It seems every year I don't make it to Chaos In Tejas and in turn miss out on a handful of cassette tapes that get released there in limited numbers, and under some vale of secrecy. For fuck's sake, someone who knows my taste, please help me out next year. What I missed from this year's festival that I would really like to get my hands on for reasonable prices:
Battle Ruins - Promo cassette. I couldn't enjoy this bands previous 7" one little bit. Something about Radigan's vocal approach that just didn't sit well with me, and still doesn't. Please don't get me wrong, I ride pretty much every one of his other endeavours (as documented here, often), but his singing on that EP just doesn't work. Thankfully (and maybe it's down to the mix or mastering), the two new offerings on the bands new promo cassette showcase a man with a relatively differing approach, and both of the songs are just catching, hooky, OI! masterpieces. I know it's a preview of the bands upcoming LP due in the next couple months on Rock 'n' Roll Disgrace, but the total collector fuckwit in me wants this tape to add to the Boston vaults.
Eternal Champion - Demo tape. Apparently this is what's labelled as Epic Heavy Metal (yes, really), and research over the last few days shows me that there's an entire and intricate scene built around this style of power riffed, mystic, NWOBHM influenced stuff. I've never enjoyed anything like this, and I doubt I'll ever take an overly consuming interest beyond this demo, but I must say that I can't get enough of the two songs I've found on the groups bandcamp page. Of course my interest was sparked initially (and perhaps remains) solely because this is the work of Jason Tarpey, former throat-man for the hugely popular and now defunct Iron Age, along with one of the dudes from Power Trip and two other guys. Apart from the odd hardcore fellow here and there, I really can't see Eternal Champion appealing to fans of the blend of crossover thrash that Iron Age were most well known for, on a lasting basis anyway. Where Tarpey was vocally with those final IA recordings may hint ever so slightly at what to expect here, but if you're not familiar with this style of music, like I'm not, I think you'll be surprised. There's no yelling or shouting here, only mellow, almost falsetto singing. Trippy, mid paced power chords, riffs, leads and melody fill it all out. Like I said, not my bag usually, normally I'd laugh at this stuff to be honest (it's cheesy as hell), and maybe it's the novelty that's holding my interest at the moment, but I really can't get enough of these two songs. Fun, catchy Heavy Metal. Apparently it's seeing a vinyl release in the coming months, but like the Battle Ruins tape, I want this to add to the (Texas) vaults. On a related note, Jason's also involved with another band that plays the exact same style of music, Graven Rite, also responsible for a demo that I wouldn't mind getting my hands on.
Torture Chain - "Mutilating Astral Entities" tape. I've blogged once about this band, and I really wish I had the opportunity to do so more, but it seems that (along with quite a few of these really lo-fi geared, underground American Black Metal bands), getting any of their stuff is nigh on impossible, thanks in part at least to a rabid and savvy fan base. Originally released in limited numbers at Chaos this year, and then subsequently put up for sale in the Yersinia Pestis webstore, only to sell out in about 10 minutes. A tape, but to be considered the bands full length, MP3's tell me that's it's around an hour of dissonance, drear and desperation. 's shriek is in full force here and certainly at it's most Black, and it still astounds me the range and variance he packs through all of the bands that he's involved with. Again, one for the Boston vaults.