July 6th, 2011 at 12:21pm
There’s little more annoying on this planet than the immoral majority telling you how essential, transcendent and (huh-huh) seminal a particular extreme album is, when you know that it’s overrated as fuck. Hence, our new Wednesday morning column, “Disposable Heroes,” in which one brave soul sails against the current to inform all you clones why you can’t spell classic without “ass.” This week, Frank Lemke farts in the general direction of former dB album of the year Blue Record, by Baroness.
Blue Record might be metal’s hippest dance record. I’ll give it that, but that’s a bad thing. It sucks, in fact. At least half this album sucks. I’ll break this down all systematic, like a lawyer, and make my case.
Alright. There’s an intro. “Bullhead’s Psalm.” Take it or leave it.
“The Sweetest Curse.” OK, initially I like the guitar sound; it’s different. The call-and-answer vocals sound sick, too. The lead into the hook before 3:00 is fucking rad, and the end is heavy and catchy. Noodling outro: whatever, still a cool opening track. They didn’t drop the ball yet. Wait for it. This ain’t no Barry Horowitz.
That’s followed by “Jake Leg.” Signature Baroness winding hectic guitar parts, almost a surf beat—surf metal, a great idea. Not bad. I begin to wonder: Do I have a case?
Yes I do. Next track is “Steel That Sleeps the Eye,” the beginning of the end. Below-average vocal filler. I could whistle a better song. Very indie, not heavy, definitely losing it.
Then “Swollen and Halo” is where it really takes a dive. It has a decent intro, but later it sounds like dance music. Is it just me? It sounds like Baizley screaming over Depeche Mode. And not just one time: there are dance beats all throughout it. What is going on here? Who the hell is drumming? Did the guy from the Killers stop through the studio? There are some cool parts, but I’m heavily distracted by the dance parts. Homie don’t play that.
Next is “Ogeechee Hymnal.” At least we’re talking about the right kind of Indian here: Native Americans are badass. Thing is, I can tell this is supposed to be a heavy, driving song. It’s supposed to be tribal, like all my tattoos; but it’s too treble-y. It’s all high end, not a good low, not a deep sound at all. Plus, it’s half-ambient filler. More proggy, less metal, not good.
“A Horse Called Golgotha.” First of all, this guitar sounds like a cat stuck in a tree when it should sound more like bones caught in gears. I’d be willing to let that slide, but then what the fuck is that goddamn fucking drum beat?! This is not dance music! That shit is not heavy: it’s laughable. And the call-and-answer vocal hook is annoying this time. Then there’s the big open space in the middle for the solo, and they really put the guitar in the front, and I can’t deny the solo. The song should end on that high note, but it dwindles on.
Fuck my ass, the next song, “O’er Hell and Hide,” after some acoustic nonsense, begins with a fucking dance beat. Really? It’s like they’re trying to piss me off. Christ, and it goes on for the whole song. It sounds like dance music. It sounds like the Faint. Yeah, I’ve heard the Faint. This is what Rusted Root would sound like if they were less the-worst-band-on-earth and more fucking metal. Sure, it’s heavy, for dance music. This would be a club hit if it weren’t topped with outlandish spoken vocals about coming through your father. I came through my father once and I don’t like to think about it.
Thank goodness that “War, Wisdom and Rhyme” doesn’t feature a dance beat, or I may have twisted my ears off writing this. It sounds like metal again. It sounds like Baroness. I can’t really complain about this.
“Blackpowder Orchard.” Eh, weak acoustic track. I liked these more last album.
“The Gnashing.” Oh, cool, it’s “Grad II.” That’s cool; I loved “Grad.” Maybe if they called this “The Grading,” or “Graduated,” it would make more sense. But I don’t hate this song. It’s a good final track. It’s happy metal, which is better than dance metal.
Shit, there’s more? “Bullhead’s Lament.” Whatever, man. Just another fucking song. Album should have been over.
And I’m not stopping there. You know what else? Baizley finally went bald by Blue Record. Had to cut that shit. Not very metal, if you ask me. Sure, dude’s a badass who smokes mad pizza, and he makes me seem about as cool as Richard Simmons. I just love to run my hand through my thick head of greasy hair, that’s all I’m saying.
Lastly: who remember the Baroness cover issue? “How they made what could be album of the year.” If Decibel were committing a murder, that would be called establishing intent. I think. I do watch Law & Order. Anyway, it’s a good thing we weren’t killing anybody.
Fine, I admit: the album was catchier than I remember it. But I do not, under any circumstances, listen to anything that sounds remotely like dance music. Not even when Baroness are forcing it down my throat. Fuck that. Half of this album is pussy and gay.
Between the EPs and how much I love Red Album, I guess that’s why I’m so cockhurt over Blue Record being a dance album. Anyway, I don’t let it stop me from jerking off.
July 5th, 2011 at 4:20pm
Known for its cheese, beer, and baseball team the Brewers, Milwaukee is also home (rather was home) to some of America’s finest death metal. Yeah, Tampa had its rightful place on the throne in the late ’80s/early ’90s, but the former French Canadian trading post had Dr. Shrinker, Phantasm, Accidental Suicide, and the mighty Morta Skuld. Perhaps the most visible of all Wisconsin death metal acts was Morta Skuld. With their down-tuned, catchy Midwestern death, the group caught the ears of UK cult indie Deaf/Peaceville Records, under which three full-lengths were released to moderate success.
Twenty-one years later, Relapse Records has compiled Morta Skuld’s two 1990 demos — Prolong the Agony and Gory Departure — in the form of Through The Eyes Of Death. Produced by Death manager Eric Greif and with artwork by Travis Smith, Through The Eyes Of Death is a fitting deathsong to Morta Skuld’s career. To celebrate Morta Skuld in the age of YouTube and viral videos, Relapse Records and director David Cook lensed a music video for “Prolong the Agony (Crucifix)”.
“‘Prolong the Agony’ was written 21 years ago,” explains Morta Skuld guitarist Dave Gregor. “When we started shooting the video, I felt a bit lost and as we went take after take the vibe started to come back to me, kinda like that adage about riding a bike. When we were writing this song I was really into everything must be evil stage. My drummer Jef Jaeger and I wrote the lyrics not to glorify crucifixion but to describe the act of what one would feel and what one would go through being subjected to that act. The entire second Morta Skuld demo Prolong the Agony was about what one would feel or experience going through these horrid things. Doug Cook had a great vision for the vid that was a realization of the lyrics.”
** Morta Skuld demo collection, Through The Eyes Of Death, is out now on Relapse Records. For a fine slab of Midwestern death, order it here.
** For more info on “Prolong the Agony” director Doug Cook, please visit his website here.
July 5th, 2011 at 11:00am
Good morning, future winners!
The eclectic Athens, Georgia label Mylene Sheath — the origin story/name is explained here — has a taste for driving, droning, exploding epic/ethereal metal and they’re wagering a few Decibel readers do, too. In fact, they’ll see your jaded skepticism and raise you a couple exclusive streams from the upcoming Beneath Oblivion/Angel Eyes split and throw in a pretty goddamn generous give away — you know, just to make things interesting.
Here’s what’s at stake:
One Grand Prize Winner will receive a TEST PRESS of split 7″ w/alternate hand-screened jackets exclusive to the test presses (limited to 10 copies in existence), plus copies of the 7″ on red vinyl (limited to 100), clear vinyl (limited to 200), and grey vinyl (limited to 200). Also included in the prize pack is a Mylene Sheath turntable slipmat, issue #3 of The Mylene Zine (featuring an interview with Ian MacKaye), and a Mylene Sheath T-shirt.
First Runner Up takes home a complete set of the 7″ on red vinyl, clear vinyl, and grey vinyl, and a Mylene Sheath turntable slipmat.
Second Runner Up walks away with a copy of the 7″ on red vinyl and a Mylene Sheath turntable slipmat.
Third Runner Up receives a copy of the 7″ on clear vinyl.
Angel Eyes: “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” by Decibel Magazine
What you need to do: Send your name, address, and T-shirt size to email@example.com by Tuesday, July 12. Also, for a more extensive listen, be sure to visit the label’s great Facebook plateau. And if you want to know what they’re having for breakfast…
July 5th, 2011 at 9:30am
Here are the new heavy metal CD releases for this week.
Draconian – A Rose For The Apocalypse (Napalm)
Exhumed – All Guts, No Glory (Relapse)
Harm’s Way – Isolation (Closed Casket)
Intensus – Intensus (Metal Blade)
Morta Skuld – Through The Eyes Of Death : The Early Demos (Relapse)
Murder Death Kill – Instigate Infiltrate Annihilate (Mediaskare)
Shadowside – Inner Monster Out (SHP)
Stream Of Passion – Darker Days (Napalm)
Unearth – Darkness In The Light (Metal Blade)
Whitehorse – Progression (At A Loss)
July 4th, 2011 at 3:06pm
After the initial self-reproach for having never heard of Kansas death metal cryptids, Troglodyte, it was kinda OK that their 1990 Florida sound had kept itself a mystery, scrawled somewhere on a Post-It on whoever is covering Fox Mulder’s desk these days. Like, the only people who know about this sort of shit are the types to hack police radios and spend six evenings out of seven baiting dumpsters in the hope of photographing Bigfoot fixing himself a baloney sandwich in the half-light. Troglodyte, for all intents and purposes, are a single-issue interest group: a death metal band who’ve had the testicular swingers to say, “Fuck Egypt, and fuck Lovecraft… We’re rolling with the sasquatch.” And more power to their elbow. Nobody else sings about Bigfoot, and in this day and age you’ve gotta have a shtick.
So when Decibel’s own Sauron’s Eye, cryptozoological searchlight and managing editor, Andrew Bonazelli, sent over a heads-up that Troglodyte allegedly sound like Carcass/Origin/Obituary it well and truly rained-off the afternoon’s middle-distance staring competition—especially when it was noted that the cover was “fucking wonderful”.
It was simple trigger-word arithmetic, and was at least worth a look to see how Welcome to Boggy Creek with its Ape-Man Tearing Regular Joe Apart illustration was going to scan as a promotional vehicle for summer log cabin rentals in rural Missouri. Seeing as they’re streaming the whole album on their website it, crucially, took little effort to check out if the music could compete with the cover, too. In fact, unless you work with heavy machinery you can do it right now.
And you can order it here.
It’s a shame that Troglodyte are coming out of Kansas; they’ll probably always be in the shadow of Origin, who for the connoisseur represent a passable impersonation of the genre’s frontier of awesome. Littered with b-movie samples and having the good sense to make the album’s centrepiece/“Bohemian Rhapsody”-track to be a paean to the Hendersons’ travails with the skunk ape, yeti dude, …Boggy Creek is great fun for low budget Cannibal Corpse schlock-mosh without taking shit way too seriously. Slipknot fans, who just can’t bear to see a human face singing back to them (and who can blame them given some of the Hallowe’en cake sour-faces that hide under the Iowa Nine’s masks) can maybe man-up and listen to something that doesn’t have a middle-eight penned for-MTV-dipshits, ‘cos yeah, these dudes were masks too!
And moreover, Welcome to Boggy Creek really does rekindle metal’s affinity with the monster. There can be few more suitable artistic bedfellows than b-movie horror and sloppy joe, viscera-first/brain-idle metal. Maybe it’s that lack of effort to the THC-baked cerebral cortex; a grunt and slam death joint and, say, like the 1988 remake of The Blob fill that somnambulant pre-sleep zombie state like nothing else. But from Anthrax’s underrated doozy “Medusa” to the lion’s share of Mastodon’s catalogue, Benton’s in-the-flesh sighting of Florida’s own Skunk Ape, metal is nothing if not obsessed with monsters. Fuck it, maybe if we can encourage the likes of Ghoul and Impetigo to get googling cryptids and get wholly conceptual we could have a modern classic in the making.
Failing that, just somebody somewhere, someone worthy, please pen a jam about a giant spider kingdom, a rabies-having dolphin child, a half-squid/half-horse Transylvanian consumer of livestock… Or at least just send the memo out to artists that other than necro noir illustration, this is how we’d like our NWOSDM album covers to look. Thanks.
Look, it’s the 4th July, unless you work in an emergency room, Dominos or the 7-Eleven, you have the day off, and by all rights should be hungover/stoned/largely incapacitated: go get some brews, smokes or whatever and watch something under-produced and awful (great).
The Blob (1988)
The Legend of Blood Mountain (1965)
July 4th, 2011 at 2:02pm
The boom in metal’s popularity may have irritated some tr00ly tr00 fans, but by and large, I’ve embraced it, if only because it means I have easier access to the music. Listen up, children, there used to be a time where pop-punk was the most extreme music the record store would carry. Maybe, just maybe, there would be a Judas Priest greatest hits album, but only because “Breakin’ the Law” was on Beavis & Butt-head.
MyMetalClub.com will help you avoid metal-shunning music stores and guide you to the hallowed sanctuaries where heavy metal, black metal, grindcore, and all the other stuff your mother hopes you never ever start listening to is well stocked and ready for your enthusiastic little fingers. Better yet, the website only partners with independent record stores, not big box dumping grounds, so you can support businesses that haven’t lost site of the importance of the community of bands and fans. And the site has detailed news about album releases, so you can get tipped to Black Sabbath Live at Hammersmith Odeon, Slayer on vinyl, Monster Magnet’s special edition box set and the like. My favorite feature is the Metal Store Locator. Pop in your zip code to find the nearest place to blow all your cash on the good stuff.
July 4th, 2011 at 6:00am
July 1st, 2011 at 4:03pm
Every other Friday, Waldo the African Grey Parrot, frontbird of thrash-grind immortals Hatebeak, will get you caught up on the week’s latest “extreme” releases.
Happy Fourth. Get with it, America rules.
The wizards of gore are back. EXHUMED release the comeback record All Guts, No Glory. This thing beaking rips. Mostly, comeback records are kind of a disappointment, but if one can get over the goofy cover, what’s inside rules. Odes to gore, death and just general disgustingness abound, typical fare for Exhumed. Great production, and the new lineup rips these tracks. There are some dual guitar harmonies that smoke. Every track is a bloody punch in the face, which will leave a gore-soaked fist print on your fractured cranium. Check the opening blast on “Necrotized”; drummer Danny Walker brings the meat. So Let It Be Rotten… So Let It Be Done… In Fucking Deed. 9 Fucking Pecks.
UNEARTH are going to release the utterly bland Darkness in the Light. I know Metal Blade has knocked a few out of the park with this band, but your old boy Waldo finds this birdshit pretty mind-numbing. I know a lot of people like this crap, but I don’t get it. I suppose they are okay as far as sterile metal goes, and this is no different. If you’ve heard Unearth, you know what to expect, and this won’t let you down. It’s kind of hard to hate on this particular release because it’s not that it’s bad; it’s just the whole scene that surrounds this band is so birdbrained. The CD comes with a beer bong, although that may be pre-order only, and I believe there was a shirt/CD combo. Fans should get stoked for that; I mean, it is kind of cool. I dunno, I think someone should cover them up. 6 Fucking Pecks.
You like MEGADETH? You like Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying? The reissue is pretty slick: liner notes by Lars Ulrich (which should deter anyone from buying it), various mixes of the songs, live tracks, and 3D lenticular art. If this is your thing, it’s kind of cool, although I have NO idea of why someone would need all of this material.
Not to be on Relapse’s nuts this week, but MORTA SKULD will double as an awesome release AND my old-school pick that should be checked out. Through the Eyes of Death is early American death metal at it’s finest, and this collection has both of the band’s 1990 demos. Death metal in it’s most primitive form that is both thoughtful and punishing. This band has been ignored for a little too long. 8 Fucking Pecks.
June 30th, 2011 at 9:10pm
Admittedly, I’ve never been big on checking out heavy metal’s nerve center for news, Blabbermouth. Once in a while, I’ll take a peek at the site and see what’s going on, who’s in the studio, who’s on tour and even indulge in a little bit of gossip, but I personally don’t have the time or feel drawn enough to be keep abreast of every single little slice of information, however humongous or miniscule, the world of metal creates on a minute-to-minute basis.
While B-mouth does a good job of culling assorted news and crap from all corners of the heavy music world, at the same time, for every bit of useful or compelling information provided (like the photo report earlier this week of Behemoth’s first rehearsal since Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia), most of what they’re do is direct you to a third party site featuring someone else’s video or audio interview or live footage. In doing so, they sometimes come up with the most hilarious of headlines and this has quickly become my favorite part of the site. Far too regularly, Blabbermouth’s headlines are completely reaching for newsworthy-ness and, thusly, end up sounding ridiculous enough – whether jerks like me take them out of context or not – that they rightfully end up on the carving block. To that end, we present this week’s 10 most eye-catching Blabbermouth headlines.
10. JUDAS PRIEST REQUESTING “UNLIMITED QUANTITIES OF CHOCOLATE” AT SOFIA ROCKS FESTIVAL
In pouring over the various riders, it has also come to light that Whitesnake’s David Coverdale has instituted an absolute backstage ban of onions and broccoli. I can die a completely fulfilled and satisfied man with the knowledge that Priest suck cocoa residue from between their molars while onstage and Coverdale isn’t farting on the high notes.
9. EPICA: NEW VIDEO INTERVIEW AVAILABLE WITH YVES HUTS
That an Epica video interview with their bassist isn’t what drew our attention. That anyone gives a flying fuck about a video interview – or video anything – with anyone in Epica besides frontwoman Simone Simons is the real news here.
8. AUGUST BURNS RED: “DON’T DOWNLOAD OUR ALBUM ILLEGALLY”
Included with this particular news post is video footage of the band going to a Hot Topic at a mall somewhere in Texas and buying copies of their own album. I don’t have anything else to add.
7. ROB ZOMBIE: BASSIST PIGGY D’s SKULL FACE MASK STOLEN IN SPAIN
Even ol’ P.D. himself was shocked by the fact this was considered news by anyone and made a point of saying so with a Facebook post that read: “If a stupid missing mask makes Blabbermouth, it’s a slow news day. Rock ‘n’ Roll needs some excitement. QUICK, someone do something interesting.”
6. IN FLAMES FRONTMAN DOESN’T GET BOTHERED BY CRITICISM OF BAND’S NEW MUSIC
Good to know. Let’s see how long it takes before the “In Flames Frontman Starting To Be Bothered By Criticism Of Band’s New Music” and “In Flames Frontman Goes Postal After Too Much Criticism Of Band’s New Music” headlines turn up.
5. TONY IOMMI: “I TALK TO OZZY OSBOURNE ABOUT THREE TIMES A WEEK.”
In other news, Iommi also calls his parents on the phone during the holidays, talks to his wife in bed and regularly texts Geezer Butler to organize rehearsals.
4. SLIPKNOT: VIDEO FOOTAGE OF SID WILSON’S CROWD DIVE FROM SWITZERLAND SONISPHERE
We were hoping for headlines pertaining to jerky fan-shot footage of slutty Swiss chicks flashing their boobs, drunk Germans passed out in their own puke and piss and other festival clichés, but this was all they had available.
3. BRET MICHAELS SAYS HIS LATE GRANDMOTHER APPEARED IN FRONT OF HIM
Apparently, she was carrying a bag of his pre-Rock of Love credibility. It may have been a small bag to begin with, but she’s still proud of him, even in the afterlife.
2. SPIRAL ARCHITECT DRUMMER SAYS ALBUM IS STILL YEARS AWAY FROM RELEASE
Next year’s headline: “Spiral Architect drummer says album is still years away from release.”
1. MICHAEL ANTHONY “CURIOUS” ABOUT NEW VAN HALEN ALBUM, “PROUD” OF CHICKENFOOT
Number one on our list with a bullet.
June 30th, 2011 at 11:40am
Finnish “heavy metallers” Lordi have gone 3-times Platinum (90,000 copies sold) in their native Finland, Gold (30,000 copies sold) in Sweden, Gold in Germany (100,000 copies sold) and have probably earned sales medals throughout Europe. Pretty neat considering Lordi are nothing but a bunch of fakers. Check out this clip from 2006. The horror-masked Finns are rambling through one of their moronic tunes and guess what? Milli Vanilli showed up. No, Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus didn’t join Lordi on stage for a heavy rendition of “Blame It on the Rain”. Though that would’ve been really funny. Rather, Lordi’s backing track began to skip. Actually, that’s funnier, but a backing track? For a heavy metal band? Insane.
But what’s worse, however, is that the Europeans in attendance didn’t seem to mind the band “performing” on stage were actually “performing” and not playing. They cheered as much as they jeered, not realizing whatever Euro they spent to watch Mr. Lordi and his crew of Finnish fuck-ups was to listen to a CD play on really big speakers, while a group of idiots postured like Jim Henson’s excrement on stage.
I think it’s time for the faking to end. On stage and in the studio.