Saturday, August 29, 2009

Attack Of The Mad Axeman - Scumdogs Of The Forest

Mad AxeSpace
Release: 2009
Type: CD / 12"
Label: Scrotum Jus / RSR

The animal grinders return! As if showing up on stage dressed in costumes was not enough, they had to go and solidify the Gwar comparisons with their latest album title. While there are jokes in the lyrics and song titles, rest assured: this is not thrash. Instead, this incarnation of Scumdogs is no frills, no bullshit grindcore. So don't expect samples, mood-setting intros or groove-laden instrumentals. Scumdogs Of The Forest begins with a quick drum fill followed by a scream and a blastbeat. And it never looks back. From this point on the eco-terrorists cram 22 helpings of furious death-grind into 20 minutes.

And it sounds brilliant. If anything, it's over mastered, but at least it doesn't give you a headache. Each aspect of the music was given equal breathing space. Instead of distorted fuzz, the bass has an audible tone that is heard throughout. On drums, the snare sounds like an abrupt snap and each cymbal stands out. Of course, the guitar has a gritty tone - there's nothing clean about grindcore. The vocals are a cross between death grunt and hardcore rasp, so if you listen closely you can distinguish most of the lyrics. But lyrics are not the focal point: it's all about the riffs, right?

The Axeman are rather fond of classic metal, so between the grind expect some straightforward death metal and mid-tempo chugga riffing here and there. But the focal point is death-grind. The standard line for hybrid bands is to change from one style to another within their songs. The Mad Axeman take that one step further: they write hybrid riffs. They start out one way, usually with grind or crust and round the riff out with death metal flare. At times, mostly due to the rare chugga action, but with some of the their death metal riffing as well, the music sounds similar to what you'll find in Earache’s late 80's catalog. There is more blatant borrowing on "Moshen Wie Gott In Franreich," which begins just like "Maze of Torment" (you should know who we're talking about) and even adds the low-end laughter before they change gears. It's obvious these guys are having fun with it; the presentation comes across more like homage than grand theft riffage. It also doesn't hurt that you can feel the passion and intensity in their music.

There are plenty of quality songs on the track list - like the creatively titled "Squirrel vs Glen Benton," for example. I think the album as a whole is a better experience but here are a few that stood out:
Klappe Zuaffe Tot (Golden Bananas 2): "Capitalism Sucks!" Brevity at its finest. Essentially a three riff song, with a hardcore intro and a variation of this riff later - but in-between is a healthy dose of Mad Axeman blastbeat mayhem. They trade back and forth over the last half of the song creating a contrast of styles that blends well.
Arschbombe Des Monats: Great classic thrash, proto death metal riffing over double bass before transitioning into a modern blast fest.
Grind, grind, grind!: The first 20 seconds of this one is a bass line Black Flag would be proud of. A snare roll builds up with some guitars in the background and just when you're thinking a punk song is in the works the Axeman do the song title justice.

You getting the idea yet? The list keeps going and I know someone will say I forgot a better tune. What can I say? I thoroughly enjoyed this one - and it feels longer than 20 minutes. About the only criticism I can offer is that six songs begin with four snare cracks - which is as excessive as my criticism is pithy. So there. Scumdogs Of The Forest is good grind food. The only reason I can see grind fans passing this one up is because they're broke. Check it out and decide for yourself - then do yourself a favor and buy it. You can trust Scrotum Jus and the RSR vinyl comes with a fold-out lyric sheet with poster art on the back.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vordr-Vordr MLP

Fansite(I Believe)
Label:Obscure Abhorrence Productions
Release Type: LP, Cd
Genre:Black Metal

2009 sees the consistent Vordr with yet another spoonful of spiteful black metal.With imagery alluding to nature and blissfully romantic seclusion. Vordr through basic means, perform honest, cold, and heartfelt black metal not without a touch of punk. Straying from production magic, or anything beyond the typical guitar, vocals, drums, and bass, Vordr proficiently capture
the true spirit of black metal and entrance the listener in some of the most authentic black metal around.Vordr portray honest to Odin black metal that seeks to impress no one and to reach no set bar or expectations.

Vordr maintain their typical rough, but completely audible production style that suites them extremely well. The guitar sequels out feedback and hisses as the vocals shriek and echo, the drums offer a solid base, but are a bit lacking(in terms of punch)and the bass is there, humming in the background. This simple means of production further emphasizes Vordr's ethos and methodology. Creating a strikingly plain sound allows the tortured vocals to really stand out
and the moments of brilliance to shine through. Often a change like at forty seconds into the first track pulls the listener in and offers a melody through the harsh production and tone of the guitars that really makes a connection.

"Vitterlicht" offers a slower, more somber sound that Vordr do very well; it also offers a nice break from the more intense tracks. "Weeping The Seas" carries the same kind of dirge pace and vibe and even showcases echoed clean vocals that come off quite powerfully and chilling.
The drum work is always an enjoyable portion of the music, as it helps the guitars and vocals flow perfectly and really create a sensation of wholeness.While their sound isn't strikingly unique,
I can't really think of any band that sounds too similar except maybe Prevalent Resistance who shares a band member (and is quite good as well).

Vordr embodies a rejection of modern culture and all forms of mass organization, individualistic both in spirit and in actions, Vordr hearken back to the olden days of black metal as an outburst of emotion rather then some fashion statement or fad. While not as strong as their first two full lengths, this mini-LP is still quite excellent and worthy of the Vordr name. Defiantly buy if you can afford the shipping or are a European, as their releases seem to be collector items. A good place to start, and even a good black metal band for newbies to black metal to check out.

Buy or Buy

link down, will reup shortly

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tacheless - Freiheit

Tacheless MySpace
Release: 2009
Label: Morlock Records
Release Type: CD

I had no expectations when I picked this up. My first impression was that everything must have fallen into place when these guys were in the studio. The production is quality, so you can crank it up without hearing a load of static. The sound guy gave each instrument plenty of room to breathe (which is fantastic because I am starting miss bass in extreme metal). And The end result is pure class - it's more what you'd expect from a big band on a major label.

In term of the music Tacheless sound like natural thrashers playing grind-influenced crust. Every self-respecting Chainsaw Justice reader should know what crust is. But even if you can't define it, you'll know it when you hear it. At times it sounds like the band held a séance and channeled the ghost of Disrupt when writing Freiheit. Their tone and distortion has that "punk band playing metal" feel and the album is virtually wall-to-wall crust riffs. This barrage is well augmented with copious doses of blast beats, authentic thrash sections and, in proper places (yet never overused) blisteringly quick death metal riffs.

Behind the mics we get a rasp-fest: a hardcore rasper and a harsh, close to death metal rasper. Sometimes they work together in a chorus; sometimes they trade off line for line. For the most part they divide up the verses and wear out their vocal chords. The big kicker though is the bassist. Between the fact that you can hear the bass and that it has something to say, I would argue it's the bass-work that elevates Tacheless above all the other crusty grinders out there.

Among other things, what we get out of Freiheit is our money's worth. The band served up 18 songs (17 and a hidden cover) with a 39:51 running time. Four of those minutes are the dreaded hidden-track silence but their balls-to-the-walls cover of Sodom's "Sodomy and Lust" makes up for it in full. I mean, Sodom with blastbeats? How can you go wrong? For me, the stretch covering tracks 2-7 makes the album. There are head banging riffs all over the track list; there are prime examples of how to write crust songs later in the track list; there is even the thrashtastic "Waiting For A New Day"; but I would have paid full price for an EP containing songs two through seven. Of those, three stand out the most:

"To Move A Mountain" starts out with one bulldozer of a grind riff - and returns to it a few times down the road, sandwiching it between standard Tacheless crust. We also get vocal trade-offs and our first taste of what the bassist has to say.

"Freiheit" is a worthy title song. It starts out with, and features, a crossover bass line. The guitar riff layered on top of it is as gritty and fast as crust gets. The combination creates an intensity that rips you up and carries you to the end of the song. Fittingly, the next track opens with a sample that serves as a nice "cool down".

"Fucker" fucking grinds! This is a nice three-part song. It starts out at a fierce pace with a series of grindcore riffs; drops into one headbanger of a chorus; then returns to grind for the finale. Proper grind like a lot of bands would like to pull off.

My only issue with crust is that it all starts to sound the same after 20 minutes. By inserting grindcore riffs, proper bass work and plenty of thrash, Tacheless counter this issue well. And did I mention the sick Sodom cover? When all is said and done we have ourselves a solid album with good replay value. You are encouraged to check it out for yourself. If you disagree, leave a comment; we'd like to hear why. You are equally encouraged to buy the real thing here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Graf Orlock- Destination Time Today

Official Myspace
Label:Vitriol Records
Release Type: Full Length, LP
Genre: Grindcore

Every one's favorite movie obsessed band, Graf Orlock are back with more movie quotes than Egon could track. For those who are unaccustomed to Graf Orlock, picture all your favorite action/sci-fi movies from the 80's and early 90's crammed in between blasts of angry grindcore with tons of rhythmic pauses and hardcore emphasises, paired with a lot energy. A very fun and energetic band, their first LP was highly enjoyable and pure fun, so I had high hopes for this one.

Doing a compare and contrast, using 2006's Destination Time: Yesterday the only thing that's really changed is the band's intensity. Where Yesterday was blistering fast, and skillfully interjected breakdowns, stomps and movie quotes to heighten the intensity, it feels that Today leans a lot more to hardcore and the more mid paced side of things and loses a lot of kick that their first LP had. An area that I really don't like to frequent is how much is too much of a gimmick? The title of "cinema-grind" has been bestowed upon Graf Orlock, and for obvious reasons. Usually I dislike bands that have a gimmick, but I really dig Graf Orlock because they understand entertainment and combine it perfectly with music that, like the actions movies they worship, is fun because it doesn't take itself too seriously and melds the ridiculousness we get with hindsight after seeing Terminator 2 10 years after you first saw it with the awesome explosions, action, characters and stories of that little nine year old kid watching Arnie combat a liquid robot. In short, Graf Orlock know their audience and balance solid music with a fun attitude. The production is solid, the musicianship is fine, there's really no complaints to be made about that stuff, just the songwriting's a bit unsatisfying.( although I really like how the album ends and the track Pre-Retirement Nerves; "Cop Killers")

Immediately, the first complaint are the quotes. While normally quotes are just a garnish, with Graf Orlock they're a pretty big part of the sound, and these quotes this time around aren't as funny, cool, or nostalgic as they were on Yesterday. Of course the Terminator quote is great, but there's no moments where the music's blasting, a quick violent quote is interjected, then you plunge down a grindcore roller coaster. The songs aren't too memorable and allows for an enjoyable listen as background music. The solo in An Interest In Prosthetics is appualingly bad, I think it's a guitar but sounds like bagpipes, really bad move. It's a hard gimmick for them to keep up and keep fresh, and with this release it seems to have worn a bit thin. There aren't many parts I feel I could bang my head to, or see myself enjoying live, there's not too much to set the songs apart.

On the brighter side of things, the album's dirt cheap, and of course has excellent packaging and is very neat. If you're a fan of any of their work, or think this might interest you, don't hesitate to buy it. It's the kind of album you'll never regret buying, but might not listen to it that often.

The end of the trilogy is a bit disappointing, but it maintains a level of quality that doesn't leave you bitter or annoyed. Do yourself a favour and get their first LP, great album and a lot of fun; Really done well.



Monday, August 17, 2009

Suppurated - Split with Insane Assholes

Suppurated MySpace
Release: 2009
Label: Grindpromotion
Type: CD

Suppurated is a multifaceted gore-influenced grind machine. For the most part they like to groove in the Mumakil and razor-grind era Leng Tch'e fashion. Another side of them enjoys a slathering of brutal/slam riffs. The final, less explored side consists of double picked riffs as fast as the drummer can blast. The combination, in itself, is far from new. In fact, an astute gore fan would note that this sounds a lot like a band they cover: Haemorrhage.

Suppurated is also keen on quick tempo changes. This is their most distinguishing element. In some cases this involves good riffing progression; they like to play a brutal, palm-muted riff and then switch up to a double-picked or a grind variation. On other occasions they just arbitrarily change, which gives their riffs a lack of cohesion. An example of this is in track three, "Sadomasokiller!" The song changes in tempo and riffing style so frequently it's like it was cobbled together. Taken individually the riffs are solid - so this is not a complaint more than an observation. Besides, they at least make good use of drumbeats and percussive rhythms to tie everything together.

The track list starts out in the same manner as a full-length: quick sample followed by a long, mid-tempo instrumental introduction that progresses into a frenetic ending. The real taste of what the band has to offer comes on track two, the wonderfully Engrish-entitled, "Take Flesh By Wild Boars." The grooviest, most head-banging song is also their longest, "Frank vs Andre The Giant." But after the Haemorrhage cover things start to get repetitive, with the riffs and theme of "Propulsive Mass Power" being a reprise of the intro.

So overall, Suppurated are a talented band (if not straightforward) and their songs are entertaining. But there is a problem. And I will be the first to admit it is a personal one: the final song. "You Reek Like A Showgirl" is listed as a 4:45 track - but there is only 47 seconds of music. After the burst of music ends we get what can only be properly referred to as junk for about 30 seconds. Then follows roughly two minutes of silence that is rounded off by a 1:45 diatribe by a terrified Italian. Why? Couldn't they write some filler, or reprise two or three more songs? Or just end with the flurry? As it stands, the finale is a big downer.

I am still glad I own this. I just wanted more music from Suppurated and I don't think I'm being cruel for saying it. This is, however, just the opinion of a guy who prefers straight-up grind - so take it with a grain of freeze-dried kidney powder. You are encouraged to check it out for yourself here and if you like it, to buy it here. It stands up to what Relapse and Willowtip are trying to sell you; and you get 19 minutes of Insane Assholes.

An Explication of Distros and What They Have to Offer

So we have a list of distros on the side toolbar, we have them there in hopes that you'll support them and buy shit from them. As a vinyl collector myself I put this list together as a good source for people to refer to and order from. For the most part, if not all of them, are based in the US. So I'm sorry rest of the world. So here's the low down.

Here's a key to make looking at each place easier:
O-obscure stuff M-also offers a lot of merch, as in t-shirts, posters, etc
V-good for vinyl
S1-5- Selection, 1 being a very small selection, 5 being quite expansive
P1-5-Prices, 1 being dirt cheap, 5 being very expensive. This is a generalization, and doesn't include shipping which some sites charge a lot more than others.

aQuarius Records
O-V-S4-P3(most things are very fairly priced, but a couple of things are waaaay expensive for no good reason)
Based in San Fransisco, AQ is a local record shop which since the 70's has been a haven for all types of music fanatics. Their prices are quite fair and they carry an expansive amount of black metal, doom/stoner metal, and lots of indie/hip stuff I've never heard. They put out a great newsletter with editor's picks and highlight new material that's entered the store. Great selection, good shipping, and trustworthy. A top pick.

Century Media
Tired and true, Century Media offers what the little guys can't. Deals upon deals, cheap cds, relatively priced vinyl and merch, CM's got a lot. I haven't ordered from them in awhile, as I usually go vinyl hunting for obscure stuff, but if i bought cds they would get regular orders from me. They offer grab bags and all kinds of shit, decent service if I remember correctly. Just what you'd expect from a bigger label.

Crucial Blast
Showcasing a wide array of music from all types of labels, Crucial Blast offers up some great stuff. Carrying many hardcore/grind/pv/whatever labels such as Six Weeks Records as well as many black metal labels like Anja Offensive and what not, they've got everything. Fair prices and staff picks make this a favorite for browsing. A smaller site but maintains a good selection and competitive prices to bigger labels like CM and Relapse. Resides in the DC/Maryland area.

Deathgasm Records
Haven't had a chance to order from these guys yet, but they showcase a lot of interesting stuff and a lot of stuff I've never heard of. Primarily a black metal outfit, see what you can find. A bunch of shirts too. Based in Georgia.

Fullmoon Productions

Mostly black metal here, good selection of vinyl and cds from many bands I've never heard of. T-shirts as well, never ordered from here but it seems like good stuff, I check it quite often but never have money when I do. Based out of Colorado.

Hell's Headbangers
A distro I've had a lot of interaction with, HH offers a lot of their own household names (lots of black thrash, black/death metal) as well as many other grind, death metal, thrash, and black metal; even some punk here and there. One of the larger selections of vinyl I know of. Prices are fair, although I feel the flat rate of 6bucks for all 7" is a bit much. Well detailed, but expensive patches, shirts and all kinds of promotional/limited edition stuff. Good and fast shipping, owner oversees everything and talks directly to you, the two times I've had an issue he was very agreeable with refunds and credit. Typically includes a bunch of free stuff, like stickers, samplers, posters. I'm sure if I had bigger orders I'd get some cool free shit, highly recommend this one! A mecca for the underground US metal scene.Based in Ohio.

Huge huge huge distro that covers crap like Bouncing Souls, Anti-Flag, NOFX, to gems like Man is the Bastard, Insect Warfare, Magrudergrind... you get the point; large selection. Can be pricey at times, at others pretty cheap. Things tend to be in the punk region, although they carry quite a bit of metal. They also have a cool point system, and contests, so ordering more yields money towards next purchases(i ordered two Lp and now have like $1 in my account or something). Cool site, lots of shirts, patches and whatnot too. Be prepared to look hard though, lots of crap on the site.

Karnstein Records

Based in the UK, Karnstein claims to ship anywhere for free and offers cds at 5euros a pop. Seems like a pretty good deal. Cds aren't encased in plastic as it's cheaper to ship that way, sounds a bit sketchy in terms of their safety, but whatever. Cases can be requested. Currently only carrying CDs they seem to have quite a limited selection, but deals like these aren't too easy to come by.

Kreation Records
Solid distro/label that carries a huge amount of crap. All kinds of genres, all kinds of formats. They also have a slew of OOP and collectors items that are priced stupidly high. Beyond that my interactions have been quite positive and they offers lots of vinyl! Highly recommended.

Nuclear War Now!
Beyond their cool name, NWN is one of the best US distros/labels around. Fast and excellent shipping paired with great prices, releases of the utmost quality and a large selection, NWN retains a ton of authority. With lots of vinyl (500+), tapes(200+) and CD(300+) along with a handful of shirts and zines, NWN offers a lot. A favorite of mine and something I keep up to date with. Mostly black metal and death metal, although there's a lot to be found when you really dig deep.

Profane Existence
A punk based label showcasing tons of hardcore, grind, crust, and what have you. Cheap and solid prices, and small array of good stuff. It's quality over quantity here. In my opinion I think they should carry more, there's a lot of competition out there, but alas; good distro.

Profound Lore Records

One of the most promising, and well rounded labels out there. With great bands such as Agalloch, Altar of Plagues, Cobalt, Amesoeurs/Alcest, Caina, Nadja and Portal, they've showcased tons of new talent and bands that stray(in a good way) from the ordinary and mundane. Decent prices and a lackluster, but quality selection. Solid stuff. Ontario, Canada.

Relapse Records

Large selection of the commercial, and not so. Everything from d-beat masters, to the latest trend in metal, Relapse has a lot to offer. Really impressive selection of vinyl and good shipping. Decent and fair prices, plenty of deals and good finds, Relapse is one of the better "big underground" distros/labels. Plenty of exclusives too.

Shadow Kingdom Records
Lots of old releases as well as new. Hefty amount of vinyl and 1000+cds. Divided by genre for your connivance, good stuff. Prices are decent, somethings grossly overpriced, some a bit of a steal. Fun site to look through. Mostly metal, some older rock/proto-metal.

Southern Lord
Metal's hippest label, SL offers plenty and quality stuff in terms of their own bands. As a distro it's a bit lacking, but there's some good stuff to be found. Prices tend to be on the expensive side, but packaging and shipping is quite competent. Label releases are ensured to reek of quality in terms of packaging, materials, etc. Mostly metal and the doom field of things(drone, etc).

The Omega Order(The End Records)
The other most hip metal label out there, The End, showcases an impressive distro which covers all fields of metal, as well as the avant garde, and subsections of punk. Wide selection and plenty of gems to find. I got a rare Leviathan Lp from them for 13 bucks simply cause the jacket was bent. Solid stuff, a lot to sort through. Quality shipping and even some freebies here and there.

Unholy Thrash Records

Talk about small, Unholy Thrash is a tiny outfit with some good stuff. $8 LPs, and $3.50 eps, you get a big bang for your buck. A fun site to order randomly from, stuff based in the punk realm of things.

Unrest Records
Lots of shit, lots and lots. Cool distro and tons to find. Great selection of vinyl and good prices. Lots of metal and punk stuff, something for everyone! A lot of collector's items and lots of old metal.

Very Distribution
Large as hell selection of everything from Indie, to hardcore, to black metal. Lots of cds and vinyl, lots to find. Good prices and great service. Friendly and reliable, a very good distro, hur hur hur.

Well that's it. There's a million distros out there, and a bunch I use regularly that aren't listed here, but I don't have the stamina to do anymore. Check these out and support the scene(whatever it maybe) fuck the record industry, but support smaller labels and individuals. Feel free to recommend other distros in the comments section of this page, hopefully this serves as a good reference for you all.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Anaal Nathrakh-In The Constellation Of The Black Widow

Official Myspace
Released: 2009
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Type: Full length, CD
Genre:Black Metal

Yes, yes! finally! With Anaal Nathrakh's Hell is Empty... listeners(at least myself) saw a pretty large shift to a more death metal approach, one that lacked the vigor, filth, and brazen frenzy that their earlier work contained. With In The Constellation... listeners are lucky to hear Anaal Nathrakh combine the unrelenting fury of their demos and first LP as well as Domine Non Es Dignus and Eschaton's cleaner production, stronger use of melody as well as clean vocals.

I always found Anaal Nathrakh's filthy sound to be their strongest and most individualistic attribute. The barrage of vocals, layered in all types of screams, gurgles and what not put against relentless blast beats and machine like guitar riffs gave Anaal Nathrakh a very angry and violent vibe. This comes out plenty within this album, but in addition to the fury there's plenty of catchy and melodic guitar work, not to mention great leads and solos and catchy, powerful sounding choruses. The seamless combination of all these factors makes In The Constellation... the most fluid, well rounded, and mature album they've released to date.

One of Anall Nathrakh's strongest points are their vocals. From distorted and industrialized howls, to low chants, to more typical death metal vocals, more typical black metal vocals, and even great clean vocals, Dave Hunt carries out an amazing performance, one that defiantly allows the album and the band to retain their own sound. I can't stress enough how diverse, powerful and important the vocals are and how much I enjoy them.

While this is easily my favorite Anaal Nathrakh album, and one of the best albums of 2009, there remains two issues. The first: when listened to on sub par speakers or headphones, a lot of the music gets lost because of so many layers and different sounds. Many times the higher screams, along with the cymbals and higher guitar sounds can blend together and become hard to distinguish, and for many at times might sound like there's too much going on. The second issue is that songs like In The Constellation Of The Black Widow and More Of Fire Than Blood are very similar with their anthematic clean chorus, much like older tunes (When Fire Rains Down... and Do Not Speak come to mind), which isn't really an issue, but more of a concern that they might become too comfortable with that said format and rarely stray from it. One can make the judgement that they might have 4 types of styles and simply mix and match them to effortlessly create each song.

At times Anaal Nathrakh are their harshest with tortured, industrialized screams and a vicious riff amidst blast beats, but at other times Anaal Nathrakh are their most civil and digestible. An example is at 2:09 in Terror In The Mind Of God the guitars go into a very Gothernburg type of riff. Another example, which I find funny, is a friend of mine who is mostly into stuff like Killswitch Engage found this to be an enjoyable listen because he loved the chorus of More of Fire Than Blood. In this case, being more accessible has only helped and improved Anaal Nathrakh. Parts like 2:44-3:09 in The Lucifer Effect truly have an epic grandeur and are highlights of the album.

The icing on the cake for this album is their revisit to my favorite Anaal Nathrakh song, Satanarchist. They do an excellent job with this song, changing it enough for it to sound new and exciting, but at the same time staying faithful to the demo track.

A really stellar album. Full of scathing blast beats and tremolo sections, heavy palm muted stomps, catchy and anthematic choruses and everything else in between. Powerful, ravenous, melodic and catchy, this is their peak.

Download (320, and is the only rip that isn't fucked up, every other one I found sucked)


Insane Assholes - Split with Suppurated

Insane Myspace (in Italian)
Release: 2009
Label: Grindpromotion
Type: CD

Italy has one hell of a grindcore scene! This split just serves as a reminder. Both bands get 18+ minutes, which is as long as some full-lengths - so I'm doing the review in two parts. (Those of you unfamiliar with Insane Assholes should check out the Grindzilla review.)

I have to admit, before I gave this disc a spin I was expecting more of the same: grindcore from a band passionate about grindcore. Is that a bad thing? Well, it serves me right for being a presumptuous bastard - it wouldn't be insane if it was more of the same, would it? So what else do we get? Crossover thrash. And I'm talking the real deal here: bass lines, riffs, breakdowns and all. Anyone familiar with the band are probably shaking their head in wonder, but fear not: nothing was sacrificed to make room; crossover was added to their existing love of all riffs metal. Of their 13 songs three of them truly fit the bill. The rest are along the "more of the same" lines I was hoping for.

Sticking with the changes: true to the unspoken rules of crossover, the bass is both interesting and audible throughout each song. The drumming is also stronger and far more creative, especially when it comes to cymbal work. All in all, very welcomed changes. The other change is in the production. The vocals have been pushed back in the mix. They also have a live feel to them (or a subtle echo) like they were recorded in an empty pub. That "live" sound is also heard in the guitars and the snare drum - though the snare is rather hollow so the echo is actually a benefit. As a whole, the public house feel gives the recording character.

But back to crossover: Our initial taste comes in the first 30 seconds of song two, "Insane." This is really just an appetizer. The goods are delivered in full on "We Live For This" and "Our Law." Before even getting 20 seconds into these tunes I am immediately struck with images of baseball caps with flipped-up bills featuring graffiti artwork. (This is a reference to classic "Suicidal Tendencies," kids... look up their S/T album.) Aside from the thrashers, the next song to stand out is "Debirn." This is a smoking grinder of a tune with a smooth, head banging transition into D-Beat crust at the 33-second mark.

The remaining songs are in true Insane Assholes fashion: all over the place. Four are less then 15 seconds with three of those packaged together on tracks 3-5. In terms of criticism, they would have served more purpose as segues between the actual songs, especially the seven-second blaster "Punish" which has a great riff.

I'm a big fan of the band, and I love crossover bass, so naturally I like all of these songs. Tally it all up and this is a split I would buy for the Insane Assholes songs alone. Maybe it's not brutal enough for some. Maybe it's too punk for others. One thing I can say with complete certainty is that you should check it out for yourself here and if you like it, buy it here. It stands up to what Relapse and Willowtip are trying to sell you - and the Suppurated track list offers a nice contrast...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Extortion - Terminal Cancer

Extortion Myspace
Release: 2009
Label: Shortfuse/Way Back
Release Type: EP; 7"

With Flesh Monolith and 206's recent takeover, I sincerely hope you guys haven't gotten bored of fast and noisy shit, because here is some more fast and noisy shit coming right at you. Powerviolence from down under, Extortion is the sound of four sadistic maniacs tearing your house down from the basement up with nothing but their instruments and a whole fuckton of fury. Unrelenting, unforgiving, and untouchable. Any further description is extraneous and unnecessary, and will only fail to capture the essence of this monster. Prepare to get destroyed.

A Note: As far as I know, this release is sold out, hence the absence of a purchase link. If anyone finds a link to a distro that still has this in stock, tell me!

Wormrot - Abuse

Wormrot MySpace
Release: 2009
Label: Scrotum Jus Records
Type: CD

I'm just going to come out and say it: This is grindcore. The hardcore, crust and crossover influences, building blocks that made grindcore what it was, is all right here. The tuning, musicianship and cross-genre riffing, tools of the trade for every modern grindcore band, is all right here. And when all is said and done, a smile comes across your face as you realize that yes, there is indeed life after Insect Warfare.

Wormrot is a three-piece act from Singapore. They have forgone a bassist, opting instead for the guitarist/vocalist/drummer format. And I am sure they would be the first to tell you this album has been a long time coming. Many of the songs featured here were on the Dead EP. There are however two major differences between them. The first is obvious: production and mastering. Being a studio album we get distinguished guitars tracks in both the right and left channels and an overall well-balanced sound. The second bonus is in musicianship. The guys had plenty of time to perfect the songs - and they certainly did. There is not a wasted or sloppy moment to be found on the entire album. Even the track list has been divvied up well, so we do not get such a barrage of short songs that the longer ones seem out of place.

Starting off, there is Arif on vocals. This guy has good range, covering a hardcore shout (replete with Singapore accent) death growls and raspy screams. The vocals are placed in the center of the mix and have a dynamic to them. The shouts and growls are more forward with the screams moving back a few notches. The best compliment I can give is that the vocals never overpower the music.

On guitars, as to be expected, we get a wide array of riffs - but the feel is always pure grindcore. Syid strings different styles of riffs together with precision, almost weaving them in and out of each other. You never get the idea that Wormrot transitions from one riff to the next purely for the sake of transitioning. This speaks back to the time they had to polish each song.

But the big bonus for me is the drumming. Fit (great name, by the way) makes use of his entire kit: he changes up the blasts with hats, ride and multiple crashes; drum fills are varied (as opposed to blast, snare roll, crash); he makes good use of the knob on his ride. I could go on and on. There are even high-speed syncopated breakbeats during a few of the breakdowns. It's a truly percussive experience that keeps each song moving forward.

Abuse starts with a sample of a conscientious objector shouting out as cops are abusing him: "Here's your Patriot Act; here's your fucking abuse of power!" From here we get 23 in-your-face songs in 22 minutes with an insanely high replay value. Most of the songs are great, which makes it tough to say one stands out more than others. If I had to go out on a limb I would recommend "Born Stupid," "Freedom To Act," and "Shitlack."

As the year draws to a close you can bet the Chainsaw Justice crew will put out a Top 10 list or two. Unless another label is holding off on something mind blowing, Abuse is easily the Number One Grindcore album of 2009. It really must be heard to be believed so don't take my word for it: check it out for yourself here. If you only buy one album this year, this is the one. It's worth your cash - and your ears will thank you.


Zenocide Myspace
Released: 2009
Label: HG Fact
Release Type: Full Length, CD
Genre: Atmospheric Sludge

Displaying a powerfully raw and visceral sound, Japan's Zenocide explore heaviness and what sounds like the shambling abyss with their first full length aptly titled Zenocide. Slow and heavy is the name of the game, heavy pounding drums and constant cymbal crashes tied to thick and heavy down tuned guitars which barely ever play anything distinguishable all beneath horrifying vocals create a trash compactor of noise that seems overwhelming upon first listen.

The first track is a rough start as you cannot tell if this is how the recording actually is, or if it's just some effect to make the music a lot lower and muddier than it is; thankfully it's the latter. As stated earlier, the guitars really add atmosphere by playing a haze of notes that are almost indistinguishable, which allows the keyboards and vocals to carry each song and be the focal point.

Wheras Exit and Thrid almost sound like Xasthur covering Corrupted, the rest of the tracks remind me a lot more of the typical slow and heavy-as-hell sludge style of Grief or Corrupted. The lack of keyboards also helps hide the Xasthur comparison.

A lot of the time the guitars buzz or hum in the background. The perfect example of this is on the track Third which sounds a lot like an ambient depressive black metal band; y'know the type with a wall of guitar fuzz, slow plodding drums and tortured vocals and the main melody coming from ethereal Xasthur like keyboards. In fact, I might go as far to say if you'd call a lot of Xasthur's stuff black metal, then this could qualify as black metal too. These are actually my favorite portions of the album, they're very haunting and parried with the vocals, very powerful.

Zenocide seems like one of those bands that carry such a powerful low end sound and lots of feedback that seeing them live might be a very damaging engagement. I enjoy the more atmospheric keyboard driven parts like Exit and Thrid more than the Corrupted style of vocal driven sludge with a very slow and heavy trudge.

A standout part of this band are the vocals, from a very deep and gurgle-ly vocal style, to throat scratching shrieks and to everywhere in between, the vocalist really carries some of the songs or sections; fantastic.

Zenocide offer up a bunch with this release, taking sludge from it's more ambient and atmospheric flirtations, to it's painfully low end and slow side of sheer brutality; as I've always said, Japan doesn't know how to disappoint. HG Fact once again catches the cream of the crop, with a slew of great bands like Corrupted, Swarrrm, 324, Muga, and countless others, HG Fact remains to be a trusted label for excellence. This album is a killer and I hope to see more of this band.

No idea where to buy this, check our links, google only yielded downloads...

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Gridlink- Amber Grey

Official Site
Released: 2008
Label: Hydra Head Records
Release Type: Full Length, CD
Genre: Grindcore

After hearing that Gridlink are to play Maryland Deathfest for this up coming season I simply couldn't contain myself. Discordance Axis main man and vocalist Jon Chang strikes back with Gridlink's hyperfast, amazingly short release which clocks in just under twelve minutes. Disappointing that this is all there is, no idea how they play a show, but what they showcase here is brilliant.

Gridlink blaze through each track, Brian Fajardo of Kill the Client fame carries out an astonishing performance behind the kit, showing up Dave Witte if you ask me (although I'm still a huge fan of his). The drums never let up, yet break the mundane nature of hyperfast blasting with great fills, cymbal work, variances of beats and a slew of other tricks. A friend told me the only thing to be triggered on this album were his bass drums, which is excusable.

Gridlink achieve ferocious and powerful grindcore with a flurry of ear catching riffs and little moments that are easy to retain and completely awesome. The guitar work is inventive and top notch, a real pleasure and departure from typical grind riffs. Labeled by some as technical grind, it's simply grindcore with interesting guitar work and song writing. The Jenova is an outstanding track and has such a great ending, the beginning of Black is jaw-dropingly awesome, as is the whole album; jesus christ.

Chang's vocals are spot on, while there's a lack of his lower registry, the scathing vocals work perfect and project so much intensity, spot on. Even the lyrics and artwork are particularly good.
The production allows the guitars to really carry a punch as well as highlight the vocals and drums. Can't really think of too many comparisons to this album, maybe if The Inalienable Dreamless had a better production, was shorter, and contained lots of riffs.

Overall each musician nails their job perfectly, standout performances from each member. This is one of the best grind albums I've heard in awhile, a shame it's so short, but then again both Assuck LPs are like 15 minutes and those are both amazing. Chang and co. know exactly what they're doing; worth a shot for any fan of extreme metal or even punk.

Buy here
Listen here


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hellacaust - Disgust

Hellacaust Myspace

Released: 2008
Blood Bucket Productions
: Full Length
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

Ever wonder what being buried alive next to thousands of others, then somehow sawed to pieces by some terrible mass-murdering machine? Well if you haven't I don't know what you're doing with your day, but if it had a soundtrack it would be Hellacaust. Grinding black metal with huge flirtations towards the realm of crust and old fashioned thrashcore, Hellacaust pull off a polished release full of spite, anger, malice and misanthropy.

A filth ridden sound matched with a sparklingly clean production create and furious sound and works quite well for these Candian godstompers. The guitarwork jumps from catchy thrash leads to full blown black metal tremolo affairs. The guitarwork is spot on and flawless, very interesting and enjoyable. The drums blast and stomp, ranging from hyper fast blasts, the thudding d-beats, and everything in between; high energy. The vocals stay in the crust/black metal region, becoming quite understandable at times, and at others just venomous and scathing howls.

The in your face attitude reeks of punk demeanor and could be a strong reason why I make this band out to be some kind of punk hybrid. The music is really angry and pissed off, something that makes it a whole lot better. Fuck christians, fuck this, fuck that, fuck the world I say! Serious stuff here, but not without some fun (listen to the gang chorus and beers clinking together in Millennial Regression). Riffs and solos really stand out, Whore sounds like some (un)holy grail of awesome riffs that Destruction left laying around somewhere. Half way through Feeding the Wound a great riff leads to a nod to older metal in a bitchin' solo and all kinds of shit, not to mention the awesome chant- Stand, Stand, Take a fucking stand!.

This album is a great mixture of the nihilism and ferocity of black metal, the riffs,rhythm, and attitude of thrash and the anger of crust punk. Great stuff buuuuuuy!

Buy here or here
Listen (link courtesy of Attila)


Friday, August 7, 2009

Infanticide - Sonic Punishment EP

Infanticide MySpace
Release: 2008
Label: 625 Thrashcore
Type: 7"

The tone on this EP is great. It's like a punk band trying to pin down the Swedish Death Metal sound. Infanticide come across a little grittier, but since they are from Sweden they were able to approximate it rather well. In many ways though they sound a lot closer to Florida act Shitstorm then Entombed. Another way to describe them is as a bridge between powerviolence and grindcore.

They only served up 10 songs on the EP and managed to squeeze them into nine minutes. In true 625 Thrashcore fashion they at least made the songs interesting. The bonus is in the production. So far as 7" vinyl goes, this is a good recording. It begins with a 25-second hardcore-influenced churn - the calm before the storm approach. From this point on it's an assault of grindcore riffs. There is a fair amount of death metal riffing tossed in here and there, even some double-picked versions of grindcore riffs (executed well on "Blame Yourself") but the preferred direction for Infanticide should be rather obvious by the second track.

Behind the mic, the vocals reach our ears in the form of (death metal influenced) hardcore rasps - sounding just like Shitstorm - and fit very well with the music. There is not much to mention in terms of drumming other than it is serviceable. Aside from the blasts we get some thrash and d-beats. I am picky when it comes to drums: I think the odd slower parts and the brief breakdowns could have been filled in better ways. However, to be fair, the presentation and intensity of the songs makes up for this.

Overall I think EPs are more an avenue for being heard than a medium for putting out a band's best work. I am happy to overlook basic drumming and a lack of vocal dynamics if the songs are good, and all of these are. What the EP shows is that Infanticide has plenty of potential and should be able to address these concerns by the time they get out a full-length (which they deserve). I would like to see them live.

These songs stuck out most for me: Disbelief and Oblivion Descends. I also liked the trip down memory lane courtesy of Defaced, with it's main riff sounding like the verse riff for "The Chains That Bind Us" by Napalm Death.

Buy this if you have a record player. I'm too lazy to convert this from vinyl to mp3, but someone else seemed to have the time: you can check out a good sound-quality version here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ancestors- Ancestors II

No Site
Release Date:2009, April 14th
Label: Youth Attack
Release Type: EP; 7" white vinyl limited to 333, Cassette
Genre: Black Metal

Mark McCoy's enigmatic feedback drenched and punk ridden black metal project Ancestors strikes back with just over eleven minutes of harsher-than-thou music. For those of you unaccustomed to Mark McCoy he's the dude behind Youth Attack Records, Charles Bronson, Das Oath, etc and has more of a punk grounding when it comes to music (I even hear he's moved into visual art too, nowadays). That said, none of this is included in the Ancestors package. Info is rare and hard to come by for this band, owning the actual EP offers no help, except for eerie, but ultimately nice packaging and a thick white disc that appreciates the value.

Ancestor's style is defiantly an acquired taste. The guitar unleashes a fury of feedback and static throughout the whole record playing what sounds like sped up punk riffs. The frantic howls and drums are set against a permanent wash of static that weaves in and out of the music. While the production sounds like it's piss poor, it's obviously intentional and trying to capture that vibe that made the LLN so special (or horrible). Walking that line between punk and black metal like his American contemporaries Bone Awl, Ancestors strays from the stagnate and hypnotic virtues that seems to be Bone Awl's game and offers plenty of variation within each song.

In all honesty, each song sounds pretty spontaneous and like some sort of self satisfaction for Mr. McCoy. The songs are enjoyable, but they don't carry the feeling that serious and long term thought were put into them. If not listening too closely, the two songs can feel like many more shorter songs simply smashed or segmented together. Overall the music is harsh and bombastic, but there are instances of melody and some sense of relief (around the end of the second track is a good example). But be ready for high energy, loud, and painful as hell music.

I like this EP, and Ancestors is certainly gaining popularity in the underground, just try to find the first EP for a fair price. A cool direction to take black metal in, and a very cool and mysterious vibe to put out. Hopefully a more cohesive full length is in the works.

Buy here
Listen here (Great blog by the way, be sure to check it often)

Japanische Kampfhörspiele - Luxusvernichtung EP

JaKa MySpace
Release Date: 2009
Label: Unundeux
Release Type: CD; 10"

Japanische Kampfhörspiele, or JaKa, as the band so kindly refers to themselves, roughly translates to Japanese Combat Radio Plays. This little gem is subtitled Vierundfünfzig vertonte Kurzgedichte which translates to "Fifty-four composed short poems." Haiku would be the better term, since like haiku these are songs that are done before you know it, with only an image of what you heard remaining in memory.

With that subtitle in mind, it is easy to see that what we have here is a concept album. The play list contains 55 songs in 38 minutes. It would be equally easy to jump to the conclusion that the "concept" is nothing more than paying homage to the cornerstone of Grindcore: the Micro-Song; one riff blast fests that serve little purpose beyond adhering to the grindcore mantra of "Short, Fast and Loud." JaKa actually takes a different route; in fact they are on an altogether different autobahn: there is maybe one minute of blast beats on the whole release.

The simplest way I can describe their approach to this EP is ADHD Thrash. The are playing thrash within grindcore's micro-song structure. And I mean they play proper thrash; ripping out riff after riff that, when compiled, would easily provide enough fuel for a lesser band to use over the course of two or three albums. True to the title, less than 10 of the 54 main haiku are over 30 seconds, with only two of these breaking the one minute barrier. Like a collection of poems, which can follow a theme but must inevitably consist of individual pieces, these guys took great pains to ensure nearly every song, no matter how short, has its own recognizable riffs. There is little obvious borrowing or altering from song to song.

Also of note: the vocals are in German. We get a two-fronted attack, with the main duties coming from a thrash snarl/rasper and accents coming in the form of death growls. The vocals are generally humorous (see: Metallica) but non-native speakers are far from missing out: like death metal and grindcore vocals (which you can't understand anyway) the vocal pace creates rhythms that fit well with the songs. Finally we come to percussion. Thrash drumming and double bass abound. As mentioned, there is very little blasting to be had. What blast beats we do hear are well placed and organic - you might not even notice them until after the fact.

Taken as a whole, I have no interest in this approach to music. It begs a serious question: what's the point of all these songs if they tend to end right as you are getting into them? The answer is simple: Track 55. I call it the Moment of Greatness. Here we get a 19-minute instrumental slab of the previous 54 songs. Many of them are mixed together, while others are separated by a one-second gap. It plays like a sample platter and is truly Reason Number One to buy the EP. Throughout the album there are riffs galore, loads of quality thrash drumming (a ton of double bass) and a general feel that JaKa are tremendous musicians - but the micro-song approach featured here is an understandable distraction. Track 55 addresses this issue triumphantly - I can't recommend it enough.

If you appreciate what they are doing but want lengthier songs, you will enjoy their previous releases. The songs are indeed longer while more importantly, the music is pretty much the same. Win-win situation.

Songs that stood out:
Leben; Enttieren; Uberall; Werd Doch; Vernetzte Welt Geht Unter; Halsabscneider.

Infernal Stronghold/GATT- Pests

Official Sites:GATT----Infernal Stronghold
Released: February 2009
Label: Metalwar/Bullshit Propaganda
Release Type: 7" Split limited 500
Genres: Black Metal/Crust/Death Metal/Thrash Metal

Being just one of the goodies I picked up from the awesome Repulsion show, Pests, is a butting of heads between Philly's own Infernal Stronghold and GATT of Indonesia. What drew me to this release immediately was the beautiful packaging. The jacket is covered in beautiful gold detail via silkscreen and the inside is the same. There's writing galore and plenty to keep you intrigued and interested. If the pretty packaging wasn't enough, there's two patches included, much in the same style (with the dark gold print it's pretty hard to tell what's going on in the patches, but who cares? they look neat). Anyway, before even listening I was won over by the amount of effort simply put into presentation on both band's behalf.

So never hearing either band I was skeptical, worried that all this packaging was a guise to cover up shitty music; thankfully I was wrong.

Hand scratched into the inner rim of the vinyl one can tell that the first side is Infernal Stronghold's offering. With a cacophonous and hallowed out production, Infernal Stronghold play a very crusty version of black metal. Vocals drenched in reverb and throat blisteringly vicious, they spew lyrical venom in a very punkish attitude (although, from what I can tell there's only one singer, he kinda sounds like the chick from Nausea every now and then). The riffs exemplified jump from punk rumblings to thrashy outbreaks (listen to the second track to see what I'm talking about) all without conflict or any filler. The guitarwork is excellent and catchy. Quickly becoming a favorite, Infernal Stronghold absolutely slay with this thrashy crust meets black metal approach, something I'm a complete sucker for. They even incorporate some neat thrash breaks and blast beats, fan-fucking-tastic.

On side B we get GATT which made me an instant fan in the first 3 seconds. I cant really describe how awesome it is, but there's brief feedback then this slimy, throaty, "bleh!" (only thing close to it I can think of are some of Belphegor(AUT)'s blehs) that unleashes a really heavy thrash riff. If i had to finger them, I'd call GATT crusty death metal, similar to Hellshcok (although a hellauva lot better). Plenty of tempo changes, deep throaty vocals and downtuned thrashy riffs amidst blast beats, midpaced stomps and d-beats keeps the momentum flowing for GATT's side. The vocals are spot on, mid-ranged rasps, deep bellows, and high-pitched screeches, really ace. Each song is composed excellently and has enough variation to keep you pounding your fist but never allowing you to get lost, bored, or confused. I'm a big fan simply with this release alone. Crusty and heavy as hell, GATT absolutely fucking slay here.

This shit's cheap enough, defiantly buy it and support two bands who actually kick ass and seem to put a lot of effort into their music. Buy here


Monday, August 3, 2009

Csorna - Black Horizons

Csorna Myspace
Release: 2009
Label: Self-Released
Release Type: Demo, Mp3
Genre:Black Metal

Relatively unknown, and maybe that’s how they want it, America’s Csorna offer up absolutely no information in terms of their lineup, image, or product. There’s no physical manifestation at the moment to confirm this band’s actual existence, all that exists are two demos in mp3 format with song titles and album art. The band’s myspace features no information, nor does it allude to any. When it all boils down to it, it doesn’t really matter.

Csorna’s Black Horizons blurs by quickly in a storm of static, wails, drums, and surprisingly melodic guitars. Playing a style of black metal that flirts with punk, the d-beat region, Csorna exemplifies competent and promising bedroom black metal. To unaccustomed ears, the permanent hiss of Csorna’s guitars that cuts through the foreboding intro track of ambiance could be quite offsetting, but when given time the listener is privileged to hear actual notes, melodies and progressions. The production found on Black Horizons is purposefully raw sounding and establishes mood quite well, yet it also allows everything that needs to be heard by the listener to remain in plain sight. Making comparisons is usually an unfair game, but Csorna seems to run with the school of lo-fi acts like Akitsa, Bone Awl, Vordr and Ancestors, while stepping away from the first two’s obsession with simplicity. There exists enough progressions, rhythm changes and structure so that the music maintains its vital energy and keeps your head banging.

The vocals are buried deep in the background and contribute a throaty and distorted kind of death howl a bit similar to Archgoat. The drums pound away beneath the sea of static allowing only the bass drum and various cymbal crashes to be heard on a consistent basis. Each song contains catchy, yet simple punk styled riffs which often rely upon power chords and predictable transitions. My favorite sections are when the drums break away from the ambiguity of lo-fi blast beats and slam into a powerful sounding punk beat (check out 2:25 in “Passage Through The Depths” and the beginning of “Bellows Of Ancient Souls”).

While the band isn't breaking ground, nor are they pushing boundaries, there's something I really like about them. The combination of death metalish vocals, abstract static of the most lo-fi quality, and the melding of punk and black metal in terms of song writing make this highly enjoyable.

A promising release, one can only hope that this band moves away from the crutch that is Myspace and release physical output. Download both demos here.