Friday, March 30, 2012

Grind Part, Slayer Part, Garbage to the End: "Ikaruga"

The Inalienable Dreamless was Discordance Axis' last longplayer, but before the band fizzled for good, the trio graced us with two final songs, eventually released on Our Last Day. This time there were no complex allegories about giant Japanese robots piloted by neurotic teens who fend off alien invasions in between addressing their daddy issues. Instead, we get a lighthearted twofer about gaming, "Ikaruga" and "Sega Bass Fishing." Here's the tab for "Ikaruga;" go get your bullet hell on.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Namesake Series: "H5N1"

While I've never had the pleasure of being introduced to bird flu, I have done battle with its cousin H1N1, swine flu. Maybe I'll finally get my chance because bird flu is a serious concern these days thanks to research into H5N1's ability to transmit between mammals. The findings have stirred up controversy among those who say publishing the results, while valuable for researchers seeking effective treatments for the flu strain, could be used to weaponize the virus.
Bird flu is also right in grindcore's wheelhouse because both Sweden's Gadget and Australia's Extortion have dipped into that well.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Feel Good Hit of the Summer

I had a mini-epiphany the other day when I was roaring down one of the local hills on my bike, doing 20 mph down the slope (that's 735 deciliters per kilojoule for your foreigners) with my headphones on and a suicidal disregard for local helmet laws. In my mind I'm one of those insane Chilean downhill bikers.

Sleep's Holy Mountain Bike*

Insect Warfare roaring in my ears, my face to the wind like a dog hanging out a car window, I realized that GODDAMN but grindcore and hardcore are fucking fun music! I know that's probably not much of a revelation to most of you, but every so often I get caught up in the grim misery that so many metal and punk bands (hilariously) try to project that I forget that this stuff is really enjoyable. It's helpful to remember the earliest Napalm Death rehearsals collapsed into giggles at the absurdity of it all.
Not everything has to be all serious and intense. In honor of that helpful reminder, here are a handful of albums that will staple gun an idiot grin on your face.

Insect Warfare
Endless Execution Through Violent Restitution
625 Thrash
World Extermination is obviously a better album, but this collection of early EPs, comp appearances and leftover tracks is a more fun Insect Warfare experience. The guitars are bigger and burlier and the performances are looser than World Extermination, making it all feel more casual. I dare you not to smile during a song like "Freebase Diarrhea." Go ahead. Try it.

Graf Orlock
Destination Time Yesterday
Level Plane
The first chapter of Graf Orlock's three-part '80s action film-quoting, time traveling narrative mindfuck was totally unexpected and unique when it dropped in 2006. There was absolutely nothing like it at the time. From its conception through its execution, Destination Time Today was the equivalent of a very well done, but not exactly deep action flick on cable at 3 a.m. after a hard night of drinking with friends. Graf Orlock would improve with each outing both in output and packaging (see the Alien facehugger packaging of Destination Time Tomorrow or the exemplary Doombox). But by then we knew what to expect. Not that it lessened the fun factor in the slightest.

Misanthropic Generation
Right from the adrenal OD of kickoff "Powerload," Disfear's bouncing d-beaten hardcore is ready to play. While Discharge may have been all intense and serious, many of their wayward progeny have picked up on the fact that a skipping d-beat just naturally lends itself to an uptempo, feel good rager. Bolstered by a buzzing, electric production courtesy of Mieszko Talarczyck (who I've read was actually disappointed in its sound), Misanthropic Generation, the first Disfear album to showcase you-know-who up front, jolts you out of your chair with its freewheeling guitar leads and compels you to move.

My relationship with Dirge has been ... complicated. But it all clicked into place a few weeks ago when I realized I'd simply been approaching Wormrot's second album all wrong. Abuse was a brutal little nugget of a beast. My mistake was trying to box in Singapore's finest. I forgot that Wormrot are three young dudes who unexpectedly landed a deal with one of grindcore's most venerable labels. They wanted to see the world with a little cash in their pockets and just have some damn fun. And Dirge is a fun record. It's loose, blasting and was recorded in a hurry. There was no overthinking or serious sophomore slump. I still prefer Abuse, but I find myself increasingly reaching for Dirge when I just want to smile.

Unholy Grave
Grind Killers
Grind Killers has very quickly become my favorite album from prolific Nagoya terrorist foes Unholy Grave. There's a spontaneity that comes from its live in the studio production that ups the fun factor substantially compared to some of their other voluminous offerings. And if that's not enough to remind you that grind is supposed to be fun, a cover of the Ramones' "Beat on the Brat" that can only be described as very ... Japanese ... underscores you're supposed to feel good when you give Grind Killers a listen.

Bad Brains
Bad Brains
I dare you to name a better hardcore record (Shane? Hmm? Ball's in your court). The Bad Brains' iconic first album was the pure essence of adrenaline captured on tape and distilled into a pure audio form. Straight from needle drop on opener "Sailin' On," Bad Brains just explode. Damn near every song is a class on uptempo pit-movers and the reggae breath-catchers are perfectly placed to build up the anticipation for ragers like "Fearless Vampire Killers" and "Pay to Cum." I and I rock for light.

Rotten Sound
I would be remiss if I didn't include one of the best grind albums for biking, Rotten Sound's Cycles. Geddit, geddit? Cycles! Ha. I kill me.
But seriously, this is a fun album to ride to.

*Yes, I have a bit of a sticker obsession.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grind Part, Slayer Part, Garbage to the End: "Typeface"

There was a punk band once (name totally escapes me; Google fails me) that had a line in a song along the lines of "Helvetica is the font of bourgeois consumption." While that's clever in a snide/superior I-reject-consumerism sense of smug self-righteousness, after watching the documentary Helvetica, I have a newfound appreciation for the elegance of the world's most ubiquitous font. If you're a fonthead, if bad kerning drives you up the wall, then perhaps you need a little "Typeface" in your life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

G&P Review: Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade? I bet you have a pretty good idea what this Malaysian death-grind band sounds like just based on that don't you? And yes, while Symphonies of Sickness looms large over Pulse, I bet you didn't expect that vaguely Arabian, rather Cryptopsy-ian clear guitar riff that broadsides opener "Embodiment of Confrontation" or the out of nowhere full on wah pedal psychedelic freakout that explodes closer "Science Failure." They immediately yank you out of the musical experience you've mentally prepared for yourself. It's jarring but in a delightful way, like taking an unexpected boat ride with Willy Wonka.
Those unexpected digressions aside, Tools of the Trade comfortably prowl that murky gray area between traditional death and grind, that twilit gloom of things more felt than half-seen typically haunted by Circle of Dead Children. On that front, Pulse is unrelenting, constantly moving like an ADHD child on a caffeine bender. The snare, in particular, just refuses to ease up. There's not much here you haven't heard a hundred times before, but Tools of the Trade give episode 101 a thorough trashing, proving they can stand with the pack even if they barely separate themselves.
However, there are some interesting production choices lurking here if you listen carefully. I was particularly intrigued at the way the guitar leads of "Implementation of Hates" were suffocated in the mix where other bands would have shoved them screaming to the forefront. Instead, Tools of the Trade just make them one more swirling bit of shrapnel in their tornadic chaos.
Tools of the Trade are clearly comfortable with their forceps and blades. While Pulse doesn't deviate far from the death-grind playbook, the cassette is just one more datum pointing to the rising dominance of Southeast Asia on the global grindcore front.

[Full disclosure: The label sent me a review copy.]

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grindcore Bracketology 2: Goalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!

You have no idea how much this picture pains me.

I'm going to go ahead and give you a hint. The winner's initials are S.H. Not much help, I know.
But before we get to the grand unveiling and crown the prom king and queen of Grindcore High's class of 2012, we need to look back at how we got here.
We started with 32 guitarists, selected by me (modified by many of you who were not slow to correct my oversights). Here's who's been left on the wayside already, as voted by you.

28. (tie) Pindgum (Total Fucking Destruction)
28. (tie) G. Toshimi (S.O.B.)
28. (tie) Chris Richardson (Kill the Client)
28. (tie) Ryan Unks/Paul Nowoczynski (Creation is Crucifixion)
28. (tie) Mika Aalto (Rotten Sound)
26. (tie) Ryan Page (Body Hammer/Robocop)
26. (tie) Mitch Dickenson (Heresy/Unseen Terror)
23. (tie) Marissa Martinez (Cretin)
23. (tie) Shinji (324)
23. (tie) Kurt Habelt (Siege)
19. (tie) Kapo (Swarrrm)
19. (tie) Mitch Harris (Napalm Death/Righteous Pigs/Defecation)
19. (tie) Mieszko Talarczyk (Nasum)
19. (tie) Sebastian Rokicki (Antigama)
17. (tie) Rob Marton (Discordance Axis)
17. (tie) Eduardo Borja (Maruta)
16. Chris Arp (Psyopus)
15. Richard Johnson (Enemy Soil/Drugs of Faith)
14. Steve Burda/Shane McLachlan (Phobia)
13. Rasyid (Wormrot)
11. (tie) Dorian Rainwater (Noisear/Kill the Client)
11. (tie) Matt Olivo/Aaron Freeman (Repulsion
9. (tie) Steve Procopio/Jim Baglino (Human Remains)
9. (tie) Bill Steer (Carcass/Napalm Death)
8. Papirmollen (Parlamentarisk Sodomi/PSUDOKU)
7. Erik Burke (Lethargy/Brutal Truth/Sulaco)
6. Beau Beasley (Insect Warfare)
5. Jesse Pintado (Terrorizer/Napalm Death/Resistant Culture)
3. (tie) Brent "Gurn" McCarty (Brutal Truth)
3. (tie)Takafumi Matsubara (Mortalized/GridLink/Haiyano Daisuki)

So that's how the last three months have shaken out, as decided by you, my not-so-loyal minions. (Rob Marton is 17? Really? Mieszko Talarczyk is only 19? C'mon people! Don't make me come down there.) But I have resolved to forgive your apostasy. Thank you to everyone who has participated. You all are the ones who make all this possible. I hope you've enjoyed the process.
So you the voters have spoken and the greatest grind guitarist is...

Unholy Grave!

That's right. They overcame the fact that they weren't even included to win it all in a stunning come from behind victory.
Sorry. Couldn't resist pulling that one out. Again.

But seriously now. We're down to Steve Heritage of Assuck and Scott Hull of Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Pig Destroyer and Anal Cunt.

After carefully tallying your votes and tossing out some obvious trolling by the French judges, the best guitarist in grindcore is:


I shit you not. Though Scott Hull led through most of the voting, Steve Heritage mounted a last minute insurgency and managed to knot it all up at 12 votes a piece. So what should we do now? I have no clue. Would an extra week of voting settle this? Should I flip a coin? Rock, paper, scissors? Or all you all cool just to leave it as is? Personally, I like it. It speaks to the different impulses that drive grind and keep it vital, the past and the future knotted up together.
You make the call. Meanwhile, please enjoy the after party in the Jan Frederickx Memorial Cocktail Lounge.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekend Punk Pick: Donuts n Glory

I tend to break out Donuts n Glory's 1996 album When Pregnosaurs Ruled the Earth during those first few glorious days of spring. Songs like "Before Baywatch" (which the lyric sheet informs is "not nonsense, this is rock n roll") have a screwball sense of fun about them that pairs well with warmer weather, bike rides through the neighborhood and a 7-Eleven Slurpee on a hot afternoon. But for all their lighthearted goofery, Donuts n Glory probably summed up my feelings about genre exercises in all media on the song "Sirens": "Be original by rehashing the old and injecting your own blood into the formula." I can get behind that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grind Part, Slayer Part, Garbage to the End: "The Necropolitan"

As I said before, I will not see a dime for writing Compiling Autumn. (Though Jon tells me he's about to ship off the first check to the Japanese Red Cross, so thank you all for contributing to a great cause).
That's not the complete story because Jon and I did talk about compensation for my work at first. My price: an actual copy of the impossible to find Necropolitan EP (the only recording to feature Steve Procopio on guitar). The 1997 rarity boasts early versions of "Drowned," "A Leaden Stride to Nowhere" and "The Inalienable Dreamless" as well as some pointless studio fuckery I'm told the band would just as soon forget. However, Scrooge McChang is down to his last copy and I'm not cold hearted enough to steal it from him. All of that leads me to this: the tab for "The Necropolitan" song we all know and love.
Fun bonus fact: Jon swears his necropolitan predates Neil Gaiman's necropolitans in Sandman. I smell a copyright bitch war!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Wake to a Life of Misery: Canadian Grinders are Surrounded by Human Filth

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring," astronomer and all around science evangelizer Carl Sagan famously said.
That could just as easily double as the mission statement for Wake's brand of grindcore/power violence Calgary stampede. Sagan's penetrating quest for truth above all, and his willingness to pursue it even when it conflicted with popular religious beliefs, formed the basis guitarist Rob Strawberry's atheistic outlook and snarling grindcore bite.
"Sagan was a brilliant scientist, free thinker, a man that questioned the existence of god at times when it was unpopular to do so, and a man that passed too early," Strawberry said. "Reading his books/studying him as a teen lead me to paths of atheism, secular humanism, and the overall platform of science, logic and reason. We wouldn't say he is an influence directly to our lyrics or music but more indirectly, on an individual basis, at least for me, personally."
Wake have proclaimed their penetrating philosophy of uncompromising angst over a killer EP and full length to date, cementing themselves at the vanguard of the next generation of punk-minded bruisers. While Sagan's sense of wonder at the mysteries of the universe may have been a source of inspiration, Strawberry and fellow guitarist Sergey Jmourovski don't share his sunny optimism. In fact, Wake (rounded out by drummer Ryan Kennedy, bassist Jacob Ryan and vocalist Kyle Ball) admit the band isn't "doing anything groundbreaking lyrically." They're content to give vent to their personal frustrations against the backdrop of a steel-toed musical stomping.
"We've set out to make an album that best depicts our discontent with the issues at hand, and we did just that," Strawberry and Jmourovski said. "With the new record, we will be changing our approach and digging deeper than simply stating what we hate. We have to change our way of thinking and living if we are to survive as a species (but why?)."
About that new record? Are you sitting down? Good. The good people at 7 Degrees, who pressed Leeches, have hooked Wake up with fellow blog darlings Dephosphorus for a split 7-inch of three new songs apiece due out in April.

My God. It's full of stars.

I'm going to go ahead and call this the best tag-team of 2012 without having heard a single note.
"We recorded some songs with Colin Marston in New York while we were on tour last year. Once we got home we decided that we wanted to do a split with an international band," Wake said. "We talked it over with Simon (7 Degrees Records) and he recommended us doing the split with Dephosphorus. We had a listen to the tracks Dephosphorus had recorded for the project and we were floored. Simply a band that is innovating, not imitating."
The admiration is mutual, Dephosphorus vocalist Panos Agoros said. Wake is "a group of persons in the right spirit, with healthy worldviews and a genuine passion for underground music," he said.
"They write and execute devastating tunes, [that] also happen to be catchy and monumental like 'Cult Of War,' 'The Means To The End,' or 'Leeches.,'" Agoros said. "As a personal plus, the intensity and heaviness of their music reminded me quite a lot of two sadly defunct (last time I checked, at least) favorite U.S. bands of mine: Kalibas and Rune."
Wake plan to roadtest the new material throughout the United States and Canada this summer before diving right back in to the studio this fall to record to follow up to Leeches.
"We've been writing hard, and are very happy with the new songs," Strawberry and Jmourovski said. "Faster/darker/noisier yet retaining melody, a logical progression for ourselves. Did I mention they're faster? We'll be heading out on a US/Canada tour in July and are hoping to record again in the fall, grinding harder than ever. Look out for the split with Dephosphorus to be out in April, and we can't wait to rip on the east coast/mid-west in the summer."
The busy schedule is all part of the revolution through evolution that Wake demand from themselves. Not content to rework territory they've already covered, Strawberry and Jmourovski said Wake continually push themselves out of their comfort zone.
"There is no progress without conflict, well being leads to stagnation, and we will never evolve without questioning our own existence," they said. "Such an attitude will never come from being content, and we do our best to never be comfortable in our own skin."
Carl Sagan couldn't have said it any better.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Grindcore Bracketology 2: There Can Be Only One

One week from now we will award the Stanley Cup of grindcore: the oh-so-coveted G&P Grindy, famed in story and song. One man will be crowned the best guitarist to ever ride a blastbeat with whatever bragging rights come with winning a totally arbitrary popularity poll on the internet. I cannot overstate the honor involved.
But first we have to explain how we got here.

The Old Guard v. The Innovators
Brutal Truth's Gurn was a brilliant guitarist who left an indelible mark on grindcore's transitional phase from the first wave of innovators through what we all know and love today. But with all of that gussying up his C.V., Gurn was no match for multi-band modern phenom Scott Hull who powered to a convincing 10-5 win on the strength of his varied body of work.

The Punks v. The Technicians
While we all agree that Takafumi Matsubara is one of the most ridiculously talented musicians to ever pick up a guitar, the Japanese auteur's work did not stand up against Steve Heritage's punked out playing, which is about a subtle as a jab to the nads. The Assuck mainstay moves on by 11-5.

Which brings us to the end of the line: Two men enter. One man leaves. Thunderdome. Both Hull and Heritage, seeded number two in their respective brackets, have advanced to this final round. Only one can claim the title of king of the grindcore guitarists. You've got until Sunday to argue your case.

Scott Hull (Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Pig Destroyer/A.C.)


Steve Heritage (Assuck)

Friday, March 9, 2012

One Track Mind

If you're a fan of short songs like myself and Mr. Biafra, you're going to be in luck this summer. Blastbeat Mailmurder proprietor Panos Agoros (a.k.a. the Dephosphorus/Straighthate vocalist) just announced the first iteration of his new Monomaniac series of 7-inchers, collecting 25 bands of various metallic stripes each spitting out a single minute of their trademark noise.

The first volume is expected sometime this summer with (hopefully) more to follow. I mention this because I (humbly) played a middle man role by running through my grindcore Rolodex and hooking Panos up with a handful of bands I thought would jibe with his vibe. Given my participation, I won't be giving this one a full review when it comes out, but I'm definitely excited by the roster he's pulled together.
Click on over to the Monomaniac link to stream first track "Traitors Gallow" by New Zealand black/death metal band Diocletian to get a sense of the kind of mind numbing monstrosities in the offing. If that's enough to tease your palette, here's a complete list of participants.

* DIOCLETIAN — bestial black/death apotheosis — New Zealand
* NECROMANTIA — black metal cult — Greece
* ROBOCOP and/or BODY HAMMER — grindcore — U.S.A.
* END — black metal — Greece
* THE ONE — unorthodox black metal — UK
* CONAN — doom/sludge — U.K.
* BILL KOULIGAS — electronics/noise — Greece/Germany
* SETE STAR SEPT — avantgarde grinding noise — Japan
* MUTANT SUPREMACY — death metal — USA
* RAVENCULT — black thrashing metal — Greece
* WAKE — grinding hardcore — Canada
* PRIAPUS — grindcore — USA
* DETROIT — powerviolence — Canada
* AMNIS NIHILI — harsh & mesmerizing metal — Greece
* THEDOWNGOING — grindcore — Australia
* CLOUD RAT — hardcore/grind — USA
* HEAD CLEANER — death/grind — Greece
* THE COMMUNION — blood metal slut grind — USA
* HAPPOJA — blackened metal/hardcore — Finland
* THE SENSELESS (ex-The Berzerker, ex-Mithras) — progressive grind, heavy mental — Australia
* THE OILY MENACE — grindcore — USA
* GRIPE — grindcore — USA
* BURIAL HORDES — violent black metal — Greece
* ATAVISM — brutal death/grind — Greece
* PROGRESS OF INHUMANITY — grindcore — Greece

Grind Part, Slayer Part, Garbage to the End: "Compiling Autumn"

Let's just bow to the inevitable and get the whole reason I'm doing this out of the way. Obviously, "Compiling Autumn" inspired the name of the book (though I had considered "Angel Present" initially), and DxAx wouldn't have bothered sharing all these tabs with me if it weren't for that. So here's to the namesake song.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

G&P Review: Amputee

RSR Records
Chasing their three song dick tease demo from 2010, Amputee go for the full release massage on Convulsions, a 13 song guerrilla grind assault from late 2011 that's filled with tunes that hit it and quit it in 80 seconds or less. The New Jersey grinders don't stray too far from the rampant Assuck-isms that made their demo so enticing with this EP, but Amputee have started to grow into their own and take better command of their sound. The slithery sounding songs allow a little bit of daylight between the band and their most obvious influence.
The most representative and probably strongest of the lot is "Gather to Persecute," a late EP entrant that best displays Amputee's new found proficiency with varying tempo and tone. The song best balances the human metronome drumming with the blurred-no-time-for-nuance guitars, which grasp just enough emotion to convey the thrust and drive of the pounding songs. Each song is pared to a single point and pounds it to sand and then moves on. Even as Amputee branch out into longer compositions on songs like the epic 1:22 "Ass Gen" or the slow-building 1:08 of "Repetition" they make sure they never overstay their welcome.
Amputee still lack that intangible something that gives contemporaries like the similarly-minded Cellgraft that added zing, but this is clearly a band on the rise. Everything I've heard from them has been consistent, concise and played to the point. Amputee are one short step from dropping that excellent album that will garner them the praise they're so gonna deserve.

[Full disclosure: The band sent me a download.]

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

These Amazing Vibrations

I am a partially reformed collector.
I imagine many of you have grappled with your own level of craphound compulsion as well. As someone who has taken the step to reject readily available pop music, you're probably someone who invests your music with a deep significance given the extra effort you've taken to explore your musical options. (That's a gross and most definitely self-serving generalization, but just go with me here.) I'm betting the Venn diagram of underground music fans and obsessive collector nerds is practically 1:1.

Pictured: Obsessive collector nerd.

While I've moderated my buying the last couple of years (hence "partially reformed" collector), having my favorite albums at hand has always been important to me. But I've been thinking about the historic preservation of underground music lately after watching the documentary These Amazing Shadows. The movie discusses the work of the National Film Registry, which was created in the wake of Ted Turner's hare-brained scheme to bastardize classics with color, to preserve the United States' cinematic heritage.

Harmony Corruption

According to preservationists, half of the films made before 1950 have been permanently lost. Eighty percent of silent films are gone because nobody recognized their historic and cultural impact and sought to preserve them for future generations That really resonates with the amateur anthropologist in me. Those are pieces of our collective human heritage that are lost forever.
It has also gotten me seriously thinking about the future of underground music and wondering how (or if) key artifacts of our musical heritage will be preserved. While the internet has made virtually everything available with a quick trip to Mediafire, is anyone taking steps to preserve important musical landmarks? I worry the ubiquity breeds complacency. Did Siege realize what they had when they recorded Drop Dead and have those valuable master recordings been preserved? I bet 90 of the people who have heard S.O.B.'s seminal Don't Be Swindle (me included) have never seen a physical copy. Are compressed MP3s going to be the best we can hope for or are the original recordings stashed away somewhere waiting to be cleaned up and reissued?
Barring a radical cultural shift, we can't count on somebody like the Smithsonian or Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame swooping in to preserve our heritage for us. The history of punk and metal has been a tale of kids with a lot of ambition but not as much know-how figuring it out as they go along. I'm betting proper archiving was not high on their list of priorities.
The digital medium has proven more durable than its tape-bound antecedents, and label bosses said it's still their go-to storage device.
"I’m pretty sure [founder Jason Tipton] keeps all of the master recording in a drawer in his desk," Willowtip media guy Vinny Karpuszka told me. "Most of the time they are kept in the same CD case that was shipped to us from the studio that did the mixing/mastering. Some of the older ones are kept in one of those CD wallets that I’m sure everyone and their mother has owned at one point."
Unlike the majors, underground labels tend to have a more cooperative relationship with their bands. That often means it's the bands who are in charge of preserving their own music.
"Hydra Head does not possess any of the reels on which our earlier releases were recorded," co-owner Aaron Turner said. "Those (I'm assuming), are all in the possession of the bands themselves. We have a good number of DATs and CDr masters, but haven't archived them in any secure fashion. There's no real safety net protecting these things, except that most of them have already been released on CDs, which is relatively stable over the long haul. I hope artists of ours who did record on reels are keeping them safe! "
Just as the internet is decimating sales of physical media, it's also proving a boon to the preservation movement, providing several layers of redundancy, To Live a Lie honcho/IT guy Will Butler said.
"I do my part and upload out of print stuff; lately I've put some stuff on Bandcamp (and duplicated it to, because I don't trust Bandcamp lasting forever)," he said. "I also have released some albums on iTunes/Amazon...etc, so although people are buying them, it's available and the songs almost become viral. Lastly, the actual masters, I have most of them on my hard drive on my computer. I then duplicate them to my home server which has all RAIDed harddrives, so it's basically triplicated on my home network. So a multi-tier approach to keeping music alive. I mean one day I'll be forty and might not be involved in the label and will hope that I did something positive for the world, so making the music an awesome music virus around the world, living on computers and being shared on P2P networks, and keeping copies for myself is actually an interesting/worthwhile idea!"

Return to Desolation

Extreme metal is entering its third decade of existence, but institutionally, it's still in its infancy. The scrappy labels that have enshrined themselves in our experience -- Metal Blade, Earache, Relapse -- are still defined by their founders and much of our heritage is locked up in their vaults. Time will only tell how they evolve giving the changing musical landscape and their founders' plans to maybe one day call it quits.
Butler is already making plans for the day when he may fold up shop.
"I'll probably make an effort in a few years, if I stop the label, to post everything up free online with the band's permission. Seems silly to not have them on for preservation," he said.
One aspect of punk and metal that has always struck me is the reverence for our shared heritage. There are not many fans of mainstream music reaching back 30 years to appreciate the musical canon that gave birth to their current favorites the way we do. I hope we find a way to preserve our little musical subculture. Think about how many obscurities and lost gems that have already fallen out of print and may essentially be lost. With a little luck, when I finally go deaf I'll turn over control of the Childers Memorial Grindcore Repository and Punkatorium to another generation who will appreciate its significance as a subcultural milestone much the way I do.
"I think there's enough nerds out there (myself included), protecting their collections that most of these great records will live on in some form or another," Turner said.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grindcore Bracketology 2: The Fantastic Four

Things got worrisome there for a minute. We looked to be heading for another tie, but a last minute vote (seriously, eight minutes before midnight) broke the deadlock, forcing me to rewrite this whole post. But at least we can move on to Round 4. We started with 32, but only four guitarists are still standing. Here's how it broke down.

The Old Guard
The brutal truth? Pintado went down in a squeaker. A last minute vote broke the tie as Gurn ground it out 11-10.
Gurn is the best of The Old Guard.

The Innovators
Not even close. Hull trounced Papirmollen by 19-1.
Hull is the best of The Innovators.

The Punks
The forces of past vs. present were pretty evenly arrayed, but Heritage triumphed by 12-8.
Heritage is the best of The Punks.
The Technicians
Even the people who voted for Burke admitted it was a futile protest. Matsubara winds handily 15-5.
Matsubara is the best of The Technicians.

As we winnow the field further, Round 4 will be Old Guard vs. Innovators and Punks vs. Technicians. You can check out the updated brackets here. As always, the door slams shut on comments on Sunday. Let the best man win.

The Old Guard v. The Innovators
Gurn (Brutal Truth) v. Hull (ANb/Pig Destroyer/Anal Cunt)
Extreme grindcore demanded an extreme guitarist. The other altered the state of grindcore. Who has contributed more?

The Punks v. The Technicians
Heritage (Assuck) v. Matsubara (GridLink/Mortalized/Hayaino Daisuki)
Do you prefer your grind stripped down and bare to the bone or intricately layered with endless fractal depths to explore?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekend Punk Pick: The Damned

The Damned have the unique honor of being the first British punk band to release a single and an album, edging out the Sex Pistols in both categories. And their debut album, Damned Damned Damned, was as good as Brit punk got before they took an ill-advised turn for goth. Guitarist Brian James was just smoking it on songs like "Neat Neat Neat" and he had an amazing chemistry with Rocky Horror-reject looking bassist Captain Sensible (who later assumed guitar duties).

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grind Part, Slayer Part, Garbage to the End: "Dominion"

Jesus, Chang, what's with the hardon for Masamune Shirow? We've already discussed his fondness for the manga Appleseed, and here he is going back to Shirow again for "Dominion." According to Wikipedia, it looks like Dominion is the family-friendly tale of ummmm... big breasted, bright orange bunny... women...who drive tanks... or something. Fuck it, I have no clue what the hell is going on here. Here's how you play this early-era DxAx tune.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

G&P Review: Triac

"You. One live body, brains still somewhat intact. Molly, Case. My name's Molly. I'm collecting you for a man I work for. Just wants to talk, is all. Nobody wants to hurt you."
"That's good."
" 'Cept I do hurt people sometimes, Case. I guess it's just the way I'm wired."

William Gibson

...Always Meant to Hurt You
A389 Recordings
Delightfully atavistic, Triac dispense with any pretense of mild-mannered Bruce Bannerisms on ...Always Meant to Hurt You and careen face first into HULK SMASH! This four-song 7-inch (which comes a complimentary download for you digiterati) is refreshing in its unpretentious shot to your spinal column.
Originally released as a tour-only cassette in 2010, the good folks at A389 have brought Triac's latest to the masses on a sweet vinyl platter that definitely would have bumped somebody off the best of 2011 list had I gotten my copy in time.
For their follow up to the impressive Blue Room, Triac have gotten leaner and more nasty in disposition. Second sider "Halo" swings with that urban hardcore swagger previously incarnated by Unsane. Here it gets riddled with a grind sense of nasty nihilism and punk seethe. It's driven to ever more reckless tempos by Jake Cregger's frantic drumming only to slide into ringing guitar feedback and clotted amp noise. The guitars of opener "Child Thief " flail with abandon, running body-first into whatever obstacle foolishly stumbles into their transit. Then there's the just-short-of-a-whine vocal sneer taunting you, daring you to punch back, knowing you're probably too much of a pussy to try.
...Always Meant to Hurt You is a lithe animal, poorly caged ferocity slimmed down to a lean jungle predator. Where Blue Room was big and boisterous, this outing finds Triac far more focused and enraged. Shedding the extra pounds really suits them. Come feel the pain.