Friday, April 29, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: M

Here we are halfway through the alphabet and 250 bands deep into grindcore, power violence, fastcore, whatever else it is. This week you get treated to the triple M awesomeness of My Minds Mine (a personal favorite), the Japanese glory that is Mortalized as well as the pivotal stomp of Man is the Bastard (as well as the less pivotal cloning of Marion Barry). Macabre shares their treasured family recipes and Mule Skinner gets all up in that stank.
This is your letter M mixtape [Mediafire]:

My Minds Mine – “Drop Fascists, Not Bombs” (Holland)
Mercenary Cockroach – “Age of Deception” (Croatia)
Mehkago N.T. – “Holy Shit” (United States)
Mortalized – “Third Stone From Hell” (Japan)
Mindflair – “Only for Yourself” (Germany)
Magnicide – “Hello Misery” (Singapore)
Mastic Scum – “Dead Remains” (Switzerland)
Maruta – “A Sea of Dead Serpents” (United States)
Misery Index – “Servants of Progress” (United States)
Mind Eraser – “Shutting Down” (United States)
Motiveless – “Strange Appetite” (Japan)
Mesrine – “Dirty Christ” (Canada)
Massgrav – “Nar Ska Massan Resa Sig?” (Sweden)
Macabre – “Is it Soup Yet?” (United States)
Magrudergrind – “Built to Blast” (United States)
Man is the Bastard – “Ether Rag” (United States)
Mumakil – “Face Reality” (Switzerland)
Man Will Destroy Himself – “Fuse” (United States)
Marion Barry – “Spaceforce Anthem” (United States)
Mule Skinner – “Mule Fuck” (United States)
Multiplex – “Exasperation” (Japan)
Melt-Banana – “Third Attack” (Japan)
Morser – “The Indirect Threat (to World Freedom)” (Germany)

Total to date: 250 bands

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

G&P Review: The Sun Through a Telescope

The Sun Through a Telescope
and Orange
Dwyer Records
As another wise bunch of Canucks once observed, Inertia Kills, and that’s the pitfall that awaits many a drone doom band. To the uninitiated, busting out languorous washes of over-amped feedback sounds as though it would be the sonic equivalent of Jackson Pollock’s splatterpieces: something your six year old could whip out over a rainy weekend between temper tantrums. Anyone who has ever tried to make minimal music compelling will quickly disabuse you of that notion.
Ottawa’s one man drone-monger The Sun Through a Telescope often wallows over the germ of a great hook or riff or vocal approach over the course of nine songs divided into two EPs (available as a single cassette) Unfortunately, too often the songs fall victim to inertia, the good parts get repeated until they lose their potency. But the germ is there. Like Disembowelment before him, The Sun Through a Telescope likes to mix up the drifting doom currents with blast beats and splinters of Jesu ambience on songs like “They Used to Worship the Svn.” The spectral, reverbed, hellish and occasionally roboticized vocals are generally very effective at evoking the retro-digital-pastoral-pagan ambition of the songs and show a keen ear for atmosphere. I think the largest challenge for The Sun Through a Telescope lies in being a solo project. Sunn O))) and Earth wrote effective drone jams that succeeded because of the interplay between the multiple instruments. Here, it’s largely just one guitar with maybe some electronic ambiance. Check out Orange here or Green/Black here.

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Demo-lition Derby: Spewtilator

Get Conjured
As a very wise man once observed: If you’re gonna spew, spew into this. What Atlanta retro-ragers Spewtilator are chucking up for your enjoyment is four tracks of great green globs of greasy, grimy gutter thrash on a toxic (waltz?) green cassette with Get Conjured. Now the blacklash thrash thing is reaching its saturation point, but Spewtilator justify their existing by sounding like Dianno-era Maiden 33s played at 45 rpm with a guitar tone that wouldn’t be out of place on pre-Pepper Corrosion of Conformity albums.
Unlike the Big Four’s penchant for big picture bitching and moaning about shitty governments, shitty religions and shitty ex-bandmates, Spewtilator keep everything delightfully lunkhead with four scuzz-encrusted songs about zombie bears and playing Super Ghouls N Ghosts (lyrical sampling: "Evading boners of flame/With my axe I take aim/My armor is smashed/But I’m still kicking ass” Tell me that shit isn’t brilliantly retarded). The band knows its audience and doesn’t over-complicate the issue with anything too intellectually stimulating. This is a four pack of denim jacket jamz that keep things tight, speedy and just pain fun.
You can download Get Conjured and a live set here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: L

Alright, you little bastards. Looking for an answer to your grindcore woes? Overwhelmed by lethargy, a lack of interest? Don’t just lie still. Direct your browser thusward to run a landmine marathon of blastbeats and brutality.
Enjoy your letter L mixtape with my complements [Mediafire].

Little Bastards – “Day by Day” (Japan)
Leb Prosiaka – “Feministki” (Poland)
Lethargy – “Image Tool” (United States)
Lost Sphere Project – “Velociraptor” (Switzerland)
Luddite Clone – “The Contortionist” (United States)
Long Pig – “Pectoral Riot” (Hungary)
Landmine Marathon – “White Widows” (United States)
Looking for an Answer – “Extincion” (Spain)
Lack of Interest – “Looking Blindly” (United States)
Lycanthropy – “I Have to Hate” (Czech Republic)
Lebenden Toten – “No Release” (United States)
Lie Still – “Demo Track 11” (United States)
Leng Tch’e – “Patriotic Pleasure” (Belgium)
The Locust – “Well I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle” (United States)
Lawnmower Deth – “Satan’s Trampoline” (England)
Lock Up – “Pretenders of the Throne” (United States/England/Sweden)

Total to date: 227 bands

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

G&P Review: Phobia

“Yes,” interposed Pavel Petrovich, “yes; you were convinced of all this, and decided not to undertake anything seriously, yourselves.”
“We decided not to undertake anything,” repeated Bazarov grimly. He suddenly felt vexed with himself for having, without reason, been so expansive before this gentleman.
“But to confine yourselves to abuse?”
“To confine ourselves to abuse.”

“And that is called nihilism?”

“And that is called nihilism,” Bazarov repeated again, this time with peculiar rudeness.

“We shall destroy, because we are a force,” observed Arkady.

Ivan Turgenev
Fathers and Sons



Unrelenting, Phobia’s most accurately titled album since Grind Your Fucking Head In, finds the venerable crust/grind institution returning to Relapse’s desolation for the first time in 17 years to spark a late career renaissance. Yes, I’ve been rather down on some of Phobia’s more recent efforts, having developed a taste for their earliest work, and some of you have vociferously disagreed with me. However, I think we can all agree that Unrelenting just slays like it's a man whose job is slaying and he's just invented the McCormick Slayer. Or something.
It combines the best of their earliest, burly confrontation with that sleeker, more nuanced production from their most recent incarnations to just devastating effect. The Steve Burda/Shane McLachlan axis have been honing the art of the gutter punk ode for so long they probably wrote, recorded and self-packaged this EP over a single afternoon before being evicted from whatever moldy squat they’re calling home these days. [Citation needed.] That gives them the kind of lifer cred to spit out a sentiment like “If You Used to be Punk, Then You Never Were” without seeming like pretentious assholes. Though their punk pedigree has never been in doubt, Phobia has evolved far beyond the “three chords and the truth” mentality of their peers, pulling from a grab bag of punk, crust and metal as the music demands. The dive bomb guitars of “Enemy Within” and “Mental State” or shred-ahol of the marathon “Life’s Animosity” (all of 1:48) are a particularly nice touch. And the whole shebang is backstopped by Bryan Fajardo. Nuff said there. The guy’s congenitally incapable of turning in a bad performance even if he were to suffer a double Rick Allen in a car accident.
I was looking around my desk the other day and realized this had somehow, criminally fallen to the bottom of my infamous (and infinitely replenishing) to-do pile for about six months. So, yes, I’m way late to the party, but if you’ve slept on this one, do yourself a favor and snag this one tout de suite. If nothing else, this gives me the opportunity to post this:

Monday, April 18, 2011


Space Grind
It’s an old truism that when a movie franchise or television series ran out of juice it would jettison its cast and crew out INTO SPACE! That’s why we’ve been subjected to cinematic indignities such as Jason X. Thankfully, Papirmollen wrecked the wretched grade curve on that one when he launched the almighty Parlamentarisk Sodomi into the astral expanses with his latest one-man-grind-awesomeness project PSUDOKU (apparently, it’s an acronym).
Oh, the Norwegian auteur opens Space Grind with a series of riffs that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Parlamentarisk Sodomi release, but out of nowhere everything gets all The Locust. IN SPACE! Rubber bass runs get funkdafied, slithery riffs and electronic experimentalism collide like doomed galaxies in chaotic bursts of Big Bangin’ energy. In fact, while Mollen rubs his tonsils raw, the keys and crazy strings, in their own way, substitute for and augment the vocals in unique and perplexing ways, adding an amazing extra layer to what could have been another expected (though awesome) grind album. And that’s the key; the soul of Parlamentarisk Sodomi is still lurking under PSUDOKU’s outrageous riot providing that necessary anchor to something recognizable. Now there are new additional layers that will need to be processed through repeated, attentive listens. Additionally, Space Grind’s A side (I got the cassette version) is relentlessly, exhaustively high energy. While side B tends to get looser and more experimental, this is an overwhelming listening experience that could easily stand toe to toe with Orphan on an adrenaline level. Yeah. I just said that. This is an album that leaves me physically exhausted and emotionally spent at the end.
Parlamentarisk Sodomi was something undeniably awesome, but PSUDOKU is something unique, which may be even more exciting. No matter what pseudonym Papirmollen adopts, dude has proven once again that he is a perennial album of the year contender. Norwegian grind, my god, it’s full of stars.

[Full disclosure: Mollen asked Revulsion to provide me with a review copy.]

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: K

Grindcore is so damn violent. In this edition of the alphabetic mixtape, clients get killed, slave masters get killed, kusrai gamas (whatever the hell those are) get killed. Then Australia gets all Platonic ideal on us and serves up The Kill. Rick goes kungfu. Brits pay tribute to Lenin’s wife. Assisted suicide enthusiasts get backstabby. And doom rises above it all.
Here’s your letter K mixtape [Mediafire].

King Generator – “Broken Dreams” (United States)
Kevorkian’s Angels – “Backstabber” (United States)
Kill the Slave Master – “Coenobite (of the Abattoir)” (United States)
Kalibas – “No Food or Water Without It” (United States)
Kill the Client – “Christian Pipebomb” (United States)
Keitzer – “Doom Shall Rise” (Germany)
Katatonic Despair – “E.G.” (Ukraine)
Khann – “Charisma” (United States)
KiKURAChiyo – “First Impact [Liturgy]” (Canada/Croatia)
The Kill – “Fuck Emo” (Australia)
Ketum – “Invasion of Corporations” (Turkey)
Krupskaya – “Onwards the Righteous into the Mire” (England)
Kusari Gama Kill – “Kabuki Jesus” (Denmark)
Kungfu Rick – “1000 Knuckles Rubbing” (United States)

Total to date: 211 bands

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

G&P Review: The Great Sabatini

The Great Sabatini
Napoleon Sodomite

Big Cartel
Years ago an associate and I debated the relative merits of something we dubbed the electrified speed metal banjo, figuring, in our minds at least, that the speed of the five-fingered clawhammer picking style would be a nice touch. Give this a listen and decide for yourself whether it was a flash of genius or insanity.
Canada’s The Great Sabatini, featuring the drummer from Greber, sound nothing like speed metal, but they do employ gratuitous banjo over three songs on their most recent 7-inch, Napoleon Sodomite, despite, from their photos, being in possession of proper dentition. At least no one squeals like a piggy.
Over three mostly instrumental songs, The Great Sabatini belt out an incarnation of sludgy lope and ssecond generation noise rock that’s less angular than Playing Enemy and less abrasive than the almighty Anodyne and less crushingly repetitive than Cavity, opting for bass-first bruisings that swell and surge like a sinuous sine wave. In fact, this is so bass-heavy that the slashing guitars of the title song are buried under a lower register avalanche. “Helter Skeletor,” the most chicken pickin’ of the tunes, is a plodding percussion and lazy banjo plucking bit of moody atmosphere like something from a Neil Young soundtrack. “Trap Sequence” winds itself up until it bursts into a cascade of cymbal crashes and stately guitar drones before segueing to yet more banjo.
Your enjoyment will hinge entirely on how open minded you are to the nontraditional instrumentation. Honestly, I’m not sure who the target audience for this might be: banjo-loving rockers looking for something mid-paced to chill out to at the end of a grueling blue collar work day? For my personal tastes, it just lacks something propulsive that launches the best of their contemporaries.
You can download it here.

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

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rotten Sound

A good grindcore album is the nexus of two parallel and occasionally competing characteristics. Great songs get you halfway there, but if they don’t have that energetic audio pop, you’re left with a mediocre experience. It’s that interaction between great songs and that abrasive, punky production that makes the greatest grind albums: think of that explosive jolt you get from Abuse, Horrified, or The Inalienable Dreamless.
I think more than any member of metal’s extended family, grindcore lives and dies by its production values (or deliberate lack thereof). Even more so than trve kvlk black metal’s refusal to cave in to niceties like listener’s enjoyment. Given that grind albums are often two or three dozen songs that barely crack a minute each, keeping that emotional energy coming is a must. An album of average songs with a great production is a perfectly acceptable guilty pleasure; an album full of good songs hampered by half-assed production just feels lacking.
In fact, I own a whole stack of albums that I enjoy despite their often wearying, enervated production job. Not surprisingly, Today is the Day’s Steve Austin gets production credit for a statistically significant portion of them. They range from simply being disappointing, The Parallax View’s thin, demo-worthy sound on Destruction of Property; the reedy, hollow guitars that mar Ablach’s Aon, through the outright unlistenable, Joe Pesci’s sonic abomination of At Our Expense! or Converge’s nigh unlistenable When Forever Comes Crashing. Each album sports perfectly acceptable, sometimes extremely enjoyable songs that are weighed down by their horrid production like a Lamborghini towing a horse trailer.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of power they would have conveyed had they sounded better (in Joe Pesci’s case, the band apparently will send you a better mix of At Our Expense! if you just ask). To a lot of bands’ thinking, the album only exists to put butts in the pit they next time they play Waukegan and then hopefully sell enough to pay for gas to Cheboygan. If that’s the case, then recorded music, particularly in this era of digital cornucopia and media overload, should be the best advertisement for your band possible. Chances are you’re not going to get a second chance to snare people’s attention.
Here’s a sampler of some of the unloved and weeded out articles in my collection that fell just short of sonic brilliance. Enjoy.

Where do you draw the line between intelligibility and enjoyability and can they be easily demarcated?

Ablach – “Obar Dheathain”
Kill the Slave Mater – “The Orchestration of Sodom”
Complete Failure – “Gross Negligence”
Converge – “Towing Jehova”
Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation – “Tied Up”
The Parallax View – “Name: Last, First, MI”
Shapes of Misery – “Something to Believe”
Joe Pesci – “Plato Complex”
Torture Incident – “What’s That Mean of Capitalist”

Friday, April 8, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: I, J

I. Eye. Aye.
J. Jay.
And so we hit our first hink in the process. Simply put, there are just not enough grind bands with names that start with I or J or justify individual mixtapes, so I’m forced to smoosh them together in order to present you something that’s actually worth your time. Here’s what I’ve gleaned. The I bands really enjoy iron while the J bands like to get down with Jesus. Personally, I think Iron Jesus would make an awesome band name. Don't steal (steel?) that. That shit's copyrighted.
Meanwhile, here’s your I, J mixtape [Mediafire].

Iron Batasuna – “Lamentos” (United States)
Iron Lung – “Sexless//No Sex” (United States)
Jesus Egg – “Botato Pug” (United States)
Infernal Stronghold – “Crashing Trucks into Churches” (United States)
Inertia Kills – “Awaken” (Canada)
Jesus of Nazareth – “The Shame of Being a Child Track 7” (United States)
Jante Alu – “Bielle” (Switzerland)
Joe Pesci – “Mindless Zombified Fucks” (England)
Infest – “Machoism” (United States)
I Abhor – “The Third Eye” (United States)
Jesus Crost – “Bombenalarm” (Holland)
Intense Degree – “I’ve Got a Cure” (England)
Infanticide – “Crisis Point” (Sweden)
Impale – “Regeneration of Boiling Blood” (Japan)
Insect Warfare – “At War With Grindcore” (United States)
Impotence Trichomonad – “My Gory Birthday” (Japan)
In/Humanity – “Nuclear Winter Wonderland” (United States)
Infect – “A Forca” (Brazil)
Idiots Parade – “Sin [Hriech]” (Slovakia)
Japanische Kampfhorspiele – “Pogo en der Strassenbahn” (Germany)

Total to date: 197 bands

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Demo-lition Derby: Mushroom Star

Mushroom Star
1/11 Demo
The purported mystical properties of mushrooms and stars should come as no surprise to anyone weaned on the exploits of the world’s most famous pixilated plumber. Having their mystical powers turned to the service of blackened crust punk makes sense by comparison.
Sporting a completely illegible logo, Mushroom Star channel the frigid ferocity and necro vibes of … OK… coastal Florida. While geographically smack in the center of surf and sun, spiritually and sonically the band is out exploring the inky emptiness between stars where unwholesome Old Ones lurk. Mushroom Star calls it “mystic punk metal.” To these old ears, its sounds like Dephosphorus’ punkier brother or Infernal Stronghold’s less frosty cousin amidst crust punk clamor and black metalled wailing and groaning (but also a band smart enough to know when to STFU and let the music carry the mystical message).
The seven songs are uplifting, transcendent and often inspired. Obviously recorded live in a rehearsal space, Mushroom Star’s demo turns in a blackened crust equivalent of “The Trooper” on the galloping “Snow” or the revels in the martial march of “Magus.” One of the demo’s better efforts, “From Womb to Tomb” lifts off from a trance-inducing spiraling riff at its core, going intergalactic. A high point of the whole effort is the drumming, which, on first glance, is not overly flashy but always seems slide in with a timely fill or a perfectly punctuated cymbal crash.
While, on the whole, this is pretty solid demo from a promising band, there is one very glaring exception. There is no polite way to say this, but the attempt at clean vocals and mystical chanting that ruin the first minute of “Truth of the Sword” are just awful. But if you can gut your way through the first 60 seconds, everything quickly rights itself and proceeds merrily along its black metallic way.
You can give it a listen for yourself here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

G&P Review: Macabre

Grim Scary Tales

Anyone who has ever sat down with an unexpurgated copy of Grimms’ Fairy Tales knows the Helen Lovejoys of the world constantly screeching about children being exposed to sex or violence are full of shit. Violence is an intrinsic part of the human experience and there was a time when children were not shielded from those (*ahem*) grim realities.
Having sung the praises of pretty much every twisted, murderous maniac of the 20th Century, Chicago “murder metal” (their term for bits and pieces of thrash, grind and death) purveyors Macabre go digging through their history books on fifth full length Grim Scary Tales.
While Macabre have long drawn plaudits for a 20 year streak of consistently enjoyable if not necessarily essential serial killer grooves on albums like Dahmer and Sinister Slaughter, Grim Scary Tales shows the band crafting some of its most clever tunes to date, exploiting a globe’s worth of musical styles to make their rhetorical points from the itsa-me-Mario pizza hall bounce of “Nero’s Inferno” to the plaintive faux ballad strains of “Mary Ann” or the jarring juxtaposition of the nursery rhyme cadence of “The Big Bad Wolf” with its sinister lyrics. Along the way we’re treated to songs about a host of bloodthirsty historical personages such as Gilles de Rais (of “Enter Crypts of Rays” fame), Burke and Hare and a by the numbers cover of Venom’s “Countess Bathory” to complete their pokemon collection of historic maniacs.
Grim Scary Tales is another decent but not mindblowing collection of murderous mayhem from an often unheralded band of bloody minstrels. If you’ve never indulged before, this is just as good a place as any to get acquainted with their sanguinary distillation.

[Full disclosure: Willowtip sent me a review copy.]

Friday, April 1, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: H

His Hero is Grind

Hello. Here we are again. How’s it all going? Hanging in there? Having a good time? Hear any good bands lately? Hopefully one or two of these will tickle your fancy. Hope you like it.
Here’s your letter H mixtape[Mediafire]

His Hero is Gone – “Like Weeds” (United States)
Hope Collapse – “Cold Steel Penetrates Your Flesh” (United States)
HeWhoCorrupts – “Sell ’Em All” (United States)
Humanity Falls – “To Have or to Be” (United States)
Hayaino Daisuki – “Kirei” (United States/Japan)
Hatred Surge – “Dark Cricles” (United States)
Homo Iratus – “Ka Mate” (Greece)
Hombrinus Dudes – “Mutate, Regulate” (United States)
Hellbastard – “Justly Executed” (England)
Hemdale – “It Burns…And It Just Plain Smells Bad” (United States)
Human Remains – “Human” (United States)
Hip Cops – “Global Famine” (United States)
Hummingbird of Death – “The Terrorists Win” (United States)
Hellchild – “What’s For Live or Die” (Japan)
Hellterror – “Ceritakan” (Malaysia)
Heresy – “Face Up to It!” (England)

Total to date: 177 bands