26, 2012

your rotting face

Another Melbourne score, a reissue of Autopsy's third platter, "Acts Of The Unspeakable". This originally came out in 1992, I'm unsure of when this reissue came about, though I don't think it was too long ago. Yellow vinyl on 2000 copies, Peaceville Records.

This album has kind of been touted as the one where the band started to branch into more punk influenced territory and I'd sort of agree with such a sentiment. The vast majority of the Autopsy catalogue draws heavily from a relatively diverse pool anyway and I'd argue that a large portion of the bands sound has always utilised a pretty obvious punk aesthetic. Shorter, simplified song structures, basic riffs, punk attitude in general. Comparative to other death metal bands of the day like Morbid Angel anyway, this thing is practically something like Minor Threat or Black Flag. What probably draws such descriptions with this album is the recording qualities- rather lo-fi compared to the album before it. The album that followed this one also displayed a massive punk attitude so this one kind of gets regarded as the album that began the progression.

The main reason for wanting to grab this LP was the amazing gatefold spread. Look at this thing. It's like looking at a Where's Wally spread but for death metal.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

solace in death

This is the demo by this new Melbourne group Headless Death. I don't know a huge amount about them other than the fact that the singer is the guy from Rort, and drums are handled by Chrisoph from the mighty Internal Rot amongst others. The other fellows may very well be from other Melbourne bands that I am unaware of.

It's hard to get a proper feel of what these guys are getting at with this demo. It's got a really good, rough recording typified with heavy, downtuned, messy guitars, fast drums with regular blast beats, and for most part groaned hardcore esque vocal bits. Occasionally the vocals are backed by someone with a heavier, more metal end too. They cover a classic Grave tune so there's an obvious death metal element to the recording, though I'd say that with said cover that's about as metal as they get. The rest of the tape is typified with basic power chords, tremolo picking, PV inspired tempo shifts and scrambled riffing. Leads see an occasional inclusion here and there, but this thing has more roots in metallic hardcore and even grindcore than any actual death metal. That point is probably also highlighted with the vocals. I'd probably get bit of a different vibe if the guy sounded a little more evil or demented.

Worthy of wider attention, I certainly see these guys getting better with future releases. Reading over that previous paragraph I feel I kind of sound a little negative but I actually like this demo. Better than certain other bands coming out of Melbourne at the moment trying similar things.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

soon to be dead

Another taking from the recent Melbourne trip is this reissue of Dismember's debut LP, "Like An Ever Flowing Stream". This round seeing it's resurrection in the form of a double LP on blue 180g vinyl with a gatefold sleeve. Originally released by Nuclear Blast Records back in 1991, this version has been pressed as part of the Back On Black series. An additional four tracks have been added here too to set it apart from the original.

To me these guys always seemed like Entombed's little brothers. So much of each bands work is heavily comparable in so many different ways. Dismember just always seemed to trail by around six months or so. Much of their material I can't find a great deal of interest in following this album either. Their handful of demos before this had a much rawer sound and feeling and as a result I do prefer most of those recordings too. I do love this album though, and it's good to have a great quality pressing of such an influential piece of work. It's no "Left Hand Path" though.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a nation on fire

Two weeks ago my girlfriend and I made our way down to Melbourne for a long weekend away. One of the days we were down my good mate Craig was kind enough to take us out on a day long tour of all the best record stores, coffee joints and shoe shopping (for the missus) in town. Turns out the day was to be the day of old metal reissues as I came away with something like seven or eight great LP's.
First up, and opinions may differ about this one, is a recent reissue of the first Machine Head LP originally from 1995, "Burn My Eyes" on RoadRunner Records. Black vinyl. These guys (along with Pantera) were my first foray into aggressive music beyond the Metallica film clips I'd seen on early morning music TV. It must have been around 15-16 years ago when I first experienced this album (and it's successor "The More Things Change") and I'll easily admit that this slab, amongst maybe three or four others, definitely set me on a different path. So much of my taste in music and life in general for that matter can be traced back to this album and Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill". Sure, everything Rob Flynn and co. have written since 1998 onwards has been beyond excruciatingly horrendous (new faux neo thrash bullshit whatever the fuck you wanna call it included), but their first two are certifiable classics and timeless to me. I listened to this album exclusively for three years straight.

Covers of the day used to included Discharge, Cro Mags and Bad Brains. This was their peak.

Happy to finally have this one in my collection. I wasn't ready to pay stupid postage amounts from the USA via eBay.

Monday, February 20, 2012

dark days

Here's a new record from an Australian band that I've been really surprised by. The debut 7" from Adelaide's Search And Destroy, "Eye Of Terror" on red and black haze of 100 copies. Suppression Records.

Following a demo and a split tape with Melbourne's Frozen Over, both released over 18 months ago, these guys have taken somewhat of a new road with this material. Whereas the aforementioned two previous releases tread the bouncy NYHC boards with that whole almost comical, chilled vibe ala the Lockin' Out Records crew, this new stuff has taken a noticeably harder approach more comparable to more moshier bands like Terror or Cast Aside. Most of these songs retain that cool, loose style with plenty of groove based riffs, but the guitar sound is definitely of the more metallic tone and the singers throat is at the angriest/loudest/deepest he's ever sounded.

I didn't like their older stuff, but I really like this 7". Besides the last Terror LP I haven't really enjoyed music of this style (let alone Australian music like this) for a long time. Pretty good.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

a step in the wrong direction

I honestly think that if RSR wasn't releasing Extortion records the label would probably go belly up. The band has obviously become quite a cash cow for the label in the last 18 months, proven numerous times with unnecessary represses and multiple cover variants of various releases. Latest case in point; this reissue of the Extortion/Jed Whitey split 7" that Distort originally pressed back around 2009/10. Maybe I can see a point in reissuing this EP, as I do think some people missed out the first time around, but I can't stand a label that insists on releasing a record with more than two variants in the form of either vinyl colours or 'limited' covers. They've done similar things with pretty much all of the Extortion stuff that they've had a hand in releasing over the years and it makes my teeth grind. Idiots like me and our OCD just have to possess a complete Extortion collection though, so I guess I've got nobody really to blame but myself.
Here's three variants of the new press. Black wax of a larger press, limited grey wax of 100 copies, and this limited red and silver foil cover thing of 100 (I think) as another option. Just to add to the ridiculousness, another foil cover also exists with black in place of the red. The label wouldn't sell the two together, but it looks like I've lined that one up through a mate.

From what I can tell this press is more or less exactly the same as the first version bar a slight variance in the records centre label. Of course, Distort only pressed it on black originally too.


My love/hate relationship with RSR continues.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

fuck today

Another record amid this current little run of releases that Ireland's Drainland seem to have going at the moment. This time a split 7" with Enabler from Milwaukee. A split release between Halo Of Flies and De Graanrepubliek. Black vinyl of 500 copies total.

One track from Drainland, "The Coldest Ward", here they've presented a +5 minute number that's constructed for the most part around a slow to mid paced tempo. Meandering riffs, the odd inclusion of noise, and a new experiment from the band- some female vocals. I'm not really a big fan of lady screams generally, but here they seem to work alright, most likely because this woman in particular has a relatively burly style anyway. Not wailing or anything like that, neither does she scream in a hoarse style. Just seems to yell, and while doing so, comes off sounding pretty tough anyway.

Two songs from Enabler- "Drop Out" and "Fuck Today". Having never really paid any kind of attention to this band beforehand, I'd obviously struggle to compare it to previous material. There's similarities to some of Drainland's stuff though; heavy, down tuned hardcore with a somewhat clean recording style. These guys utilise striking leads and noodly, Converge esque fret-work a bit more though and obviously take more influence from certain disciplines of metal and grindcore. These guys are currently preparing a release for Southern Lord Records and subsequently are experiencing a bit of hype at the moment, but I can't say that I am crazy about either of these songs. Just seems like standard fare metallic hardcore, the kind that Trap Them seem to be popularising currently. Take it or leave it I guess.

I can't say that this split will go down in my mind as an overly memorable release. As I mentioned, I'm not crazy about Enabler's contribution, and my attention span has been ruined from years of listening to fast and short hardcore songs, so consequently the Drainland song goes a little neglected. I'm digging the artwork though.
Drainland have yet another split with countrymen, Crows due next month and I've been lucky enough to have been gifted with a digital version of Drainland's side and I can safely say that the songs are a good bit more interesting (to me anyway). I should be able to post about that 7" some time before the end of March.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

work or jerk

Who remembers how good Canberra's Hard Luck were? I always thought it was sheer blasphemy that these guys never created more waves on the international circuit in the time they were together. Over the space of around 4-5 years they released a handful of great stuff, including a single LP in the form of "Dead End". I will admit that their split 7" with Newcastle's Faux Hawks, and the EP "Want Went Wrong?" before this album were somewhat better, but there's certainly no getting past how fun and catchy this LP is. Pure, basic, catchy as hell Boston styled hardcore with some NY influences too. I've had this platter for around 4 years now I think, having secured it when it first came about. For the uninformed, this album saw a national release via CD around the same time on Common Bond Records, while Gato Fucking Loco were responsible for the vinyl. And responsible would be the perfect way to describe it.

I think most of those familiar with the band might know the story with this first press of this LP. Something like 100 copies on black vinyl, all housed in a total shit fuck of a sleeve. Basically a plastic construction with hand cut bits and pieces, all 100 were hand made with sticky tape and home job stuff. Real DIY feeling. Horrible to look at, but it's certainly got character.

A subsequent pressing was made a year or 2 after this initial version with a regular card sleeve featuring the artwork that appeared on the CD release. I never secured one, though I wish that I did.

Friday, February 10, 2012

necessary death

I've never had much of a chance to post about Insect Warfare on here as I bought the bulk of my IW records back before I really started using this blog to rant about wax. I wouldn't say that I am the most fanatic of grindcore nerds, but these guys easily sit in my top 5 favourite bands of the last 6 or 7 years. A couple of post humous EP's aside, this long player of theirs, "World Extermination", marked the last of their releases and I'd argue that it was the one that really broke them to the wider community. This version on magenta styled vinyl is from the original pressing by 625 Thrash and RSR, but the later reissue on Earache Records really made a lot of people take notice. And for good reason. A total grindcore classic, I can listen to this thing from beginning to end, all 20 tracks multiple times in one sitting.

These guys just always seemed to have a knack at balancing out the ruthless grind with the metallic riffery. The production is just that spot on also, and works a treat at making all the elements stand out perfectly. Rahi is easily the best vocalist of the genre, and Beau would certainly be at the top of the pile when it comes to writing smart, interesting, no bullshit grind. One thing I've always liked about these guys is that they never tried to experiment with anything stupid. They never used dumb samples, never included silly leads or experimental fret work, never wrote drawn out songs. They had a formula and always stuck to it. One of the best bands of the last decade. I'm just bummed that I never had the chance to see them live.

Looks can be decieving. Here's the actual colour.

Poster included.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

the pagan winter

Up until relatively recently I'd never really held much interest in any kind of black metal. I have posted a couple times in the past about some modern American sans corpse-paint bands, but I wouldn't say that I am in any way knowledgeable about the wider genre at all. My new found interest lies mostly in a few of the early 90's key bands and the notorious scene that from which most of them were spawned. I will happily admit very quickly that the majority of my interest in the genre is based a lot more in the personalities, their spectacular actions and the general scene that most of these early bands circulated in, not so much the actual music. With that in mind though, I do make exceptions for two bands; early Burzum and the first three or four Darkthrone releases. Apart from this handful of albums, the vast majority of the Norwegian black metal scene is a load of tripe, to these ears anyway.
Today I'm posting about the second Darkthrone album, "A Blaze In The Northern Sky". This is a recent(ish) reissue on Peaceville Records on clear vinyl. Many say that this album was the birth of true Norwegian black metal sound, and I want to agree, though I do think that with the true ethos of the sound in mind, bands like Burzum and Mayhem lay more claim to that genuine evil approach. Darkthrone did go on to create music with following albums that I feel falls within the boundaries a lot more precisely, but essentially this is just death metal with a black metal production. I'm quite positive though that some would argue that production is often the final defining touch that makes or breaks a trve cvlt black metal album, so from another point of view this definitely could be the birth place of true Norwegian blasphemy. Until now nothing sounded this precise, this dark, this haunting. If you want to talk about aesthetics also, I certainly believe that these guys really hit the nail on the head with the look and general feel with this album and the two that followed it.

"Limited" reissue I guess, but it certainly wouldn't be if it were a reissue of a regular hardcore band that I listen to. In terms of a band of this stature though, I suppose this could be.

Gatefold sleeve.