Saturday, March 29, 2008

G&P review: Battletorn

Terminal Dawn/Burn Fast
Mad at the World Records
A moment of silence please as we pour out a 40 for Tungar, the unfortunate recipient of the titular termination. This Big Apple thrash duo’s answer to Maiden’s Eddie, a hand-drawn bat-eared zombie/mage/reaper thingy, has graced the cover of all of their albums until taking a katana through the gizzard on their latest outing.
For retards like me who failed to properly secure their turntable arm before moving a year ago and completely fubared the record needle, Mad at the World has graciously combined Battletorn’s raging Terminal Dawn and Burn Fast EPs, previously out on vinyl, for a 17 minute rampage spanning 22 tracks. Do the math on that; though they bill themselves as thrash, Battletorn are perfectly cozy working the realm of grindcore’s 30 second system shocks. Just to save time most song titles are a single word, and when the concept can’t be reduced to a single morpheme, Battletorn compound song titles wherever possible (“Headbreaker,” “Hellbender”).
Like Tungar, the band’s music is a cobbled together Frankenstein’s monster composed of early DRI’s dirty rotten leftovers, the scum from behind Mick Harris’ drum kit and Siege’s battering ram surge, pounding out infamous 10 minute sets that have been the talk of the New York scene.
Like a live set, the songs are strung together like satanic prayer beads that are linked by thick tendrils of screeching feedback that span from track to track, emphasizing the sloppy punk production. Though the Burn Fast tracks have allegedly been remastered, the whole affair exudes the kind of lo-fi production that would make your average black metal basement misanthrope grin through his corpse paint. If he weren’t, you know, so totally kvlt that he’d purged himself of all human emotion except for blackest contempt for his fellow man.
Unfortunately, in an all too common theme in my musical grazing, I’m once again late to the party on a totally awesome band (see also: Luddite Clone, Creation is Crucifixion). Though Battletorn have not officially called it quits, the two man band is currently separated by 1,000 miles, which could put a crimp on their output. Hopefully, they can transcend their geography and Tungar can burst from the grave. Wait he already did that on the cover of the Peace of the Gave 7”.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

G&P review: Hayaino Daisuki

Hayaino Daisuki
Headbangers Karaoke Club Dangerous Fire
Anyone who has soaked up the warm rays of the Rising Sun’s culture can tell you some things are so sublimely weird that Japanese is the only adjective that does them justice. Soiled school girl panties vending machines? Check. Thriving tentacle pr0n anime industry? Check.
All of this is really just a roundabout way of explaining why former Discordance Axis frontman Jon “Psychic Warlock Assassin” Chang and collaborator Takafumi “Speed Satan” Matsubara, of Mortalized, are dressed like tranny Malaysian hookers in the photos for Headbangers Karaoke Club Dangerous Fire.
Think of this four track kamikaze assault as Speak Engrish or Die. Like a shotgun wedding of early '80s thrash intensity to cock rock strut and swagger. Hayaino Daisuki come off like Faster Pussycat playing Haunting the Chapel (down to the energy drink-clutching, Slayer mocking back photo).
Packaged with a fanzine style lyric sheet, the somewhat joking mini-album pays tribute to Japan’s frilly shirted but thriving thrash scene during the 1980s. And surprisingly, Loudness only gets is a single T-shirt shout out. Instead it’s shredheads Mephistopheles and soaring-vocalled Anthem that light this band’s fire.
So we get Chang’s trademark yelp, a little rawer and throatier than in DA, layered with stabbing slices of thrash played at a consistently up tempo hardcore beat. Matsubara riffs and solos like there’s a Brian Slagel audition in the offing and not like he’s already signed to one of the underground’s more respected labels.
Tongues are firmly planted in rouged cheeks, but Chang et al clearly love this fromage fest. And it's a blast for the same reason Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz rule while anything touched by Jason Friedberg blows: The best satire comes from people tweaking their heroes.
So guys, you’ve had your fun. Now how about that GridLink album you promised us this spring?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Carcass Word of the Day Calendar: Mar. 23, 2008

Following up on our recent foray into dental abuse, G&P returns to Reek of Putrefaction and faces yet another of our deep seated fears: going blind. Cuz, ya know, Zatoichi, we are not.
Carcass made ingenious hay out of a subject that frankly gives us the heeby jeebies. “Carbonized Eyesockets” is a ferocious yet wordy little ditty about melting somebody’s eyes closed. Now keep that open flame away from our face.

The pungent aroma of hot, bubbling, molten gristle
Blends with the stench of hot, singeing flesh soldered to liquid muscle
As the cornea is pierced and fried on the sizzling retina
Burning and spitting on the now blacked, charred fovea

Holes of crumbling carbon are all that are left
Charred eye sockets of hot, scorched flesh

Fusing symblepharon, your flesh turns to coke
Extrav[o]asative gunge now black, pungent smoke
Charred eye sockets – horrifically pernicious
Your sight irreparable by your optician

Once flowing blood is now dried, resembling black pudding
Now all that bleeds is a slow trickle of hot, sticky muscle
The sclera is a lump of carbon burning on smoldering membrane
Your eyeballs are blistered, your optic nerves now aflame

Fovea – n. a pit or depression in the bone
Symblepharon – n. a fusion of the eyelids
Vasoactive – n. a drug that can cause veins and arteries to expand or contract
Pernicious – adj. harmful
Sclera – n. one of the membranes that form the surface of the eye

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

G&P review: Hellhammer

Demon Entrails
Century Media
The 20 year feud between kissing cousins punk and metal is pretty silly in retrospect. Case in point, Hellhammer’s signature tune, “Triumph of Death.”
Courtesy of Century Media those of us who weren’t so kvlt they bought on this on vinyl for Euronymous himself in 1983 can appreciate this blackened fireball’s evolution from its earliest horror punk roots to its creepy crawly realization on Apocalyptic Raids.
A good decade before the longhairs and mohawks hugged it all out, Hellhammer, the plucky band of Swiss Satanists that could, were utterly savaged by critics for their unlistenable brand of sloppy, punky sludge and twisted obsidian thrash.
Long before its final 9 minute incarnation, "Triumph of Death" was an abbreviated slog through the sludge that gave way to unrestrained midtempo punk trotting flailed by downstroked guitar chords and churning, abyssal bass.
Owing as much to Amebix’s fried nuclear wastelands, the Misfits’ horror flick repertoire and Rudimentary Peni’s hallucinogenic death punk as they do to Venom’s cartoonish take on LaVey’s already cringe worthy inversion of Jesus H. Christ, Hellhammer set a bar for grotesque extremity at a time when Metallica and Flemming Rasmussen were humping each other’s musical leg in an expensive studio.
Nineteen tracks from three demos over two discs, Demon Entrails collects the band’s bloodiest, hardcore-flecked baby steps toward eventual immortality..
It’s also an interesting wormhole into Marty and Tom G.’s creative thinking. Grok Satanic Rites track “Buried and Forgotten,” which the dynamic death duo chose not to bury and forget (har dee har har), resurrecting many of the riffs under the Celtic Frost moniker as “Necromantical Screams.” The demo’s outro, with its industrial, martial beats presaged the experimentation that would characterize later efforts like Into the Pandemonium.
Hellahmmer was savaged by critics at the time, but hindsight’s a bitch like that.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Dirty (Baker's) Dozen 4: Repulsion

Originally Necrosis Records (reissued by

These Michigan mutants – ne Genocide but later taking their name from a Roman Polanski film – burst from their maggot-infested coffins playing a blastbeat-laden concoction of proto-grind at a time when rotting maggots in your coffin was the sole province of Floridians in sweatpants and white high tops.
Weaned on a late night diet of Romero’s shambling horrors and Fulci’s shark punching monstrosities that would do Joe Bob Briggs proud, Repulsion’s speedy attack presaged Danny Boyle’s fleet footed horrors near two decades later.
In the 1980s Dave Lombardo reigned on drumming’s bloody throne, but it was another Dave – Dave “Grave” Hollingshead – who provided the propulsion for Repulsion, which slowly weaned itself from early Slayer/Possessed worship to something faster and far more aggressive. But unlike other grinders, Repulsion retained their squealy Slayer solos that rip through your skull like Abel Ferrara with a Makita.
Originally named Slaughter of the Innocent, the band’s lone album’s title was switched to Horrified when it was released by Necrosis Records (owned by the Carcass clan) in 1989.
Horrified’s necrotic DNA can be found in Carcass’ pathologies and soundalikes Cretin’s grotesqueries. Repulsion is the proud patriarch of a scene obsessed with festering zombies and exploding entrails. Hell, Jeff Walker just about owes his musical career to the skuzzy distorted bass that kicks off “Festering Boils.”
What else can you say about some of the greatest 29 minutes of grind ever set to vinyl? How about: Horrified. Fuck.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

G&P review: Nasum

Three years after frontman Miesko Talarcyk’s untimely death during the 2004 Pacific tsunami and only 2 two more years after the be all, end all two disc collection Grind Finale, the dearly departed grind phenoms Nasum pull a lazarus on this powerful but problematic live collection.
Drummer Anders Jakobson culled 16 tracks from a live performance at Jan. 9, 2004, show at Club Quattro in Osaka, Japan, to show those of us who never got to see the band in a live setting just how much we missed.
Though recorded with the Shift line up of Talarcyk/Jakobson/Urban Skytt/Jon Lindqvist, Doombringer pulls heavily from Nasum’s masterpiece, Helvete, but includes cuts from across the discography, including a track from pre-Relapse EP Industrislaven.
Live soundman Bo Lund’s work, touched up by grind guru Scott Hull, is clear, forceful and energetic as fuck. The guitars bite through the mix, Talarcyk screams his balding head off and Jakobson proves he was no slouch behind the kit, even if he abdicates his vocals to Talarcyk and Linqvist.
But for all the care obviously put into the album sonically, its very existence is troubling.
As it turns out, the album is not a simple live set recording. In the brief liner notes, Anders Jakobson admits the set list was rearranged and some songs were axed entirely. Instead, we’re treated to an a la carte sampling of Nasum in a live setting.
The only extra offered on the disc is Napalm Death's Mitch Harris’ video for Helvete’s “Scoop,” but if that is supposed to be an enticement, you could just as easily save $15.
And that’s the crux of the problem. Nothing on Doombringer offers any new insight in Nasum’s existence. The whole album would have fit snugly in the Grind Finale collection, possibly in a limited edition three disc set.
Sadly, Doombringer reeks of cashing in on a titanic band’s vital legacy. Instead of memorializing a grindcore martyr cut down in his prime, this just all too poignantly reminds us what we collectively lost Dec. 26, 2004.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Carcass Word of the Day Calendar: Mar. 8, 2008

For the last month G&P has encountered just about every conceivable impediment to getting what a dentist and an endodontist have so far said should be a simple root canal. Complications, confusion and chaos abound. So currently our #7 incisor is filled with what a specialist called “dental Drano.” Yeah, that can’t be good. Long story short, if a dentist says, “Huh, you might wanna get that checked out,” don’t wait a decade to take him up on that sage advice.
Shockingly, gorehounds Carcass never really strip mined that particularly bit of bodily discomfort for our oozing, slobbering horror. Cinema, on the other hand, has never demurred from that particular topic. Exhibits A through C: Marathon Man, Oldboy and *shudder* Teeth.
But back to Carcass. The closest the Liverpudlian loudmouths got to the topic was Reek of Putrefaction’s absolute classic “Oxidized Razor Masticator,” which, unfortunately for our purposes, went a little easy on the $10 words, but we’ll make due with what we’ve got.

Chomping and splicing, your gums sliced to shreds
Tattered bloody ribbons, incisored skin is shed
Scraping on sore teeth, cracking and chipping
Shredding and mincing raw nerve endings…
Gaping and sore
The rusty razors bore
Skin hangs and seeps
Peptic ulcers bleed
Your mouth a sea of cartilage, rabid saliva bleeds
Swallowing shredded tongue and pulverized, crunching teeth
Respirating a bolus of rusty razor blades
Asphyxiating bloody garotte, tearing your jugular vein

Incisor – n. one of four anterior teeth in the mouth used for gnawing
Peptic – adj. relating to digestion
Respire – v. to breathe
Bolus – n. a small mass of chewed food
Garotte – n. a length of cord used to kill by strangulation

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

G&P review: Born/Dead

The Final Collapse
Prank Records
Swedish punks seem to be intent on erecting a statue to Discharge drummer Tezz, but Oakland anarchists Born/Dead would like to remind their Scandinavian brethren that d-beat is alive and well in the U.S. of A.
Taken with Disfear’s Ride the Storm and the recent domestic release of Acursed’s Tunneln I Ljusets Slut, Born/Dead’s third Prank LP, released in November, is a raging reminder the 30-year-old punk offshoot can still circle pit with the best of them.
This 25 minute outing of gruff vocaled punk is not going to win any awards for originality – Tragedy influences abound – but it steams along with an impassioned energy despite a somewhat murky production job.
If you like d-beat, you know the deal: life sucks, society is evil and governments conspire to swipe your freedoms while an apathetical public consumes its way through life, “choking on their own lies,” according to the title track. If the ironically named “Nuance” isn’t didactic enough for you with all of its raving about “witch hunts” and crushed souls, the band also throws in cover of Crass, not a band known for its subtlety or sunny disposition. For all the frowny faces, the aptly titled “Assault” brings the album to a feverish, ferocious close.
Where Born/Dead truly break away from the millions of other dis-core bands is in its fleeing electronics passages, including the tail end of “The Final Collapse” and penultimate track “Eulogy,” filled with scraping feedback, distorted spoken word and fright fest soundscapes.
As they rage and rave their way through 10 tracks Born/Dead clearly think the world faces The Final Collapse, but there’s no respite in sight for the d-beat.