Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Against The Grain: Magrudergrind - S/T

(Note: the opinions expressed here are mine and probably do not reflect those of Chainsaw Justice as a whole. Please direct your hate at me and not the blog. Cheers.)

There are people who read books and those who simply look at the words. Naturally, those who like to watch words scrawl across the page tend to prefer movies based on books than the books themselves. Case in point: Fight Club. This is one hell of a book with ideas and imagery that cannot be captured in a movie. It's still a good movie; it's just a far better book.

Socrates, through the hand of Plato, had a saying that applies here: "What goes for one thing goes for all things." So we can logically assume that the analogy holds for music. There are people who listen to powerviolence and those who simply hear the music. Those who listen like the punk tone, the feedback before and after songs, the shrieked vocals and the general sense that the songs were all recorded in one take - in short, everything we have come to expect from what is predominantly a DIY genre.

In this regard, Magrudergrind's S/T on Willowtip surprised me - in a bad way. It's the equivalent of a movie based on a novel. Everything has been upgraded in the need to appeal on a commercial level. In place of the punk tone we get a Swedish one. Feedback before and after songs has been traded for a clearly distinguished track list. And instead of a DIY feel we get a level of streamlined production expected more from fans of Death Metal. When you expect powerviolence, a guitar tone like Rotten Sound vs. Phobia isn't just shocking, it's tantamount to selling out to Willowtip. Songs like 'Pulverizing Hate Mongers' and 'Bridge Burner' encapsulate this. Admittedly, the riffs would lack punch in their original tone. That's also the point. They're good songs - that would sound better on Exit. Even the vocals have changed: the signature screams are pushed back well behind the guitars. All that's left is Phobia-like rasps. Is this Rotten Phobia's new album "22 Random Murder Works"?

Established bands create a certain expectation among their fan base. That expectation is simple: consistency. Here we have a band that proclaimed in one song that "Powerviolence is back" ("The Second Wave" from their split with Sanity's Dawn for those keeping score.) They have spent years preaching, practicing and writing songs about DIY values. So signing on with Willowtip was seen a way to give Mainstream exposure to a predominantly Underground sound. Instead, the band turned off DIY Avenue on to Mainstream Boulevard, took a big look around and said, "heck with it... let's upgrade." The end result: other than frequent sample use and the feedback intro, the closest sound to the Magrudergrind of old is a two-song stretch: 'Excommunicated' and 'The Price of Living by Delinquent Ideals.' Tone aside, this is Magrudergrind. The rest just teases here and there.

You put any unknown band on the cover and I love this album. I really do. For average metal fans S/T is probably popping their Magrudergrind cherry. If you hear this first, and like it, it will take an open mind to enjoy the real Magrudergrind as much. It's different music, a different feel, almost a different band. The closest example would be when Napalm Death followed up FETO with "Harmony Corruption." But at least Napalm Death had an excuse: with all the roster turnover they were essentially a new band carrying an old flag. The only change with Magrudergrind is a record label. I can see this creating a rift in their fan base, with the old guard lining up on one side of the aisle and all the new kids filling out the other - with both sides turning their collective back to the stage depending on which songs are being played.

In closing, just like the Internet tells the ignorant that Godflesh is essential grindcore, so S/T tells the ignorant that sounding like Entombed is powerviolence. The can of worms this opens is reason alone to prefer the novel (62 Trax of Thrash, Split EP with Shitstorm) to the S/T movie. But at the same time, the story line was kind of interesting and the actors did a fine job filling out the roles - so the movie was all right. Just like Fight Club: It's a good movie but the book is better. Far better.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Abscess - Population Reduction - Split EP

Release: 2009
Type: CD
Label: Tank Crimes

This little ditty does everything I expect from a split EP: two bands with distinctly different styles; both bands get around 13 minutes; and there is at least one cover song.

Veterans Abscess get the ball rolling with eight songs that sound like they were made in the 1980's. Track one, "The World Insane" opens with a riff straight off of "Praise of Death" by Slayer. From here they play a handful of thrash songs, a punk number and even give us a breakdown in the middle of "Bourbon, Blood and Butchery" that sounds just like Sabbath, right down to the guitar solo. Only one song has blastbeats. They start out smooth and powerful but after 20 second begin devolving into something sloppy enough to make Mick Harris sound like a genius. But let's be honest, these guys are elder statesmen; what do we expect?

All of these songs are like a trip down memory lane, courtesy of accomplished musicians who are passionate about what they play, but more importantly, know how to write and play it. What we have in the end are authentic tunes; which is refreshing in a time with pseudo-retro thrash acts popping up right and left.

Up next on the track list are seven new songs from the self-professed "hash smoking grind freaks." There is no use asking for a continuation of "Each Birth a New Disaster" because that was two years ago. But we are completely justified hoping for rhythm-driven thrash with humorous lyrics. And with titles like "Babies are Assholes" and "Beer Fest, Bear Death" it's safe to assume they lived up to their end of the bargain. But on closer inspection, it's "In with the Old, Out with the Cold" that truly fits the bill. This song begs the question: are our grandparents "clean burning fossil fuel"?

Does this EP replace anything by either band? Of course not. You have to search pretty deep to find EPs that take precedence of full lengths (Mentally Murdered comes to mind). But as a fan of either band, these are essential tunes to keep your interest up while awaiting the next album. You can check it out here. You can pick this up cheap from Tank Crimes but it's PayPal only. The other option is to pay 2$ more and get it here. Either way you get a Population Reduction sticker (white lettering on a black background) a basic lyric sheet and some band member photos.

Friday, September 11, 2009


So here are my playlists

Black Metal Roots 1970-1990. Through my years of listening to black metal i figured all of these songs had a large, to somewhat large impact on the bands that really created what we call black metal today.
Artist - Song - Album
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Venom - Sons of Satan - Welcome To hell
Hellhammer - Messiah - Satanic Rites
Mercyful Fate - Welcome Princes of Hell - Don't Break the Oath
Sodom - Outbreak of Evil - In the Sign of Evil
Kreator - Total Death - Endless Pain
Slayer - Hell Awaits - Hell Awaits
Destruction - Bestial Invasion - Infernal Overkill
Possessed - Burning in Hell - Seven Churches
Celtic Frost - Dethroned Emperor - Morbid Tales
Bathory - Equimanthorn - Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Sarcofago - Nightmare - IRNI
Mayhem - Deathcrush - Deathcrush
Morbid - My Dark Subconscious - December Moon
Sabbat - Poison Child - Born by Evil Blood
Tormentor - Elisabeth Bathory - Anno Domini
Morbid Angel - Maze of Torment - Altars of Madness
Blasphemy - Fallen Angel of Doom - Fallen Angel of Doom
Root - Cesta zkázy - Zjeveni

I forgot to put them in any type of order so I'm sorry. I'll put up my second show, but it'll have some holes cause some of the stuff i can't find mp3s of and is only vinyl.

Show I

Parlamentarisk Sodomi - Regnskog, Fred Og Vegetarmat EP

Release: 2009
Type: 7"
Label: 625 Thrashcore

Grindcore on seven-inch vinyl: the epitome of Short, Fast and Loud.

This 7" comes with one cover and five blast-as-fuck tunes in true Parlamentarisk fashion. In ten minutes the one-man machine grinds your face to a pulp with music as fast as bands wish they were - and he does it with a level of intensity most bands can only pay lip service to. This is not hyperbole - this EP will kick your ass. Check out "Sakkosekk, Kaos Og Anarki" and decide for yourself. 625 must be thrilled to have this guy ripping out brutal tunes for the label.

No record player? No problem: listen to it here. But if you don't have the PxSx full length, start shopping. For those who own an antiquated music player, you can pick up the EP here. There is no excuse to pass on this one. It will motivate you. Vinyl on 625 means "limited edition" so act fast. Operators are standing by...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Radio Show Pt II-Behind Enemy Lines

So I've dropped the black metal around the world shtick, i did it last year and got bored with the idea; plus i couldn't play a lot of other stuff.

So tonight, 3-5amEST i'm gonna play a slew of stuff, some of the stuff will be...

Thou, Assholeparade, Hatred Surge, Liturgy, New Magrudergrind (if i can find lyrics and make sure they're klean), New Behemoth, new Infernal Stronghold, New Anaal Nathrakh, ABC Weapons, New Martyrdod, and a lot more. tune in!

If you live in upstate NY, closer to Ulster County try 88.7fm, if not, sucks to be you.

So it's come to my attention that the webcast is down, I'll try and put playlists up, maybe even upload the actual mp3s; all in due time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Infernal Stronghold-Godless Noise

Official Site
Label: Forcefield Records
Released: July 2009
Release Type: LP/CD Full Length
Genre: Black/Thrash/Crust

Further quenching my thirst for the blasphemous cacophony that is Infernal Stronghold is their second full length album aptly titled Godless Noise. As with all their releases I've encountered, the LP of Godless Noise is wrapped in a beautiful package. Gorgeous printed matte jacket covered in obscure and endless details as well as necessary information (song titles and the like). The inner jacket is a slick glossy picture on one side and lyrics and legal info on the other side. Offering to be limited to 700 and only 12 bucks i can't see how anyone could pass this up. I'm sure the cd is just as nice, although to quote the guys themselves "10 songs, 27 minutes. Sounds waaayy better on vinyl."

Now with the music. Infernal Stronghold retain their taste for a rough production that sounds organic, powerful, and cacophonous, but never hazy and obscuring. They have found a perfect match of old school European d-beat mixed with 90's Norwegian black metal and an overall polish that comes from the competence and understanding of a modern day, level headed engineer. The vocals are vicious and strained, mid-range black metal rasps, to crusty shouts, all dirty and raw. The guitars shred through thrashy riffs amidst a razorwire mesh of distortion and static, leaving the bass to be support and the unadulterated drums to maintain its own space. The dirty and thrashy vibe, coupled with the black metal vocals and aesthetic tied to the punky sections cement this lp as heads above the rest.

For the most part, the songs are short and varied blasts of blackened thrashcore(think of Anti-Cimex collaborating with Horna playing old Sodom songs or something along those lines) that manipulate fast sections of blast beats to d-beats, to mid-paced thrash affairs and all that lies in between. "Crippling Blasphemous Persistence" stands to be the most black metal track offered on the album, a catchy tremolo picked riff coupled with a powerful blast beat carry the song and even a slower section with a very somber riff that highlights Infernal Stronghold's arsenal of tricks and abilities; this track is probably my favorite on the album.

Infernal Stronghold do an excellent job of mixing all elements to their sound equally, creating a unique sound that stays true to the title Urban Blasphemy. The lyrics offer commentary on(against) religion, political/societal issues, as well as personal and interpersonal issues. I found the lyrics to be quite good and refreshing when compared with countless bands spewing fuck yous or fuck religion; a bit more introspective than that.

Infernal Stronghold are geniune with their music and don't look to impress anyone or do anything for anyone else besides themselves and their fans. Support them and buy their shit, nice guys and great merch that's dirt cheap. Buy here for the LP/CD, and here for older releases/merch.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birdflesh - The Farmer's Wrath

Release: 2008
Type: CD
Label: Obscene Records

Let's step back to 2008 for a moment. Why? I wanted to go back further but that is as far as my time machine can cope with at the moment. What happened? Among other things, three-piece Swedish satirists Birdflesh return for another dose of blastbeat thrash on The Farmer's Wrath. And how did they follow up the masterpiece that is Mondo Musicale? By seeing just how hard they can press their tongue into their cheek, that's how. I predict that by their next album it's punching through but for now it looks like a real bad abscess. All in all, I'd say it's business as usual with Birdflesh: want seriously good thrash? You've come to the right place. Want seriousness? Move along.

One of the great things about this album is that with one exception the songs do not remind you of their earlier work. "External Wounds of Vagina Power," track two, has the feel of being a holdover from Mondo, mostly because of a few throwaway riffs. Other than this, there are 25 songs that are new in every way. Of course the jokes are still there in the lyrics. While they may not be as overtly humorous as "Crocophile" - and there are no deer with road rage - there are definitely some notables. But the big change on Farmer is that the humor begins encroaching the music. And we're not talking about "Victim of the Cat" (meow, meow, meow) type jokes. These are songs bordering on plain silliness that you just need to hear. The bonus in these "joke songs" is that they are all followed by quality tunes.

So how about some good songs? The first one that comes to mind is "Our Rice." The main riff reminded me of a song but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It's not a rip off, more a variation, and was just vague enough to misplace. Then the chorus kicked in and all became clear: "Under a pale gray sky we eat Our Rice!" Maybe it's me, but I love this song. Maybe it's memories. I'm old enough to remember when it was new - and before a certain band member become a wanker. For the poor souls who need everything spelled out for them, or worse yet, those with no knowledge of classic thrash, it's a play on "Arise" by Sepultura.

Right in the middle of the album is every kid’s favorite treat: "Cake Full of Maggots." A nice head-nodder of a bassline over d-beats opens this one. Mid-way through they cross into thrash before a blasting outro. Everything about the first minute sounds like a classic crust song.

Down the track list a bit we come to "Acdeicide," which is a kick ass title by the way. The feature riff here is charged with energy to the highest degree. It's not Deicide; more a thrash version of something classic Deicide might have played. And the lyrics are quality - even a "Suicide Sacrifice" reference. Easily the most energetic song on the album. On a side note, Glen Benton gets picked on a lot. Is he the new Seth Putnam?

It doesn't take a keen reader to notice those songs (intentionally) sound like other bands. How about some Birdflesh songs? Check out "Suffer in the Dark of Darkness," "Wrath of the Farmer" (echoes in the night!) and "Flamencorpse."

Another item of note is the use of blastbeats. They are all over the album but seem more concentrated toward the end. The first half of the play list has blasts used mostly as accents with thrash drumming and d-beats taking the focus. Right around track 20, "The Spaghetti Strangler," blasts pick up in frequency and intensity. But of course blastbeats do not mean grindcore. Birdflesh came to thrash and no blastfest, no matter how long, can change this simple truth.

This is a great album. For those who gave it a listen and moved on, it deserves a second chance. Maybe you were too serious the first time. Maybe you were expecting Mondo 2.0. Both innocent mistakes that can be rectified by checking it out here. Also, rumor has it the economy is picking up, which means your wallet is getting a little heavier. You know that leads to future back pain, right? Help your future back by picking this one up.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blakk Metal ist Krieg

Hey, just a little promotion here. I run a radio show for my school and it premires tonight. This episode will be two hours devoted to the founding fathers ov blakk metal. So tune in at 3am-5am, EST tonight via http://wfnp.org/ and check it out!